Archive for September, 2020

Chen Returns to Japan

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Chen Wei-Yen appears to be returning to Japan. According to cpblstats.com he has signed a contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Marines are still battling for the second playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The contract is for $290,000 for the last two months of the NPB season.

Chen originally pitched for the Chunichi Dragons from 2004 to 2011. In 2012 he became eligible for free agency and jumped to the Baltimore Orioles where he had a number of successful seasons with them. In his first season he finished fourth in the rookie of the year balloting. After becoming a free agent after the 2015 season he signed a large contract (5 years $80 million) with the Miami (Florida) Marlins and bombed after that. Despite owing him $22 million this year the Marlins released him after the 2019 season.

The Mariners signed him to a minor league contract for the 2020 season but he was ultimately released. It will be interesting to see if he has anything left in the tank to get the Marines into the playoffs. Chen has never had a lot of juice in his fastball, but relies on command to locate his pitches. That command has disappeared over time.

Therwil Flyers the Swiss Baseball Champions

Monday, September 21st, 2020

The Therwil Flyers swept the Bern Cardinals in a best of five series to become the baseball champions of Switzerland. Only the third game was competitive, with the Flyers winning the first two 16-8 and 16-3.

The third game the Flyers rallied for four runs in the eighth to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 lead. Michael Kratz got the big hit with a two run double. Takanobu Oshima got the win with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.

These two teams had tied for first place during the regular season with 15-5 records.

Dane Dunning Has Choices for WBC

Friday, September 18th, 2020

Dane Dunning was recently called up by the White Sox to fit in their rotation. He was drafted by the Nationals but traded to the White Sox along with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton. That trade accounts for 60 percent of the playoff bound White Sox rotation. Last year the Nationals won the World Series with Eaton. This year it appears to be the White Sox turn to make a run with Dunning, Lopez and Giolito.

With the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the horizon Dunning could play for the United States team. If that doesn’t work out he could also play for South Korea. His mother was born in Korea making him eligible. According to a Yonhap News Agency article Dunning would love to play for South Korea, even though he has yet to visit the country. At some point he would embrace experiencing the culture there.

Traditionally, Korea has not looked to the United States to fill their WBC teams. They generally pick their teams from players in the KBO. Dunning though is a talent that could fill a rotation spot, along with current major leaguers Kim, Ryu and young pitching sensation Koo that would prove quite formidable.

Panama to Play Season in a Bubble

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Panama will begin their season on October 9 with eight teams. All eight teams opened their training camps this past Monday, September 14. Players were tested and there were no positive results. During the season it is anticipated there will be another 1,400 tests.

The eight teams have been broken out into two groups. Group A will be composed of Cocle, Metro, Herrera and Colon. Group B will be Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Panama Oeste and Los Santos. Each team will play a round robin match against teams in their group three times and against teams from the other group once. The top four teams will advance to a best of seven semi-final series.

Though it was not stated in the WBSC article myworld assumes the winner will advance to the Series del Caribe, provided there is one and Panama is invited to participate. Panama won the first Series del Caribe they played in two years ago but did not do so well in the event last year.

Cuban Baseball Openers

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Over the weekend the Cuban Nacional Series opened up their season. Saturday was the opening day. Below are the results:

Camaguey 15 Matanzas 8

The semi finalist from last year beat the defending champion in the opener. Big days were had by Alexander Ayala and Leonel Moa, who each hit a homerun and drove in four runs. With his four hits Moa was a triple short of the cycle, scoring three runs.

Jefferson Delgado and Yasiel Santoya each went deep and drove in three runs for Matanzas. Matanzas ace Yoanni Yera was not effective coughing up eight runs in his five innings of work.

Mayabeque 9 Las Tunas 5

The game went 10 but Mayabeque outscored Las Tunas 5 to 1 in the final frame. Orlandro Lavandera went deep with a three run homerun in the tenth to win it and Dennis Laza used his three hits to drive in three.

Holquin 7 Pinar Del Rio 1

Carlos Alberto worked a solid seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits. He was helped on offense by Jorge Luis Pena with his homerun and two RBIs. Holquin scattered 11 hits.

Artemisa 3 Granma 2

In one of the closer matches Artemisa rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to pull out the victory. Lazaro Blanco had pitched 8 strong innings, allowing just one early run before turning the ball over to Carlos Rene Santana in the ninth. He failed to protect the lead. Ronny Proenza and Gabriel Garbey got the final two run scoring singles. Jose Garcia pitched the ninth to get the save, despite walking two and giving up a hit.

Santiago de Cuba 7 Isla de la Juventud 6

Santiago rallied for three in the eighth to take a 6-4 lead but Juventud scored two in the top of the ninth to tie it. The third hit by Ariel Enrique proved to be the walk off to lead Santiago to victory. Osday Silva hit a key two run homer for Santiago in the eighth while Leonardo Urgelles and Aquimo Jimenez had two run bombs for Juventud. Aquimo hit his two run homer in the ninth to allow Junentud to tie.

Industriales 10 Guantanamo 4

Yoandry Ugelles drove in three with his pinch hit homerun and Industriales rallied for 9 runs in the last three innings to pull out the victory. Frank Navarro had allowed just one run in the first six innings but tired in the seventh, giving up a three spot.

Cuban National Series to be Televised by WBSC

Friday, September 11th, 2020

The Cuban National Series will begin tomorrow with a game between the defending champions Matanzas against the second place team Camaguey. If you are interested in watching any of the games the World Baseball and Softball Confederation has obtained exclusive rights to televise National Series games. To watch them you can go to GameTime.Sport.

The 75 game regular season will end on December 27. The top eight teams will play from January 9 to 14. The final four teams will play with expanded rosters from January 17-25. The championship round will then be January 28 to February 5.

KBO All Star Team

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Though there will not be an All Star game in Korea this year, the fans still voted for an All Star game. The biggest vote getter for the All Star team was surprisingly shortstop Dixon Machado, who did not have great offensive numbers but has been playing some spectacular defense. Below are the All Star teams, broken out into five team groups.

Dream Team (Doosan Bears, SK Wyverns, KT Wiz, Samsung Lions and Lotte Giants)

Starter - Dan Strailey (Giants)
Middle Reliever - Koo Seung-min (Giants)
Closer - Kim Won-jung (Giants)
Catcher - Kang Min-ho (Lions)
First Base - Kang Baek-ho (Wiz)
Second Base - Kim Sang-su (Lions)
Third Base - Choi Jeung (Wyverns)
Shortstop - Dixon Machado (Giants)
Outfield - Mel Rojas (Wiz), Kim Jae-hwan (Bears), Son Ah-seop (Giants)
Designated Hitter - Jose Miguel Fernandez (Bears)

Nanum Team (Kiwoom Heroes, LG Twins, NC Dinos, Kia Tigers, Hanwha Eagles)

Starting Pitcher - Koo Chang-Mo (Dinos)
Middle Reliever - Park Jun-pyo (Tigers)
Closer - Cho Sang-Woo (Heroes)
Catcher - Yang Eui-ji (Dinos)
First Base - Kang Jin-sung (Dinos)
Second Base - Kim Sun-bin (Tigers)
Third Base - Kim Min-sung (Twins)
Shortstop - Kim Ha-seong (Heroes)
Outfield - Lee Jung-hoo (Heroes), Kim Hyun-soo (Twins), Preston Tucker (Tigers)
Designated Hitter - Na Sung-bum (Dinos)

NC Dinos Koo Diagnosed with Forearm Fracture

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

The NC Dinos Koo Chang-mo was easily the best pitcher in the KBO this year, going 9-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his first 13 starts. His last start was one of his worst when he gave up three runs in seven innings, all the result of solo homeruns. He was sent to the DL and was rehabbing for inflammation and has not been seen since July 26.

That inflammation turns out to be a slight fracture in his left forearm, which could force him to miss the season. He will be reevaluated in the next two weeks to see how the injury is healing. The doctors stated the fracture is 70 percent healed and may have been the cause of the inflammation, but could not be detected when he was first examined.

The Dinos are still hanging on to first place but the LG Twins and Kiwoom Heores have narrowed their lead and made it a three team race. Koo would have made the Dinos feel much more confident about staying ahead in the race if they knew he was available to take the mound every fifth or sixth game.

Pitching Matchup for the Ages in the NPB

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Myworld was fortunate to be in Sendai when Masahiro Tanaka had his 23 (or somewhere around there) win streak being challenged by the young 19 year old Shohei Ohtani. Tanaka prevailed but he was trailing early in the game.

It did not have the same historical significance and myworld was not there to witness the performance but undefeated Tomoyuki Sugano (10-0, 1.44) of the Yomiuri Giants was pitching against the Chunichi Dragons Yudai Ohno (5-4, 2.31) who had pitched five complete games in a row. Both pitchers were 1/2 in the ERA race in the Central Division.

Ohno went on to pitch his sixth complete game in a row, but gave up two runs. Sugano was a bit better, pitching shutout ball for seven innings. He was pinch hit for in the eighth and it led to one more run to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. The bullpen nailed down the last two innings, with Rubby de la Rosa earning his 10th save in the 2-0 win.

It was not the only stellar pitching performance in the NPB on Tuesday. Kodai Senga (6-3, 3.39) tossed eight innings of shutout ball, striking out 13 to lead the Softbank Hawks to a 2-0 win over the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Yuito Mori was called on in the ninth to pick up his 19th save. Senga allowed just three hits.

The Seibu Lions Kona Takahashi (5-6, 4.28) may have had the best pitching performance of the day, limiting the Orix Buffaloes to just one hit in their 2-0 win. Takahashi walked just one and struck out seven in his performance. He went against Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-3, 3.01), a pretty good pitcher in his own right. Yamamoto gave up both runs, allowing five hits and striking out nine in seven innings of work.

When myworld rated the top ten pitchers in Japan, three of those five pitchers were named. Myworld may have to make some revisions to this list next year.

Rookie Pitcher Named Top Player of August in KBO

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

KT Wiz rookie righthander So Hyeong-jun was named top KBO player for the month of August. NC Dinos designated hitter/right fielder Na Sung-bum finished second in the voting.

So went 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five August starts. For the year he is 9-5, 4.42. The 18 year old becomes only the second rookie after high school to win a player of the month award.