Archive for October, 2020

Lions Win Game One of CPBL Series on Pinch Hit Homerun

Saturday, October 31st, 2020

The first game of the Taiwan Series had lots of drama. The Lions won the opener over the China Trust Brothers 4-2 led by a pinch hit 3-run homerun by 39 year old veteran Pan Wu-Hsiung in the top of the tenth inning. It was the first pinch hit homerun in extra innings in a championship game in the CPBL. Pan is a lifer for the Lions, drafted by thems in 2005 and earning the Rookie of the Year award in 2007. The Lions later put runners on first and third with one out but a double play ground out prevented further damage from being done.

The Brothers rallied back in the bottom of the 10th off Lions closer Chen Yun-wen. Two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases with one out. Chen was able to strike out the next batter for the second out but Su Wei-ta bounced a single into right field to score a run and put the tying run at second. Chen came back and struck out designated hitter Chang Chih-hao for the final out of the game.

The two foreign pitchers, Esmil Rogers for the China Trust Brothers and Brock Dykxhoorn for the Lions were stingy with giving up runs. Brock went six innings giving up just one run. Esmil lasted for eight innings and only gave up the one run. In the top of the sixth Su Chih-chieh slapped an RBI single into right field to score the one run off Rogers, but the runner from second was thrown out at home trying to score.

There was the maximum 15,600 at the game, with 78 percent seating capacity allowed.

Koo Makes Start for Dinos

Friday, October 30th, 2020

As the season winds down the Dinos are assured the top spot in the KBO. So the remainder of the games do not mean much to them. That gave them an opportunity to start Koo Chang-mo, who won the player of the month honors the first month of the season and was the top starting pitcher in the early season.

Koo had to be put on the injured list at the midpoint of the season with a balky elbow. More review of the elbow found slight fractures. The Dinos playoff hopes would be energized with his return to the mound. Last night Koo threw five innings against the Samsung Lions. His first four innings were fine. In the fifth he ran into trouble, giving up a three run homerun to Daniel Palka.

Up until the fifth inning Koo had only allowed two hits. He had also faced the minimum number of batters through three innings, the first baserunner being erased by a double play. Overall, the Dinos had to be satisfied with his outing. Using him as the third starter in the playoffs behind Drew Rucinski and Mike Wright can not be a bad thing.

Shuto Breaks Stolen Base Record

Friday, October 30th, 2020

There still is some rewards in stealing bases. Ukyo Shuto of the Softbank Hawks is showing that. He broke a record by stealing a base in his 12th consecutive game. The previous record had been held by Yutaka Fukumoto. Fukumoto played from 1969 to 1988, stealing 106 bases in 1972.

Shuto has not been noted for his bat, which has relegated him to just pinch running opportunities. Last year he hit only .196. This year his bat has been more consistent, which has resulted in more playing time. He is hitting .270, which has led to much more at bats and opportunities to get on base. This has resulted in 43 stolen bases in 47 attempts, a success rate even the modern critics of the stolen base would accept. Last year he only stole 25 bases in a part time role.

The 2020 season will see his most at bats. The Hawks have also clinched a play off spot in the NPB, making his role to advance the extra base even more key to the playoffs. Unlike the Central League, whose winner is automatically provided a bid to the Japan Series, the Pacific League winner must still face the second place team in their conference to play a best of five series. That is currently a battle between the slumping Chibba Lotte Marines and the surging Seibu Lions, with the Rakuten Golden Eagles having an outside shot.

KBO Playoff Teams Determined

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

The KBO season is winding down but the teams who are eligible for the playoffs have already been determined. Now the fight is for seeding. The further down you are in the pecking order, the more games you have to play to survive. The fifth place team plays the fourth and the winner of that series plays the third place team until the final series against the first place team.

There is still a real battle for second to fifth place. The Dinos should win the conference, though they have not been playing well in the final stretch and their lead is dwindling. The Doosan Bears right now have the fifth spot, but they are just a game behind the Kiwoom Heroes, who occupy the fourth spot. But the Heroes are just a game behind the KT Wiz and LG Twins who are tied for the second spot. It is a 144 game schedule and teams have played between 140 to 143 games.

The playoffs begin November 1. In the first playoff series between the fourth and fifth place team the fifth place team will need to beat the fourth place team twice to advance. A win or a tie by the fourth place team will end the series. The winner of that series will face the third place team in a best of three series.

The series will move to a best of five when the winner of the best of three series faces the number two team in the standings. The winner of that series will then play the number one team in a best of seven series.

The real challenge for the first place team is staying sharp while the other teams play. While they may be rested, rust could develop while the other teams play. Scheduling games against other teams in exhibition games, or playing intra squad games does not have the same intensity level as a playoff game.

Eagles Looking to Sign Tanaka to Return to NPB

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

Masahiro Tanaka will be a free agent next year. A number of major league teams could be looking to bid for his services. One team they will have to compete against is his former team in Japan, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The WBSC site reports that the Golden Eagles are willing to shell out a $25 million per year deal to sign Tanaka. Myworld will bet no major league team would be willing to spend that kind of money on a 32 year old pitcher.

Signing with a Japanese team would also allow him an opportunity to pitch for Japan in the 2021 Olympics. If he signed with a major league team he would not have that opportunity, since the major leagues restrict players on 40 man rosters from participating. The NPB allows their players to participate in the Olympics, putting a pause to their season.

As a 20 year old Tanaka pitched for the Japanese team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, working seven shutout innings. He also pitched for Japan in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics. They won the gold in 2009 and the bronze in 2013.

Lions Clinch Berth in Taiwan Series

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

The Uni President Lions won the second half title, defeating the first half winner the China Trust Brothers 3-2 on their last game of the season. The Fubon Guardians and Rakuten Monkeys have been eliminated from playoff consideration. For the Monkeys, it ended a run of four consecutive titles. Game one of the Taiwan Series will begin Saturday.

Lions outfielder Su Chih-chieh blasted a solo homerun in the opening frame to help with the win. The Lions reliever Teddy Stankiewicz got credit for the win after coming on in relief in the third inning. He worked 5.2 innings, allowing just one run. Lions closer Chen Yun-wen put the tying run on third and the go ahead run on first but escaped with the win by getting cleanup hitter Chou Szu-chi to ground to first. The crowd, who were holding their orange streamers hoping not to waste them and praying for victory got their opportunity to release them in the air in celebration. If you have never been surrounded by the streamer celebrations you have missed a unique baseball event.

The day before the Lions had defeated the Fubon Guardians 2-0 to provide the stepping stone to the clinching Saturday night win. Tim Melville pitched a complete game shutout to get credit for the win. Chen Chieh-hsian drove in both runs in the seventh inning with a two run double.

The Lions had gone seven years without winning a half season title. Now they are headed to the Taiwan Series. The last time they won the Series was in 2013. For the Brothers it has been a bit longer, 2010. The Lions have won the most Series with 9 while the Brothers are tied with the Rakuten Monkeys with 7 Taiwan series wins.

Ohno Tosses Sixth Shutout

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Even though the Yomiuri Giants Tomoyuki Sugano is 13-1 with a 2.02 ERA, the favorite to win the Sawamura award is the Chunichi Dragons Yudai Ohno. He is having an incredible year, tossing his sixth shutout of the year and tenth complete game in a 1-0 win over the DeNA Bay Stars. Ohno leads the Central League in ERA at 1.79. After a slow start he is 10-5 on a far inferior team.

The NPB may want to consider lowering the innings pitched requirement for the ERA race. In the Central League only five pitchers qualify. To qualify you have to meet the minimum innings of the number of games your team plays. Two pitchers with the Carp barely qualify with 105 innings pitched, while the Carp have played 105 game. After tomorrow, if neither of those pitchers pitch they will be removed from the ERA title race until they can take the mound again.

In the Pacific League they have nine pitchers who still qualify for the ERA title.

Lotte Giants Go Back to Back to Back to Back but Still Lose Game - Singles Win

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

The Lotte Giants hit four consecutive homeruns in their game against the SK Wyverns but still lost the game 9-8. In fact, the Giants hit six homeruns to the Wyverns one, but lost in the final inning when the Wyverns rallied for three runs in the final inning, stringing together four consecutive singles. Lee Jae-Won got the final single that scored the tying and go ahead runs with one out.

In the sixth inning with the Giants trailing 5-1 they hit their four consecutive homeruns to tie the game. The first to start the party was veteran Lee Dae-ho, who jacked one into the left field bleachers. He was followed by Lee Byung-kyu, who worked his to centerfield. After An Chi-hong went deep the Giants replaced reliever Kim Jung-bin. He could only retire one batter (the first) in his sixth inning relief work. Park Min-ho replaced Kim and gave up a tater to Han Dong-hee to tie the game.

The Giants then got solo shots from Son Ah-Seop in the seventh and then Jung Hoon in the eighth. That is six homeruns that account for only six runs.

Neither team is in the playoff race.

Heidenheim Wins German Baseball Championships

Monday, October 19th, 2020

Heidenheim Heidekoepfe won the German Baseball Bundesliga championships, sweeping a best of five series against the Bonn Capitals. It is the second consecutive championship for Heidenheim and their fifth title, the first being in 2009. It was also the fourth consecutive championship series between Bonn and Heidenheim, with Bonn winning it in 2018 and Heidenheim the victors in the other years, starting in 2017.

Mexican Winter League Begins Season

Monday, October 19th, 2020

The winter league has started with each of the with each of the ten teams playing a four game series. Obregon is the only team to come away from the weekend undefeated, sweeping Mexicali. Los Mochis, Hermosillo and Monterrey came out with three victories. Guasave and Culiacan split their series.

Fans up to 30 to 50 percent capacity were allowed in the states of Sinaloa, Baja California and Sonora. That meant Obregon, Los Mochis, Novajoa and Culiacan were allowed to have spectators. Teams in Jalisco and Nuevo Leon have not been cleared to have spectators. This meant only cardboard cutouts for Monterrey.

Fans must wear face masks at the game and have their temperature checked. Spectators will not be allowed to move from their assigned seat. Any food and beverages will be delivered in closed containers.

Tests were conducted on the teams players and officials. There were 92 positive tests. Tests will be administered every two weeks.