Posts Tagged ‘darvish’
Posted by simon c on 2009 June 30日 Tuesday
Nothing remotely close to data crunching here, just observations over the years (so, obviously, there will be mistakes and omissions).
The art of predicting can be tricky. Nobody knows exactly how to predict the future. I was curious how some Japanese pitchers would project to MLB so I created an index based upon past Japanese pitcher performances.
There’s of course the big x-factor, the cultural and environmental and mental adaptation process that players crossing the Pacific (in both directions) have to endure. Some thrive (Nomo, Okajima, Saito, etc. with the latter two outperforming their NPB records), some fail (Kobayashi, Fukumori, Igawa, etc.), some fluctuate (Irabu, Matsuzaka, etc.), some thrive then fade (Sasaki, Takatsu, etc. though this might be due to more age and wear and tear) and others meander (a little early to tell but Kawakami and Uehara seem to be adapting well). I don’t think there’s a large enough sample size yet for reliable equivalencies when it comes to pitchers.
Position players, on the other hand, are more predictable creatures, so their production are more predictable when making the NPB=>MLB move. BA/OBP drops somewhat, HR gets cut in half (and SLG drops accordingly), defence is usually above par (except whatever happened to Kaz Matsui), and many hitters change their approach at the plate (Godzilla not swinging for the fences, Iwamura exchanging power for on base ability, Little Matsui exchanging power for speed, Ichiro becoming more or less a slap hitter, etc.)
So, predicting Darvish? Well, he pitches half his games in the most pitcher friendly park in Japan (Sapporo Dome) in front of a solid defence, so right there are strikes one and two against him if he makes the move across the pond, unless he ends up in Petco with the Pads, Safeco with the Mariners (only possibility?), or at the Coliseum with the A’s, since most modern and ancient MLB parks are of the hitter friendly variety.
So, as the usual caveat goes, pitching is much less predictable than hitting, on a season by season basis.
Just my rambling 2 yen late at night when I should be sleeping.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, MLB, NPB, opinion | Tagged: darvish, equivalency, japanese, major leaguers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2009 March 25日 Wednesday
So, Japan repeated as WBC champions despite manager Hara’s bumbling lineup and in-game decisions. What was double play machine Johjima doing hitting cleanup? Korea ended up avoiding Norichika Aoki (the best hitter in Japan) to pitch against Joh in several occasions. And what was jetlagged Kurihara doing in DH? Thankfully he was pulled as soon as Bong left the game. Hara also played the game like it was a high school baseball game, automatically trying to bunt over any runner on base with no outs, even if the bunter rarely, if ever, bunts, like Nakajima, Inaba, and Johjima (well, the latter may be forgiven because of the GIDP possibilities 😛 ) and they are more of power hitters usually.
Then Hara left superb starter (and should have been tournament MVP, though Dice-K got that probably for marketing reasons) Hisashi Iwakuma in one inning too long even though Japan was loaded with bullpen options with fresh arms. Iwakuma got out of the 7th inning by giving getting 3 big fly outs to the outfield. Iwakuma is a groundball pitcher, so obviously by this point in the game his pitches were hanging high and he had barely any juice left in the tank, and it showed when he came back onto the mound in the 8th. Hara also could have gone with Sugiuchi in the 9th as he had also been super during the tournament, not allowing runs in any of his appearances, and Darvish can be shaky when he first gets into the game (like Matsuzaka) like during the loss to Korea in Round 2. But Darvish is often electric so he can’t be faulted on this.
So, Japan could’ve dominated (and it showed with all the runners LOB, Japan self-destructed time and again), but barely squeaked out the win. Maybe it was just all a ploy for Ichiro’s heroic game winning hit that drove in 2 runs? Ever the showman, everything was set up for Ichiro in the end 😛 (though the decision not to walk him with the 1st base open with 2 outs was puzzling, Ichiro kept on fouling off every pitch, even obvious balls, in typical Ichiro fashion until he got a pitch he liked, in the finals, he was zoned in. He wasn’t gonna be semi-intentionally walked.)
Anyways, I watched the game with friends including Deanna at a sports bar in the bustling Shinjuku district. The bar was absolutely full, some people were wearing suits obviously skipping work (though, probably the whole country was at a standstill, especially in the late innings) and some fans also had old school Daiei and Kintetsu (Nori Nakamura!) unis on, which was awesome. Here’s the video from the game winning moment when Darvish struck out the last Korean hitter.
PS This turned out to be a fantastic heart wrenching rubber match of a 5 game Japan-Korea series.. but if the organizers would just remove the meaningless seeding games at the end of rounds 1 and 2, this would’ve only have been the 3rd meeting between the teams, which would’ve been acceptable. Instead Japan played Korea 5 times, Cuba twice, and China and the US once in this World Baseball Classic. I’d like to see each team play a wider variety of opponents.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, MLB, NPB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: 2009, bar, darvish, finals, ichiro, iwakuma, Japan, korea, shinjuku, wbc | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2009 March 21日 Saturday
WBC 2009, Daisuke Matsuzaka (Boston Red Sox) will start in the semifinals at Dodger Stadium against Roy Oswalt (Houston Astros) of the USA. Hisashi Iwakuma (Tohoku Rakuten Eagles), the groundball machine, who pitched 6 shutout innings against Cuba in Round 2 will start the finals if Japan makes it there. The most sought after Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters), who pitched 1 poor inning and 4 great ones against Korea in Round 2, will be used out of the bullpen for the semifinals and/or finals.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB | Tagged: 2009, darvish, dice-k, iwakuma, Japan, korea, matsuzaka, oswalt, USA, wbc | 1 Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2009 March 21日 Saturday
Some interesting WBC Pitch f/x articles for Japanese, Korean, and Cuban pitchers for their games pitched in MLB parks, these are normally data that are not seen or available, either in these pitchers home countries or in the US. The websites BeyondTheBoxscore and FanGraphs are doing a great job gathering and breaking down the data, so I’m just gonna link to them here (also for posterity since these articles are already getting buried under the usual barrage of MLB articles). All articles are interesting.
Yu Darvish (Japan) – FanGraphs, BeyondTheBoxscore (satisfying all observers with his stuff)
Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan) – FanGraphs (getting rave reviews for his pitch selection)
Ryu Hyun-Jin (Korea) – FanGraphs
Yoon Suk-Min (Korea) – BeyondTheBoxscore
Felix (Venezuela), LaMura and Cody Cirillo (Italy, the latter with his 67mph “changeup”) – BeyondTheBoxscore
Cuban pitchers who pitched in their first game against Japan (from wild Chapman to Maya to Vladimir Garcia) – BeyondTheBoxscore
Wily Cuban veterans Vera and Lazo (and his 57mph somthing) in their elimination game against Japan – BeyondTheBoxscore
HardballTimes also has analyzed Pitch f/x data from Round 1 and Round 2 featuring pitchers in the Toronto Round (Yoel Hernandez, DiFelice, Mestri, Cillo), and the 2nd Round in Florida (Leon Boyd, who pitched himself into the Toronto Blue Jays organization, congrats!) and San Diego (Chapman, Vladimir Garcia, Oliver Perez).
Added: Hisashi Iwakuma and Kyuji Fujikawa (Japan), and Bong Jung-Keun and Ryu Hyun-Jin (Korea) – Hardball Times
WBC pitch speeds, they were generally slower than during the regular season showing that pitchers are not ready in March, not a big surprise. The pitcher with the most decline in velocity was Matsuzaka, which is kinda surprising considering he was training from January – BeyondTheBoxscore
The Dutch-Canadian pitcher and recent Toronto Blue Jays signee Leon Boyd – one, two
Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, opinion, statistics | Tagged: 2009, blue jays, boyd, canada, chapman, cirillo, cody, cuba, darvish, dutch, florida, fujikawa, garcia, holland, hyunjin, italy, iwakuma, Japan, korea, lazo, leon, maya, miami, netherlands, pitch fx, pitchf/x, ryu, san diego, toronto, vera, wbc, yoon | 1 Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2009 March 6日 Friday
But Japan only beats China 4-0 (Japan Times) (box score).
- China’s definitely improving, their pitchers seemed much less like batting practice pitchers this time around, but their play on the field was still sloppy from time to time. Japanese baserunning was sloppy too though.
- Darvish was pulled with less than 50 pitches so he’s eligible to pitch again in the Asia Round.. but unless he manages to gain command of some of his breaking pitches with the WBC ball, he’s not going to be too useful just with his fastball.
- Murata bashed a homerun, and he’ll be useful in the Asia Round in the friendly confines of the Tokyo Dome, but his big swings aren’t gonna become homeruns in Petco Park and Dodger Stadium which are pitcher’s parks. Ideally I’d like to see Hara try Uchikawa at first and Ogasawara at third, but this probably won’t happen unless Murata is a total disaster, and with this homerun he’s secured third base for himself even if he’s useless once the team travels across the Pacific.
- Nakajima and Fukudome showed great plate discipline, but they needed guys behind them to drive them in. Super free swinger Johjima also managed to draw a walk. Japan left 24(!) runners on base, so even though they had the same number of hits as the Chinese, the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
- Ichiro went 0 for 5 and looked horrible at the plate. But then again he didn’t start hitting in 2006 until the games moved to the States, and he’s a notorious slow starter even in regular MLB seasons (he seems to really start hitting in June).
- Kyuji Fujikawa closed out the game, but his fastball wasn’t up to his usual velocity. If he doesn’t gain velocity, he’ll be an easy target for the sluggers from the Americas (but not A-Rod).
- Japan now awaits the winner of the Taiwan-Korea game tonight. Taiwan has a depleted roster with major leaguers and half the CPBL players missing (2 of 4 teams didn’t release the players). So, it should be Korea pulling through, but stranger things have happened in baseball (China pulling a fairy dust extra innings upset over Taiwan at the Beijing Olympics, for one).
- Koreans are going to get to see WBC games on free TV thanks to a last minute deal between the rights holder and TV stations. Korea seems to take a similar approach to big ticket sporting events where multiple TV stations share broadcasting rights. This time around TV Asahi has exclusive rights for the Tokyo Round, and TBS has exclusive rights from round 2 to the finals (though pay sports channel J Sports will show all WBC games). In 2006, NTV was also in the mix, and it’s surprising that they’re not this time around considering that Yomiuri is a sponsor for the event and a group company.
- If the over/under for tonight’s Korea-Taiwan attendance is 20,000, I’ll take under 😛
Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB, olympics, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: 2008, 2009, asahi, asia, beijing, broadcast, china, chinese taipei, darvish, fujikawa, ichiro, Japan, korea, kyuji, murata, ogasawara, suzuki, taiwan, TBS, television, tokyo dome, tv, uchikawa, wbc, yomiuri | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2008 December 18日 Thursday
||Japan vs Australia
||Kyocera Dome Osaka
||Goes on sale
17 Jan 10am~
||Japan vs Australia
||China vs Yomiuri Giants
||Japan vs Saitama Seibu Lions
||China vs Saitama Seibu Lions
||Japan vs Yomiuri Giants
||Korea vs Saitama Seibu Lions
||Taiwan vs Yomiuri Giants
||Taiwan vs Saitama Seibu Lions
||Korea vs Yomiuri Giants
World Baseball Classic 2009, Asian teams warm up games that take place in Japan has been officially announced.
Interestingly Australia will play 2 games early against Japan (in 2006 it was Japan vs PL and Japan vs CL at Fukuoka, if I remember correctly).
Also, Japan seems to have set up the warm up games and tournament schedule with full control of the schedule, giving Team Japan 3 days rest between the last warm up games while Korea and Taiwan only get 1 day of rest. And Japan gets the first of 2 wins needed to enter round 2 of WBC out of the way early with its opening match against China all but guaranteed. It’s obviously rigged in Japan’s favour as hosts for the Asia round, but this tournament is still in its infancy and this is one of the kinks that needs to be worked out in the future ensure better fairness.
Giants and Lions are rewarded(?) with the right to play against the 4 Asian WBC teams in warm up games. Well, Yomiuri’s involvement is obvious what with Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper being a WBC sponsor.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: 2009, australia, china, chinese taipei, darvish, dice-k, giants, Japan, korea, kyocera, lions, matsuzaka, osaka dome, saitama, seibu, taiwan, tokyo dome, wbc, yomiuri | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2008 October 9日 Thursday
The Central League still has a few rain out games to remake that will determine first place, and the huge one game advantage and home field advantage (all games at home), so I’ll leave the CL until next week.
The Pacific League has completed its regular season schedule and the first round of the playoffs (best of 3) begins this Saturday.
So, here’s the season review and Climax Series playoff preview.
1. Saitama Seibu Lions
The powerful team that ran with the PL lead all season backed into clinching the PL crown while losing 7 straight because 2nd place Orix was also in a losing skid. The team will be without GG Sato (105GP 432PA 30 2B 21HR 302/368/546) in the playoffs. GG was invaluable in the first half of the season until his Olympic blunder (though, he was playing out of position) and subsequent injury. Luckily for the Lions, they have a capable replacement in Taketoshi Goto who blossomed in GG’s absence with 49GP 184PA 14 2B 12HR 301/370/602. The big time slugging team just fell shy of 200 homeruns with 198 (in a 144 game season!), significant contributions coming from Takeya Nakamura’s breakout 46 homers, Hiram Bocachica’s 20HR in just 78 games, shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima who had an MVP season with 124GP 556PA 32 2B 21HR 331/410/527, and Craig Brazell’s 27 homers (though with a blackhole 294 OBP). The team struggled in September with a 9-15 record, but has a couple of weeks to prepare for their playoff appearance on October 17th and hopefully will be back in form by then, and the one game and home field advantages should help. But if the shutdown pitching of Fighters win the first round of the playoffs, the Lions will have a tough task at their hands, as pitching and defense are paramount in the playoffs, and slugging not so much.
2. Orix Buffaloes
The surprise team of the season, as most people had written them off far out of the playoff picture in their preseason predictions. American manager Terry Collins resigned in May with a 21-28 record, since then interim manager Daijiro Oishi directed the team to a great 54-40-1 (.574) record. The team definitely has more momentum than the Lions at the moment finishing off the season by sweeping the Lions in a 2 game series and capping it off with a win against the lowly Hawks. The Buffs rely on the power bats of NPB veterans Alex Cabrera (37yo 36HR 315/394/593) and Tuffy Rhodes (40yo 40HR 277/394/583). Word in the clubhouse is that Oishi had much better relationships with the sluggers than Collins, and they performed much better with the new manager after season opening slumps. Pitching on this team isn’t shabby either with the unheralded four Satoshi Komatsu (172.1IP 2.51ERA 15-3 3holds), Chihiro Kaneko (165IP 3.98ERA 10-9), Shogo Yamamoto (154.2IP 3.38ERA 10-6 2holds) and Kazuki Kondo (149IP 3.44ERA 10-7) anchoring the rotation. The Buffs will be a formidable opponent at home in the first round of the playoffs against the Fighters, as the only difference is in Darvish (though that’s a big difference) but the Fighters have absolutly no power and Rhodes and Cabrera can win the series for them in the non-Darvish games.
3. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
This low scoring team is built for its cavernous home, the Sapporo Dome, and rightly so as the team’s recent playoff success topped by being the Japan Series and Asia Series champions in 2006. The Fighters are, of course, led by the best pitcher in Japan in Yu Darvish (200.2IP despite going to the Olympics! 10CG 208K 1.88ERA 16-4). But one man can’t win a best of 3 series, and the rest of their pitching staff is not spectacular with Ryan Glynn (3.64ERA), Brian Sweeney (3.48ERA), Masaru Takeda (2.96ERA), and Shugo Fujii (3.25ERA) for getting to pitch half their games in a pitcher’s paradise. The Fighters hit a league low 82 homers during the season, but time and again over the years they’ve shown that they can win closely fought games, so as long as the team can hold a lead to its shutdown closer Micheal Nakamura (2.14ERA 46.1IP 28SV) the team will be able to win in the playoffs (reliable setup man Takeda Hisashi with ERAs in the 2s the last two seasons has been rather hittable this season with 4.40ERA). The power will be supplied by Kensuke Tanaka (297/379/451 32 2B), Atsunori Inaba (301/380/513 25 2B 20HR), and Terrmel Sledge (289/361/473). Hmm.. looking at this, I think the Fighters can take the first round of the playoffs against the Buffaloes. All they have to do is win one of the non-Darvish games and both teams equally rely on just a few power bats that can mightily swing the series.
4. Chiba Lotte Marines
Bobby Valentine’s team finished just half a game out of the playoffs in the fierce battle that lasted until the end of the season. The gaping hole in relief left open by the departures of Yabuta (Kansas City), Fujita (Yomiuri), and Kobayashi (Cleveland) were nicely filled in with Yusuke Kawasaki (3.00ERA 29holds), Brian Sikorski (2.23ERA 13holds), and the emergence of Tadahiro Ogino (2.45ERA 30SV) as the team’s closer. The team wasn’t short on power either with Shoitsu Ohmatsu (499SLG), Toshiaki Imae (509SLG), Jose Ortiz (454SLG from 2B), and Tasuku Hashimoto (404OBP and 536SLG as a catcher!). The team just fell short. Better luck next year, Bobby.
5. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
This mystery team posted a positive run differential all season but struggled to put together a winning season and was removed from the playoff race early in the summer. I’m sure losing their closer Fukumori (Texas) didn’t help, but the team needs more help in relief so that it can win close games, even though Tsuyoshi Kawagishi (1.94ERA 55.2IP) and Kanehisa Arime (2.05ERA 44IP) both put up impressive numbers in relief. As long as 40 year old slugger Takeshi Yamasaki’s performance (276/372/471) doesn’t fall off a cliff, the team should be able to expect better things next season. Hisashi Iwakuma had an incredible season (1.87ERA 5CG 201.2IP 21-4, a definite Sawamura (Japanese Cy Young) frontrunner along with Darvish) considering how incompetent his teammates were.
6. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
The living legend Sadaharu Oh’s team was in playoff contention until late summer, then had a disastrous Sept-Oct (6-21!) and ended up finishing at the bottom of the standings, even losing the final game for Oh in a “sayonara” walk-off fashion to nearly futile Eagles. 35 year old Nobuhiko Matsunaka’s slip in performance over the last several years (2004-1.179OPS, 2005-1.075, 2006-.981, 2007-.798, 2008-.871) is a concern as he’s not getting any younger. Fellow slugger Hiroki Kokubo is even older at 37, Hitoshi Tamura is always battling injuries, so the only bright hope is the up and coming third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda (279/322/468), his lack of ability to draw walks is concerning but he’s still 25. On the pitching side, Toshiya Sugiuchi had a great season (2.66ERA 196IP) and Ohtonari had a solid season (3.12ERA 155.2IP) but highly touted rookie Shota Ohba had a disastrous campaign (5.42ERA 78IP 14HR), he’ll have to cut down on the number of homers given up to improve his performance.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB, opinion, statistics | Tagged: bobby valentine, buffaloes, chiba, climax series, CS, darvish, eagles, fighters, Fukuoka, golden eagles, hawks, hokkaido, lions, lotte, marines, nippon-ham, orix, pacific league, pl, playoffs, rakuten, saitama, seibu, softbank, tohoku | 5 Comments »
Posted by simon c on 2008 August 23日 Saturday
Japan lost soundly to Korea, again, this time 2-6, thanks to the team’s inept offence combined with completely mismanagement of the bullpen bringing in struggling Hitoki Iwase into the highest leverage situation (2-2 tie in the 8th) in the game, then following it up not with closer Uehara to stop the bleeding, but somehow bringing back Hideaki Wakui who had pitched 7 innings 3 days earlier, he gave up 2 more runs. Kyuji Fujikawa’s forkball didn’t drop as much and was hit into the outfield to tie the game at 2. The struggling Lee Seung-Yeop was heroic in his 2 run homer off Iwase that brought the lead for the Koreans, reminiscent of struggling Kosuke Fukudome’s pinch hit HR against Korea in the WBC semifinals that won the game for Japan (after losing to the Koreans twice in earlier rounds, history didn’t repeat itself in Beijing). But the star of the game was 20 year old Korean pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun who pitched 8 solid innings, completely shutting down the Japanese offence in the second half of the game. For better accounts of the game, here’re the EWC and NPBTracker takes on the game. Oh, and the US was crushed 10-2 by Cuba in the other regional arch rival semifinals.
Well, I’m busy tomorrow evening for the finals tomorrow morning to see what Cuba’s got up its sleeve, but I’ll be able to catch the Darvish-Wada show vs the US as Japan hopes to scrape together a bronze.
But Japan got lucky on the track, to counterbalance the baseball disappointment. With the US and UK relay teams dropping their batons, literally, in the 4x100m relay semifinals, Japan was in line for bronze in the finals. And the relay team brought home the first Japanese track medal in 80 years! Well done, lads. (This was in the shadows of Jamaica’s amazing WR relay and some guy named Bolt’s 3rd WR gold medal.)
Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: 100, 2008, 400, asahara, beijing, bolt, cuba, darvish, gold medal, hoshino, iwase, jamaica, Japan, kim kwang-hyun, korea, lee dae-ho, relay, track, USA, usain, wada, world record | 1 Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2008 August 21日 Thursday
From 20 August.
Japan’s Takayuki Matsumiya failed to qualify in his 5000m heat. That in itself is nothing special but take a look at this picture.
Yup, missing left shoe. In the jostling for positions midrace he came in contact with another runner and his left shoe partially came off, so he just took it off entirely and decided to run with one barefoot, that must’ve been odd and probably painful, as he’s no Abebe Bikila, but he completed his heat.
In other Olympic news, Paulie Walnuts of the Sopranos has been located in Beijing, and CCTV only paid about $9m for the broadcast rights for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they should expect to pay more than 10 times as much for the upcoming Olympics with it going into triple ($100m) figures.
In baseball action, Japan and the US faced eachother to determine who will have to play Cuba in the semifinals (the winner of the game gaining that unnecessary honour). US won 4-2 with the new extra innings rule, taking advantage of Hitoki Iwase’s 2nd inning of work. Darvish started the game and pitched 2 innings, followed by Tanaka for 5 innings. Expect this to be the end of 19 year old Tanka’s 2008 Olympic experience (and he probably gained some valuable experience for WBC 2009), and also expect to see Darvish in the semifinal game against rivals Korea, as he looked good striking out 3 Americans on the way to completing 2 perfect innings (and Hoshino will most likely dare not bring Darvish back out against Cuba if they meet in the medal game). This sets up the semifinals nicely with two regional rivalries in Korea v Japan (10:30) and Cuba v USA (18:00) on the 22nd Friday.
Oh yeah, Usain Bolt became a double world record gold medallist in premier sprinting events of 100m and 200m, the latter with the 19.30 time besting another sprinter with a distinctive, and very different upright, form in Michael Johnson who was a 200m and 400m specialist.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: 2008, 200m, 5000m, abebe, athletics, barefoot, beijing, bikila, bolt, broadcast, cctv, darvish, hoshino, iwase, Japan, matumiya, media, rights, tanaka, usain, wbc | Leave a Comment »
Posted by simon c on 2008 August 19日 Tuesday
Congratulations to Osaka-Toin who won this summer’s 90th Summer Koshien tournament in a more than dominating 17-0 crushing of Tokoha-Kikugawa of Shizuoka.
Kikugawa started their injured ace Togari in a show of support even though he was barely throwing 120km/h (75mph) batting practice softies. It was painful to watch, but on this day, it didn’t matter who was pitching for Kikugawa, look at these ugly lines by each pitcher. Oh, and Toin’s Hagiwara hit homeruns in three straight games including this final, that’s a Koshien first or something as well.
And Kikugawa’s powerful bats were shutout completely by Toin’s ace Fukushima who had pitched the majority of innings in all 6 games it took to win the championship, capping it off with an unnecessary shutout in the final even though he had pitched a complete game the previous day in the semifinal. Hope his arm doesn’t fall off.
And in Olympic baseball action Japan barely defeated Canada 1-0 on the back of Inaba homerun and more than solid pitching by Naruse (7IP 2H 0BB 10K 0R), as the lefty was pitted against the Canadian lineup featuring 8(!) lefties, and Hoshino’s plan worked perfectly as Fujikawa and Uehara shut the door in the last 2 innings with 1-2-3 innings. This is Canada’s 4th straight 1 run loss, and that’s gotta be heartbreaking, but the team has no plate discipline and seems to have serious problems laying off balls (very low number of walks and lots of strikeouts). While Japan’s problems have been the lack of clutch hitting which may or may not just be bad luck. Japan had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs late in the Korea game and came away with 0 runs, and the same lack of clutchness was on display against Canada late in the game again with a runner on 3rd and no outs.
Korea’s had similarly difficult time scoring runs, and Cuba hasn’t been scoring boatloads either (except in the mercy rule win against the Dutch today), so this is a generally low scoring tournament so I guess the Japanese offense is not really an exception, maybe the Olympic baseball stadium is a pitcher’s park? USA and Japan look pretty set to grab the last 2 playoff positions, though Japan can’t cruise through tomorrow’s China game, as the upstarts have taken both the Taiwanese and Koreans to extra innings, beating the former. Taiwan lost a heartbreaker today against Korea as the team came back from an 8 run deficit to tie the game only to have Korea score the winning run in the 7th and shut them out for the rest of the game. Taiwan, and to a lesser degree Canada, being 1-4 at this point in the tournament is probably the biggest shocker, and fittingly these two teams face eachother on the final day of round robin play.
Looking back at how the pitchers have been used, it doesn’t seem like Japan has a rotation set up. Maybe this is intentional, or maybe emergency measures because the team looked close to falling out of contention. Anyways, here were the starting pitchers so far.
8.13 Darvish v Cuba (L)
8.14 Wakui v Taiwan
8.15 Sugiuchi v Netherlands
8.16 Wada v Korea (L)
8.18 Naruse v Canada
8.19 ??? v China
8.20 ??? v USA
8.22 Darvish(?) in Semifinal
8.23 ??? in Medal game
It seems impossible to predict the starting pitchers now, but a TV analyst (hope he had insider info) was saying Darvish in the Semifinal. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll see Darvish on a throw day tomorrow if Japan builds a big enough lead against China (IF that happens, Chinese managed to shut down both Taiwan and Korea, and the Japanese offense is equally anemic), I’m sure Hoshino will want him to face some live batters before the semis.
Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: canada, cuba, darvish, fujikawa, hagiwara, Japan, korea, koshien, osaka, shizuoka, toin, tokoha, uehara | Leave a Comment »