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    Seibu Lions Classic

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 June 29日 Monday

    This season’s Lions Classic games have begun with Seibu wearing its home uniforms from the dynasty era. (Koji Akiyama #1 and Hisanobu Watanabe #41 flanking Kazuhiro Kiyohara #3.)


    Well, the uniform design was used until quite recently as it can be seen here with a young Daisuke Matsuzaka wearing it.


    However, the Lions were unable to replicate their success of the awesome uniforms as the team has lost its first two games wearing it against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks managed by former Lions star Koji Akiyama. Incidentally, another former 80’s Lions star, Hisanobu Watanabe, is currently managing the Lions, so the ceremonial first pitch for Sunday’s game was old teammates Watanabe facing off against Akiyama, and Koji fouled the pitch off to the third base side.


    Saitama Seibu Lions looking great (except for the lack of stirrups and addition of the Nike logo) in losing the first two games wearing these classic uniforms 3-10 and 5-7.


    You can see the ceremonial first pitch here, Akiyama’s front foot slips but he still makes contact with NabeQ’s pitch.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 3日 Sunday




    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Darvish, Matsuzaka, and Iwakuma

    Posted by japanstats 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: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    WBC warm up games for Asian teams

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 December 18日 Thursday


    2/24(Tu) 19:00 Japan vs Australia Kyocera Dome Osaka Goes on sale 

    17 Jan 10am~

    2/25(We) 18:00 Japan vs Australia
    2/28(Sa) 12:00 China vs Yomiuri Giants Tokyo Dome
    19:00 Japan vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    3/1(Su) 12:00 China vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    19:00 Japan vs Yomiuri Giants
    3/2(Mo) 12:00 Korea vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    19:00 Taiwan vs Yomiuri Giants
    3/3(Tu) 12:00 Taiwan vs Saitama Seibu Lions
    19:00 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Koshien and Japanese High School Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 28日 Monday

    Some random notes:

    • This year’s Summer Koshien tournament (basic information like this can be found around the net, so I’ll try to provide additional info) will begin on 2 August (Japanese). This is earlier than usual because of the Beijing Olympics, with the latter 10 days of the tournament still overlaps with the Olympics. All the prefectural qualifying tournaments concluded yesterday on 27 July, giving players at least 5 days rest, minimum, between their prefectural finals and their first Koshien game.
    • There are 55 teams participating in this year’s 90th anniversary tournament. In a normal year, there would be 49 participating teams. 1 each from each prefecture, and 2 each from Tokyo (east and west) and Hokkaido (north and south). They have the largest number of schools out of all the prefectures at well over 200, the former because of its sheer population, and the latter because of its vastness.
    • This year, the additional spots in the tournament has been given to Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka, and Hyogo prefectures. As these prefectures rank between 2nd and 8th in prefectural population, they have accordingly large number of schools participating in the qualifiers which makes them usually very tough prefectures to qualify for Koshien from.
    • This year, most qualifying tournaments have about 100 schools or less participating in them. There are many smaller prefectures with around 30-40 schools in their qualifiers, with Tottori’s 25 being the least. While in normal years, the populous prefectures that have 2 teams each this year have about 150-200 teams in their qualifiers, making them very difficult tournaments to win. The prefectural tournament with the largest number of teams in it is East Tokyo with 144 teams (West has 119, meanwhile North and South Hokkaido have 119 and 128 schools). So, this year’s tournament probably has the fairest qualification and representation considering the size of each prefecture.
    • Because of the difficulty of reaching Koshien from prefectures such as Osaka (185 schools), many kids move from populous prefectures to less populous ones to attend powerhouse baseball schools to increase their odds of making it to Koshien. Middle school players are scouted in senior/boys leagues and agents hook them up with baseball schools. Some schools are notorious for doing anything to attract talent, there’s a saying “show up just with your toothbrush and underwear, we’ll take care of everything else for you” for the top talents. Meanwhile marginal schools and players’ parents often get duped into paying fees to these agents/scouts even if the kids and schools chances of reaching Koshien hasn’t really improved. This topic deserves a separate post, and I’m reading a book on it right now, so it’ll be on the todo list (if I ever get around to it 😛 ).
    • So, a total of over 4000 teams from across the country take part in their respective prefectural qualifier tournaments. Some schools have trouble fielding 9 players necessary for a team, so they pull students from other sports teams just to participate in their qualifier, true Olympic spirit at work here. But this can produce some really ugly results with massively lopsided games with the weak team being shutout by another team by dozens of runs. The worst blowout in Koshien qualifier history is 122-0 in the 1998 Aomori prefecture tournament (Japanese). This was caused partly because the losing team didn’t concede after 5 innings like they can as part of tournament rules, instead they completed 7 innings to have the mercy rule automatically kick in. It was some sort of character building thing, apparently, though I only see it as needlessly running up the score and hurting the pitchers arm (39 runs were scored in the 1st inning alone!) The team that scored almost gross runs? Well, they lost by the mery rule themselves a little later in the tournament, and this is in Aomori, a prefecture that has never produced a Koshien champion, so you can see the vast chasm in playing ability from top to bottom of high school ball.
    • Due to the large number of games played (often 4 per day in the early rounds of qualifiers and Koshien itself), umpires are notorious for calling letter high and very wide strikes to speed up the game. I’ve also seen strikes being called on quarter-swings, not even close to a checked half-swing. This is less obvious but close calls at the bases seem to get called outs more often than not as well.
    • Until the finals of qualifiers and later rounds of Koshien, the crowd usually mostly consists of each schools’ cheering squads, complete with a brass band, teammates who couldn’t make it onto the bench, sometimes cheerleaders, fellow students, and alumni. The fight songs are much more old school than NPB, though I’ve heard some modern NPB style cheer songs used by some schools.
    • Game balls are used longer (new balls are brought out much more rarely than in the pros), and looks like they’re reused as staff collect foul balls (NPB used to do this until a few years ago as well though).
    • Players numbers are their positions, usually. 1 being the starting pitcher, 2 the catcher, 3 being the first baseman, etc.
    • Though this is anecdotal, even compared to 10 years ago when Daisuke Matsuzaka had his legendary (and his rubber arm proving) performance, teams these days seem to carry more starters and some even have specialist relievers, as the value of a fresh arm and not blowing out prospects arms seems to be slowly gaining foothold in the old boys world of high school baseball:
      • In the quarterfinal of that year’s Summer Koshien, Matsuzaka threw 250 pitches in 17 innings in a win over powerhouse PL Gakuen.[3] (The previous day he had thrown a 148-pitch complete game shutout.) The next day though trailing 6-0 in the top of the eighth inning, the team miraculously won the game by scoring 7 runs in the last two innings (four in the eighth and three in the ninth). In that game he started in left field, but came in as a reliever in the ninth inning to record the win in 15 pitches. In the final, he threw a no-hitter[4], the second ever in a final. This performance garnered him the attention of many scouts.
    • As the tournaments progress, quarters, semis, and finals tend to be held on consecutive games, which makes having multiple competent starters necessary, even if you have a Dice-K on your team. Because all games from the quarterfinals on in both Tokyo tournaments are held at Jingu Stadium, the East and West tournaments alternate using the stadium, giving extra days rest for the players, which is especially a good thing for the usually overworked pitchers. I thought this may have been a trend, but it seems to be a unique thing for Tokyo, for now.
    • Relievers often start warming up from the 1st inning, but this is no different from other levels of baseball in Japan.
    • The best athlete on the team used to be the pitcher, so having the pitcher hitting cleanup was not unusual until some years ago, but I haven’t looked this up so this is just anecdotal. These days, pitchers often hit in the bottom third of the lineup, as they’re more specialized.
    • After each game, the winning school’s anthem is played. Yes, every Japanese school from elementary to university have their own school anthem.
    • Some players share the same aluminium bat, I’m not sure why. But I saw players passing their bats to the next hitter, or the one after. And this wasn’t uncommon. Superior bat or lucky bat?

    That’s it for now, hopefully someone finds this information interesting or useful.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, high school, information, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »


    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 14日 Monday



    カブレラ: 69奪三振 51与四球 1.37WHIP
    松坂:  70奪三振 52与四球 1.37WHIP


    カブレラ: 6勝4敗 防御率4.40 投球回124.2
    松坂:  9勝1敗 防御率2.84 投球回82.1




    • 運と打線援護がどれだけ二人の勝ち負けと防御率に影響しているのかが伺えます。
    • チームメイトの守備力を省いた、防御率に見立てた数字のFIP では、松坂が4.10 でカブレラが4.95。現状の勝敗数、そして防御率の差ほど実力の差が無い事が見えます。
    • ちなみにカブレラは年々奪三振率が低下していて、これは心配事(与四球率も低下しているので、これは良い事だが)。逆に今年の松坂は与四球がとても多い、このパターンが続くと自爆炎上の連続も遠く無いですね。興味深い一戦です。

    Posted in 01_日本語, baseball, information, MLB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    D. Cabrera v Dice-K

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 14日 Monday

    Daniel Cabrera (BAL) faces off against Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS) today in the last game before the All Star break, some interesting comparisons of their numbers to date this season.

    Oh, look at their idential numbers:

    D.Cabrera 69K 51BB 1.37WHIP
    Dice-K 70K 52BB 1.37WHIP

    And their disparate numbers:

    D.Cabrera 6-4 4.40ERA 124.2IP
    Dice-K 9-1 2.84ERA 82.1IP

    Funny aren’t they?

    There are some interesting comparisons here:

    • Identical K, BB, and WHIP numbers despite Cabrera pitching 50% more innings than Dice-K.
    • Obviously luck and run support is playing a huge part in Matsuzaka’s 9-1 record.
    • Dice-K’s FIP is 4.10 and Cabrera’s is 4.95, so there’s definitely a gap their in their true performance, but it’s nowhere as wide as their W-L records and ERA indicate (thanks to diverging luck and run support their experiencing and receiving so far this season).

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »