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  • Posts Tagged ‘giants’

    Ichiro at bat

    Posted by simon c on 2009 March 2日 Monday

    Whenever Ichiro was at bat, the camera flashes went crazy like fireworks in the stands. This video doesn’t quite do justice as the campact digital camera’s video mode’s not sensitive enough to capture all the flashes. There were at least 2-3x more visible than what is captured here.

    As for the WBC warmup games themselves. Saitama Seibu Lions beat down the Japanese national team 7-2, and the Yomiuri Giants barely lost 1-2 in extra innings on a wild pitch. And both club teams were lacking a few regulars to the national team, and were in full spring training mode by the latter half of the games, with lineups full of bench players and minor leaguers taking the mound. Needless to say, Samurai Japan looked horrible on both days, but hopefully this (and the opening game against China on Thursday) serves as a wakeup call for the team, otherwise they may not even make it out of the 1st round held at home in the Tokyo Dome. Notorious slow starter Ichiro is also having a horrible lead up to the WBC with only 3 hits in 23 at bats (and at least 2 of them were of the infield kind).

    p2281290_s

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

    Kawakami and Uehara in the USA Today List

    Posted by simon c on 2009 February 6日 Friday

    Kenshin Kawakami was ranked #5 and Koji Uehara was ranked #18 in the top 100 names to watch for in the upcoming MLB season, according to USA Today. No new info here, and the writers are probably working just on info off sites like NPBTracker, EWC, and JapaneseBaseball, with doses of scouting input, maybe. Well, since they’re new mid-rotation projected starting pitchers, they should be interesting no matter how they turn out. Uehara’s had a better record considering the park factors between the hitter friendly Tokyo Dome, and more of a pitchers park of the Nagoya Dome, but Uehara’s fragile. I doubt that either pitcher will be able to handle the every 5th day rotation, and will face some injuries/fatigue midseason (a la Matsuzaka in his first year.)

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

    Uehara signs with Orioles

    Posted by simon c on 2009 January 7日 Wednesday

    A 2 year deal with details still to be hammered out. He’ll likely be their No.2 starter since the Orioles only have Gutherie in their vacant rotation.

    Two industry sources have confirmed that the Orioles have agreed in principle on a two-year deal with Japanese right-hander Koji Uehara.

    The deal is pending specific contract language and a physical, which is expected to occur possibly later this week, though an appointment in Baltimore has not been scheduled.

    Uehara gets the starting job that he wanted, and the Orioles get their foot in the door in the Japanese market (though only superstars seem to matter in this regard, don’t see many Rays, Phillies, or Astros apparel around Tokyo.)

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

    WBC warm up games for Asian teams

    Posted by simon c 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.

    tournament

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

    Lions Win Lions Win!!

    Posted by simon c on 2008 November 10日 Monday

    The Saitama Seibu Lions are the 2008 Japanese champions having won a thrilling game 7 against archrival, and the New York Yankees of Japan, Yomiuri Giants 3-2 in the deciding game. The guys at the Tokyo Yakult Swallows blog has what I know as the fastest championship game write up

    The Lions overcame many obstacles, like missing sluggers GG Sato and Craig Brazell (well, the latter was an OBP black hole so I don’t think he was missed much) from September on, and losing the starting catcher with some pop in Toru Hosokawa and having 5 tool shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima injured in game 5 where the team outhit the Giants but were unable to come up with any clutch hits or extrabase hits (except for a late solo shot).

    Some photos and movies from game 5 at the Seibu Dome on Thursday 6 November.

    Cheering for Nakamura in a scoring opportunity:

    “We are the Lions” (the flags give a neat crowd effect when cheering):

    Reliever Chikara Onodera warming up:

    pb060584

    Dude sitting in front of us with a creative “hyaku-ju no oh” (rhymes with 100 10 0) meaning “king among beasts” Lions uni:

    pb060590

    7th inning stretch jet balloons:

    pb060594

    Game 6 swung the other way as the Giants were unable to capitalize on numerous opportunities, and Seibu in a desperate move brought in game 4 starter Takayuki Kishi on 2 days rest in the 4th inning to put out the fire. He went on, incredibly, to finish the game. It was like watching high school baseball with the ace always ready to pitch in any game. Hopefully Kishi’s arm hasn’t received any permanent damage from this, many Japanese pitchers have their careers ruined by overuse, but then again some have genetically freaky rubber arms like erstwhile Lion and current Boston Red Sox Daisuke Matsuzaka. 

    Game 7 was a thriller from start to finish, with declining veteran and long time team ace Fumiya Nishiguchi being handed the ball to start off the game. He was shaky and gave up 2 runs in 2 innings and was substituted for pinch hitter Akira Etoh. Then the Lions pitchers proceeded to shut down the powerful Giants lineup with 2 innings each from starters Kazuhisa Ishii and Hideaki Wakui, an inning from reliever Tomoki Hoshino, then 2 innings from closer Alex Graman, all perfect in relief not allowing a single runner on base.

    On the offensive side, the second pinch hitter in the game Hiram Bocachica hit a homerun to make it a 1-2 game (then he proceeded to swing for the fences on succeeding at bats being easily struck out by high fastballs out of the zone, but that’s here nor there). Then in the 8th Giants reliever Daisuke Ochi became shaky in his 2nd inning of work and hit leadoff hitter Yasuyuki Kataoka (who was delighted to be able to get on base and even clapped his hands after being hit) who promptly stole 2nd on the very next pitch, then Takumi Kuriyama bunted him over to 3rd and Nakajima drove him in with a grounder to short to tie the game. Inexplicably (but luckily for the Lions) Ochi was left in the game to walk cleanup hitters Takeya “Okawari” Nakamura and Taketoshi Goto before allowing the hit by Hiroshi Hirano to drive in the game winning run, and that’s all Seibu needed to seal the deal (though driving in Shogo Akada from 3rd with no outs in the 9th would’ve been a nice insurance).

    Kishi took home the series MVP having won 2 games. His first win was an absolutely impressive complete game shutout in game 4, then he went on to save the day in game 6 on 2 days rest.

    Anyways, congratulations Saitama Seibu Lions, you are the 2008 Japanese chamions!!

    Japan Series banner sign:

    japan_series

    Series MVP Kishi being tossed high into the air by teammates:

    doage_kishi

    More portly manager Hisanobu Watanabe’s doage:

    doage_watanabe

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

    2008 Japan Series Game 7

    Posted by simon c on 2008 November 9日 Sunday

    The 2008 version of the Japan Series went the distance and game 7 will start at 18:15 JST. The Yomiuri Giants have the firepower, but misfired during game 6 where Saitama Seibu Lions pitcher Takayuki Kishi came into the game in the 4th inning on 2 days rest and managed to silence the Giants bats for the rest of the game. The lack of clutch hitting did the Lions in on game 5, so the fortunes had just reversed, karma, I suppose. The Lions are, unfortunately, rather short on arms and the all important game 7 starter is expected to be either struggling veteran Fumiya Nishiguchi (5.03ERA during regular season) or Kazuhisa Ishii who got lit up earlier in game 2. Expect to see those two pitchers and also game 1 and 5 starter Hideaki Wakui used in the game as well, the bullpen will be used only after that, the Lions Manager Watanabe just doesn’t seem to trust his relievers at this point at all (being a former star starting pitcher may have something to do with it). For those of you outside of Japan, you should be able to watch a live streaming of the game from here:

    http://www.myp2p.eu/broadcast.php?matchid=22301∂=sports

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

    Oops and Ichiro’s 3000th

    Posted by simon c on 2008 August 1日 Friday

    I had planned on doing a Pythagorean review of the season so far along with the Power Rankings for NPB during its current 4 day All Star break, but urgent work and real life has gotten in the way. The first week of August promises to be a hectic week for Japanese baseball as the Koshien high school baseball tournament kicks off (March Madness of high school baseball, basically) on 2 Aug, the second half (or rather the latter third) of the NPB season resumes play on 3 Aug, and the Olympic team being assembled for workouts on 2 Aug with warmup games starting on 5 Aug against the Giants farm team, then against PL selects and CL selects on 8-9 Aug. The chances of me being able to keep up with this mayhem is rather slim from the current outlook, which is unfortunate.

    Meanwhile, Robert Whiting and other baseball figures weigh in on Ichiro’s 3001 career hits, a combined figure between his NPB (1278 in 9, not completely whole, seasons) and MLB (1723 and counting in his 8th season) hit totals. If NPB players NPB stats are to be counted towards Cooperstown, then they should not qualify for rookie of the year honours. It’s as simple as that, you can’t have your cake and eat it too (stupid saying, but y’know). But then again, there may be a gray zone when it comes to considering NPB stats for Japanese MLB players considerations for the Hall, perhaps a weighing the NPB numbers would be a more reasonable middle ground instead of either extreme. Either way, if Ichiro hits 3000 in the majors, and his career totals approach 5000, then he should be a lock for the Hall, like Whiting mentions.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, high school, information, MLB, NPB, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    NPB Power Rankings 08.6.26

    Posted by simon c on 2008 June 26日 Thursday

    Interleague games officially ended on Monday but the title was clinched by the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Sunday, even though they tied with the Hanshin Tigers with 15-9 records. The silly tiebreaker rule doesn’t take head to head record into account, if that were the case the Tigers would’ve won the (still) rather meaningless Interleague crown because they took 3 of 4 from the Hawks (also won 3 against the PL leading Saitama Seibu Lions). Anyways, after a few days off (scheduled as reserve dates for rainouts), regular intraleague play resumes tomorrow with a full slate of 6 games.

    Anyways, here are how things shook out following the conclusion of the Interleague period.

    1. Hanshin Tigers(1) 43-22-1 .662

    Tied for best record in Interleague without having the advantage of playing against the sorry Yokohama BayStars, and beat up on the PL leading Lions and Interleague Champs Hawks. Most balanced team in the league with an on base juggernaut offense (top 3 CL OBP leaders, and only hitters to have OBP over .400 in CL are Kanemoto, Akahoshi, and Arai, and Toritani checks in at 8th with .362) So the Tigers lead the league in runs scored (273) despite homering the least (35), and their shutdown bullpen helps prevent runs big time and they lead the league in this category too (218). The complete package.

    2. Chunichi Dragons(3) 36-28-3 .563

    Regains the penultimate position in this ranking largely thanks to the Lions tailspin at the end of Interleague, as the Dragons only had a .500 record against PL teams, but managed to take 3 of 4 against Seibu.

    3. Saitama Seibu Lions(2) 39-30-1 .565

    Ended Interleague campaign on a horrible note, losing 6 straight and 9 of the last 12. Even losing both games to the lowly BayStars. This is still a strong team and PL race has just gotten really interesting with the slumping Lions and soaring Hawks as the top 4 teams are now bunched together within 4 games of eachother. Lions are probably thankful that what turned out to be a dreaded Interleague season is finally over.

    4. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters(5) 39-32-1 .549

    Was in the hunt for the Interleague title going into the final weekend, the team continues to win close games as the Fighters have only outscored their opponents by 4 runs for the season.

    5. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles(4) 35-34 .507

    A team with very good fundamentals (310 – 256, RS – RA) sits in 4th place in the PL standings but definitely has the capability to be in a playoff position and should be there sooner rather than later. Had first ever winning Interleague season in its history with 13-11 record.

    6. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks(6) 38-34 .528

    Interleague champions nudged their way up to claim the 3rd and final playoff position in the PL. The team seems to have woken up, it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep this up in their own league.

    7. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants(8 ) 34-33-1 .507

    Solid Interleague campaign of 14-10 has the team back in black. Good pitchers Takahashi and Uehara are returned to the big club after rehabbing from injury. The former should go into the rotation and the latter in the bullpen where he was a successful closer last season. Beneficiary of the new Free Agency rules agreed upon between NPB and the Senshukai (Players’ Association) reducing the number of years of service until domestic FA to 8, a quirk in the rule allows FA eligible imports to not count as imports, meaning that slugger Alex Ramirez will not count against the import quota starting next season.

    8. Hiroshima Toyo Carp(7) 30-32-2 .484

    A decent 13-11 record in Interleague. The dog days of summer may be very helpful to the Carp this year as all of NPB’s best will be at Beijing while the Carp will likely not lose anyone to the Olympics. They’ll just have to hang on until then, as a 3rd place finish and a seat in the playoffs is needed for Marty Brown to extend his contract as the manager of this feisty club that lost its cleanup hitter (Arai) and ace (Kuroda) to FA after last season. (Though Colby Lewis is doing a fine job filling in for Kuroda with 10-5, 2.28 ERA on a mediocre team playing in a hitters park.)

    9. Tokyo Yakult Swallows(9) 30-34 .469

    Norichika Aoki is back and has been his awesome self with a slash line of .331/.391/.506. NPB hitters may be getting wise to the ways of the Lim though, as the closer has given up 5 runs (4 earned) over his last 5 appearances. Aaron Guiel’s rehab seems to be going well, as he’s played 2 games in the minors recently (going 0-3 with a walk), hopefully he’ll be fully recovered soon and back with the big club. An Aoki – Hatakeyama – Guiel cleanup could be pretty awesome.

    10. Chiba Lotte Marines(10) 31-41 .431

    10. Orix Buffaloes(11) 31-40 .437

    Both teams had uninspiring Interleague season (10-14 and 11-13). Still no end in sight to their woes, but neither of them are even close to the patheticness of…

    12. Yokohama BayStars(12) 19-45-1 .297

    Only team to win less than 10 games (.417) in Interleague, the sad BayStars went 6-18 (.250), their saving grace was the sweep of the slumping Lions at the end of Interleague. U-G-L-Y.

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

    Koji Uehara at NPB Tracker

    Posted by simon c on 2008 June 24日 Tuesday

    NPB Tracker has a good run down on the 33 year old Yomiuri Giants right handed pitcher Koji Uehara who announced in early April that he was going to the major leagues next season. This was a highly unusual move from Japanese players who are taught not to rock the boat, but not totally unexpected from this vocal character who had repeatedly declared his MLB ambitions while getting his posting requests denied by the team in the past. His career numbers from 1999-2007 are 106-57, 2.96 ERA, 1459.1 IP, 1304 K, 190 BB, and 172 HR.

    He started off this season with an injury, which explains his record of 0-4, 6.75 ERA in 5 games started and 29.1 IP. He’s still rehabbing and hasn’t made an appearance in the minors yet, so his return is still a ways off (Edit: Uehara is back with the big club as of today without making a rehab appearance in a minor league game), and when he returns he’ll go to the Giants bullpen to setup for closer Marc Kroon if things go according to plan. He’s not getting any younger, but being an extreme control pitcher (never having walked more than 28 batters in a season, even though he’s pitched 200+ innings twice in his career and 160+ innings six times) in the mould of Greg Maddux, he could age well and can be a fine pick up for an MLB team as a #3 starter or so.

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

    2008.6.16 NPB Update

    Posted by simon c on 2008 June 17日 Tuesday

    Yeah, I know this is a couple of days late, but these numbers are only missing the Eagles-Giants game yesterday.

    Let’s look at the Central League first:

    Hanshin remain strong, both in the real life standings and in Pythagorean win expectations based on runs scored and runs against. But I’m starting to think that maybe the Tigers record is inflated due to the unusually weak CL this year. With interleague play almost finished CL teams have gone 53-67 against their PL counterparts so far, but then again maybe this is mostly the fault of the pathetic Yokohama BayStars who are 3-17 in interleague and sport a 16-44-1 (.267) record overall. The utter incompetence of the BayStars are probably helping other CL teams look more respectable, and tipping the balance in favour of the PL. With the slumping and injured Giants, the race for 3rd and last playoff spot in the CL is a three horse race between Yomiuri, Carp, and Swallows. (The Swallows getting it done on defence is a bit of a surprise as that’s not typically talked about.) The Dragons are doing about as well as expected, no better no less, but they are much stronger now with Kawakami back in full force.

     

    Now onto the Pacific League: 

    The Lions continue their dominance, but the reliance on the long ball didn’t work against the Tigers as the king of the jungle lost 3 out of 4, getting outplayed by a much better balanced Les Tigres team full of on base monsters (Arai, Akahoshi, and Kanemoto lead the CL, with all three OBPing over .400 and Toritani is no slouch either at .370) and killer relievers in JFK+Watanabe which makes their games 5-6 inning games. So, the Lions fortunes come October may not be so bright as they play Yankee style big ball susceptible to opposition pitching in the playoffs which usually only consist of aces.

    I’m beginning to think that the ultra-low scoring Fighters getting it done almost entirely on pitching, defence, and the cavernous Sapporo Dome last year was not a fluke, as they continue to outperform their Pythag expectations (with the staggering .718 Defensive Efficiency, far and away the best in the PL and NPB), winning one close game after another (they’re like the winning version of the Padres in this regard). 

    The Eagles are for real, they’re getting it done both with hitting, pitching, and defence (they, in fact, have the highest Pythag win% in NPB!), I expect them to pull ahead of the Hawks to secure themselves a playoff position and battle the Fighters for 2nd place.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, NPB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

     
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