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    Posts Tagged ‘wada’

    2008.8.22 Olympic Baseball Semis (and Bolt, of course)

    Posted by japanstats 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.)

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

    Koshien Final and more Olympic Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 17日 Sunday

    Well, my team in Koshien, Okinawa’s Urasoe-Sho, got bombed out 9-4 in the semifinals by hard hitting Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka) based on their 9 run 2nd inning. The team had engineered 10 and 7 run innings to win their previous 2 games as well, showing the Japanese baseball world how big ball can be played and that, yes, you don’t have to always bunt over a runner every time. Kikugawa will face Osaka-Toin (Osaka) who also won comfortably 9-4 over Yokohama (South Kanagawa) in this final-worthy matchup. Toin has looked stronger as the tournament goes on, defeating better opponents with ever more ease. The finals will pit upstart Kikugawa against hometown Toin in what should be a slugfest (but will probably turn into a pitching duel against all expectations, as these things tend to do) at 12:30pm on Monday 18 August.

    Incompetently managed (both on and off the field) Japan also lost to Korea in Olympic baseball action (boxscore). A pretty resounding 5-3 defeat. I don’t even know where to start on this one, but I’ll list some of the shortcomings of Team Japan as managed by Senichi Hoshino (who has never won the Japan Series as manager, and indeed there might be a reason why).

    • Despite the limited 24 man roster (NPB uses an expansive 28 man roster), the team took injury question marks Kawasaki and Murata with them to Beijing. Nishioka’s injury on top of this didn’t help matters, as the team was down to 11 position players at full health for the Korea game (though Murata played).
    • This forced Hoshino’s hand and he started all glove no bat Araki at second and solid hitting catcher Satozaki at DH. These wouldn’t normally be bad decisions except he let Araki hit second even though he is by far the worst hitter on the team (classic old school baseball move). And for some unknown reason he, yet again, let incompetent Abe catch instead of the defensively superior Satozaki catch, and this cost the team a run when Abe’s errant throw to second scored a Korean run.
    • Hoshino also left pitchers in too long in the game, with pretty good relief corps, he should’ve pulled Wada earlier in the inning, and he has admitted to this mistake. And he also left reliever Iwase in for too long even though he is clearly more hittable this year and is not a shutdown reliever like he used to be (or like Fujikawa, who didn’t get to enter the game).

    Good news is that, despite Hoshino’s bumbling management, the team still has a decent chance of making medal rounds due to Canada always coming up just short (tough 1 run losses to Cuba, USA, and Korea), and Taiwan recording their first ever loss to China in pixy dust extra inning rules (China might be onto something though, as they managed to pull Korea into extra innings as well, though this time they lost 1-0). Korea and Cuba are both unbeaten at 4-0, but Cuba looks like the team to beat. Since Japan still has to play Canada, chances of both teams making it into medal rounds is slim to nil, considering that USA now has a relatively easy schedule having already played the 2 undefeated teams.

    Cuba 4-0

    Korea 4-0

    USA 2-2

    Japan 2-2

    Canada 1-3

    China 1-3

    Netherlands 1-3

    Taiwan 1-3

    This Kuricorder Quartet version of the Imperial March might sum up my feelings pretty well at the moment, after waking up with a hangover from an all you can drink birthday party on the day of those defeats.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, high school, information, olympics, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    2008.8.14 Koshien and Olympic Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 14日 Thursday

    Koshien

    Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) is leading the game against Kanto-Daiichi (East Tokyo) 3-1 in the top of the 9th right now. (UPDATE: Iha pitched a complete game in the 3-1 win and looked very strong even at the end of the game, getting strike outs (127 pitches, 9 strikeouts) and even hitting 145 on the radar gun. Kinda worried about his arm though, he’s pitched all 27 innings for Urasoe so far at Koshien. Kanto-Daiichi lost without using their ace Matsumoto, who had pitched 4 days earlier on the 10th in the round of 32, instead they used a couple of younger pitchers who gained some valuable experience for next year and beyond.)

    Follow up to yesterday’s action, the remaining games after Tokoha’s (Shizuoka) dramatic win was powerhouse Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) absolutely destroying Komadai-Iwamizawa (North Hokkaido) 15-3 with Chiben’s slugger Sakaguchi smacking 2 homeruns in the 11 run 8th inning (a Koshien first). The last game yesterday saw Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) win 7-3 over Kagoshima-Jitsugyo (Kagoshima).

    A draw will be held after game 1 today (5th game in the round of 16) to determine the quarterfinal matchups. (UPDATE: Draw has been held, here’s the quarterfinals)

    8.15 Day 14 (tomorrow!)

    11:00 Hotoku-Gakuen (East Hyogo) v Toho – Osaka-Toin winner

    13:30 Urasoe-Sho (Okinawa) v Aomori-Yamada – Keio winner

    8.16 Day 15

    11:00 Chiben-Wakayama (Wakayama) v Tokoha-Kikugawa (Shizuoka)

    13:30 Seiko-Gakuin (Fukushima) v Yokohama – Sendai-Ikuei winner

    Now I’m really worried about Urasoe’s Iha’s arm if he’s going to pitch in the quarters, not sure how good their second pitcher is, as I haven’t seen him (I don’t think hardly anyone has).

    ————

    Olympics

    It looks like Saitama Seibu Lion Hideaki Wakui will start against Taiwan tonight in Beijing. This likely means Japan’s rotation will go something like this (if Hoshino is sane).

    8.13 Darvish v Cuba

    8.14 Wakui v Taiwan

    8.15 Wada v Netherlands

    8.16 Sugiuchi v Korea

    8.17 off

    8.18 Darvish v Canada

    8.19 Wakui v China

    8.20 Wada v USA (hopefully a meaningless game)

    8.21 off

    8.22 Sugiuchi (semifinals)

    8.23 Darvish (medal game)

    Don’t count your chicks before they hatch and all that, but this looks likely (hopefully), as Sugiuchi has been one of the best pitchers in Japan this season, and Kawakami was a disaster in the warmup game against CL selects last week so he’ll likely be used in relief, this rotation would make sense. (Yeah, I know I’m doing a 180 from saying that Kawakami is ace 1A next to Darvish, but this rotation will probably work best for Japan at the moment, and Kawakami could be valuable out of the pen.)

    ————-

    Swimming

    Kosuke Kitajima has just won the 200m breaststroke in Olympic Record time. With his double gold (100 and 200) in consecutive Olympics, the little man has shown that technique matters more than height and size in this discipline. (Kinda like how another short man, Shimizu, won the 500m speed skating in Nagano, surrounded by much taller opponents with longer strides.)

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