90 Minutes of Baseball on Opening Day

» 12 April 2011 » In npb »

The NPB season is finally upon us. On Monday evening (Pacific Time) I found about 90 minutes to spend watching two games, and talking baseball on Twitter. Here are my notes from what I saw of the games.

Chunichi vs Yokohama

  • The ‘Stars drew a pretty nice crowd.
  • Chunichi starter Maximo Nelson looked a little rough around the edges early on.
  • Yokohama starter Shogo Yamamoto can get a bunt down.
  • Forkballs and low fastballs still to work against Brett Harper.
  • Hirokazu Ibata has cool glasses.
  • Yamamoto left a mistake out over the plate for Joel Guzman, who tagged it for the first NPB home run of 2011. Yokohama manager Takao Obana wisely brought in righty Shintaro Ejiri before Guzman’s next at bat, and he made quick work of both Guzman and Tony Blanco.
  • Right after Guzman’s home run, yet another earthquake struck, shaking the lighting towers at Yokohama Stadium.

Yokohama eventually won 5-4, on a Yuta Naito walk-off hit off Takuya Asao.

Rakuten vs Lotte

  • There were quite a few fans holding signs encouraging the Tohoku region at QVC Marine Field. Lotte has great fans.
  • I thought the “Ganbarou Tohoku” patch on the Rakuten uniforms was a little small. Lotte wore black stripes on their shoulders.
  • Lotte starter Yoshihisa Naruse was locked in early on, and had six or seven strikeouts in the first four innings. I thought he was getting some low strikes called in his favor.
  • Takashi Ogino’s showed of his speed in the fourth inning: after singling, he stole second, and advanced to third on a hard fly out to left field. He then scored on a ground out to third base, though he probably would have been out if Motohiro Shima had been able to hang on to the ball. Ogino looked like he got into Hisashi Iwakuma’s head a little bit, as he seemed distracted when he was on first base.
  • Kim Tae Kyun looks fatter than last year.
  • Iwakuma got himself into a couple of minor jams in the fourth and fifth, but came away unscathed. His fastball velocity wasn’t great though.
  • I wasn’t impressed with Rakuten’s 1B/DH duo: Takeshi Yamasaki started at first, but hisfielding days should rightfully be behind him, and Randy Ruiz looked bad in his first two at bats against Naruse.
  • Just as I was signing off, Shima took Naruse deep for a three-run homer, giving Rakuten a lead they would extend and never relinquish. As great as Naruse is, his control has to be spot on, because he throws so softly that his mistakes can be very costly. Last year he struck out 192, but gave up 29 home runs.

Lotte mounted a comeback against Iwakuma in the ninth, but Justin Speier relieved him and stopped the Marines for his first NPB save. The final score was 6-4.

Other items of note from games I didn’t watch:

  • Matt Murton hit a home run in his first at bat of the season
  • Yu Darvish got lit up for seven earned runs in seven innings, in the worst opening day performance of his career.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback URL

  1. Patrick
    Billy D
    13/04/2011 at 4:09 pm Permalink

    Yeah, Matt Murton will walk through history to become the most popular non-Japanese ballplayer in NPB since Randy Bass. Here’s the vid. of Murton’s historical home run:


    Too bad the Cubs needed to cut him for Alfonso Soriano, a Hiroshima Carp farm product, for $18 Million per year times eight. I guess the circuit goes around.

    By the way, before Deanne shouts at you, it’s “Takeshi Yamasaki” with an a. Oh well, not that I think it matters unless you want google to find this page.

  2. Patrick
    13/04/2011 at 5:46 pm Permalink

    Heh, how about before Deanna with an a yells at you 🙂

    But I wasn’t going to. (I rarely correct name typos these days.)

    What I was actually going to say is — how about that SECOND Baystars game of the year?! They lost 8-7, but all 7 RBI for the Baystars were from Terrmel Sledge — on THREE HOME RUNS! I was watching a little bit of it over justin.tv, and at the point I’d turned it on I noticed that Sledge’s line was HR, HR, K. Naoto Watanabe hit a double before him and I thought “Wouldn’t it be funny if Sledge launched another one here?” and sure enough, he did. It sucks when you have a day like that and your team still manages to lose, so you don’t get to be the game hero…

  3. Patrick
    13/04/2011 at 10:10 pm Permalink

    Correct ’em all. I would rather have accurate information than not have it. This site is in Wikipedia amazingly enough.

  4. Patrick
    Michael Westbay
    14/04/2011 at 8:34 am Permalink

    Sledges’ home runs make the loss feel like a win.

    I really like having baseball on after lunch.