Watching Baseball, April 18

» 19 April 2011 » In npb »

Last night, thanks to some channel surfing I was able to catch bits and pieces of three NPB games, and I’m catching up on Yu Darvish’s start against Orix as I write this. Here are a few things I noticed.

Seibu vs Lotte

  • Crowds were sparse at all the games I watched. Yokohama appeared to draw the best audience for their game against Hiroshima.
  • Takashi Ogino is a threat to steal every time he reaches first with second base open. I’d like to see him dig in and go after third as well.
  • Hideaki Wakui’s fastball velocity was in the 142 kmph range, which is a little bit sub-optimal for him. Lotte seemed to get better looks at him after the first time through the lineup.
  • Yoshihisa Naruse, on the other hand, was pretty much vintage in shutting out the Lions. He only K’d six, but he made few mistake pitches and induced a large quantity of pop up outs.
  • The defensive play of the game was rookie Shogo Akiyama’s jumping catch at the wall, on Saburo’s long fly ball to right field. I had always perceived Saburo as being vulnerable to hard pitches away, but the pitch he hit was a fastball over the outside corner, and he drove it the other way. Maybe Saburo has refined his approach, or maybe Wakui’s velocity wasn’t enough to make that pitch effective.
  • Akiyama’s bat is still way behind his glove. He struck out in his only two at-bats, the first time on three pitches.
  • Tadahito Iguchi has really filled out. He and Tae Kyun Kim have got to be the portliest right side of any infield in Japan.
  • Seibu infielder Hideto Asamura again looked extremely confident at the plate. He wound up going 1-3 with a double.

Chunichi vs Yakult

  • Yahoo had identified Kazuki Yoshimi as Chunichi’s starter, but it was actually Kenichi Nakata that took the hill.
  • Joel Guzman looked absolutely terrible against Masanori Ishikawa, and finished 0-4 with three strikeouts. NPB pitchers, take note –  Guzman should not see anything other than breaking balls out of the zone until he proves he can lay off them.
  • Kazuhiro Hatakeyama has stepped in to Yakult’s lineup with Josh Whitesell temporarily sidelined. He’s responded by going 5-8 with three home runs in the two games he started.
  • Despite his offspeed woes, Wladimir Balentien made contact with a couple of breaking pitches yesterday. Yes, they were groundouts, but there may be hope for him.
  • As noted by Jason Coskrey, it got darker at Jingu Stadium as the game progressed. Jason tweeted that NPB would consider using stadium lights for safety purposes during the night game ban.


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  1. Patrick
    Billy D
    21/04/2011 at 3:29 pm Permalink

    To be honest, I’m never a fan of Tadahito Iguchi coming to Chiba. I loved him when he was in Chicago, but, seriously, when you need the club president to promise him a position after he retires (as a coach or something, they said), that’s too much. And I still have some false pride: A washed-up player who couldn’t even hit 8th on any lineup (albeit the strong Phillies back then) bats third and cleanup on the a top on-base team in Nippon Professional Baseball?? The result was good, but I couldn’t take that idea.

    Tae Kyun Kim was a PR and marketing need, and he had the career record to be a good defensive first baseman back in Korea, so well…

  2. Patrick
    21/04/2011 at 10:39 pm Permalink

    I’m watching the replay of this game right now, and I have to agree. Guzman is not only brutal at the plate, but also in the field. I remember reading more then one opinion piece stating that he was expected to be a better player then Blanco. I would have to say not so much to that.

  3. Patrick
    21/04/2011 at 10:40 pm Permalink

    To clarify, obviously the Yakult-Chunichi game.