Tag Archive > Chiba Lotte Marines

NPB Bullet Points (2008/08/11)

» 11 August 2008 » In npb » 3 Comments

Going light on English today, for no particular reason:

Lots of Japanese-language links to share today:

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Down the Stretch – The Pacific League

» 07 August 2008 » In npb » 2 Comments

For the first time since the current 3-team playoff system was introduced, all six Pacific League teams have a reasonable shot at qualifying for the post-season. Here are the current standings:

GAMES WINS LOSSES TIES WIN % GB
1 Seibu 98 55 42 1 0.567 -
2 Nippon Ham 101 52 47 2 0.525 4
3 Softbank 101 52 49 0 0.515 5
4 Lotte 102 49 53 0 0.48 9
5 Orix 101 48 52 1 0.48 9
6 Rakuten 99 43 54 2 0.443 13

The six teams’ performance has actually been a little closer than their won-loss records might indicate. Let’s take a look at the Pacific League Pythagorean standings:

RUNS SCORED RUNS ALLOWED RUN DIFF EXP WIN % EXP WINS EXP LOSSES
1 Seibu 499 419 80 0.586 57 41
2 Nippon Ham 365 377 -12 0.484 49 52
3 Softbank 423 429 -6 0.493 50 51
4 Lotte 471 485 -14 0.485 49 53
5 Orix 430 427 3 0.504 51 50
6 Rakuten 415 404 11 0.513 51 48
*Apologies for the somewhat crappy quality of the formatting on these charts — I made them in Excel and didn’t test on a wide variety of browsers.

I was surprised to see that Orix has a positive run differential, but aside from that this is about what I expected. Only Seibu has really separated themselves from the pack, mostly due to a powerful offense. The teams are mostly even with each other; home/road splits and interleague performance might explain the differences in won/lost records.

Now for some thoughts on how things will play out for the rest of the season…

Seibu
The Lions would have to really slump to miss the playoffs, but if someone else is going to take a run at them, now would be the time. Ace Hideaki Wakui, slugger GG Sato, and PL batting avg Hiroyuki Nakajima are all representing Japan in the Olympics and will miss most of August. I think they’re a lock at this point.

Nippon Ham
The Fighters get it done with pitching and defense, outplaying their expected won-lost record by 3 games. The absence of Yu Darvish for the Olympics will be felt in Sapporo, as will that of leading batter Atsunori Inaba. Still I think they’re in good shape for a playoff berth.

Softbank
Masayoshi Son’s team wasn’t able to acquire the big bat they were looking for, and now they’re faced with losing twin lefty aces Toshiya Sugiuchi and Tsuyoshi Wada to Olympics, as well as table-setter Munenori Kawasaki. They’ll have to rely on rehabbing Nagisa Arakaki and their foreign starters throughout August to stay competitive.

Lotte
After a slow start, Lotte has played back into contention. Lotte is losing three key guys to the Olympics — lefty starter Yoshihisa Naruse, infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and catcher Tomoya Satozaki, but has Julio Zuleta and Shingo Ono returning from the injured list. Those guys don’t quite balance out the stars that will be gone, but Bobby Valentine is confident. I’d love to see these guys make it the playoffs; Bobby has done a ton for Japanese baseball, they have great fans and a good group of guys.

Orix
New manager Daijiro Ohishi seems to have energized the Buffaloes back to competitiveness, along with the resurgence of veteran import sluggers Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera. The presence of Kazuhiro Kiyohara could serve as motivational factor as well. Orix isn’t sending anyone to the Olympics, so now is their time to strike. I’d love to see these guys make the playoffs; Ohishi turning the team around mid-season is a great story and I’d like to Tuffy in the playoffs again.

Rakuten
The Golden Eagles are sitting in last place despite their +11 run differential, which is 2nd best in the league. They’d have to go on a tear to come back from 11 games under .500, but it’s possible. Young righthander Masahiro Tanaka is Rakuten’s only Olympic representative. I’d love to see these guys make the playoffs; manager Nomura has done a great job making the team competitive and they have some great pitchers that would really be tough in a short series.

So the Olympics will loom large in the already tight Pacific League playoff race. Should be a great pennant race!

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Yu Darvish Highlights

» 24 July 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

You won’t catch me doing this very often, but I thought I’d post some YouTube highlights of Yu Darvish’s last two games. I get the feeling that there are a lot of people who have read about him, but only a smaller percentage of those have actually seen him pitch. Here’s an opportunity to see some recent action. I’ve also included links to English-language box scores from JapaneseBaseball.com.

July 24: Chiba Lotte Marines 5, Nippon Ham Fighters 2 (box score)

Darvish goes 8 innings, but gives up 5 runs on 11 hits and 5 walks while taking the loss. The big blow was a 4th inning grand slam off the bat of DH Tasuku Hashimoto. Give Hashimoto credit; Darvish made a good pitch and he turned on it.

Lotte rookie Yuta Ohmine picked up his first career win in the game, striking out 6 over 6 innings of work.

Here’s a link to the content on YouTube.

July 17: Nippon Ham Fighters 3, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1 (box score)

Vintage Darvish; a 4-hit complete game on 89 pitches. 10 strikeouts, no walks. This video has some good highlights of Darvish’s variety of stuff.

Here’s a link to the content on YouTube.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/07/24)

» 24 July 2008 » In npb » Comments Off

Headlines from the Japanese side of the web tonight:

  • I caught a blurb on Softbank negotiating with a foreign power hitter in Sports Hochi. Says team COO Takeuchi, “when we reach the final stages we’ll make an announcement. Currently we’re negotiating”. This report is a little old and doesn’t hint at who it might be. Maybe negotiations didn’t go anywhere.
  • Yu Darvish threw 165 pitches in Nippon Ham’s July 23 loss to Lotte. Darvish hung around until the 8th inning, allowing 5 earned runs on 11 hits and 5 walks while striking out 10. Sanspo quotes Nippon Ham manager Nashida: “I thought we’d go until 140. He himself said that’d go. His love for the team is intense. I thought he’s dependable”. Ham pitching coach Masato Yoshii commented that Darvish didn’t have his good stuff.
  • Chris Resop hit 98 MPH on the gun in a practice with Hanshin. The coaches seem impressed. Tomoyuki Kubota holds the Hanshin record for fastest pitch in a game at 157 KM/H (98.125 MPH).
  • Hiroshima made two minor trades recently that totally slipped by me. They picked up Rui Makino from Rakuten for Kenta Satake, and Akira Tanaka from Orix for Koji Yamazaki. There seem to be more trades happening in NPB recently.

As an addendum, I also posted some highlights from the Darvish game I mentioned.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/07/23)

» 23 July 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

Just a small collection of links today, all in English.

In other news, I changed the layout of the site this evening. Let me know if you have any feedback on it.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/07/19)

» 19 July 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

Links in English:

  • Simon at jhockey breaks down Japan’s Olympic team selections. Biggest surprise? Koji Uehara made the cut despite a 6.00+ ERA.
  • Deanna at Marinerds, etc, went to another Nippon Ham Fighters farm team game. More good pics.
  • It seems like at least a small portion of my traffic comes from people looking for current stats of NPB players. I get my NPB stats in Japanese, so I didn’t realize until recently that JapaneseBaseball.com has a leaderboard here. Career stat are available here. In the career section, current season stats are available to registered users for foreign players such as Michael Restovich.
  • Anyone remember Yukinaga Maeda? I found his triple-a stats while looking for info on Kazuo Fukumori. I didn’t even realize he had signed with an MLB organization. He’s doing a bit better than I would have expected; that 4.29 ERA is high for a reliever but the 41/5 K/BB ratio in 35.2 IP is pretty good. Maybe we’ll see him in MLB this year.

Links in Japanese:

  • Orix introduced new import hurler John Koronka. He’ll make his Japan debut pitching 3 innings in a farm game on July 20, then hit the top team around the All-Star break.
  • Seibu pounded Lotte 17-10. Lotte starter Naruse surrendered nine runs in 6 2/3 innings in what might be the worst outing of his career.
  • Former MLB’er Kazuhito Tadano gave up five runs in Nippon Ham’s loss to Orix. According to Ham pitching coach Masato Yoshii, Tadano’s undoing was a balk.
  • Marine.tv is up to date with highlights as of yesterday’s game.
  • This Softbank Hawks fan blog has some good pics of Hitoshi Tamura.

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