Tag Archive > Orix Buffaloes

NPB Bullet Points: A Few Articles I Read

» 09 May 2014 » In npb » Comments Off

Every article linked here is written in English:

As a bonus I’ll throw in this highlight of Yuki Nishi spearing a hard line drive that was on a course for his head.

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2011 Uniform Roundup, Volume 2

» 05 July 2011 » In npb » 5 Comments

Here is the much-anticipated followup to my earlier uniform roundup post.

 

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2011 Uniform Roundup, Volume 1

» 24 May 2011 » In mlb, npb » 10 Comments

It’s time again for my semi-annual NPB uniform roundup. This year, I’ve decided to break things up into two posts, so look out for another one later in the season, after more alternative unis are introduced.

  • Orix has been wearing these throwback Hankyu Braves uniforms off and on. The most retro-looking guy is probably Mike Hessman.
  • I hope to one day see Orix revive the old Kintetsu Buffaloes uniform and logo. I figure if they can advertise one Osaka-area railway (Hankyu) they can do the same for another (Kintetsu).
  • Rakuten has only been around for seven seasons, so they don’t exactly have throwback uniforms… but that isn’t stopping them from running out these 1980’s Houston Astros knock-offs.
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to Nippon Ham’s gold road uniforms. One thing that’s kind of cool about the new Fighters uniform is the tag on the inside of the collar, which has four stars representing the Japan Series title and three Pacific League titles that Nippon Ham has won in recent years.
  • Hanshin has a spotty record when it comes to alternative uniforms, but this they’re going with these classic Osaka Tigers threads.
  • This one isn’t an NPB uniform, but former Yomiuri and Yokohama closer Marc Kroon suited up in this Homestead Grays throwback for a 3A game a few weeks ago.
  • Here’s last year’s uniform post. And 2009’s. Results may vary with the links on those pages.

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Offseason Changes: Orix Buffaloes

» 05 February 2011 » In npb » 7 Comments

Coming: Hayato Terahara, Chan Ho Park, Seung Yeop Lee, Mike Hessman, Alfredo Figaro, Evan MacLane, Kazuya Takamiya, Shinjiro Koyama, Tomochika Tsuboi, Kentaro Kuwabara, Shingo Nonaka, Masahide Kobayashi, Toshio Saito

Going: Alex Cabrera, Shogo Yamamoto, Go Kida, Jon Leicester, Greg LaRocca, Fernando Seguignol, Freddie Bynum, Tsuyoshi Kikuchihara, Naoyuki Ohmura, Osamu Hamanaka, Masahiro Nagata, Ikki, Mitsuhiro Mitsuhara

Staying: Aarom Baldiris, Mitsutaka Gotoh, Francisco Caraballo, So Taguchi, Freddy Ballestas

Summary: Last season, Orix posted a surprisingly competitive fifth-place, 69-71-4 season. I’ve written plenty about my admiration for Orix’s personnel moves, and nothing has happened this offseason to change my mind. Well, the new uniforms are underwhelming, but I’ll let that slide.

On the mound, Orix has added four rotation candidates, while subtracting Yamamoto, who was ineffective in 2010. Each of the four new starters has blemishes: age (Park), health (Terahara), unproven-ness (Figaro, MacLane). But they all have upside as well, particularly Terahara, and if any one of them does well, Orix will have a very solid front rotation.

At the plate, Orix’s most notable transaction is the loss of slugger Cabrera, who wanted a two-year deal and found one in Fukuoka. Despite his age (39), Cabrera remains an elite NPB slugger when he is in the lineup — he posted a Pacific League-best .997 OPS last year, but missed 32 games. The hope is obviously for some combination of at-bats from Lee and Hessman to make up for Cabrera’s contribution, but I have my doubts. Lee hasn’t had a good year since 2007 and is a shadow of his former self, and Hessman has great power but is also known for piling up strikeouts. I’ve been bullish on Hessman though, and I’m standing by that.

Another key point to make is that last year the Buffaloes got breakthrough performances from Gotoh, T-Okada, Aarom Baldiris and to a lesser extent, Makoto Moriyama. Orix will need them to post strong follow up seasons in order to remain competitive.

Overall I think Orix has done enough to take a step forward in 2011. The rub is that even if they do, the Pacific League is so balanced that they still might not make the playoffs.

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2010: A Uniform Odyssey

» 30 June 2010 » In npb » 6 Comments

Update, July 2: Completely forgot about this year’s SoftBank Hawks alternates.

It’s time again for my annual alternative uniforms roundup (last year’s is here). Here’s what we have this year:

  • Yomiuri will sport these cartoonish threads July 19-21 against Yakult. The uniforms were designed by middle school student Hikaru Nomoto, who’s design was selected from out of more than 13,000 entries.
  • This season Seibu is wearing 70’s era throwback uniforms, from when the team was known as the Taiheiyo-Club Lions, prior to Seibu ownership.
  • Nippon Ham chose a garish gold color for this season’s We Love Hokkaido uniforms.
  • The differences between Yokohama’s normal uniforms and this season’s summer alternates are subtle, but pitcher Shun Yamaguchi still called them “unusually stylish”. I wouldn’t mind seeing them keep it simple and re-use these from a couple years ago.
  • Orix’s summer uniforms are red this year, which elicits memories the old red Kintetsu uniforms. Orix also recalled the old Blue Wave team by wearing 1995 throwback uniforms in a game at Skymark Stadium last month. 1995, of course, was the year that Orix lifted the city of Kobe by reaching the Japan Series after the horrific Hanshin Earthquake.

Today’s Japanese vocabulary is 復刻版ユニホーム, (fukkokuban uniform), meaning “re-issue uniform”, though in English we would translate that to “throwback uniform” or “retro uniform”.

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The End of the Buffaloes

» 17 March 2010 » In npb » 7 Comments

If you’re interested in purchasing an Orix Buffaloes jersey, you might want to get it now.

The Buffaloes’ parent company, Orix, has announced that this will be the last season for the Buffaloes name. No word yet on what the new team name will be, but Orix wants to keep the unfortunate “B’s” abbreviation that has become part of the team’s logo. According to Nikkan Sports there is a low chance of Orix restoring team’s previous name, the Blue Wave.

The Orix Buffaloes name originated with the 2004 merger of the Orix Blue Wave, and the Kintetsu Buffaloes. Orix originally bought into the baseball business in 1989, when the company took over the Hankyu Braves. The Orix team was briefly known as the Orix Braves before adopting the Blue Wave name. The old Kintetsu franchise was known as the Pearls back in the 50’s, and then switched to the Buffalo for a few seasons before correcting their English in 1962, adopting the still-active Buffaloes name. Gary Garland has the full histories of all the NPB team names on his site.

I always liked the Blue Wave name, and was sorry to see it go. Any suggestions on what the new name should be?

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Tuffy Hits #450

» 26 April 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Yesterday, Tuffy Rhodes went deep three times, hitting home runs numbers 450, 451, and 452 of his distinguished NPB career. I didn’t think Tuffy had 100 home runs left in him when he signed with Orix during spring training in 2007, but he’s hit 92 since then and shows no signs of slowing down.

Congratulations Tuffy! We’ll see you at 500!

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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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NPB Bullet Points (2008/08/03)

» 03 August 2008 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

Japanese Articles:

English Articles:

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/07/27)

» 27 July 2008 » In npb » Comments Off

Mixing up the English and Japanese again. Most of these links are English though.

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