Tag Archive > Saburo

Game Notes: Karakawa Dominates Orix

» 27 April 2011 » In npb » 2 Comments

Last night I caught most of Lotte’s 12-1 drubbing of Orix. Here are my notes.

  • The story of the day was Yuki Karakawa. As his 8 IP, 12 K, 3 H, 1 ER line suggests, Karakawa was masterful. He had command of everything he threw, and great movement on all his breaking stuff, particularly his changeup. I wouldn’t call Karakawa’s fastball an “out pitch”, but he was able to get a couple swinging strikeouts with by setting batters up with his breaking pitches.
  • It was windy in Chiba. The scoreboard consistently showed wind speeds of 12-13m, though I must plead ignorance to exactly what metric they use. Fly balls carried to right field, and high pop ups were nearly unplayable. Orix was collectively charged with three errors on dropped foul pop-ups, and Seung-Yeop Lee missed a fourth. It was pretty harsh to call those drops “errors” as they were all extremely tough plays.
  • Orix starter Hayato Terahara wasn’t quite as bad as his 6.0 IP, 8 ER line would have you believe. All of the damage was done in two innings, the 2nd and the 7th, but he did scatter mistake pitches throughout the game.
  • Terahara’s four run 2nd inning was really the turning point of the game. All of the damage came with two outs, and Lotte’s hitters handled Terahara’s mostly better stuff. Shoitsu Ohmatsu singled on a 147 kmph fastball, Tomoya Satozaki took a walk, Takumi Kohbe singled off a mistake fastball over the plate, Toshiaki Imae hit an opposite field triple off a good forkball over the lower outside corner after being down 0-2, Yoshifumi Okada slapped a fastball the other way for a line drive single. Lotte’s lineup was simply better in that inning.
  • Orix came right back with a threat in the top of the 3rd, but Karakawa K’ed mid-lineup guys Mitsutaka Gotoh and T-Okada with runners on first and third. It turned out not to matter, but Gotoh in particular waved at a bad pitch for a third strike, in a situation where any almost any kind of fair contact would have resulted in a run.
  • Saburo hit an opposite field home run in the 3rd, on a fastball over the outside corner of the plate. The homer was aided by the wind, but Saburo clearly managed to drive a pitch I always thought he struggled with.
  • Lee looked horrible at the plate against Karakawa, and a glance at his stats is revealing: .163 BA, 21 K’s in 43 ABs. I wonder how long it’ll be before we see Mike Hessman.
  • Terahara picked Takashi Ogino off first base in the 5th inning. This is not the first time I’ve seen Ogino picked off this year, I think it was Hisashi Iwakuma that got him before. It seems that every pitcher expects Ogino to run every time he reaches first with second base open, so he’ll have to refine his approach.
  • Ogino does, however, have a pretty good arm at shortstop. I haven’t seen it really tested but he makes good throws on routine plays.
  • The Lotte cheer girls looked pretty cold.
  • Masahide Kobayashi relieved a tired Terahara in the 7th. It looked Terahara strained his hamstring or something before he left, but he should have been removed two batters earlier anyway. Kobayashi looked absolutely horrible; it was almost painful watching him. No command, no velocity, no movement. It really looks like he’s done.

At this point, it was 10-1 in favor of Lotte, so I turned the game off.

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NPB Bullet Points: Darvish K’s 1000, Iwakuma Throws 147, Kanemoto Still Runs

» 26 April 2011 » In npb » 6 Comments

News and notes from around NPB. Japanese links only tonight.
  • Yu Darvish recorded his 1000th career strikeout on the 26th, picking up the win over Softbank. Darvish reached the milestone in 1058.2 innings pitched, the seventh fastest pace in NPB history.
  • Darvish didn’t have the top game of the night though, as Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 13 Seibu Lions, going the distance for a 147 pitch shutout.
  • Veteran Hanshin slugger Tomoaki Kanemoto became the oldest player to steal a base in NPB history, when he swiped second in the eight in against Hiroshima on the 27. “Aniki” is 43 years and 23 days old.
  • Yokohama is bringing back lefty Stephen Randolph. Randolph worked out for the BayStars following the placement of Brent Leach on the restricted list.\
  • Daily Sports reports that Brian Bannister has informed the Yomiuri Giants that he has no plans to pitch in the US or Japan this season.
  • Television ratings for Yuki Saito’s pro debut on the 17th peaked at 29.4% of Hokkaido homes, the highest ever for a regular season Nippon Ham Fighters game.
  • Now on sale at the Lotteria in Chiba’s QVC Marine Field: Saburo Burgers.

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Watching Baseball, April 18

» 19 April 2011 » In npb » 3 Comments

Last night, thanks to some justin.tv 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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Free Agents: Igarashi, Saburo

» 23 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei » Comments Off

Notes to share about a couple of FA-eligible players:

  • If Ryota Igarashi chooses to make the MLB jump, he’ll do so with agent Arn Tellem on his side. According to the Sponichi report, Igarashi is undecided on what he wants to do, and is also considering moving to another team in Japan. Tellem notably represents Hideki Matsui, and has to date negotiated $73m worth of contracts on his behalf. Igarashi is currently in the States taking in the ALCS.
  • Saburo Ohmura, known by his first name in Japan, is hinting that he’s going to stay put again this offseason. Saburo was eligible for international free agency last year, and announced that he was going to try MLB, but changed his mind and re-signed for one year with Lotte. After posting a career with a .314/.377/.514 slash line and 22 home runs, I thought we might see him take another shot at MLB. Maybe he’ll waffle again this year.

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Saburo Resigns With Lotte

» 11 November 2008 » In mlb prospects » Comments Off

The 180 is complete, at least for one year: Saburo has signed a 1-year, ¥100M ($1M) contract to remain with the Chiba Lotte Marines. The birth of his third child next March and wanting to make up for last year’s 4th place finish were cited as the main factors in his decision.  “The dream (of winning) with Lotte takes precendence over the dream (of playing) overseas,” said Saburo, adding, “after having a good season I’ll think it over again”. 

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Saburo Does a 180

» 10 November 2008 » In mlb prospects » 1 Comment

Sponichi and Nikkan Sports are both reporting that Saburo has changed his mind and will remain with the Chiba Lotte Marines for at least another year. Sponichi quotes Saburo as saying “the direction is decided but it’s not 100%. It might change. I’ll decide within 2 or 3 days.”  Sponichi reports that Saburo has a two year, ¥200M ($2M) offer in hand from the Marines and the two papers are in agreement that this could be wrapped up by the 11th. According to Nikkan Sports, Saburo wants to avenge his team’s 4th place finish, but I still wonder why we’re seeing this reversal. I’m sure we’ll learn more in the next few days.

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Saburo Goes With His Gut

» 09 November 2008 » In mlb prospects » 2 Comments

Update: Please check out the latest on Saburo in this post.

Chiba Lotte outfielder Saburo Ohmura is set to officially announce his intent to pursue a move to MLB on November 10th. The veteran Marine, known as Saburo in Japan, made up his mind after a trip to America, where he had a physical and took in a World Series game. “I choose with my gut,” said Saburo, adding he “didn’t want this dream to end as a dream.”

Saburo is a career .264/.337/.403 hitter in NPB and is a strong fielder, scoring Gold Gloves in 2005 and 2007. He’s coming off a two-year contract that paid him about $700K/season, down from his peak salary of $850K in 2006. JapaneseBaseball.com has his stats up to 2007, and I dug up a clip of him hitting a home run in 2007.

The Sports Hochi article I linked to above mentions the A’s, Braves, Nationals, and Pirates as teams with with outfield needs and speculates that they might be destinations. Living in the Bay Area however, I’ve seen plenty of A’s baseball and can say firsthand that they have plenty of guys like Saburo and aren’t really in need of another. I don’t really see Saburo hitting enough to compete for a starting job, but should be able to handle all three OF positions well enough to be a useful 4th outfielder. An NL team looking to add OF depth would probably be the best fit.

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Chiba Lotte’s Free Agents

» 21 October 2008 » In mlb prospects, npb » Comments Off

Alright, looks like I’ll have time to squeeze in a blog entry this morning. This is about the third time that I’ve thought my hiatus would come to an end, only to have something pull my attention away. This time I’m determined to make it stick.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be looking at offseason plans for players and teams, as well as working on some essay-type stuff. There’s also the playoffs and Japan Series, so there’s plenty to write about.

Let’s start with The Chiba Lotte Marines, who today announed that Bobby Valentine’s contract has been renewed, and have a number of guys who qualify for free agency.

Naoyuki Shimizu, SP: Shimizu was set to be a hot commodity among NPB teams this winter, drawing rumored interested from Hanshin, Rakuten, Yakult, Yokohama and the Giants, but has recently revealed that he intends to pass on free agency this year with an eye toward the majors later on.

Shingo Ono, SP: After a little indecision, Ono appears to be leaning towards free agency. “I feel like would like to remain with Lotte, but they’re developing good young pitchers and I have to think about moving. I have confidence that I can play for another team.” Yokohama is rumored to be interested in his services.

Tasuku Hashimoto, C: Hashimoto feels like he can start, but is stuck behind all-star Tomoya Satozaki, so I think he’ll be likely to try his fortunes somewhere else. A number of teams are rumored to be interested after his strong 2008 season (.311, 11hr off the bench), but Hanshin is expected to make the biggest play to sign him. Current Tigers catcher Akihiro Yano won’t last forever, and there’s no internal heir apparent.

Saburo, OF: Saburo’s two-year contract is coming to an end, and he’s considering his options, which include moving to MLB. Saburo is quoted as saying, “I’ve compared myself to the major league rightfielders that I see on TV, and if I’m going to go now is my only chance.” Saburo is coming off a solid offensive season (.289/.359/.416) and has won Gold Gloves in 2005 and 2007, but he still profiles as a 4th outfielder on most teams.

Julio Zuleta, DH/1B: Zuleta has been plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness in his two years with the Marines. Expect him to be replaced this off-season.

I’ll add these guys to my free agent list tonight. 

Coming up next: a look at some other free agents and the playoffs thus far.

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