Tag Archive | "Fifth Inning"

Baseball on Three Hours Sleep – The World Baseball Classic is Under Way!!!

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Baseball on Three Hours Sleep – The World Baseball Classic is Under Way!!!

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Bear with me here. I was up early, like 11pm EST early, watching the World Baseball Classic’s Opening Day. Chien-Ming Wang came out crazy strong, pitching Chinese Taipei (i.e. Taiwan) to their first win of the tournament. Wang is now the buzz of every General Manager in North America with a pitching slot to fill.


Anyone want to take the over/under on how quickly the New York Mets will screw this up?

As feel good as a story as Chinese Taipei is, that wasn’t the most exciting game of the day. Two-time defending champion Japan rallied to beat Brazil 5-3 in its opening game of the World Baseball Classic. You heard me…they had to rally.

Japan trailed 3-2 before adding three runs in the top of the eighth inning in front of a crowd of 28,181 at the Fukuoka Dome. Hirokazu Ibata came off the bench to tie the game with a single to right that scored Seiichi Uchikawa from second. Japan took a 4-3 lead when Ibata scored from third on a fielder’s choice and added an insurance run on Nobuhiro Matsuda’s single to center that scored Hisayoshi Chono.

“This was a very difficult game for us,” Japan manager Koji Yamamoto said, reported by the New York Daily News. “Brazil put up a very good fight. But we got some timely hits in the eighth and were able to make a comeback.” Brazil, managed by Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, looked ready to pull off an upset when the tournament debutantes took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a double by Leonardo Reginatto that scored Paulo Orlando from second.

“These players love to compete,” Larkin said, reported by the New York Daily News. “They love a challenge and this was a challenge similar to the qualifiers when we beat Panama. I’m extremely proud of the way my players performed in this game.”

I’m not going to lie. If you didn’t catch this game, Brazil is a pretty exciting team and Barry Larkin looks mighty comfortable as a manager. I wonder if he’ll be in the conversation when the managerial merry-go-round begins midseason.

Japan now launches to the top of pool A, which includes 2006 runner-up Cuba and China. Two teams from the group will advance to the March 8-12 second round at Tokyo Dome with a chance to move on to the March 17-19 championship round in San Francisco. Japan pitcher Tadashi Settsu, who gave up one run on two hits over three innings of relief, picked up the win. Oscar Nakaoshi took the loss after giving up two runs in the eighth.

Japanese home-run king Sadaharu Oh, who managed the Japan team that won the first WBC, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Brazil silenced the near-capacity crowd by taking the lead in the bottom of the first inning when Reginatto hit a sharp single to left that scored Orlando. Japan tied the game in the top of the third when Yoshio Itoi singled to right to score Hayato Sakamoto from second. The Japan took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Sakamoto that scored Ryoji Aikawa from third. Brazil tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Reginatto doubled and scored on a close play at the plate on a shot to center by Reinaldo Sato.

With the Kingdom of the Netherlands actually producing the first upset of the tournament, handing 2009 runner-up Korea its first lost. This tournament is going to be pretty exciting. The heat is on for traditional powerhouses, like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the United States. There are some new contenders in town. Brazil and the Netherlands are here to play and they aren’t going away quietly.

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Guest Post: Retrosheet is Still Retro Cool

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Guest Post: Retrosheet is Still Retro Cool

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Guest Writer

By Jeff Polman

Take a trip back to July 18, 1958. It’s a Friday night in Los Angeles, and 10-year-old David Smith is at the Memorial Coliseum to attend his very first game, between the Phillies and Dodgers. His hero is Sandy Koufax, years before he became a great pitcher, and this is far from Sandy’s best performance. In the first inning, he strikes out two but walks four and gets yanked from the action.  Maybe he is just under the weather, because he starts the next night and goes seven and a third innings.

The Dodgers won that Friday night 8-6, lost the next night, and for a long time, David Smith thirsted for the actual accounts of those games.

It was undoubtedly his inspiration for the birth of Retrosheet.

Fifty-four years later, Dave Smith’s non-profit Web site has researched and catalogued over 120,000 major league baseball games for our pleasure and historical use. In some cases you’ll just find box scores, in many others, detailed play-by-play. Because of Retrosheet, in less than a minute you can learn that the first batter Smith saw Koufax face was Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn; that there were 24, 532 other people at the Coliseum and the game took two hours and fifty-five minutes; that Chico Fernandez’s fifth inning homer off Johnny Klippstein went over the short left field screen; and that Shag Crawford and Jocko Conlan were two of the umpires.

Sean Forman’s staggeringly enormous Baseball Reference site can also get you this information, though as Smith relates, a lot of their game data comes from Retrosheet.  A little over a month ago, Retrosheet released box scores for the 1916 and 1917 seasons, and play-by-play details for 1927 and 1947. Although their research is done on a volunteer basis, they have between fifteen and twenty people working on various projects at a given time, so you can expect a constant stream of discoveries ahead.

The first time a friend shared the Retrosheet link with me, I was immediately taken by the site’s lack of visual pizzazz—to be honest, it has no pizzazz whatsoever—but also by the easy-to-navigate passage into Retrosheet’s historical fact library. That the old school TextEdit look of the thing absolutely never changes is part of its charm. As Smith puts it: “Once we found a form that we thought was easy to navigate, we decided not to fiddle with it just for the sake of novelty.”

As a place to instantly find countless baseball facts, it is also one of the greatest Internet time sucks ever created. Dead of winter and you’re stuck at your desk on lunch break and feel like taking in a game? No problem. I’ll do it right now. Let’s see…going to their “link-block” of years, shutting my eyes and clicking my mouse on…1936.  Dropping down to the yearly calendar to hit Saturday August 8th…Okay, the Browns and Tigers split a twinbill in Detroit, with St. Louis scoring seven in the 8th and two in the 9th to take the nightcap, with Jim Bottomley driving in four and Moose Solters three! That was easy.

How about just a quick check of the American Association standings on July 25, 1884? Ah yes, the Columbus Buckeyes are still in second place with a .684 winning percentage and a +114 run differential, but just a half game behind the second place Louisville Eclipse!

Naturally, the first thing I did when I discovered Retrosheet was locate the box score and play-by-play of the first game I attended, 1963 at Fenway Park with the Yankees. (As an aside, framed copies of first game box scores make great gifts for friends and family members.) Retrosheet doesn’t have play-by-plays for every season, but some of the earlier accounts from say, 1921, are a joy to read.  Just so you know, on Saturday April 30 at the Polo Grounds, Giants catcher Earl Smith was ejected in the 6th inning after a called ball for “throwing his glove down.”

Of course, digging up minutiae like this is incredibly time consuming for the Retrosheet team. As Smith says, “The release of play-by-play accounts takes longer than I would like, but it is essential that files not be posted for the public until they have been rigorously proofed. I do not want to be in the position of making retractions.”

Retrosheet formally began in 1989 and was incorporated as a non-profit in 1994, one year after the site was launched. They have five board members and a “webmaster”, and hold their annual meeting at the SABR conference, a group that values the findings of Retrosheet like no other.

When I attended the recent SABR event in Minneapolis, I wandered by the small open room where Retrosheet was starting its meeting. I had heard Dave Smith’s lively presentation two days earlier on the dramatic rise and fall between leagues of stolen base attempts from 1947 to the present, and now he was chairing the modest gathering of Retrosheeters, dressed in his signature Dodgers jersey, his Santa Clausian features lighting up another room. But I wasn’t a Retrosheet member, didn’t really want to hear a “report from the treasurer,” and wandered away.

An hour later during a panel discussion, I was visiting them again—but back on my phone to look up a box score. For me, Retrosheet remains not just a great resource tool, but a trusty digital baseball Wonderland, a place to happily tumble into at any time. Thanks, David.

Jeff Polman writes fictionalized baseball replay blogs, his current endeavor being Mystery Ball ’58. His first such blog, “1924 and You Are There!” has been published by Grassy Gutter Press and is available on Amazon.

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The New York Mets –  For Real or Newest Ride at Six Flags?

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The New York Mets – For Real or Newest Ride at Six Flags?

Posted on 04 July 2012 by Trish Vignola

If the Yankees are like the post office, “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall” impede their inevitable playoff run, the Mets are like the Cyclone at Coney Island. Sweep…Get Swept…Sweep…Get Swept. I hope Mets fans aren’t susceptible to motion sickness. I sure am.

Currently, the Mets are approaching the lifthill.

R.A. Dickey (apparently the ace of my FSBB Fantasy Baseball Team) attempts to become the first 12-game winner in the major leagues Friday, when he leads the New York Mets into the second installment of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dickey has been one of the biggest surprises of the season and is 9-0 with a sparkling 1.64 earned run average in 12 starts since his only loss of the season back on April 18 at Atlanta. The Mets are 10-2 over that stretch with Dickey on the hill. Although he did not record a decision in Sunday night’s 6-5 debacle to the New York Yankees at Citi Field, that’s still an earned run average to make you look twice.

The right-handed knuckleball specialist allowed five runs, the most since giving up eight to the Braves a few months ago, in six innings. Dickey is still 11-1 in 15 starts with a 2.31 ERA. He owns a 5-1 record in seven road assignments, but is 0-1 with a 2.13 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers. Dickey has made one career start at Dodger Stadium, but with this roller coaster ride of a season, the Mets are currently on an upswing. All bets are off.

New York opened this series with last night’s 3-2 win thanks to Andres Torres‘ RBI double in the top of the fifth inning. David Wright homered and drove in two runs and has eight RBI in his last three games for the Mets, who stopped a four-game slide on Wednesday with a win over the Cubs and have prevailed in six of their last 10 games.

Mets starter Chris Young gave up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings for the win. “It was fun with the pitching matchup, but I wanted to win the game,” said Young. “My slider is getting sharper, but it’s still a work in progress. I want to be better and I’ll keep working hard to give my team a chance to win.”

The Mets are 3 1/2 games off the top spot in the National League East. The Dodgers, a roller coaster ride within and of themselves, is mired in a five-game losing streak and lost the lead in the NL West, as it sits a game behind San Francisco. The Dodgers were held scoreless in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Giants before returning home for a six-game residency last night. Dodgers starter Chris Capuano lost for the first time in five starts and gave up three runs on five hits with five strikeouts over seven innings.

New York won five of seven meetings with the Dodgers last season.

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