Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 30th, 2008: Guangzhou at Chengdu

April 30th, 2008

Guangzhou Fire at Chengdu Spice

CHENGDU – The Fire won their fourth straight contest today, beating Chengdu, 4-3, on an Edgar Martinez single in the top of the 9th inning.

The late Guangzhou rally knocked Spice starter Jim Bunning out of the box. Bunning threw 8.1 strong innings, giving up only 4 runs. Alas, those bases on balls, the plague of all pitchers, came to haunt Jim. Jim gave up 5 walks in his stint, including three in the top of the 7th. Those three led to three Fire runs. Bunning did toss nine strikeouts, but it was too little in the end.

Fire starter Jack Taylor was equally brilliant, though his walk and strikeout totals were relatively low. Taylor gave up five hits and three runs in 8 innings, earning his first win of the season.

The come-from-behind victory, their fourth in a row, puts Guangzhou in fourth place, a game and a half behind Lhasa.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 2, Beijing Red Dragons 0 At Mets. The 13-2 Mets continue their domination of the Northeastern league, shutting out the Red Dragons on three hits.

Tokyo Giants 7, Seoul Blue Dragons 3 At Seoul. Tokyo has won nine straight. The pathetic Blue Dragons have lost their last ten, and are now only 2-13, allowing 43 more runs than they score (55-98).

Shenyang Defenders 4, Harbin Icecaps 2 At Shenyang

Nishinomiya Tigers 8, Tianjin Lions 4 At Tianjin

Southeastern League

Shanghai White Sox 2, Nanjing Monarchs 1 At Shanghai

Suzhou Artisans 7, Shanghai Red Sox 4 At Suzhou

Ningbo Stallions 7, Wenzhou Merchants 0 At Wenzhou. Ningbo’s Greg Maddux won his third straight game of the season, shutting out last place Wenzhou on five hits, all on 87 pitches.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 11, Xi’an Wild Geese 10 At Jinan

Lanzhou Refiners 4, Urumqi Flying Tigers 3 At Lanzhou

Taiyuan Kylin 3, Luoyang White Horse 2 At Taiyuan

Wuhan Turtles 7, Zhengzhou Dragons 3 At Wuhan

Southwestern League

Chongqing Fog 5, Fuzhou Whales 3 At Fuzhou

Lhasa Monks 13, Yunnan Bulls 2 At Lhasa

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29th, 2008: Nanjing at Shanghai

Honestly, I wish the time wouldn't fly by so quickly. I can't believe April's almost over. I've got a German independent study class to finish by July, and school just started again. At least baseball still feels slow in April.
This was a day of injuries in my league. Has anybody else noticed a rather large number of injuries with the setting on "random"? Seems that every time I turn around another star player is out for a month or so.

April 29th, 2008

Nanjing at Shanghai

SHANGHAI – Despite losing their ace starter to a beanball, the Nanjing Monarchs shut out the Shanghai White Sox this afternoon, 2-0.

Both teams played to a scoreless draw through the first five innings. Shanghai’s intense heat, combined with high humidity, shut down hitting all day long. No White Sox batter was able to reach third base the entire game, and both teams suffered from severe hitting problems.

Disaster struck the top of the sixth inning. Pedro Martinez, leading off for the Monarchs, was hit by a Joe McGinnity fastball to the face. Pedro, the Monarch’s ace, was leading all of baseball in strikeouts and was throwing a one-hitter at the time. He will miss the next 37 days, and it will be a miracle if he returns.

Rickey Henderson, who has been in the middle of a hitting slump lately, came in to pinch-run. Henderson was sacrificed to second and then driven home by Honus Wagner’s double to center. Later, in the top of the 8th inning, Henderson scored the second Monarch run. After reaching first on an infield hit, Rickey stole second, was sacrificed to third, and then was driven in by pinch hitter Tilly Walker’s single. Yet, despite the speedster’s obviously positive influence as a pinch runner, the Monarchs certainly would rather have their ace back.

Iron Joe McGinnity pitched a brilliant game for the White Sox, despite the hit batsman. McGinnity gave up four runs in eight innings, striking out seven and lowering his ERA to 5.40, all in another losing effort. Iron Joe was plagued by walks, as he gave up four free passes during the contest. Joe’s pickoff move also proved helpful, as he caught Ichiro Suzuki leaning too far off first twice in the game. In fact, aside from Henderson’s steal, Shanghai completely shut down Nanjing’s running game, catching Wagner trying to steal third and intimidating all other baserunners.

Christy Mathewson comes off the disabled list for the Monarchs tomorrow, and is expected to start here.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 4, Beijing Red Dragons 2 At Red Dragons. Despite an abbreviated start by Dizzy Dean, the Mets continued their tear across the Northeastern League, beating their cross-town rivals 4-2. Dean was injured in the top of the third inning after striking out Willie Mays, and will be on the DL for 9 days.

Tokyo Giants 8, Seoul Blue Dragons 4 At Seoul

Shenyang Defenders 6, Harbin Icecaps 3 At Shenyang

Tianjin Lions 8, Nishinomiya Tigers 4 At Tianjin. Lions starter Tommy Bridges was injured in the top of the second inning and will miss 20 days.

Southeastern League

Hefei Hope Stars 3, Hangzhou Eagles 1 At Hangzhou

Suzhou Artisans 4, Shanghai Red Sox 2 At Suzhou. In a day that saw several star pitchers injured, Shanghai superstar pitcher Bartolo Colon was injured in the bottom of the 4th inning and will miss 20 days.

Ningbo Stallions 2, Wenzhou Merchants 0 At Wenzhou. Ningbo’s Bozo Wakabayashi was absolutely brilliant, giving up two hits on only 94 pitches in a complete game shutout.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 5, Xi’an Wild Geese 4 At Jinan

Urumqi Flying Tigers 8, Lanzhou Refiners 4 At Lanzhou

Luoyang White Horse 8, Taiyuan Kylin 4 At Taiyuan

Wuhan Turtles 7, Zhengzhou Dragons 1 At Wuhan. Zhengzhou has lost their last four, dropping into forth place.

Southwestern League

Guangzhou Fire 8, Chengdu Spice 7 At Chengdu

Fuzhou Whales 6, Chongqing Fog 5 At Fuzhou

Lhasa Monks 10, Yunnan Bulls 8 At Lhasa

Taibei Brother Elephants 7, Xianggang Reds 6 At Xianggang.

Monday, April 28, 2008

April 28th, 2008: Shanghai at Suzhou

April 28th, 2008

Shanghai Red Sox at Suzhou Artisans

SUZHOU – The Artisans kept themselves right in the thick of the early pennant race this afternoon, defeating the Shanghai Red Sox 11-1.

Starter Kevin Millwood was the star for the Artisans. He went the distance against a good Shanghai lineup, limiting them to a single run on five hits and winning his first game of the season. Millwood needed only 102 pitches to complete the task, the only Shanghai run coming off Johnny Bench’s 7th inning double to left.

As usual, Frank Chance lead Suzhou’s offense, going 5-for-3 with two runs batted in. Chance is now hitting .356 and is an expert at leading off early Suzhou rallies.

Shanghai starter Dave Stieb had his first bad start of the season, giving up six runs in four innings.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s other games

Northeastern League

Shenyang Defenders 5, Harbin Icecaps 4 At Shenyang.

Southeastern League

Hangzhou Eagles 7, Hefei Hope Stars 0 At Hangzhou. Eddie Cicotte’s knuckleball shut out Hefei on six hits.

Nanjing Monarchs 4, Shanghai White Sox 2 At Shanghai

Ningbo Stallions 2, Wenzhou Merchants 1 At Wenzhou

Northwestern League

Lanzhou Refiners 11, Jinan Leopards 9 (10) At Jinan. Visitng Lanzhou won in dramatic fashion, scoring three in the top of the ninth to tie the game, and then two more in the top of the tenth. Jinan, meanwhile, had a wild bottom of the 8th inning, scoring seven tallies in all, the big blow a Roy Campanella 3-run homer.

Taiyuan Kylin 6, Wuhan Turtles 1 At Wuhan.

Southwestern League

Guangzhou Fire 6, Chengdu Spice 1 At Chengdu

Fuzhou Whales 4, Chongqing Fog 3 At Fuzhou

Yunnan Bulls 9, Lhasa Monks 7 At Lhasa

Taibei Brother Elephants 12, Xianggang Reds 3 At Xianggang.

That Boring Game of Baseball

While trying to find a few articles to help my younger brother understand the current economic recession, I ran across this post at the Freakonomics blog. The post is another argument about how boring baseball has become, the sort of thing you always read about in the spring. I've found similar articles in newspapers from the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s and earlier, even one in a 1903 Sporting News, if you can believe it.

Dubner's article makes a few assumptions that I find extremely strange. Baseball, according to Dubner, is boring because it's remained unchanged for so long. "Football and basketball may be more innately exciting than baseball," he says, "but just as important, they’ve also changed a lot over the past 40 years. They are full of innovation." Never mind the influx of new, hitter-friendly stadiums, the Designated Hitter rule, inter-league play, expansion, the wild card structure, an influx of young pitching stars from Asia and so on. Also never mind critics of modern football and basketball, who point out how boring and slow those games have become (Dubner has apparently forgotten that the World Series still attracts more viewers than the NBA playoffs). Don't pay attention to the fact that television ratings are down across the board for every single type of program. Furthermore, never mind the fact that football and basketball honestly haven't changed much fundamentally lately. Baseball doesn't change, other sports do, and, as a result, baseball has become a slow sport more fit for the 1960s than today.

It's hard to argue against Dubner's article without directly challenging his faulty assumptions (a technique economists like him are certainly used to). You could argue against every innovation he lists. He quotes an article written by Darren Everson (no relation, despite similar-looking names), which explains new techniques some managers use to liven things up. Dubner lists a few modern managerial techniques, such as having relief players play in the field to avoid baseball's "archaic" single substitution rules (which, naturally, have rendered soccer obsolete across Europe and Asia), putting an infield shift on every hitter, using bullpen pitchers rather than dedicated starters for poor weather games, and having the pitcher hit eighth.

I can see how having your LOOGY play in the field until the next favorable platoon matchup comes up could cut down on dead time while new pitchers warm up, but it obviously could also severely damage a team defensively. If somebody hits a hard line drive out to the pitcher-turned-outfielder, you'll see some awful fielding, more runners on base, and longer innings as a result. The other four innovations have absolutely nothing to do with how long or how sluggishly games are played. Dubner is certain that these changes will "make the game a bit more fluid and fun to watch," but I don't follow his logic. Who wants to watch a relief specialist start a game because there is rain in the forecast? Who wants to see exaggerated infield shifts for every power hitter? Wouldn't that slow the game down even more, not speed it up?

There is, of course, truth to what he's writing. Baseball has slowed down over time, as we all know. I'm not sure what more can be done to speed the game up, other than forcing hitters off the plate and giving them thicker bats (ala Bill James' New Historical Baseball Abstract.) I guess you could bring back the spitball, which will probably result in more walks, since it's always been considered one of the most difficult pitches to learn. We could build bigger stadiums, but low homerun totals traditionally doesn't do much to draw fans to the park.

We could also improve how the game is broadcast. Of my sports-minded friends, many have commented that baseball is exciting to watch live, but an absolute snooze on television. I'd have to agree, and the FOX/ESPN era has been especially damaging to how the game has been televised (ESPN less so, in my opinion). If we could bring back the sort of game NBC showed America in the 1980s, maybe things would improve.

Still, even the mindless bantering of Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and Chip Caray is nothing all that new. Have you ever tried to watch old DVDs of World Series games from 1968 to 1974? Curt Gowdy wasn't exactly Vin Scully, and the announcer accompanying him was rarely any better (with the exception of Harry Caray and Vin Scully, of course). Not every guy is going to be as fun to listen to as Joe Garagiola or Dizzy Dean. Other annoyances, such as incessant close-ups and constant crowd shots, were very much a part of NBC and ABC broadcasts in the 1980s. If you go back to games shown in the 1960s, crowd shots are few and far between, and close-ups even rarer, but you honestly start to miss that sort of thing. It's not exactly clear what baseball should do to improve how games are broadcast.

My solution would be to wait off the slew of "baseball is so boring" articles that come around every spring. Once the pennant races start heating up, and inter-league play provides a distraction from the sleep-inducing NBA playoffs, these articles will disappear.

A good contrast to this article can be found here, where Jayson Stark argues that a lot has changed in baseball over the years.

Oh, and the comments to that blog piece are a waste of time. People are complaining about lack of competitive balance in baseball? Did they forget that the Colorado Rockies went to the playoffs last year for the first time since 1995? Have they missed out on the fact that Tampa Bay and Baltimore are on top of the AL East? Do all these people root for Pittsburgh or what?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 27th, 2008: Nishinomiya at Tokyo

Here's today's game. Enjoy!


April 27th, 2008

Nishinomiya Tigers at Tokyo Giants

TOKYO – After 13 innings, 23 runs, 32 hits, 8 home runs and a good five hours of mayhem, Tokyo outlasted Nishinomiya, 12-11.

The initial Randy Johnson – Minoru Murayama pitching duel didn’t last very long. By the time Randy Johnson was yanked in the third inning, he had given up six runs, and the Tigers were trailing, 6-1. Murayama lasted only through the beginning of the fifth inning, however, exiting the game trailing 7-6. Both pitchers find their ERAs over 6 after this game, with hopes of fewer pinball games to come.

Down 7-6, the Giants mounted a big, 4-run 5th inning rally to retake the lead. The big blow came on Roberto Clemente’s three run shot off Roy Face. For good measure, Barry Bonds added a solo shot for the Giants in the bottom of the 6th, placing the Tokyo lead at 11-7 with only three frames remaining.

However, in the top of the 11th inning, the Tokyo pitching fell apart. The visiting Tigers managed four runs in the inning, the big blow a three run blast off the bat of Shosei Go.

Then, somehow, the pitching returned. From that last score in the top of the 7th to the bottom of the 13th, not a single run was scored. Both teams rallied, but couldn’t manage to put the winning run over the plate. The Tigers had the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the 8th and couldn’t score. Shortly thereafter, they had runners on first and third in the top of the 10th, and still came up short. And then, as if fate were teasing the hometown Giants, they found themselves stranding a bases-loaded chance in the bottom of the 11th, as Robert Clemente struck out after fouling off three consecutive pitches.

The winning run scored on a Josh Gibson single with runners on first and second. Rube Waddell, Nishinomiya’s eccentric pitcher, wound up with the loss. Tokyo advanced to 7-3 on the season, improving from an awful 0-3 opening series against the Beijing Red Dragons, and good enough for second place, 2 ½ games behind the Beijing Mets. Tokyo’s April has been especially impressive due to its runs scored / runs against ratio. The Giants have scored only 53 runs, despite an offense that was widely considered the best in baseball. They have given up 56, for a -3 margin and a projected .472 winning percentage (vs .700 actual).

Nishinomiya finds themselves relegated to forth place, 4 games out of first, with a 6-5 record.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 7, Seoul Blue Dragons 4 At Beijing. Eight straight loss for the hapless Blue Dragons, who are now 2-11.

Beijing Red Dragons 6, Harbin Icecaps 4 At Harbin.

Shenyang Defenders 4, Tianjin Lions 2 At Shenyang

Southeastern League

Suzhou Artisans 3, Nanjing Monarchs 2 At Nanjing. Randy Johnson pitched a complete game for the Monarchs, losing despite only giving up five hits.

Ningbo Stallions 7, Hangzhou Eagles 6 At Ningbo

Shanghai White Sox 9, Shanghai Red Sox 2 At White Sox

Wenzhou Merchants 3, Hefei Hope Stars 2 At Wenzhou.

Northwestern League

Lanzhou Refiners 7, Jinan Leopards 2 At Jinan

Wuhan Turtles 15, Taiyuan Kylin 12 At Wuhan. Despite a 13-1 deficit in the top of the 6th inning on the road, Taiyuan nearly made the comeback, scoring 11 times in the final three innings.

Luoyang White Horse 3, Zhengzhou Dragons 0 At Zhengzhou. Robin Roberts shut out the Dragons on five hits.

Southwestern League

Chongqing Fog 8, Chengdu Spice 1 At Chengdu. Leo Day went the distance for Chongqing, striking out 11.

Guangzhou Fire 4, Fuzhou Whales 0 At Guangzhou.

Taibei Brother Elephants 10, Lhasa Monks 2 At Taibei. Bob Shawkey threw a complete game for Taibei.

Xianggang Reds 3, Yunnan Bulls 2 (12) At Xianggang. With the score tied 1-1 going into the top of the 12th, Yunnan’s Al Simmons smacked a homerun to left field. However, after a single and a botched bunt attempt, Xianggang’s Judy Johnson hit a long ball to win it.

League Leaders

We’re not far enough into the season to start talking about batting average (quite a few players are hitting over .400, and the current leader is Wenzhou’s Vada Pinson, at .500 after 24 at-bats), but we can take a peek at a few other categories. Here are a few top threes:

Home Runs: 1) Eddie Mathews, Xi’an Wild Geese, 7. 2) [tied] Sammy Sosa, Lhasa Monks, 6, and Hank Greenberg, Xianggang Reds, 6.

Stolen Bases: 1) Chester Williams, Zhengzhou Dragons, 8. 2) [tied] Jelly Gardner, Xianggang Reds, 6, and Tetelo Vargas, Zhengzhou Dragons, 6.

Earned Run Average: 1) [tied] Sandy Koufax, Nanjing Monarchs, 0.00 (14.1 IP) and Charley Radbourn, Hefei Hope Stars, 0.00 (8.2 IP). 2) 4 tied with 0.56.

Batting Average Against: 1) Sid Fernandez, Xianggang Reds .093 (13.0 IP). 2) Alex Fernandez, Wenzhou Merchants, .109 (13.1 IP). 3) Hideo Fujimoto, Nishinomiya Tigers, .115 (16.0 IP).

Strikeouts: 1) Pedro Martinez, Nanjing Monarchs, 29 (23.1 IP). 2) Jimmy Key, Zhengzhou Dragons, 27 (23.0 IP). 3) Mike Mussina, Zhengzhou Dragons, 24 (23.2 IP).

Team Offense (sorted by BA, includes OBP / SPC): 1) Wuhan Turtles, .305 BA, .357 / .560. 2) Lhasa Monks, .304, .378 / .541. 3) Taibei Brother Elephants, .289, .360 / .482.

Team Pitching (sorted by ERA): 1) Hefei Hope Stars, 2.22. 2) Nanjing Monarchs, 2.67. 3) Shanghai Red Sox, 2.73. All three teams come from the Southeastern League, which is using a pitcher-friendly era and has more pitcher-friendly parks.

April 26th 2008: Lanzhou at Jinan

Here's yesterday's action, summarized really quickly.

April 26th, 2008

Lanzhou Refiners at Jinan Leopards

JINAN – With a seven run outburst in the bottom of the 7th inning, the hometown Leopards overcame a four run deficit to overwhelm Lanzhou. And, for insurance, Jinan added three runs in the bottom of the 8th, putting the game out of reach for once and for all, winning 10-6 in definitive fashion.

On a warm spring day when the ball seemed to fly out of the yard at will, seven players in all hit homeruns, leaving high ERA and pitch counts in their wake. And yet, the hitting star of the afternoon, Jinan’s Jackie Robinson, didn’t hit a single dinger all afternoon. Robinson went 4-for-5 with a single double and three singles for the Leopards, and yet didn’t pick up even a single RBI for his efforts.

The teams meet again tomorrow afternoon.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Tianjin Lions 3, Beijing Mets 2 At Beijing

Harbin Icecaps 4, Beijing Red Dragons 2 At Harbin

Shenyang Defenders 14, Seoul Blue Dragons 0 At Shenyang

Tokyo Giants 5, Nishinomiya Tigers 4 At Tokyo

Southeastern League

Nanjing Monarchs 3, Suzhou Artisans 1 At Nanjing

Hangzhou Eagles 4, Ningbo Stallions 2 (10) At Ningbo

Shanghai Red Sox 5, Shanghai White Sox 0 At White Sox

Hefei Hope Stars 9, Wenzhou Merchants 1 At Wenzhou

Northwestern League

Xi’an Wild Geese 11, Urumqi Flying Tigers 4 At Urumqi

Wuhan Turtles 6, Taiyuan Kylin 1 At Wuhan

Luoyang White Horse 4, Zhengzhou Dragons 2 At Zhengzhou

Southwestern League

Chengdu Spice 6, Chongqing Fog 2 At Chengdu

Fuzhou Whales 5, Guangzhou Fire 2 At Guangzhou

Lhasa Monks 6, Taibei Brother Elephants 5 At Taibei

Xianggang Reds 4, Yunnan Bulls 3 At Xianggang

One day delay

This will be the first of what may be a number of slight update delays. We spent the majority of the day having lunch, shopping, and playing UNO with a few friends. After they left (around 8 PM), I let my wife use our desktop to watch a Taiwanese music program on YouTube, and sat down to watch the Jazz - Rockets game and play some baseball.

I got in three APBA basic games before the 4th quarter, took a deep breath, and decided to try my hand at the Super Advanced Strat-O-Matic baseball game. I haven't played Strat for very long (I can only get a game in once in a while), so I was worried that the system would be too foreign for me. I was hoping that my experience with the APBA Master Game would help at least a little. Well, I was more than pleased with the result. In a replay of last year's Wild Card play-in game, Colorado came from behind to beat San Diego, 8-6. Strat's Super Advanced game is a lot of fun, especially with the "optional" steal and wild pitches / balks system (Kaz Matsui got a couple of steals that way, especially since San Diego's starting catcher had a +3 arm rating, and Jake Peavy threw a crucial wild pitch with runners on first and second), and I really like the fielding system. It took me almost an hour to finish the game, but I still thought the flow was nice. I'm pretty sure I could get the hang of it!

Anyway, I'll write a "real" post tomorrow. Hopefully I can fit two in. Oh, and I'm very happy that the Jazz won again. I don't know if we'll be able to beat L.A. in the second round, though, and I'm afraid we still don't stand much of a chance against San Antonio.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Random comments

Simulation bickering

One thing I've learned is that people who enjoy games like Diamond Mind, APBA, Replay, Strat-O-Matic and so on tend to become extremely defensive of their favorite game. For example, I can remember reading APBA Journal articles years ago about how lefty-righty splits, a Strat-O-Matic specialty even then, didn't really add much to the realism of the simulation. You can see similar bickering occasionally between fans of competing games like OOTP Baseball and Action PC Baseball. And, as I learned last week, you can still find an 11-year-old article on the official Strat-O-Matic website about why Strat's computer game is better than APBA and DMB.

As I've noted before, my purpose here is not to recommend one game over another. Whether you play Replay Baseball or Baseball for Windows homebrew disks created by Skeetersoft, I think you should play whichever game you feel is right. Still, something irks me about a company willing to claim statistical superiority just because Gold Glove winners tend to receive better fielding ratings for its product, and because you can see the player's "cards" during the game (see above article). It's a silly marketing strategy, one that makes you feel like you're reading about the Jehovah's Witnesses and not a game intended to simulate baseball. Notice, of course, that there is no mention of the awful Strat copy-protection system that puts you out of luck if you ever dare change computers. Honestly, I'm surprised (and a bit shocked) that this article is still on Strat's website.

Then again, at least Strat-o-Matic is still actively advertising their product. I don't know how Diamond Mind expects to sell its stand-alone game to new customers with no advertising whatsoever, not even a link on the popular Simnasium website. Heck, even the bland and repetitive John Madden series gets a tournament aired on ESPN2 (just watched the finale a few minutes ago); why can't a more realistic sports simulation get at least some mainstream advertising? I remember seeing APBA Baseball for Windows ads in computer magazines over 10 years ago, and I know that Diamond Mind used to have an ad under "fantasy" in Baseball Weekly as recently as five years ago. What happened?

If the head honchos at DMB were smart, they would have capitalized on all the free advertising they were getting on Baseball Think Factory threads a few years back. I mean, when Dan Szymborski uses DMB to create extremely accurate projection disks every year, and when the boys over at "Count the Rings" used DMB to run this multi-era simulation, you'd think Diamond Mind would try to at least stick up a banner ad or two. It's a little bit too late now, though, especially after all the message board bans and widespread criticism.

Realism

I guess my league is about as far from "realistic" as possible, especially since it's not even logically feasible. Still, it's important to me that the numbers feel right in the end, that nobody throws 10 no-hitters, hits over .500, etc. In short, I'm trying to avoid the situation in the above mentioned multi-era simulation, where the champion 1954 Indians were led by Joe Ginsberg (.496/.672/1.344) and Jim Dyck (.812/.867/.826). Ginsberg, of course, hit .500 in two real life at-bats, but was used in 131 simulation at-bats. Dyck hit 1.000 in one at-bat in real life, but had 69 at-bats in the simulation. Something just doesn't feel right there.
It would be like using this 1960 APBA Fred Green card as a pinch hitter. Granted, Green did hit two home runs in 8 at-bats in real life, but it doesn't seem right that he have one of the greatest offensive hitter cards of all time.

I guess this brings up the old debate between creating cards based on a player's season or on a player's projected (or retro-jected) performance. People usually mention the 1980 George Brett problem. Brett hit .390 in 1980, as you already know, but hit only .305 lifetime, never even coming close to .390 in any other season. Would it be fair to give him a card that could potentially earn him an average north of .400? It all depends on your philosophic attitude toward these baseball simulations, I guess.

Anyway, I'd better get going. We've got company coming over tonight.

April 25th, 2008: Luoyang at Zhengzhou --NO HITTER--

I had a feeling we were going to see a no-hitter pretty soon. Red Ruffing never threw one in real life, but he accomplished the feat against some of the most intense competition anywhere.

April 25th, 2008

Luoyang at Zhengzhou

ZHENGZHOU – White Horse pitcher Charles Herbert “Red” Ruffing shocked first place Zhengzhou this afternoon, twirling a no-hitter in front of a packed, hostile house.

Ruffing came oh-so-close to throwing a perfect game in the process. Red retired the first 18 men he faced before giving up a 7th inning walk on four pitches to King Kelley. Kelley wound up as part of a Rafael Palmeiro double play to end the inning. The only other Dragon hitter to reach base was Tetelo Vargas, who fouled off pitches to force a walk in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Zhengzhou starting pitcher Octavio Dotel was injured after facing one hitter, continuing an odd trend that has plagued all four leagues. As such, not a single Dragon pitcher came to the plate, making matters even more difficult for Ruffing. Although Luoyang only scored four runs, a total of six Zhengzhou pitchers entered the game.

Ruffing struck out 11 Dragons in the process, completing the feat on only 101 pitches. His era is now at 1.08 for the 5-5 White Horse. Zhengzhou’s record dropped to 8-4, but they still enjoy a hold on first place in the Northwestern League.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 3, Tianjin Lions 2 At Beijing. Shoichi Busujima’s single in the bottom of the ninth drove in the winning run, as Beijing scored two to beat the visiting Lions.

Tokyo Giants 5, Beijing Red Dragons 4 At Beijing. In a wild ending, Tokyo scored three times in the top of the ninth, then weathered a two-run Beijing rally in the bottom of the ninth, winning 5-4.

Harbin Icecaps 2, Nishinomiya Tigers 1 At Nishinomiya

Shenyang Defenders 3, Seoul Blue Dragons 2 At Seoul. Johnny Pesky’s double down the right field line in the bottom of the ninth secured a Shenyang victory.

Northwestern League

Wuhan Turtles 5, Lanzhou Refiners 1 At Lanzhou

Taiyuan Kylin 6, Jinan Leopards 2 At Taiyuan

Urumqi Flying Tigers 10, Xi’an Wild Geese 9 At Urumqi. Babe Ruth’s homer to right in the bottom of the ninth broke open a 9-9 tie. The homer was the Bambino’s second of the game and third of the season.

Southwestern League

Fuzhou Whales 3, Guangzhou Fire 1 At Guangzhou.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 24th, 2008: Fuzhou at Chengdu

April 24th, 2008

Fuzhou Whales at Chengdu Spice

CHENGDU – With a five run bulge in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Spice burst out of the shackles of the Southwestern League cellar, defeating Fuzhou 6-5.

Chengdu’s offensive explosion in the bottom of the 7th inning came after a single, a pair of walks, and a big grand slam home run by Leon Durham, knocking Fuzhou starter Wes Ferrell out of the box with his first loss. There weren’t many fans on to cheer the hometown heroes, but those that did come went away satisfied with the second Spice win of the season.

The blast, Durham’s first of the season, came as Leon pinch-hit for starter Jim Bunning. Chengdu’s manager is hoping that it will deliver a needed boost to the depressed Spice lineup, with stars such as Mel Ott hitting .118 and Mike Piazza hitting .143.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Tokyo Giants 5, Beijing Red Dragons 2 At Beijing

Nishinomiya Tigers 5, Harbin Icecaps 4 At Nishinomiya. The Tigers handed a loss and a blown save to Harbin closer Goose Gossage with three tallies in the bottom of the eighth.

Beijing Mets 3, Shenyang Defenders 0 At Shenyang. Beijing now has a six game winning streak and is in first by two games, with a 9-1 record.

Southeastern League

Shanghai Red Sox 3, Nanjing Monarchs 2 At Nanjing. Nanjing starter Pedro Martinez limited Shanghai to 5 hits, but gave up three solo homers in the process.

Suzhou Artisans 3, Shanghai White Sox 1 At Shanghai. Suzhou’s Kirby Puckett was injured, out for 13 games.

Hangzhou Eagles 3, Wenzhou Merchants 2 At Wenzhou.

Northwestern League

Lanzhou Refiners 4, Wuhan Turtles 1 At Lanzhou. Tommy Holmes was injured for Lanzhou, will miss 10 games.

Jinan Leopards 2, Taiyuan Kylin 1 At Taiyuan

Zhengzhou Dragons 3, Urumqi Flying Tigers 1 At Zhengzhou

Southwestern League

Guangzhou Fire 6, Chongqing Fog 3 At Guangzhou

Yunnan Bulls 5, Taibei Brother Elephants 3 At Taibei. Taibei starting pitcher Ray Kremer was injured, will miss 14 days.

Lhasa Monks 4, Xianggang Reds 2 At Xianggang

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 23rd, 2008: Taiyuan at Lanzhou

April 23rd, 2008

Taiyuan Kylin at Lanzhou Refiners

LANZHOU – After eleven innings of battling, the visiting Kylin defeated the Refiners, 5-2. The big blow came on Robin Ventura’s shot in the top of the eleventh inning, taking advantage of two free passes by Lanzhou reliever Orval Overall.

Ventura’s home run, his first of the season, erased an exciting comeback by Lanzhou in the bottom of the eighth. In that frame, Frank Howard went deep off reliever Dave Righetti, tying the score at 2. The blast would have counted for two runs, had Eddie Collins not been picked off first earlier in the same at-bat.

And thus the pitching duel between Taiyuan starter Cy Young and Lanzhou starter Eiji Sawamura resulted in a no-decision for both starters. Young gave up only a single run in 7, his ERA dropping to 3.46. Sawamura battled him stride for stride for 8 innings, giving up two runs, dropping his ERA to 2.25.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Nishinomiya Tigers 2, Beijing Red Dragons 1 At Nishinomiya. Tigers starter Hideo Fujimoto went eight strong innings, allowing only four hits and a single run.

Tianjin Lions 5, Seoul Blue Dragons 3 At Seoul. Charlie Hough threw a complete game, giving up ten hits in the process.

Beijing Mets 9, Shenyang Defenders 4 At Shenyang

Tokyo Giants 5, Harbin Icecaps 2 At Tokyo.

Southeastern League

Nanjing Monarchs 1, Shanghai Red Sox 0 At Nanjing, one of the tensest games of the month. Through the sweltering, moist heat of Nanjing (one of China’s famous four furnaces), the Monarchs outlasted an 87 minute rain delay to beat the Red Sox, 1-0. Sandy Koufax gave up only 3 hits in eight innings for the Nanjing club, and was matched by Shanghai’s Bartolo Colon, who shut down Nanjing on five hits over 8. The final run came on four straight Nanjing singles in the bottom of the 11th, Honus Wagner receiving credit for the RBI.

Ningbo Stallions 5, Hefei Hope Stars 1 At Ningbo. Ningbo starter Greg Maddux won his second game, giving up only a single run on five hits and striking out 7.

Hangzhou Eagles 7, Wenzhou Merchants 5 At Wenzhou.

Northwestern League

Wuhan Turtles 11, Jinan Leopards 4 At Jinan

Xi’an Wild Geese 11, Luoyang White Horse 7 At Xi’an

Zhengzhou Dragons 6, Urumqi Flying Tigers 2 At Zhengzhou.

Southwestern League

Chongqing Fog 3, Guangzhou Fire 2 (10) At Guangzhou. Smokey Joe Williams went 9 innings for Guangzhou, but it wasn’t enough, as the visiting Fog came back in the top of the tenth.

Taibei Brother Elephants 6, Yunnan Bulls 0 At Taibei. Andy Pettitte threw a four hitter, completely shutting down Yunnan and lowering his ERA to a miniscule 0.56. Yunnan starter Bert Campaneris was injured, will miss 9 days.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22nd, 2008: Lhasa at Xianggang

April 22nd, 2008

Lhasa at Xianggang

XIANGGANG – The Lhasa Monks tightened their hold on the Southwestern League lead, exploding for 5 runs in the top of the ninth to defeat the cellar-dwelling Reds.

Reds pitcher Dobson did a good job of holding back the Monks offensive attack, giving up only five hits in eight innings of work. He left with his team down 4-3, but that didn’t last long.

Willie Hernandez came in from the bullpen to hold the Monks, and didn’t even come close. Hitters Curt Flood, Sammy Sosa and George Giles greeted Hernandez with three straight singles. Larry Andersen came in to put out the fire, and promptly gave up a hit to Roberto Alomar. Dan Quisenberry, the Lhasa closer, reached on an error and was forced at second by Paul Molitor’s grounder. With two on and one out, Gene Tenace came up and cleared the bases with a big double. By the time all was said and done, five more runs were tallied for the visitors, putting this game out of reach.

The two teams take Wednesday off, and meet again on Thursday. Mike Scott is anticipated to start for the Reds against the Monks’ Schoolboy Rowe.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Nishinomiya Tigers 4, Beijing Red Dragons 3 At Nishinomiya

Beijing Mets 11, Seoul Blue Dragons 8 At Seoul

Shenyang Defenders 11, Tianjin Lions 0 At Tianjin

Tokyo Giants 4, Harbin Icecaps 3 At Tokyo

Southeastern League

Shanghai Red Sox 10, Nanjing Monarchs 3 At Nanjing

Ningbo Stallions 4, Hefei Hope Stars 2 At Ningbo. Classic Japanese matchup, as Hefei’s Dihigo and Ningbo’s Wakabayashi both went 8 strong innings.

Suzhou Artisans 6, Shanghai White Sox 3 At Shanghai

Wenzhou Merchants 3, Hangzhou Eagles 1 At Wenzhou. Wenzhou pitcher Virgil Trucks was injured, should miss 14 days.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 12, Wuhan Turtles 4 At Jinan

Lanzhou Refiners 10, Taiyuan Kylin 9 (10) At Lanzhou

Urumqi Flying Tigers 9, Luoyang White Horse 3 At Luoyang. Urumqi starter Warren Spahn goes the distance, earning his first win of the season.

Zhengzhou Dragons 5, Xi’an Wild Geese 4 (10) At Xi’an

Southwestern League

Fuzhou Whales 8, Chengdu Spice 1 At Chengdu. Fuzhou starter Dwight Gooden goes the distance, giving up only 7 hits and striking out nine. Chengdu starter Bret Saberhagen injured in the first inning, will miss 14 days.

Chongqing Fog 2, Guangzhou Fire 0 At Guangzhou

Taibei Brother Elephants 10, Yunnan Bulls 7 At Taibei. Wild game, which Taibei won in the bottom of the 9th on a Bill Terry three run homer to right.

Team Review: Luoyang White Horse

For some reason, I can't get Blogspot's picture uploading program to work right now. Sorry!

I don't have any work or finals today (the last one is Modern Chinese Literature, tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour of 7 AM), so I figured I'd take the chance to stick up another team preview or two. Then again, now that the season is underway, I guess it counts as a team review instead. All semantics aside, here's the roster and some commentary on the Luoyang White Horse

The Season
As of April 22nd, 2008, the White Horse are in fourth place in the Northwestern League, playing .500 ball with a 4-4 record, and a game and a half behind the division leading Jinan Leopards. Luoyang's scored 29 runs and has given up 33, a difference that can be explained by their 9-3 loss to the fifth place Urumqi Flying Tigers earlier today.

The Stadium

Luoyang plays in the park formerly known as Enron Field, here renamed White Horse Stadium. This obsession with white horses comes chiefly from the famous White Horse Temple (白马寺), one of the most famous ancient Buddhist temples in mainland China. Perhaps commercializing a religious symbol is a tad inappropriate, but it fits in well with current capitalist practices in mainland China.

Starting Rotation
1. Tom Seaver
2. Robin Roberts
3. Ed Walsh
4. Hilton Smith
5. Red Ruffing
SS. Jose Munoz
SS. Kazuhisa Inao

Because only eight games have been played thus far, it's too early to give much pitching analysis.

As is often the case with deadball-era Negro League pitchers, I couldn't find anything about Jose Munoz online.

Relievers
Steve Farr
Don McMahon
Tim Burke
Rick Honeycutt

Starting Lineup
1. Wild Bill Wright RF
2. Jeff Kent 2B / Ben Taylor 1B
3. Dobie Moore SS
4. Harmon Killebrew 1B / Harmon Killebrew 3B
5. Bob Johnson LF / Zack Wheat LF
6. Bill Dickey C
7. Ken Boyer 3B / Jeff Kent 2B
8. Happy Felsch CF

Ben Taylor is currently injured, and should be back on April 24th.

Among starters, Harmon Killebrew is currently leading in batting, with a .387 / .406 / .742 line, along with three homers and 5 runs batted in.

Bench
Jimmy Ryan
Nish Williams
Bobby Wallace
Mike Tiernan
Lee Lacy
Masayuki Kakefu
Bobby Rose
Darren Daulton
Rusty Staub

Bobby Rose comes from the Japanese All-time Greats disk, believe it or not. He is considered to be one of the greatest foreign players in the history of Japanese baseball.

Anyway, there's today's quick team review. It will probably be a while before I start posting standings and league leaders, since not enough games have been played to report anything meaningful.

Monday, April 21, 2008

April 21st, 2008: Shenyang at Tianjin

This is going to be quick. The Jazz won tonight, so I'm happy. My final went well this morning. I should have a bigger post tomorrow, assuming my German Independent Study class doesn't devour me alive.


April 21st, 2008

Shenyang Defenders at Tianjin Lions

TIANJINShenyang starter Jack McDowell earned his first win today, shutting out Tianjin on three hits in a complete game performance.

McDowell’s victory came on the back of a fairly weak offensive performance by the Defenders They managed only three runs off Lions starter Stanley Coveleski, all coming in the first inning. Despite Radcliff’s 4-for-4 performance, the Defenders couldn’t get any runs across.

The game was one of the fastest of the year, coming on a day when only four games were played league wide.

Click here for boxscore.

Other games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 6, Seoul Blue Dragons 3 At Seoul. A three-run 9th inning for Beijing broke a 3-3 tie.

Northwestern League

Urumqi Flying Tigers 3, Luoyang White Horse 1 At Luoyang

Zhengzhou Dragons 4, Xi’an Wild Geese 3 At Xi’an

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20th, 2008: Zhengzhou at Xi'an

Here's another game of the day, hot off the presses. I have a big Japanese Political Science final at 7AM tomorrow, which is going to be the last difficult final I have. Next semester starts a week from tomorrow, though. It never lets up!

April 20th, 2008

Zhengzhou Dragons at Xi’an Wild Geese

XI’AN – In an incredibly exciting see-saw battle, the Wild Geese would up on top in the end, defeating the visiting Dragons 8-7 .

Xi’an starter Cannonball Redding gave up a home run to King Kelley, the first Zhengzhou batter, and then proceeded to get the next two men out before leaving the game with a serious injury. Apparently the injury was sustained on Rafael Palmeiro’s ground ball to the mound. Redding will miss the next 23 days, which will be a shock to Xi’an’s pitching staff.

The two teams then traded leads, going back and forth. Xi’an took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning on Pablo Mesa’s two run blast. Both teams tallied a run in the 4th inning, and then Zhengzhou evened it up at 3 with a fifth inning rally. Both teams then scored anther run in the 6th, making the score 4-4 with only three innings to play.

Xi’an blew the gates wide open with three runs in the bottom of the 7th. The big blow came on Eddie Mathew’s bases-loaded double. Zhengzhou reliever Bill Henry, who also pitched an inning yesterday, got himself into the bases loaded jam, with a walk, a hit batter and an infield single. At that moment, it seemed that the home team had the game sewn up.

But then Zhengzhou came roaring back. The unheralded Darrell Porter hit his second homer of the game, and third of the seasons, with a runner on in the top of the 8th. A handful of base hits produced another run, and before long the game was tied at 7.

Those three runs came off of Xi’an relievers Kent Tekulve and Tom Gordon. However, as Xi’an’s entire pitching staff was either exhausted or already used, Gordon stayed in for the top of the 9th inning. Gordon allowed two singles, got Porter to fly out to deep right field, and then proceeded to strike out the next two batters to end the inning.

In front of a roaring crowd, Tony Phillips, leading off the bottom of the 9th, smacked the second pitch he saw into the left field stands. The blow was Phillips’ first of the season, putting his teammates and the fans in a frenzy, as Xi’an continues to battle for the Northwestern League lead.

Click here for boxscore.

Other games

Northeastern League

Harbin Icecaps 3, Beijing Red Dragons 1 At Beijing

Beijing Mets 8, Seoul Blue Dragons 3 At Seoul

Shenyang Defenders 11, Tianjin Lions 6 (12) At Tianjin. Tianjin starter Curt Schilling was injured on the second pitch of the game, after giving up a bunt single. He will miss 21 days.

Southeastern League

Hangzhou Eagles 3, Ningbo Stallions 2 At Hangzhou

Shanghai White Sox 4, Shanghai Red Sox 1 At Red Sox. White Sox’ Kazuhiro Yamauchi was injured, will miss next 5 days.

Nanjing Monarchs 13, Suzhou Artisans 2 At Suzhou. Nanjing starter Pedro Martinez again struck out 12 batters in 7 innings of work.

Northwestern League

Lanzhou Refiners 4, Jinan Leopards 3 At Lanzhou

Luoyang White Horse 4, Urumqi Flying Tigers 3 At Luoyang

Southwestern League

Chengdu Spice 7, Chongqing Fog 1 At Chongqing. Chongqing relief pitcher Chuck McKlroy was injured, will miss 20 days.

Guangzhou Fire 8, Fuzhou Whales 2 At Fuzhou.

Taibei Brother Elephants 12, Lhasa Monks 8 At Lhasa. Three HRs for Taibei’s Futoshi Nakanishi.

Xianggang Reds 8, Yunnan Bulls 3 At Yunnan

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 19th, 2008: Shenyang at Seoul Doubleheader

The Jazz won their first playoff game tonight, I took a Japanese history final, and I'm pretty pleased with myself. Here's a doubleheader!

April 19th, 2008

Shenyang Defenders at Seoul Blue Dragons (doubleheader)

SEOUL – The Defenders and Blue Dragons split a remarkable doubleheader today. The first game lasted 14 innings, including two dramatic late comebacks, before Seoul’s victory. In the second, Shenyang starter Kevin Brown was masterful, shutting out the Blue Dragons on one hit.

All the offensive excitement came in the wild, 5-4 14 inning opening game. Behind 3-2 in the top of the 9th inning, Shenyang mounted a late rally. Following a Sam Crawford double, pinch hitter Roy White snuck a single in through the middle, driving in the tying run.

Randy Velarde lead the top of the 14th inning off with a walk, stole second, and scored on a Todd Helton double. Things appeared safe for Shenyang, until pitcher David Wells ran out of gas. Wells walked leadoff hitter Monte Irvin on four pitches. Irvin proceeded to steal second, advanced on a fly ball, and scored on pinch hitter Toshizo Sakamoto’s single to right, tying the ballgame.

It looked like the game would continue, but Wells made a throwing error after a series of pickoff attempts. Sakamoto advanced to second, and hitter Mickey Mantle was given a free pass. That brought up Andy Thornton, who spanked a double down the third base line, and the first game was in the book.

Kevin Brown was absolutely brilliant in the second game, shutting down a lineup that included Wee Willie Keeler, Mickey Mantle and Wade Boggs. The hometown Blue Dragons only managed a single hit, a second inning Boggs single, which amounted to nothing.

Click here for game one boxscore.

Click here for game two boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Red Dragons 5, Harbin Icecaps 2 At Beijing.

Tokyo Giants 8, Nishinomiya Tigers 5 (10) At Nishinomiya. Giants first win of season.

Beijing Mets 5, Tianjin Lions 1 At Tianjin

Southeastern League

Shanghai White Sox 6, Shanghai Red Sox 4 At Red Sox

Nanjing Monarchs 9, Suzhou Artisans 4 At Suzhou. Nanjing starter Christy Mathewson injured, out for 10 days.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 5, Lanzhou Refiners 4 At Lanzhou. Lanzhou center fielder Alejandro Oms injured, out for 5 days.

Zhengzhou Dragons 3, Luoyang White Horse 1 At Luoyang

Xi’an Wild Geese 9, Urumqi Flying Tigers 2 At Xi’an. Xi’an catcher Chief Meyers was seriously injured, out for 35 days.

Southwestern League

Chongqing Fog 5, Chengdu Spice 3 At Chongqing. Chongqing starter John Tudor injured, out for 14 days.

Guangzhou Fire 14, Fuzhou Whales 11 At Fuzhou

Lhasa Monks 12, Taibei Brother Elephants 6 At Lhasa

Xianggang Reds 10, Yunnan Bulls 7 At Yunnan