Thursday, November 09, 2006

Konami Cup, Day One

Well, the Asia Series, aka the "Konami Cup", is underway. The afternoon game saw a whopping 2,127 people come to the Tokyo Dome to predictably see the CPBL champion LA New Bears slaughter the China All-Stars (managed by the one and only Jim Lefebvre), in a game that was called after 8 innings due to the mercy rule, winning 12-2. It should be noted that the score actually was 2-1 in favor of the China team in the fourth inning for a brief moment, until the Taiwanese team obliterated Haifeng Chen and Bu Tao in the top of the fifth for nine runs, four of them coming off a grand slam by Chin-Feng Chen and another three off a home run by Feng-Min Chen. Chin-Feng Chen, who ultimately went 4-for-5 with two home runs and 6 RBI, would also hit another 2-run homer in the 8th inning. The China All-Stars struck out in order for their half of the 8th and that was that.

The Fighters are taking on the once-more KBO champion Samsung Lions, who were beaten both times they faced the Chiba Lotte Marines in last year's Series. This should be interesting. I don't think I'll be staying up for the whole game, especially as I have no clue where to get a video or audio feed for it. But I might as well provide an English running game ticker while I'm awake. (ED: I ended up translating the first six innings as they happened and the last three in the morning. Scroll down if you want to read the game log, or look here if you just quickly want to see a box score.)

Tomoya Yagi (12-8, 2.48) starts for the Fighters against the Lions' Dong-gyu Lim (8-7, 3.59). I've got to admit that I know very little about Samsung's team, but looking at the team stats, this guy doesn't really seem like their best starter (it'd appear to be Su-Bae Young?), so maybe they're leaving their best for the finals. I dunno. All I know is that Seung-Hwan Oh is their amazing closer.

Fighters lineup looks normal except that Seguignol is not there (I think he's still in the US resolving a passport issue?), and Shinjo isn't playing, so we've got:

Hichori Morimoto CF Han-Yi Park CF
Kensuke Tanaka 2B Dong-Chan Cho 3B
Michihiro Ogasawara 1B Joon-Hyuk Yang DH
Atsunori Inaba RF Jung-Soo Shim LF
Kuniyuki Kimoto 3B Jin-Man Park SS
Naoto Inada DH Kab-Yong Jin C
Shinya Tsuruoka C Han-Soo Kim 1B
Toshimasa Konta LF Jong-Ho Park 2B
Makoto Kaneko SS Jong-Hoon Kim RF

---------- ----------
Tomoya Yagi (12-8, 2.48) Dong-Gyu Lim (8-7, 3.59)
(hey, wtf, look at that, Kimoto's back)

Anyway, this post may or may not be a moving target. Game starts in ten minutes, but I'm pretty tired.

You know, now that I've typed in the Korean lineup, I realized a lot of their names ARE actually pretty familiar from last year's Asia Series, and from the WBC. That's kind of cool.

I'm just reloading SportsNavi a lot to get game updates. Whee.

First inning, top: Hichori grounded out to short, Kensuke popped out to shallow center. Ogasawara doubled off the right-field fence, but then Inaba flew out to center. Lim threw 14 pitches.

First inning, bottom: Han-Yi Park flew out behind second base, shortstop Kaneko making the catch. Cho hit an inside pitch and flew out to second, Tanaka making the catch. Young flew out to center. Yagi threw 9 pitches.

Second inning, top: Kimoto flew out to left. Inada grounded out to third. Tsuruoka struck out looking. Lim threw 12 pitches for a total of 26.

Second inning, bottom: Shim grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw. Jin-Man Park struck out swinging on three straight pitches. Kab-Yong Jin got up to the first full count of the game and walked. Han-soo Kim struck out swinging. Yagi threw 14 pitches for a total of 23.

Third inning, top: Konta got up to a full count and fouled off a few balls but then grounded out to second. Kaneko hit a foul fly ball behind the plate caught by the catcher. Hichori got up to a 3-1 count but grounded out to short. Lim threw 17 pitches that inning for a total of 43.

Third inning, bottom: Jong-Ho Park grounded weakly towards short, Kaneko apparently charging in and making a jumping throw to get him out at first. Jong-Hoon Kim struck out swinging. Han-Yi Park grounded the first pitch he saw back to the mound. Yagi threw 7 pitches that inning for a total of 30.

Fourth inning, top: Kensuke gruonded out to third. Ogasawara grounded out to short. Inaba... Inaba got a high inside pitch and hit a hard liner that flew over the right-field fence for a solo home run! Yay! Kimoto flew out to center after that, but the score is now 1-0 Fighters. Lim only threw 12 pitches that inning for a total of 51, though.

Fourth inning, bottom: Okay, so Cho grounded to short, and Kaneko fired the ball to first... but made a throwing error and Cho ended up at second. Yang grounded out to first, advancing Cho to third. Shim hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Cho, so the score is now tied at 1-1. Jin-Man Park walked. Kab-Yong Jin hit a single to left field, advancing Park to second. Fortunately, Han-Soo Kim grounded out to third after that. Yagi threw 18 pitches that inning for a total of 48. The run scored was unearned, of course.

Fifth inning, top: Inada leads off the inning by singling to left. Tsuruoka okuri-bunts him over to second. Konta, sadly, strikes out looking, and Kaneko flies out to center. Oh well. Score is still tied 1-1, Lim threw 14 pitches that inning for a total of 65.

Fifth inning, bottom: Yagi walks Jong-Ho Park and then apparently gets taken out of the game on account of a shoulder injury. Ugh. I totally blame Ogasawara for this. (Though to be fair, Yagi was taken out of the East-West game with shoulder problems too. Arrrrgggghhhh.)

Yagi's line: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 3 BB, 53 pitches.

Takehiko Oshimoto (yay!) comes in to take his place on the mound. Jong-Hoon Kim okuri-bunts Jong-Ho Park to second. Han-Yi Park walks. Cho grounds out to third, advancing the two Parks. Then Young gets up to a full count before he grounds out to second, ending the threat. Oshimoto threw 17 pitches, though. Score is still 1-1.

Sixth inning, top: Jae-Gul Kim enters the game playing second base and batting eighth. And Hichori leads off by hitting a double into the right-center gap! And.. that appears to be a pitching change, Young-Sik Kang coming in to replace Dong-gyu Lim.

Lim's line: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 1 HR, 2 K, 0 BB, 69 pitches. (updated after Hichori scored)

Okay, so of course the first thing Kensuke Tanaka does, as always, is okuri-bunt Hichori over to third base. Predictably, they walk Ogasawara. (It doesn't say it was intentional, but it was on four straight pitches...) And Inaba, reminding us all why he was Japan Series MVP, goes ahead and hits an RBI single to right, scoring Hichori and moving Ogasawara to second. So it's now 2-1 Fighters! Kimoto comes up and hits a single to left, loading the bases! Kang is pulled from the game in favor of Oh-Joon Kwon, apparently known as the "KO Punch". At a glance he looks like the team's relief ace / setup man.

Kang's line: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 R/ER, 16 pitches. Poor guy.

Then Yukio Tanaka (!!!!!!) comes in to pinch-hit for DH Naoto Inada, and draws a bases-loaded walk, scoring Ogasawara! That brings it to 3-1 Fighters. Shinya Tsuruoka comes up and hits a single to center, scoring Inaba! Now, 4-1 Fighters, bases still loaded. Konta grounds to second, almost starting a double play but he manages to beat the throw to first. Kimoto scores on the play, making it 5-1 Fighters. Kaneko sadly strikes out, and that ends the party. Kwon threw 17 pitches in that mess.

Sixth inning, bottom: Shim gets to a full count and is called out on strikes. Jin-Man Park flies out to left. Kab-Yong Jin flies out to right. Oshimoto threw 13 pitches that inning, 30 through two. Still 5-1.

I am going to sleep. I'll translate the rest in the morning or something. I think the Fighters will be just fine from here on in... (EDIT: Yeah, they were. Of course. Finishing up:)

Seventh inning, top: Hyuk Kwon came in to pitch for the Lions and Jung-Sik Lee came in to catch. (Oh-Joon Kwon's line: 17 pitches, 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 inherited runners scored.)

Hichori leads off by popping out to left, Shim making the catch at the warning track. Kensuke pops out to short. Ogasawara hits a 148km/h fastball into the corner in left field for a double. Inaba grounds out to end the inning. Hyuk Kwon threw 14 pitches, score is still 5-1.

Seventh inning, bottom: Yoshinori Tateyama comes in to pitch for the Fighters. Oshimoto's line: 2 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 30 pitches.

Han-soo Kim hits a hard bouncer towards third, which Kimoto gets his glove on but can't hold onto, so it's ruled an infield single. Young-Hoon Cho comes in to pinch-run for him. Jae-Gul Kim strikes out looking after that. Dae-Ik Kim pinch-hits for Jong-Hoon Kim, and flies out to short. Han-Yi Park flies out to left. Tateyama threw 10 pitches and the score is still 5-1.

Eighth inning, top: Chang-Hee Kim comes in to play RF for the Lions. Kuniyuki Kimoto grounds out to second. Yukio Tanaka gets called out on strikes. Tsuruoka gets called out on a 146km/h high fastball strike. (They actually list Kwon's pitch speeds; he must be fast.) Kwon threw 11 pitches, score is still 5-1.

Eighth inning, bottom: Yuuji Iiyama comes in to play third, and Hisashi Takeda comes in to pitch. (Tateyama's line: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 10 pitches.)

Dong-Chan Cho breaks his bat grounding out to first. Joon-Hyuk Yang flies out to right. Jung-Soo Shim grounds out to third. Takeda threw 8 pitches for 3 outs.

Ninth inning, top: Hong-Jun Jung comes in to pitch for the Lions and Myung-Gu Kang comes in to play left field. Kwon's line: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 25 pitches. Not bad.

Konta leads off by striking out. Kaneko hits an infield single between third and short. Hichori flies out to right. Kensuke Tanaka walks, putting runners at first and second. Ogasawara comes up and smashes the ball into the right-center gap for a 2-RBI doublem scoring Kaneko and Tanaka, bringing the score to 7-2. Inaba grounds out to second after that. Jung threw 21 pitches (1 IP, 2 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 ER/R.)

Ninth inning, bottom: Micheal Nakamura comes in to pitch. Jung-Hwan Park singles to right, and then Jung-Sik Lee is hit by a pitch. With runners at first and second, Micheal then proceeds to strike out Young-Hoon Cho, Jae-Gul Kim, and Chang-Hee Kim on the next 10 pitches, all strikes. Whoosh. Micheal threw 17 pitches in the inning (1 IP, 1 H, 3 K, 1 HBP).

Fighters win the game, 7-2. Here's the box score (and in English). It appears from the photo gallery that Inaba was the game MVP.

EDIT: Okay, there's now a Japanball English article up about the games.

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