Thursday, May 22, 2008

NPB Roundup: Masaka!

3 Down, 4 to go!

Chunichi's elder statesman, 42-year-old lefty pitcher Masa Yamamoto, has been doing a great job of looking like the same guy who pitched a no-hitter in the fall of 2006. Last year, he was sporting signs of "RETIRE NOW BEFORE IT GETS WORSE" with his 2-10 record and 5.07 ERA. But this year -- which by all indications is a "Good Masa" year -- he is 3-0 with a microscopic 0.45 ERA in 4 games (his first game, he came out after an inning with back pain). Last night the Dragons beat the Eagles 3-1, with Masa getting the win. Now he is up to 196 career wins! Fantastic!

When will Masa get to 200 wins? My bet is it will be around August 11th, his 43rd birthday. Wouldn't that be awesome?

I do want to note that I took a brief look at some stathead stuff for him though. My calculations might be slightly off (I'm using 3 as the constant for FIP, too), but:
              Real ERA   FIP     Real OBA   BABIP
Masa 2006 3.32 3.19 .240 .275
Masa 2007 5.07 4.69 .292 .324
Masa 2008 0.45 2.70 .191 .240

I'm gonna say that phrase that baseball statheads love to say all the time: "He's due for a regression to the mean", which basically means he was a little unlucky last year, and has been a little lucky so far this year. But, people aren't hitting homeruns off him so far, although that might change when he faces a lineup that isn't Rakuten, Hiroshima, or Yakult.

Please, Masa -- stay strong, win (at least) four more games, and make us all proud of you.

And then there were two

Orix Buffaloes manager Terry Collins finally realized exactly how futile it is trying to manage the Buffaloes and resigned as Orix manager after Wednesday's game, where the Buffaloes split a subway series with the Kansai kitties, claiming that he no longer has enough fire and passion for the game to continue leading club. The rest of the foreign coaches (Debus and Brown) also left with him. There's a bit of ongoing discussion here on My personal feeling on the matter is that it's a surprising and sudden event to me, but overall I am not surprised that it happened.

Either way, it gives a new meaning to the Lotte-Hiroshima matchup this coming weekend, as those are the only two teams in Japan that still have foreign managers.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Uniforms are SUCH A FRIGHT!

These are the ugliest interleague uniforms I have ever seen in my entire life.

Seriously. I think they've officially gone into "weirder than Lotte" territory with these...

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