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Baseball @ the Olympics: Japan beats Taipei, 6-1

by on Aug.14, 2008 @ 2:28 am, under Other

Pre-Game Notes
Hideaki Wakui will supposedly get the nod to start for Japan tonight against Taipei. The 22-year-old right-hander is listed at 185cm and weighs in at about 85kg. Wakui throws a fastball, slider, cutter, curve, forkball, change, sinker, palmball, and shuto. He throws in the 135-140km/h range and has maxed out at 151km/h.

Here are his numbers from his current season with the Lions:

G   W  L  CG  IP   BF    H   HR  BB  HBP  SO   WP  BK  ER  R   ERA
19  8  8   5  136  569  126  9   39   5   101  9   0   51  54  3.38

There is some concern regarding Munenori Kawasaki's left foot going into the game against Taipei. Kawasaki appeared to re-strain it while running to first on a single in the 5th. Hiroyuki Nakajima initially came in to pinch run for him, but Kawasaki refused to be removed from the game. In the bottom of the 5th, as Kawasaki was running on to the field to take his position, he was sporting something of a noticeable limp. Kawasaki was finally lifted for pinch runner Nakajima in the top of the 7th when he collected his third hit of the game.


Aoki Watch
1st AB: ground out
2nd AB: single, stolen base
3rd AB: single
4th AB: foul-out to catch
5th AB: reaches first on fielder's choice

Staring Lineups TAIPEI JAPAN 24 Che-Hsuan Lin CF 7 Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B 66 Chien-Ming Chang RF 23 Norichika Aoki CF 23 Cheng-Min Peng 1B 31 Masahiko Morino DH 52 Chin-Feng Chen DH 25 Takahiro Arai 1B 31 Chih-Sheng Lin SS 41 Atsunori Inaba RF 11 Chih-Hsien Chiang 2B 55 Shuichi Murata 3B 28 Kuo-Hui Lo LF 10 Shinnosuke Abe C 41 Feng-Min Cheng C 46 GG Sato LF 6 Chih-Wei Shih 3B 3 Hiroyuki Nakajima SS

Two innings are in the books with no score. Kawasaki is not in the game. He apparently got an MRI earlier today and it looks like he has metatarsal periostitis in the second ordinal (left foot). Hiroyuki Nakajima is in the game as the shortstop, batting 9th.

Bottom of the 4th

Wakui is in trouble after giving up a lead-off double to Cheng-Min Peng and a walk to Chin-Feng Chen. A sac bunt by Chih-Sheng Lin puts runners on second and third with only one out.

Chih-Hsien Chiang hits a bloop single to center driving in Peng from third. Runners on first and third, 1 out.

Woah, what luck, Kuo-Hui Lo hits a 1-2 slider right on the button, but directly at Takahiro Arai for the second out of the inning. Arai then steps on first for the third out. If not for the double play, this could have been an UGLY inning for Japan.

Top of the 5th

Shuichi Murata drills one to deep right, but it's caught on the warning track.

Shinnosuke Abe with a line-drive homer into the right-field stands to tie the score! Abe hit a 2-2 curve down in the zone.

GG Sato is caught looking out on what appeared to be a fastball out of the zone (low).

Nakajima drills a first pitch slider up against the centerfield wall for a double.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka fouls out to third for the final out.

Bottom of the 5th

Wakui looks like he's finally getting comfortable on the mound. He struck out Feng-Min Chen on 4 pitches, got Chih-Wei Shih to ground out to third, and struck out Che-Hsuan Lin on a 3-2 cutter.

Top of the 6th

Pitching change: Fu-Te Ni comes in for Wen-Hsiung Hsu
Defensive substitution (catcher): Chun-Chang Yeh comes in for Feng-Min Chen

Aoki bloops a single over the shortstop into center on a 2-2 slider down and in.

Masahiko Morino is trying to bunt Aoki over to second, but failed on his first attempt. Second bunt attempt is a success, Aoki moves over to second with one out.

Pitching change: Chih-Chia Chang comes in Fu-Te Ni.

Arai strikes out on four pitches.

Atsunori Inaba lines a first pitch fastball to center for a single, scoring Aoki from second. Japan takes a 2-1 lead.

Murata flies out to deep center for the third and final out of the inning.

Bottom of the 6th

Chien-Ming Chang grounds out to second.

Cheng-Min Peng sort of lifts one that second baseman Nishioka manages to make a leaping grab on.

Chin-Feng Chen grounds out to third.

Wakui is really hitting his spots now. I'm not sure how much longer he'll stay in the game, but that was his second consecutive three up, three down inning (and third of the game).

Top of the 7th

Abe drills a 2-2 pitch to right for the first out. Looks like he didn't get under it enough, probably just missing his second homer of the game.

GG Sato lines out to left.

Nakajima strikes out for the third out.

Bottom of the 7th

Pitching change: Hitoki Iwase comes in for Wakui

Chih-Sheng Lin strikes out looking on a 2-2 fastball.

Chih-Hsien Chiang singles through the right side.

Kuo-Hui Lo lifts a drive to right-center. Inaba tracks it down and throws it back in to the cut-off man. Nishioka sees Chiang well off first base and nails Chiang trying to return to first. Arai also did a nice job of scooping a bad throw from Nishioka.

Top of the 8th

Nishioka gets an infield hit. Could have been ruled an error, but it was a tough play up the middle for the second baseman.

Aoki up to hit. Nishioka steals second with the count 0-1. Aoki hits a pop-up behind the plate for the first out of the inning.

Morino grounds out to second. Nishioka moves to third with 2 outs.

Arai strikes out for the final out of the inning. He is now 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Bottom of the 8th

Pitching change: Kyuji Fujikawa comes in for Iwase

Pinch hitter: Wu-Hsiung Pan comes in for Feng-Min Chen

Wu-Hsiung Pan strikes out on a 1-2 fastball.

Chih-Wei Shih up to bat. Fujikawa fires a 1-1 150km/h fastball for strike 2. Shih fights off a 151km/h fastball to stay alive. Shih strikes out on a 2-2 forkball low and away. Fujikawa is throwing some nasty stuff.

Che-Hsuan Lin strikes out on a 3-2 fastball up and in for the third out.

I wonder if this means Uehara comes in for the 9th. What I find a little strange is that Fujikawa is taking a back seat to Uehara. Uehara does have seniority, but Fujikawa has more experience. He also hasn't struggled as Uehara has this season. Hopefully the decision to make Uehara the closer doesn't backfire.

Top of the 9th

Pitching change: Chin-Hui Tsao comes in for Chang
Defensive substitution (catcher): Chih-Kang Kao comes in to catch

Inaba grounds out for the first out.

Murata lines a single to left.

Abe walks on 5 pitches.

Pitching change: Kai-Wen Cheng comes in for Tsao

GG Sato is hit by a pitch. Bases are now loaded with only 1 out.

Nakajima singles through the right side, driving in two runs. The throw goes into third with Sato safe at third. Nakajima moves up to second on the throw to third. Runners on second and third, 1 out.

Nishioka drills a 3-2 fastball back up the box to drive in Sato from third. Runners on first and third with one out.

Cheng doesn't really look comfortable on the mound.

Aoki hits a tapper fielded by the second baseman. Throw to second for the force. The ball wasn't hit hard enough to double up Aoki. Nakajima scores from third.

Pinch hitter: Masahiro Araki comes in for Morino

Araki is hit by a pitch. Runners on first and second with 2 outs.

Arai walks on 5 pitches. Bases loaded, 2 outs.

Japan has batted around.

Inaba strikes out on a 2-2 slider for the final out of the inning.

Happy to see Japan score a few more insurance runs for Uehara. I'm very interested to see how he pitches.

Bottom of the 9th

Pitching change: Koji Uehara in for Fujikawa

Chien-Ming Chang
1st pitch: Fastball, called strike
2nd pitch: Forkball, swinging strike
3rd pitch: Fastball, grounder back to Uehara for the first out.

Cheng-Min Peng
1st pitch: Fastball, check-swing nub back to Uehara for the second out.

Chin-Feng Chen
1st pitch: Fastball, called strike
2nd pitch: Forkball, swinging strike
3rd pitch: 143km/h Fastball, Swinging strike

Game over, Japan beats Taipei, 6-1. Nice inning by Uehara. He looked really comfortable and confident out there on the mound.

Senichi Hoshino Interview (paraphrased of course)
When asked about Abe's homerun
Abe's homer really helped turn things around, although it did take a little while for things to fall into place.

When asked about Wakui's start
Wakui had a rocky start but did a nice job settling down. I removed him when I did because his pitch count was getting a little high.

When asked about the next opponent the Netherlands
We need to take things one by one. We need to play smart and take care to make all the plays.

Post Game Notes

  • Arai is now 0-for-7 with 3 strikeouts, a walk, and an RBI (sac fly).
  • Nishioka leads Japan with 4 hits (in 9 at bats).
  • Aoki is 3-for-7 and is tied with Kawasaki (3-for-3) for second most hits on the team.
  • Japan has made an error in the two games they have played so far in the Olympics.
  • As a team, Japan's offense is now 18-for-66 (including a homer and 2 doubles) with 3 walks, 12 strikeouts, 3 GIDP, 2 SH, 2 SF, and 4 HBP.
  • The bullpen has now thrown 7 shutout innings and given up 3 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 11.
  • Japan's pitching staff as a whole has given up 5 runs (all earned) on 13 hits, 8 walks, 1 HBP, and 23 strikeouts over 17 innings.