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8/12/2011: Hideki Matsui, Kosuke Fukudome, Hisanori Takahashi

by on Aug.12, 2011 @ 12:38 pm, under MLB

Games from the 11th:

Oakland A's 10 - Toronto Blue Jays 3
Hideki Matsui was the starting DH and batted third.  He went 4-for-6: line out to second, RBI single to center (run scored), ground out the pitcher, RBI single to right (run scored), single to right, single to right.

Detroit Tigers 4 - Minnesota Twins 3
Kosuke Fukudome start in right and batted sixth.  He went 0-for-4: strikeout looking, fly out to left, strikeout looking, ground out to second.

New York Yankees 6 - LA Angels 5
Hisanori Takahashi entered the game in the bottom of the 6th, with runners on first and second, 1 out, and game tied at one.  He retired the one batter he faced (strikeout looking).  Final line: 0.1 IP, 1 BF, 5-3 NP-S, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR.

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Baseball Musing's David Pinto has posted an article on Hideki Matsui's second-half resurgence at Baseball Analytics.  A snip:

He was missing on 18% of his swings before the All-Star break, only 10% after.  Matsui swings at better pitches, makes better contact, and his batting average is reaping the benefits.

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Nikkan Sports has a brief Q&A with Ichiro Suzuki regarding his tenth 30+ stolen base season:

You recorded your tenth 30 stolen base season.  Any thoughts?

Hmm...  I guess I had to do it because they'd all be talking about it.  I suppose it was a good thing.

You managed it despite growing older...

Not overdoing it is important.  That's what the stats are about.

You're the 16th player in the MLB to accomplish it.  Seems like there could be more, but your thoughts.

I'm not really sure.  I guess it wouldn't be strange if there were more.  After all, I only had 11 chances to make it.  *chuckling*  If you think about it that way...

I heard you're using new cleats this season...

Are you asking how they may have helped?

Well, what's new about them?  Are they lighter?

Simply put, yes, they're lighter.  The way they fit my feet are completely different though.

There are players that have stolen 100 bases in a season...

I can't really imagine that.  Sounds like a different kind of baseball.  I think it would be very difficult to steal 100 bases the way the game is played now.

Are you referring to things like the lefty specialists or improved pick-off moves?

I suppose so.

How do your cleats feel?

They feel like they're more a part of my body.  I've been using new cleats once every 3 games, but part of me would like to have new cleats once every 2 games, especially since they're so light.  But the they do last.

What about the strain on your legs.  Does making them light change anything?

They feel great, for me.

Big influence?

If you look at the big picture, they help a lot.  Looking at things one or two games at a time, not really.  If you're thinking over 100 games, like a season...  If I think of the rest of the season, definitely big.  But these are cleats just anyone can use.  That's kind of a given for me.

Your reasons for changing your cleats so often.

There are risks involved.  Like durability.  If you're considering safety, that is.

What do you mean not everyone would be able to use them?

Well, you know how there are a lot of people that can't run in marathon running shoes?  Especially the bigger people over here.  It would be impossible for people with bad knees or bad hips / lower bodies.  You need to have a body that is properly cushioned.  I'm just guessing here though.  I obviously don't know for sure.

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Oakland A's minor league trainer Toshiaki Nagahara was named Athletic Trainer of the Year for the Arizona Summer League.

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The Baltimore Sun is carrying an article on Cal Ripken playing host to 16 kids from areas in Japan that were hit hard by the earthquake / tsunami (namely Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima).  A snip:

That's part of the reason why the Hall of Fame shortstop isn't intimidated by his latest diplomatic assignment from the U.S. Department of State: Hosting 16 teenagers from Japan who were profoundly affected by the earthquake and tsunami in March. Though cultural differences crop up, Ripken said he's never had any trouble getting his message across.

...

The students — eight boys and eight girls, from 14 to 17 years old — arrived on Monday and will remain through Aug. 23. They are scheduled to participate in baseball clinics, including at the Ripken Youth Baseball Academy in Aberdeen, see the Orioles play the Chicago White Sox atCamden Yards and attend the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.