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It's All About Efficiency - May 23, 2013

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Welcome to the Bayside West: Yokohama Blog

Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.


It's All About Efficiency - May 23, 2013

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I've long been fascinated by the left on base statistic. Sometimes I think there's some sort of relation to leaving runners on that is positive, and other times negative. But I think that, overall, it's a kind of indicator of efficiency.

Take this evening's game against the Hawks, for example. Yokohama managed a 4-3 victory of SoftBank while stranding just 2 base runners compared to the Hawks stranding 13. Both starters threw 6 innings, both allowing 6 hits. SoftBank's Kenji Ohtonari certainly looked a lot better, striking out 4 while walking none and throwing just 93 pitches. Yokohama's starter, Shoichi Inoh, on the other hand, struck out 3, walked 2, hit a batter, and threw a total of 116 pitches. The main difference is what each pitcher (or lineup) did once a runner got on.

On Yokohama' side, they managed to get a runner in the 1st on a 2-out error, but nothing came of it. In the top of the 2nd, Norihiro Nakamura let off with a double to center. That was followed by a foul out then an RBI single to right by Tatsuhiko Kinjoh. Kinjoh was the second stranded base runner for Yokohama, but they managed to take a 1-0 lead.

A leadoff single in the top of the 2nd inning by Sho Aranami led to a run when , after the customary sacrifice, Hitoshi Tamura singled to center. (He was thrown out at second when the off line throw to the plate was cut off and thrown back that way.) Yokohama was now up 2-0.

Nori led off the 4th inning with a solo home run hit well into the left field stands. Alex Ramirez (0 for 4 on the night) swung mighty hard on the first pitch after that, but after a number of foul balls, was called out on strikes. After a foul out, Noriharu Yamazaki hit his first home run of the season, the second of his career (the first one being in 2009). Yokohama goes up 4-0 on the two home run shots.

The BayStars did manage to get another base runner when Tony Blanco singled to right to lead off the 9th inning. But Nori grounded into a double play erasing that. So they only stranded base runners in the scoreless 1st and on the RBI single by Kinjoh in the 2nd.

What about SoftBank? Well, they had base runners in every inning except the 6th.

It all started with a 2-out single in the 1st by former BayStar Seiichi Uchikawa. But Inoh got Bryan LaHair to go down swinging to retire the side. One batter left on.

A 2-out single in the 2nd followed by an error put runners at first and second, but Inoh got Kenta Imamiya whiffing to end that threat. Two more stranded batters.

SoftBank got the lead-off man, Akira Nakamura, on with a single to left in the 3rd inning. But the sacrifice followed by a ground out and pop out ended without incident. That leaves one runner on.

A 2-out hit batter followed by a line drive single to left got another threat going in the 4th inning. But Imamiya grounded a 2-2 pitch to Nori at third base. He took the ball to the bag himself to retire the side, stranding another two.

The 5th inning saw a leadoff walk and single put runners at first and second with nobody out this time. A double play followed by Inoh's second walk of the inning placed runners at first and third. This is the Hawks' biggest threat yet. And they finally punch through as Yuya Hasegawa doubles to right to score one, LaHair holding at third base. As he got out of the first and second innings, Inoh gets Nobuhiro Matsuda to go down swinging to retire the side with two runners in scoring position.

That's 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, and 2 in both the 4th and 5th innings for a grand total of 8 base runners stranded through the first 5 innings. (I already mentioned that Inoh retired the side in order in the bottom of the 6th.)

Three BayStar relievers threw 1 inning each. Shinji Ohhara allowed a 2-out base hit and walk, stranding 2. Kentaro Takasaki walked a runner with 2 down in the bottom of the 8th, that's another 1. Then Jorge Sosa showed that he may not have what it takes to close, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, finally stranding 2 as he gets Katsuki Yamazaki to ground out to second to end the game.

Whew. We managed to squeak by with a 4-3 victory.

Amazingly, when opposing runners were on, our pitchers got the outs. Most of the threats came with two outs, which certainly helped. Meanwhile, we made the most of our minimal opportunities to drive in runs.
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