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BayStars 2009 Start

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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.

BayStars 2009 Start

4 replies. Most recent reply: Apr 24, 2009 1:23 AM by Brad BT

We're now a week into the 2009 season, and it's time to take a look at what the local Yokohama boys are doing.

The Yokohama BayStars finished Open-sen (pre-season games) tied with the defending Japan champions Saitama Seibu Lions in 9th place (out of 12) with a 6 and 9 record (and 4 ties). Offensively, they produced 60 runs (10 home runs) while batting .249 over 19 games, well above the lowly Hanshin Tigers. The pitching staff had a decent, but not awe inspiring, 4.08 ERA, allowing 85 runs - a bit to the bottom side of the middle of the pack.

Rookie and number one draft pick Matsumoto won the lead off spot for Opening Day with a .263 batting average and a .291 OBP. Huh? OK, Ohya-kantoku must see something in him, right? [Wrong!]

The big question going into the season was with the pitching staff. The outbreak of ippatsu-byo (an illness in pitchers whereby they vomit up large quantities of home runs) that has plagued the team for the past several years seems to be getting worse. And in those 19 pre-season games, BayStar pitchers allowed 22 dingers while 'Star batters only scratched out 10. Surely this nearly 2:1 ration of home runs allowed to hit cannot continue into the season, right?

Right! The good news is that the 2:1 ratio has been blown away. The bad news is that said ratio has now reached 12:1, with Yokohama's first home run of the season happening last night (April 9) at Yokohama Stadium when Yoshimura temporarily tied the game at 1-1 with a solo shot to center. In the mean time, Yokohama pitchers are averaging exactly 2 home runs allowed per game through the first 6 games. It's no coincidence that the Dragons and Giants lead the league in home runs with 12 and 9 respectively, as they're the only two teams to have faced BayStar pitching so far this season. It looks like the case of ippatsu-byo has got to get worse before it gets better.

Here's a list of home runs allowed by teams through the first week:
    | Team | HRs |
    | CHU | 3 |
    | RAK | 3 |
    | SFT | 3 |
    | YOM | 5 |
    | HAN | 6 |
    | NIP | 6 |
    | YAK | 7 |
    | ORX | 7 |
    | SEI | 8 |
    | HIR | 8 |
    | LOT | 10 |
    | YOK | 12 |
While it looks like Lotte might have a serious outbreak of ippatsu-byo on their pitching staff, with 26 runs scored compared to Yokohama's 5, they've at least got more than 5 times the ability to score runs and stay in games than the BayStars.

Now, what's going on with this highly touted first round draft pick slugger that we got instead of going after more pitching? Kenjiro Matsumoto is currently 0 for 17 through the first 6 games, with a base on balls and 5 strike outs. Hmmm. Not exactly looking like the ideal leadoff man to me so far. While I'm sure he'll eventually come around, I can't help but wonder when?

The one bright spot with the young 'Stars this year has been Noriharu Yamazaki. While he was 0 for 2 last night, he's batting .316 (6 for 19) with 1 walk (and 1 HBP), 8 strike outs, and a sacrifice bunt. While I'd like to see his K:BB ratio improve, he at least is making contact with the ball and putting it where they ain't.

I'm willing to dismiss an error at short turning two last night by Yamazaki, as well as one against Chunichi while playing third, to shinjin (rookie) jitters. I just have a really good feeling about this kid and want to see more of him. If the BayStars are in a rebuilding phase, they're going to need to find a position for him when Murata returns to third. He's been given a showing at both second and short, so I think that Ohya-kantoku is working on that.


Please consider bringing Bobby across the bay in 2010. If anyone can see to it that these young 'Stars are turned into capable professionals, it's Bobby and his staff. Setoyama-shacho seems to be more concerned about laying claim to control than the future of Lotte. I know that Valentine-kantoku's ways aren't always obvious to management who grew up under Kanri Yakyu, but he will get the most out of those who are able to grasp the whole vision. Please, give it a good, long thinking over. There is a whole season ahead for thought.
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Re: BayStars 2009 Start

[ Author: Guest: N26 | Posted: Apr 15, 2009 7:06 PM ]
Very interesting home run chart. With the league's worst ERA so far and plagued by ippats byo, it seems it will be yet an another long season for Yokohama. Maybe time to build a more pitcher friendly ball park for Yokohama

There are rumours according to Sports Nippon that Lotte is thinking of hiring Yoda the former Dragons pitchers and pitching coach in WBC for Japan as manager from next season. As much as I want Valentine to stay in Lotte, if Lotte ends up in last place it is doubtful that Yokohama would want to hire Valentine then...?

OT: Lotte Tampering

[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Apr 15, 2009 10:35 PM | Posts: 35252 | From: Yokohama, Japan | YBS Fan | Registered: Aug, 2001 ]
Setoyama-shacho has announced that Nishimura Norifumi-head coach is number one on his list for next season's manager.

Not even half a month into the season and he's already talking about replacements. It's a wonder Bobby can work at all with the level of animosity coming out of Setoyama's office directed at Valentine-kantoku.

But you're right. Bobby's got to work through the front office trouble and concentrate on winning baseball if he's going to be picked up somewhere else next year. Judging from the start, I get the impression that the players are going through much of what the Hawks did the last couple of years. They want to win for their leader very bad, but get so worked up and distracted to the point that they perform worse instead of better.

Re: BayStars 2009 Start

[ Author: No.1BayFan | Posted: Apr 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Posts: 256 | From: Chichibu City, Saitama | YOK Fan | Registered: Jul, 2008 ]
Or, how about it's time for the pitchers to not leave their control at the door when they go and play the game? I swear, if Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees can pitch a scoreless innning in relief after not having pitched since his high school days (link), then why can't these guys do it?

Even if Bobby does wind up in last this season, he's still a proven commodity here in Japanese baseball who has shown that he can win and Yokohama would be outright stupid to overlook him if indeed they are going to bring in a new face to manage the club.

But even if they don't, I'm still all for promoting Tashiro-kantoku from 2gun to manage 1gun which is what they should've done last offseason IMHO. Let him start fresh and see what he can do with the club is what I say.

Re: BayStars 2009 Start

[ Author: Brad BT | Posted: Apr 24, 2009 1:23 AM | Posts: 35 | From: West Berkshier, Vermont | SEI Fan | Registered: May, 2008 ]
It seems like everywhere Bobby V goes, he's forced to go soon after. The New York media and Mets front office litteraly drove him out just a few years after takeing them to the '99 World Series. And now, after all he's done for Lotte, he's being driven out again! It's sickening to me! He's a cool guy and a great manager for turning franchises around. Yokohama would definitly do better with him at the helm.
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