Tag Archives: Tsuyoshi Shinjo

Not getting the memo

Japanese baseball has generally moved on from the 1970s’ and 1980s’ notion that a team’s worst hitter, if he’s a speedy middle infielder or center fielder and can bunt, is most valuable making outs – intentional or otherwise – in the No. 2 spot.

If one actually studies lineup construction, one should come away with two conclusions:

  1. The difference between the absolute best batting order and the absolute worst is minimal in terms of the runs it will gain a team over the course of a season, because every spot bats.
  2. The best order is one in which a team’s most productive hitters are packed together without easy outs diluting their impact. The worst order would be where none of the best hitters follow each other, with poorer offensive players sandwiched between them. This would be worse than batting your top-four hitters sixth to ninth.

Once a manager figures that out, then the next step is how to arrange the best hitters to give them the most plate appearances.

For decades, Japanese baseball people believed the value of using an out to advance the best on-base non-power hitter in the leadoff spot into scoring position ahead of the middle of the order outweighed having an offensive zero bat second.

Most Japanese managers still sacrifice in the early innings after the leadoff man reaches base, but few still give the No. 2 spot in the order to an offensive zeroe. One manager, however, has not gotten that memo, and Chunichi Dragons fans know who I’m talking about.

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NPB news: May 24, 2022

Welcome to interleague 2022, where Day 1 looked like a summary of last year’s competition, when the Central League won the most games but was outscored. On Tuesday, CL clubs went 4-2, while PL clubs scored 21 and allowed 17.

But baseball isn’t about who is better or plays better, it’s about who wins, because the championship matters.

We also had a milestone of sorts for Tatsunori Hara, and some heroics that really got Tsuyoshi Shinjo excited.

While PL TV is once more streaming the Giants’ and Tigers’ home interleague games, the highlights are not part of the package…

Shall we get to it?

Giants 4, Buffaloes 2: At Tokyo Dome, Orix setup man Jesse Biddle (3-2) issued back-to-back no-out walks in the eighth, and Adam Walker singled in a run to break the 2-2 tie. Kazuma Okamoto, who opened the scoring with a two-run fourth-inning homer, his 13th, off Taisuke Yamaoka, brought home an insurance run with a ground ball.

Adam Walker hero interview

The Buffaloes, last year’s interleague winners, tied it in the seventh against Giants lefty C.C. Mercedes. Keita Nakagawa, whose been on an absolute tear, doubled to open the inning with his third hit of the game. Joe McCarthy was hit for the second time, and Yutaro Sugimoto singled to load the bases. Mercedes got two outs before Kodai Sano’s pinch-hit single tied it.

Continue reading NPB news: May 24, 2022