Tag:Hideki Irabu
Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Darvish much better than past imported pitchers



By Matt Snyder


With Yu Darvish soon headed to America, the standard generalization from many seems to be that we have to lump him in with the other starting pitchers who have come over from Japan. Hideo Nomo and Daisuke Matsuzaka had good starts but didn't sustain it long-term (though Dice-K still has a chance to change that and Nomo had a very good year for the Dodgers late in his career) while Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa were unmitigated busts.

As unfair as it is to assume all pitchers coming over from Japan will be a bust based upon four cases -- and it's incredibly unfair -- it's even more unfair to assume everyone coming over is created equally. Look at the position players: Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki panned out while a decent amount of position players have failed to meet expectations. We need to judge every player on an individual basis.

With that in mind, here's a chart comparing Darvish's Nippon Professional Baseball stats with the four previous big-name starting pitchers to come to Major League Baseball. I used only the pitchers' last five seasons in Japan, as Darvish has only been in the league for five years. Also, I was unable to find hits allowed in every season for all pitchers so unfortunately we had to leave WHIP off the chart. I can tell you with much confidence, however, that Darvish's career 0.89 WHIP would have dwarfed the respective marks posted by the other four here.

Pitcher Years W-L IP ERA K/9
Hideo Nomo
1990-94 78-46 1051.1 3.13 10.3
Hideki Irabu
1992-96 46-39 787 2.87 9.8
Daisuke Matsuzaka
2002-06 63-33 814.2 2.62 9.3
Kei Igawa
2002-06 75-43 997.1 3.14 8.6
Yu Darvish
2007-11 76-28 1024.1 1.72 9.5

Seriously, just look at the ERA, winning percentage -- and again keep in mind his WHIP is greater by a large margin -- and ask yourself if you really want to use how those first four fared in America as a fair baseline for how the 6-foot-5 Darvish will translate. He's obviously been the much greater pitcher in Japan, so it's not fair to believe he's Fat Toad 2.0 ... or even Dice-K 2.0. Darvish is better than each of these four ever was. Period.

Sources: The Baseball Cube, JapaneseBallplayers.com, Sports Nippon and Baseball-Reference.com.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:48 am
 

Pepper: Cardinals-Brewers rivalry heats up



By Matt Snyder


Last year it was the Cardinals against the Reds in the NL Central. This time around, it's the Brewers who seem to have drawn the ire of the Cardinals. Tuesday night, the Cardinals beat the Brewers to move within 2 1/2 games in the NL Central and break the Brewers' long winning streak, but everyone was talking about a pair of hit-by-pitches after the game.

In the top of the seventh inning, Brewers reliever Takashi Saito hit Albert Pujols in the hand/wrist area. It loaded the bases and was pretty clearly not intentional. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa even said as much post-game, though he also noted he still had an issue with it (via Associated Press).

"Real scary. They almost got him yesterday. There's nothing intentional about it," La Russa said. "That's what all these idiots up there -- not idiots, fans are yelling and yell. Do you know how many bones you have in the hands and the face? That's where those pitches are."

Next half-inning, La Russa left in Jason Motte to face Ryan Braun. Motte missed Braun on his first pitch, but not on his second try. He was removed after the hit-by-pitch and is the Cardinals hardest throwing reliever. Of course, La Russa says they weren't trying to hit Braun.

"And Braun, we were trying to pitch him in, too, it's just a little stinger," La Russa said (AP). "I don't want to even hear about Braun getting a little pop in the back when we almost lose [Pujols] in several ways."

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina -- who was ejected and may have spat on the umpire -- backed up La Russa's story. Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a different spin.

"That's clearly intentional. I mean that's ridiculous," Lucroy said (AP). "There's no way that we were trying to hit Pujols on purpose. You kidding me in that situation? If we wanted to put him on base, we would have walked him. That's ridiculous. We were trying to pitch inside and get a ground ball to third base."

For whatever it's worth, Pujols had no issues with his getting hit, saying "it's part of the game." (AP)

It's hard to not take sides here, because I don't think anyone other than Cardinals fans -- and even some of those would be excluded -- believes La Russa. It appears pretty obvious Motte was left out there to hit Braun and was going to have four chances to do it, not just the two it took. From here, each individual can make the call as to whether or not it was warranted.

Ryno moves on: After being named the Triple-A manager of the year, Ryne Sandberg was reportedly not even in the Cubs "top three or four" choices to manage the 2011 season in the bigs, but he doesn't hold a grudge. Sandberg told the Chicago Sun Times that he's moved on and looks forward, not backward. He says he still plans on making it to the majors one way or another. He's currently managing the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate.

LoMo visits Fan Cave with a 'friend:' Last week, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison had a highly publicized run-in with a praying mantis in the Marlins dugout, and he later admitted via Twitter that he's afraid of bugs. Tuesday, he showed he was a good sport by visiting the MLB Fan Cave with someone dressed as a praying mantis. (MLB.com)

Hard-luck losers: Beyond the Box Score took a look at the pitchers with the most losses in MLB history that came while they still threw at least seven innings while allowing three earned runs or less. It might be easier to simply disregard the archaic wins and losses stat, but since it's still mainstream, I'm on board with things like this. You'll find Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven and Greg Maddux on the list, among other all-time greats.

Legend of Sam Fuld: Sam Fuld has been a bit of a cult hero in Tampa Bay since being traded from the Cubs this past offseason, so it was only a matter of time before a promotional poster was made. I have to say, it's pretty hilarious. A spin-off of Legends of the Fall, the Legends of the Fuld poster features Fuld, Chuck Norris and the Dos Equis guy. (TampaBay.com)

Use the Force: The Marlins won on two ninth-inning runs Tuesday night -- which came courtesy of a Justin Turner throwing error. Marlins catcher John Buck reportedly distracted the Mets' second baseman, and Buck credits his first-base coach for employing a "Jedi mind trick." Luke Skywalker would be proud. (Fish Tank)

Cody's the answer again: The 2010 Giants postseason hero was Cody Ross, a very late addition last August via the second trade deadline (using waivers). This season, the Giants were reportedly seeking a center fielder who could lead off, but Ross might again be the answer. He filled both roles Monday and Tuesday. (SFGate.com)

MVPs together again: Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton won the MVPs from their respective leagues in 2010, and they're commemorated together on a bobblehead, as Louisville Bats -- where the two were once teammates (OMGReds).

Sad road of Irabu: Robert Whiting of Slate chronicles the career of recently-deceased Hideki Irabu in an excellently written story.

Frankrupt: The dissatisfaction with Dodgers owner -- at least for now -- Frank McCourt has spawned many different money-making ventures by disgruntled fans, including T-shirts that say "Frankrupt" and a website that begs Mark Cuban to "save the Dodgers." (LA Times)

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Pepper: Gomes adjusting to Nats after deal

Gomes

By Evan Brunell

TRADE IMPLICATIONS: It's never easy to get traded, and Jonny Gomes is still adjusting to life in Washington.

Unfortunately, his first game ended hitless with a hit by pitch, grounding into a bases-loaded double play in the third, then striking out with runners on the corners in the seventh inning.

“You can’t help but kind of jump into an interview, if you will,” Gomes said. “It’s everyone’s first time seeing you and whatnot. I’ve got a few years in now. I’m a little older. I’m definitely not nervous by any means. But there’s still some sea legs. I can’t remember the last time I grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, maybe ever. I had to go back in the archives to find that. So I’m a little bit out of my element, things like that. But I felt good at the plate.”

Gomes admitted that staying in the National League is going a long way toward getting used to his new surroundings.

“It’s not like they’re going to pitch me different because I’m in a different uniform,” Gomes said. “There’s certain strategies with guys who hit behind you, who hit in front of you, guys who like to run, guys who don’t like to run – just kind of situational ball inside the clubhouse that I’ll have to adjust to. That just comes with days of service to this team.” (Washington Post)

RASMUS FALLOUT: Why didn't the White Sox simply trade for Colby Rasmus themselves, Phil Rogers reports. His conclusion? The White Sox want to keep the manager's seat available for Tony La Russa, as there's a distinct possibility he could rejoin the ChiSox after the year. (Chicago Tribune)

NEW REP IN TORONTO: For Rasmus' part, he just wants to move on and close the St. Louis chapter of his career. Who can blame him? Rasmus is looking to play his game in Toronto, free of distractions. Free from a manager the center fielder feels never cared for Rasmus. Free from constant speculation about his father's involvement in his career. (Sportsnet.ca)

MAN ON THE MOVE: Why does Edwin Jackson keep getting traded? It's simple: Jackson is a good enough pitcher to be in demand by many teams, but has a salary that has continually risen the last few years. (Big League Stew)

MORE CONINE: After Hanley Ramirez called Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine a "chicken," he then took to the Twitter waves to speak more on the subject, and this looks PR-scripted. "I'm sorry that Mr. Conine feels that way, and I admire him for all that he accomplished in his career. Proud to leave my skin on the field and the sweat on my uniform every night for my team, as we pursue our winning goals. End of story, we have games to win!" (Twitter link)

NO HITTING: Adam Dunn never hits in the offseason, choosing to pick up a bat in spring training and find his swing then. It's always worked, but it hasn't in Chicago. The good news is that Dunn's new home near Houston is close to a place for him to swing the bat in the offseason, and he may elect to change his routine this winter. (Chicago Sun-Times)

SKIPPING ZITO: Barry Zito was rocked so badly in his last start that he may have lost his opportunity to make his next start -- and perhaps has lost his spot in the rotation. (San Francisco Chronicle)

UNPOPULAR: Hideki Irabu was never a popular Yankee, but he didn't have many fans in the Japanese media, either. A New York Times story details how Irabu got a frosty reception from his countrymates in his first Yankees news conference. (New York Times)

TIME FOR A FIVE-MAN: Jake Peavy is ready for a five-man rotation with the departure of Edwin Jackson. The only drawback is that Peavy has essentially been a five-inning pitcher all season and won't be fully healthy until next year. This is something to watch. (Chicago Sun-Times)

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY: It's always going to be better as a big-market team. That's just a fact. But parity rules the day in 2011, and payroll space isn't why. It's because most teams are geared to contend this year than usual. (BizofBaseball.com)

Mets DEBUT: New Mets prospect Zack Wheeler will draw his first start on Monday, in Class A Port St. Lucie. Wheeler was dealt for Carlos Beltran. (Zack Wheeler Twitter)

IRREGULAR: Kenley Jansen was hospitalized after Tuesday night's game, but was released a day later after a cardio conversion put his heartbeat back in place. (MLB.com)

Rays TRADE: Joe Maddon doesn't want his team to make any trades, the manager saying he likes the combination he's got. But there's a reason he's manager, not GM. You can bet on Tampa making some moves before the weekend is out. (St. Petersburg Times)

BEST CHICAGO GM: Three GMs are in action out in Chicago this weekend: the White Sox's Kenny Williams, the Cubs' Jim Hendry and football's Jerry Angelo, leader of the Bears. Which GM inspires the most confidence to get things done? No surprise, it's Williams, who has a history of not waiting around to make his move. (Chicago Tribune)

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Former Yankee Irabu found dead

Hideki IrabuBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead in his Pales Verdes, Calif., home on Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department told CBSSports.com.

"Deputies responded to a call at his Palos Verdes home at 4:25 p.m. [Wednesday] and discovered him deceased from an apparently suicide," a spokesman said Thursday afternoon.

Irabu was 42. 

Irabu played for the Yankees, Expos and Rangers, last pitching in the big leagues in 2002.

The Yankees have released the following statement (via Star-Ledger on Twitter):

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Hideki Irabu. Every player that wears the Pinstripes is forever a part of the Yankees family, and his death is felt throughout our organization. Our sympathies and support go out to his wife, Kyonsu, his two children, and all of his friends and loved ones.”

The Padres purchased his contract in 1997, but he refused to sign, saying he'd only play for the Yankees. The Padres eventually traded for Irabu's rights and signed him to a four-year deal worth $12.8 million. He played in six seasons in the big leagues and went 34-35 with a 5.15 ERA.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com