Results tagged ‘ Junichi Tazawa ’
Now, I was there firsthand tonight. However, as I was working, I am not sure how everything transpired. I know Miguel Cabrera got hit near the wrist OR on the knob of the bat area. I know Victor Martinez was not happy getting an inside fastball thrown to him. The first inning and a half took so long to go by, that all I knew it was 8pm.
A fan seated in the last row of the 3rd base field box seats had just stopped me to buy some ice when Youkilis got plunked and all bedlam broke loose. Youk charged the mound, the whole park was on there feet as dugouts and bullpens emptied out. Chants of: “Youk, Youk, Youk.” From my view, it look like Youk had a nice take down and the excitement was electric in the little band box. The umpired then held a conference as another chant of “Throw him out” went up. The umpires then through out Porcello.
A little later, another on-field fracas took place when Terry Francona came out to agure with the 2nd base umpire after he called Drew out trying to steal second. Francona was hot, and as he turned to head back to the dugout, he got tossed by the ump. Francona went off more, and the crowd started a “Terry” chant. Any replays I saw, showed that the play was CLOSE, but I think the umpire got the call right.
After I got home, I caught some of the discussion on MLB Tonight. Mitch Williams and Joe Magrane were discussing the incident. Both of them agreed that Porcello did not throw intentionally at Youk. Williams had said the pitch was a two-seam fastball. Magrane or Matt Vasgersian (I think it was Matt) said wouldn’t you throw a four seam fastball if you were going to hit someone. Williams said, “Yes, plus it would hurt more.” Now, I don’t really know the difference between a 2 seam and 4 seam, but in my opinion, he was not trying to hit Youkilis. They also made note of Porcello’s reaction after he threw the pitch. You can tell from his reaction, that he is upset that the pitch hit him. I agree with Williams and Magrane, after further review.
During this discussion, MLB Tonight showed the incidents in last night’s game where Brad Penny hit Cabrera. This was followed by Edwin Jackson hitting Youkilis in the ribs with a pitch. That was OBVIOUSLY intentional. Youkilis would have been less in the wrong charging Jackson. However, Jackson isn’t a 20 year old rookie, so maybe Youkilis was a little apprehensive about charging Jackson.
Even worse for Youk, he got tossed down to the ground by the rookie. I was actually looking forward to be able to see the incident when I got home, because it looked like it was a good take down by Youk from my view along the 3rd base line. Unfortunately, Youk was wrong to charge the mound, and ended up getting thrown down and I would judge as the loser in the brawl. Finally, to add insult to injury, the Sox are going to lose his bat for anywhere from 5 – 8 games.
Oh yeah, one last thing. This incident overshadowed the performance of rookie pitcher Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa got his first career win. He went 5 innings, allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6. He was probably a Nick Green error (another one?) from allowing zero runs, thus probably being able to got 6 or 7 innings. In the first, Tazawa got Carlos Guillen to ground into what seemed like an inning ending double play. However, Green’s throw was terrible, and the Sox weren’t able to even get 1 out, never mind the 2. This allowed a run to score, and eventually 2 more scored.
However, Tazawa pitched well despite the errors, and shut down the Tigers the rest of the night. This is looking like a nice signing for the Red Sox. He pitched well in his debut in New York, despite giving up the game losing HR. He’s got good stuff, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.
In the end, even though Youkilis was wrong to charge, that incident may have been a spark plug because later that inning, Jason Bay CRUSHED (and I mean CRUSHED) a 3-run HR to tie the game. Also, luckily, for the Sox, they may end up being able to absorb Youkilis’ upcoming suspension with the likes of Mike Lowell. He may be showing the lingering effects of his hip injury, but the guy can still hit. He and Tazawa (along with Bay’s bomb) were the stars of the game, but the Youkilis brawl stole the show and is what everyone will be talking about the next day or so.
PS. Sorry for my long absence. You may read more about that in the future.
I’ve recovered from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, My Birthday (Nov 29, and yes I do accept belated gifts), and Cyber Monday. Phew!
Now, it is that time of year again. The Hall of Fame Ballot has been published.
There are only 23 players on this year’s ballot. That is the smallest amount ever. 10 of those players are appearing on the ballot for the first time. Those 10 players are highlighted by Ricky Henderson who is a SURE THING to be voted in.
Of the players who are back on the ballot again, there is Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Mark McGwire, and Jim Rice, who is entering his 15th and final year on the HOF Ballot and is the subject of today’s blog entry.
Jim Rice was one of the most dominant and feared hitters of his era (1974 – 1989), yet he has been unable to garner the necessary 75% of the BBWAA votes to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Why is that?
Obviously, that answer is subjective. However, it can probably be a combination of various things.
Firstly, Rice does not have any “Magic Numbers” in his career statistics. He did not hit 400 HRs (which was pretty much the magic HR total before the steroid era pushed it up to 500) nor did he collect 3,000 career hits. Now, what do these Magic Numbers truly mean? They mean you were either an super extraordinary player or you were a good play who played a long, long time. There can be lots of arguments with regards to using this as a standard of Hall of Fame enshrinement; I mean just compare Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. However, it is pretty much an unwritten rule that reaching these milestones will garner Hall of Fame induction.
Secondly, when you compare Rice’s numbers to other Hall of Famers, there are some things that don’t add up for him. However, should players be compared to other Hall of Fame players who played in a different era? The game is constantly evolving; nowadays, more rapidly than ever before. Not only that, but how many of the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame and are doing these type of comparisons, but have never seen Jim Rice play. You figure, if I am 37, that means I wasn’t even 3 years old when Rice made his major league debut and I was enjoying my last summer of freedom after graduating high school and getting ready to head off to Nichols College when he played his final game on August 3, 1989. What were some of these other sportswriters doing back then? Now, all they have to go by to determine if he is worthy is by comparing numbers.
Lastly, and this is a weak reason, but there has always been some chatter that Rice was not friendly to the media during his career. Was this truly the case? Who knows? If it was the case, would voting writers hold a grudge and not vote for somebody because of this? I highly doubt it. Maybe 1 or 2 writers, but that would make a minimal difference, since Rice has always been short of reaching 75% by way more than 1 or 2 votes.
Why should Jim Rice be a Hall of Famer?
First of all, like I wrote above, he was one of the most feared hitters of his era. Ask Jim Palmer (actually, don’t ask him as he held Rice to a .219 average but he did give up the most HRs to Rice of any pitcher who faced him. So, ask him anyway! Haha), ask Ron Guidry, ask Dennis Martinez, ask Jack Morris, ask Steve Stone, ask Storm Davis, ask Rick Stutcliffe, ask Scott McGregor, ask Sparky Lyle, ask Jim Beattie, ask Doyle Alexander, ask Rollie Fingers, well, ask any pitcher from that time. I’m sure as a BBWAA member you’d be able to ask any of these pitchers, guys who actually faced Jim Rice.
Second, if Gary Carter is a Hall of Famer, than Jim Rice is a no-brainer. Carter is a career .262 hitter, 2,092 career hits, 324 HRs, 1225 RBIs in 19 seasons. His Mets defeated Rice’s Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. That is the only thing Carter has over Rice. Why is Carter in the hall? Now, let me be clear hear. I am not say Carter does not belong in the Hall of Fame. I am only saying that if you compare Jim Rice to Gary Carter, aside from position, Rice trumps Carter in most, if not all, offensive stats and is just as deserving to be in the Hall of Fame as Carter is.
Next, let us compare Jim Rice to other players of his ERA. Jim Rice played from August 19, 1974 through August 3, 1989. In those 15 seasons, 13 full seasons, his contemporaries were players such as Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, Gary Carter, Fred Lynn, Andre Dawson, George Foster, Carlton Fisk, Don Baylor, Eddie Murray, Greg Luzinski, Robin Yount, Dale Murphy. All of these players were active for AT LEAST 12 seasons during Jim Rice’s career or the Rice era.
Only 2 players hit more career HRs during the Rice era than Jim’s 382. Mike Schmidt hit 529 in that span while Dave Kingman hit 383 HRs. Only Robin Yount and George Brett accumulated more than Rice’s 2,452 hits with 2,602 and 2,523, respectively. Only Mike Schmidt had more RBIs, 1,540 to 1,451 during the Rice era. Jim Rice led all players in the Rice ERA in RBI’s per game, as he average .69 RBIs which is slightly better than Mike Schmidt’s .68 RBIs per game. His Batting Average of .298 ranked 8th in the Rice era behind Rod Carew, George Brett, Al Oliver, Bill Madlock, Paul Molitor, and Cecil Cooper. His Slugging Percentage of .502 was 3rd in the era behind only Mike Schmidt and George Brett.
For this comparison, you could conclude that Rice was the 2nd or 3rd best hitter during this era. I think, undoubtedly, Mike Schmidt is the dominate hitter of this era. You could rank Rice ahead of or behind George Brett. Aside from that, there is nobody else who compares. However, you have to take into consideration that Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and Eddie Murray played 14, 13, and 12 of the seasons of the Rice ERA. I will concede that Reggie Jackson more than surpasses Jim Rice (although Rice did have a better career average and slugging percentage and ALMOST more career hits even though Jackson played 6 more seasons), but you CANNOT say that Dave Winfield or Eddie Murray surpass Jim Rice. The only reason they are in the Hall of Fame, is because they hit the one or both of the MAGIC NUMBERS.
Dave Winfield is a Hall of Famer. He played 22 seasons to Rice’s 15. Winfield finished with a .283 batting average, 3,110 hits, 465 HRs, and 1,833 RBIs. Rice retired at age 36. Winfield’s numbers at age 36 (he retired at 43) were: .287 batting average, 2,421 hits, 357 HRs, and 1,438 RBIs. Looks pretty similar, eh? Winfield never accumulated 200 hits in a season, while Rice did that 4 times. In his remaining 6 seasons, Winfield batted over .271 once (at .290) and averaged 18 HRs and 66 RBIs during that time. Not really HoF type numbers, but lasting those last 6 seasons, got him to the magic numbers. Winfield never won an MVP and placed in the Top 5 of MVP voting 3 times, but was a 12 time All-Star game selection. Jim Rice won 1 MVP and placed in the Top 5 6 times, but was only selected to 8 All-Star games.
Eddie Murray is a Hall of Famer. He played 21 seasons to Rice’s 15. Murray finished with a .287 batting average, 3,255 hits, 504 HRs, and 1,917 RBIs. Murray played his first full season of 160 games at the age of 21 while Rice only got 24 games at age 21 with his first full season at 22. Rice retired at age 36. Here are Murray’s numbers at 36 (he retired at 41): .290 batting average, 2,646 hits, 414 HRs, and 1,562 RBIs. Almost similar, but slightly better since that covers 16 full seasons while Rice only had 13 full seasons. In his remaining 5 seasons, Murray batted over .260 twice (.323 and .285) and averaged 18 HRs and 71 RBIs. Not really HoF type number again. However, like Winfield, Murray played long enough to reach the magice numbers of 500 HRs and 3,000 hits. Again, like Winfield, Murray never had a 200 hit season nor won an MVP. However, like Rice he finished in Top 5 MVP voting 6 times, and was selected to 8 All-Star games.
So why are Winfield and Murray Hall of Famers? You could argue that Rice was more of a feared hitter and a better hitter than both Winfield and Murray, but does that mean Winfield and Murray are only get rewarded for lasting 22 and 21 seasons? Is having a long career more important than how you performed over that career? It does seem that the combination of having a LONG career so that you can reach the MAGIC NUMBERS is the best way to guarantee yourself a plaque in Cooperstown. While injuries took their toll on Rice, forcing him to retire at 36, Winfield and Murray were able to continue playing the game at less than there full selves, but still good enough to remain useful to a team to get themselves the career numbers needed.
Personally, I think Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame. I think he isn’t because of what I wrote above, and also the fact that offensive numbers EXPLODED during the Steroid Era (maybe Rice should have taken some roids to hang on and over come his injury issues, like Mark McGwire) dwarfing a lot of the solid numbers of the players who dominated and were feared in the late 70s and early 80s. I think it is a joke is Rice does not end up in the Hall of Fame, yet Gary Carter is in there, especially since Jim Rice was just as great a player as Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray.
I rest my case.
PS. Sorry if this blog entry is too long. I try to keep them somewhat short, as I am sure folks don’t really want to read some War and Peace novel, but some something interesting, quick, and intersting.
In other Red Sox news, the Sox offered arbitration to Jason Varitek and Paul Byrd. You can read here why offering arbitration to Varitek is a no-lose situation for the Red Sox. Varitek and Byrd will have until Sunday, December 7th to accept or reject arbitration. If they accept, they are guaranteed to be Red Sox again in 2009.
ESPN is reporting that the Sox have signed Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa to a “term sheet” which means only passing a physical is impeding the official announcement of a deal.
HoF Ballot – Mark Newman/MLBlogs
Jim Rice – Photographed by: John Iacono (SI Vaults)
Gary Carter – http://www.garycarter.org
Dave Winfield – Unknown (off some random website I can’t remember)
Eddie Murray – Baltimore Sun (photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / July 27, 2003)
Special Thanks: Baseball Reference (I love that website) / Play Index (used to research all of the stats listed above)
Jake Peavy has said he would not accept a trade to the Boston Red Sox. Peavy has a full no-trade clause in his deal with the Padres. Kevin Towers confirmed that the Red Sox were on a list of teams Peavy does not want to get traded to. However, the New York Yankees are not on that list. Seems there is something about the Padres not liking Boston. Remember when Brian Giles would not accept a trade to Boston at the trade deadline?
However, it seems like the Sox aren’t going to give up on trying to get Padres. It looks like they may be interested in acquiring shortstop Khalil Greene. Greene is coming off a down year where he hit .213 in only 105 games. In 2007, he did hit .254 with 27 HRs and 97 RBIs after having 15 HRs a season from 2004 – 2006. Greene would either be a free agent after 2009 or be in his last year of salary arbitration, as he will finish up a 2-yr, 11m contract extention that he signed at the beginning of 2008 to avoid salary arbitration. This could be a nice stop gap to give Jed Lowrie a bit more seasoning, especially if they can move Julio Lugo somewhere duing the off-season.
EDIT: Heard on WEEI that Coco Crisp has been offered to the Padres for Greene.
So, word has it that the Red Sox are the front runner for a young amateur free-agent from Japan named Junichi Tazawa. He is 22 yrs old, supposedly with an above average fastball to go along with a curve and split-finger. He requested that Japanese professional teams not draft him so he could sign with MLB as a free agent. Japanese players usually must go through a posting process, but since Tazawa has never been drafted or sign to a Japanese professional team, he does not need to through that process. It is unclear how major league ready he is, but it is never wrong to try build up some quality young pitching.
Don’t forget to vote today!!