Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Asian Series 2007

Round One
Uni-President Lions 9, China Stars 5
SK Wyverns 6, Chunichi Dragons 3

SK was simply more prepared to play than Chunichi. The Dragons, without star first baseman Tyrone Woods or right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, had about as much interest in playing this game as the janitorial staff had in cleaning up after. These guys looked like they were suffering a serious championship hangover.

The Lions just outhit a young Chinese team. Most of the Chinese team looked competent, except reliever Xu Zheng. It took him 34 pitches to record one out. He allowed most of the damage while allowing 6 of 7 batters face to reach base and score.

Round Two
SK Wyverns 13, China Stars 0
Chunichi Dragons 4, Uni-President Lions 2

How often do you see a slaughter rule enacted in a professional tournement? Whenever the China Stars commit 3 errors and allow SK to score 13 runs on only 10 hits. 8 walks and one HBP were allowed by Chinese pitching. Moving on.

Chunichi was able to piece together enough of an offense to get the win for its strong pitching. Kenta Asakura went 6 strong innings only giving up 2 earned. The Chunichi bullpen shut the door on the Lions, only allowing two runners to reach base in the last three innings. Shortstop, Hirokazu Ibata was the star at the plate for Chunichi. He went 1-3 and drove in all 4 runs.

Round Three
Chunichi Dragons 9, China Stars 1
SK Wyverns 13, Uni-President Lions 1

China actually had a lead in this game. They lead 1-0 until the fifth inning when Chunichi tied the game on Kazuki Inoue's solo homerun. Chunichi the scored 8 unanswered runs to take the W. Errors and mental mistakes continued to plague the young Chinese team. They commited three more errors in this game. Giving them a total of 6 in the series.

SK scored 13 runs in the first 4 innings and coasted to a second seven inning slaughter. Foreign starter, Pete Munro, was awful. 8 of the 13 runs were charged to him, with 7 being earned. Of the 14 batters he faced, 12(!) reached base. Every SK starter, except 2nd baseman Chung Kyoung-Bae, got at least one hit. The Lions lone run came on a solo shot by centerfielder, Yang Sun-Hsan.

Championship Game
Chunichi Dragons 6, SK Wyverns 5

This one actually left me a little bitter. SK won all three tournement games. Is it really fair to ask them to beat a team they've already beaten? On that team's homefield? Again? The gentlemen that run the Asian Series sure think so.

This was a fitting championship game.

This was a definite see-saw game with both teams holding and losing leads. SK starter, Mike Romano, was brought in for the eighth inning and was left to stay out for the ninth. He allowed the dreaded leadoff walk to 1st baseman Norihiro Nakamura. Nakamura advanced on a sacrifice by Atsushi Fujii and scored on a basehit by shortstop Hirokazu Ibata. Hitoki Iwase was the nail in the coffin as he pitched a 1-2-3 9th to secure the championship for Chunichi. This is Japan's 3rd consecutive Asian Series championship win.

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