Mariners right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has been selected to play in the MLB-Japan All-Star Series in November. Iwakuma and select MLB stars will play a five-game series against “Samurai Japan” (Japan’s National Team) in the 2014 All-Star Series. In addition, two exhibition games will be played prior to and after the All-Star Series of games.
Iwakuma, 33, will join teammate Robinson Cano in the renewal of the event for the first time since 2006, which will mark the 11th All-Star Series and the 36th time overall that a team of Major Leaguers has toured Japan for exhibition games, dating back to 1908. Iwakuma is scheduled to make one start for the MLB squad during the series, with a limit of 80 pitches has been set for each starting pitcher (Rules for Series).
“I am very happy and honored to be part of this All-Star team,” said Iwakuma. “I look forward to pitching in my hometown during the series.”
Iwakuma went 15-9 with a 3.52 ERA (70 ER, 170.0 IP) in 28 starts with the Mariners in 2014. He ranked 2nd in the Majors with a 1.06 walk rate (21 BB) and 3rd with a 7.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and also had the 4th-best WHIP in the American League at 1.050. The Tokyo native became the fifth Japanese-born pitcher with 15 wins in a season, joining Hideo Nomo (3x), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2x), Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda.
In three seasons with the Mariners Iwakuma has combined to go 38-20 with a 3.07 ERA, including 37-19, 2.97 in 77 career starts. Prior to joining the Mariners Iwakuma played 11 seasons in Japan with Kintetsu/Rakuten in the Pacific League, combining to go 107-69 with a 3.25 ERA in 226 G/225 GS. He was named the Pacific League MVP and Eiji Sawamura Award winner (Cy Young equivalent) in 2008 after going 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA. He has represented Japan in the World Baseball Classic (2009) and Olympics (2004).
The team will holds workouts at Dodger Stadium on November 6-7 (12-2:30 pm). The MLB Network will exclusively televise every game of the Japan All-Star Series live in the U.S., beginning with the exhibition game on Tuesday, November 11 at 1 am PT (check local listings for replays).
All-Star Series games will be hosted in Osaka (Kyocera Dome), Tokyo (Tokyo Dome), Sapporo (Sapporo Dome) and Okinawa (Okinawa Cellular Stadium). The complete schedule is as follows:
|2014 Suzuki All-Star Series Schedule|
|Tuesday, Nov. 11:||Exhibition vs. Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants at Koshien|
|Wednesday, Nov. 12:||Game #1 at Kyocera Dome, Osaka|
|Thursday, Nov. 13:||Travel Day|
|Friday, Nov. 14:||Game #2 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo|
|Saturday, Nov. 15:||Game #3 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo|
|Sunday, Nov. 16:||Game #4 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo|
|Monday, Nov. 17:||Travel Day|
|Tuesday, Nov. 18:||Game #5 at Sapporo Dome, Sapporo|
|Wednesday, Nov. 19:||Travel Day|
|Thursday, Nov. 20:||Exhibition vs Team Japan, Okinawa|
First off, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series in what was a great 7-game series vs. the Kansas City Royals.
While baseball may not return until Pitchers and Catchers report to Arizona and Florida for Spring Training starting in February, there will be plenty of baseball news over the next few weeks.
Here is a listing of some of the many baseball awards that will be announced and how you can follow. Hopefully there will be a few Mariners who take home some hardware!
|Monday, Nov. 3||MLBPA Players Choice Awards||MLB Network|
|Tuesday, Nov. 4||BBWAA Award Finalists||MLB Network|
|Rawlings® Gold Glove Awards||ESPN2 (4 pm PT)|
|Wednesday, Nov. 5||Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards||MLB Network|
|Thursday, Nov. 6||Silver Slugger Awards presented by Louisville Slugger||MLB Network|
|Monday, Nov. 10||AL & NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year||MLB Network|
|Tuesday, Nov. 11||AL & NL Manager of the Year||MLB Network|
|Wednesday, Nov. 12||AL & NL Cy Young Award||MLB Network|
|Thursday, Nov. 13||AL & NL Most Valuable Player||MLB Network|
Kyle Seager has quickly made a name for himself after only three full Major League seasons. Here is a look at Kyle’s career stats, be sure to pay attention to the steady rise of his home run and RBI totals over the last few seasons:
In 2014, Seager was a first-time All-Star while leading the team in home runs (25), RBI (96) and extra-base hits (56). He became the first Mariners player since Raul Ibañez (2005-2008) to record 20+ HR in at least 3 consecutive seasons and joins Ken Griffey Jr. and Jim Presley as the only Mariners players with 20+ HR in 3 of first 4 MLB seasons (20 in ‘12, 22 in ‘13). Additionally, he became the first Mariners player with a 25 HR, 95 RBI season since Jose Lopez in 2009.
In addition to his solid performance at the plate, Seager has turned into one of the best third basemen in MLB. Kyle led all players at the hot corner with a .981 fielding percentage, the best single-season fielding percentage by a third baseman in club history (Jeff Cirillo, .973 in 2002), and the 10th-best in American League history since 1948. He was rewarded by being named one of three Rawlings® Gold Glove American League Finalists (winner to be announced Nov. 4 on ESPN2).
In the last month, Felix Hernandez has won an A.L. ERA crown, was named a Sporting News All-Star and was named as a finalist for an American League Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Hernandez was also in the running for the Luis Aparicio Award, which is given annually to a Venezuelan player in Major League Baseball who is judged to have recorded the best individual performance in that year. The winner of the award is determined by a vote conducted by Venezuelan sports journalists and Spanish-language media around the world. It is named after former MLB shortstop Luis Aparicio, who is the only player from Venezuela to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, Hernandez came up just short of Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Hernandez received 28 first place votes, 36 second place, 31 third place, four fourth place and one fifth place vote to finish second, ahead of Detroit’s Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera.
Hernandez won the 2009 Luis Aparicio Award after finishing second in the A.L. Cy Young Award voting, but did not repeat as the winner in 2010 after his Cy Young season.
Let’s hope history repeats itself and Felix Hernandez is named as the 2014 Cy Young Award winner next month.
A lot has been made in recent seasons about the amount of defensive shifts that have taken place in MLB. An interesting story was published today via John Dewan’s Stat of the Week and Seattle Times writers Adam Jude also wrote an article on shifts earlier during the season.
The Fielding Bible data, which will appear in the 2015 Bill James Handbook, shows that over the past four seasons the number of shifts in Major League Baseball, as measured by a ball hit into play when a shift is in effect, has nearly doubled every year. Here are the totals by year:
|MLB Shifts by Season|
|Year||Number of Shifts|
The report goes on to show that the shift has also been pretty effective in terms of the defensive metric of runs saved:
|MLB Shifts by Season|
|Year||Number of Shifts||Shift Runs Saved|
How do the Mariners stack up in all of this? According to Baseball Info Solutions the Mariners had 9 defensive runs saved this season due to the shift (Mariners were at -2 runs saved overall for the season, a drastic improvement from -97 in 2013). The 9 runs saved due to shifts was 7th-best in the American League.
Three finalists at each position in the American League and National League were announced today for the prestigious Rawlings® Gold Glove.
Mariners Kyle Seager (3B), Robinson Cano (2B) and Felix Hernandez (P) were among the three players at their respective positions to be named finalists. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, November 4 at 4 pm PT on Baseball Tonight on ESPN2.
The Rawlings® Gold Glove selection process is based approximately via 75% votes by manager and coaches (up to 7 per team, can’t vote for players on own team) and 25% based on the SABR Defensive Index (statistical based).
The Mariners have not had a Gold Glove winner since Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez in 2010. Seattle had at least one winner 24 consecutive seasons from 1987-2010.
James Paxton had a fine rookie season with the Mariners, going 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 13 starts. In 17 career Major League starts, the left-hander is 9-4 with a 2.66 ERA.
A native of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada, Paxton was asked if he had any items from his rookie season he could donate to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Following the season, Paxton donated the mitt he used all season to be displayed at the museum in St. Marys, Ontario.
As you can see in the picture above, Paxton’s mitt is placed nicely next to a signed Mariners hat and game-used batting gloves from Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders, who is also a Canadian native from Victoria.
Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez has been named the starting pitcher on the Sporting News American League All-Star team.
Hernandez went 15-6 with an American League-leading 2.14 ERA in 34 starts in 2014.
The All-Star team was selected by a panel of 20 American League General Managers and Assistant General Managers. The Sporting News has been selecting postseason All-Star teams since the 1920s.
The above image of Felix is courtesy of SN and pays homage to the Topps’ classic 1954 baseball cards.
For the first time ever in the United States, every World Series Game will be streamed LIVE to authenticated MLB.TV subscribers with no blackouts.
Eligible subscribers in the US must authenticate through their supported Pay TV provider. Participating Pay TV partners include: DirecTV, Optimum, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse TV, COX, Bright House Networks, Buckeye, Arvig, WOW!, Suddenlink and Consolidated Communications.
Fans can watch LIVE online or on over 400 devices with a full HD picture, in-game highlights and stats, clickable linescores and more.
See all the details at via MLB.com.
And, of course, every game will be LIVE on FOX TV and ESPN Radio, as well.