The Rakuten Eagles are apparently interested in fielding a complete team of failed Japanese MLB veterans.
They already signed Akinori Iwamura and have discussed Kenshin Kawakami with the Braves, and now, according to a Japanese media report passed along by Jason Coskrey, the Eagles have interest in Kaz Matsui.
Matsui arrived with much fanfare when he signed a three-year, $20.1 million contract with the Mets in December of 2003, but never matched expectations stateside, putting together a modest .267/.321/.380 batting line over seven seasons. Now 35 years old, Matsui was released by the Astros in May after batting just .141 over 71 at-bats. He finished the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies’ organization, batting .262/.331/.349 over 301 at-bats.
I honestly forgot how impressive his numbers were with the Seibu Lions prior coming over to the United States. Perhaps he’s a cautionary tale for those expecting big things from Tsuyoshi Nishioka?
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.