Tim Hudson allows five runs over four innings in second rehab start

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From Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes word that Tim Hudson allowed five runs on nine hits over four innings tonight in his second minor league rehab start with Class A Rome.

That’s a pretty ugly line, but Rogers notes that he was the victim of a “ton of seeing-eye stuff.” On the bright side, he threw 45 out of 62 pitches for strikes while striking out one and walking none.

Hudson is currently rehabbing from November surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. He tossed two scoreless innings in a Grapefruit League game last Monday against the Mets before allowing two runs (one earned) over three innings in his first rehab start last Saturday. Barring any setbacks, he should be fully stretched out to join the Braves’ rotation in late April or early May.

Hudson, 36, went 16-10 with a 3.22 ERA and 158/56 K/BB ratio over 215 innings last season. He owns an impressive 3.16 ERA since the start of the 2007 season. Roy Halladay, Adam Wainwright, Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia are the only pitchers (with at least 800 innings pitched) with a lower ERA during the same time frame.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp were staked to a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they had only played five innings of baseball. UPDATE: they played a full game today, the BayStars won, so now it’s 2-1 Hiroshima.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?