Adrian Beltre homers three times in rout of Orioles

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Adrian Beltre went yard three times, including twice in a nine-run fourth inning, in the Rangers’ 12-3 defeat of the Orioles on Wednesday.

Beltre and Mitch Moreland both knocked in five runs in the game. Moreland had a grand slam as part of the huge fourth inning.

It was the first career three-homer game for Beltre and his first multihomer game of 2012. He had homered just once in 20 games this month.

Beltre now has 22 homers and 71 RBI in 119 games for the season. That’s plenty good and still makes him one of the game’s best third baseman, but it pales in comparison to the 32 homers and 105 RBI he racked up in just 124 games last year.

Beltre became the eighth player to hit at least three homers in a game this season. His Rangers teammate, Josh Hamilton, hit four back on May 8. The others to hit three homers this season are the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, the Reds’ Joey Votto, the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, the Diamondbacks’ Jason Kubel and the Mets’ Ike Davis.

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 now have a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they’ve only played five innings of baseball.

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?