OK, now this is pretty crazy. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Japanese high school pitcher Tomohiro Anraku has logged a total of 22 innings and 391 pitches over a five-day span in “Spring Koshien,” the country’s top national high school invitational tournament. Seriously.
After throwing an eye-popping 232 pitches in a complete-game 13-inning victory on Tuesday, the 16-year-old sensation bounced back on three-days rest today and threw 159 pitches over nine innings as part of a 4-1 win. While Anraku touched 94 mph with his fastball on Tuesday, his velocity was understandably down a bit today. However, he still struck out eight and even reached 92 mph for his final pitch of the ballgame.
While this sounds flat-out crazy given how pitchers are protected these days, it’s not out of the ordinary for high school pitchers in Japan to have extreme workloads. When he was 17, Daisuke Matsuzaka infamously threw 250 pitches in a 17-inning complete game. Ryota Shimoishi, who started against Anraku on Tuesday, threw 219 pitches of his own.
And get this, Anraku might not be done. His team plays again on Monday while the semifinals are on Tuesday and the championship game is on Wednesday. He’s quickly emerging as one of the top high school pitchers in the world, so hopefully his right arm survives the week.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.