Darvish, former big leaguer Ramirez win MVP honors in Japan

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darvish.jpg23-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish and Venezuelan outfielder Alex Ramirez took home the Japanese league MVP awards on Wednesday.
Darvish, who probably qualifies as one of the world’s top 10 pitchers, earned the Pacific League honor despite making just 23 starts this season. He went 15-5 with a 1.73 ERA and a 167/45 K/BB ratio in 182 innings. As spectacular as he was, his performance can’t be regarded as much more valuable than that Hideaki Wakui, who went 16-6 with a 2.30 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 211 2/3 innings for Seibu.
Also making a case for the award was Seibu third baseman Takeya Nakamura, who hit 48 homers to lead the league by nine. He hit .285/.359/.651 overall. Outfielder Teppei Tsuchiya was the league’s leading hitter, coming in at .327/.391/.504 with 13 steals.
Ramirez won a second straight Central League MVP despite finishing with slightly weaker numbers than teammate Michihiro Ogasawara. Ramirez came in at .322/.347/.544 with 31 homers and 103 RBI, while Osagawara hit .309/.384/.543 with 31 homers and 107 RBI.
Ramirez played in the majors for the Indians and Pirates in from 1998-2000, hitting .259/.293/.437 with 12 homers in 332 at-bats. The outfielder is up to 287 homers in nine seasons in Japan.
The Central League’s top pitcher was 24-year-old Wei-Ying Chen. In his first full year in the rotation, he went 8-4 with a 1.54 ERA and four shutouts in 24 starts. Former major leaguer Dicky Gonzalez finished third in the league with a 2.11 ERA.

Video: Tony Kemp makes a sensational catch to halt two-out rally by Red Sox

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After scoring two quick runs against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel in Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening, the Red Sox offense threatened again in the third. J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts drew back-to-back two-out walks, bringing up Steve Pearce, who hits lefties quite well. With a 2-2 count, Pearce lifted an 81 MPH slider towards the Crawford Boxes in right field, a mere 315 feet away from home plate. Left fielder Tony Kemp, listed at 5’6″, ranged back, timed his jump and crashed into the scoreboard while holding onto the ball. The catch prevented two runs from scoring which would have extended the Astros’ deficit. Instead, the score remained 2-1.

Kemp’s catch will certainly be in the running for the best play of the postseason.