Browsing the archives for the Daly City Montis tag.

The 2007 Playoffs: World Series Recap

Game Recaps

27 October 2007 – After utterly dominating their league once again on both sides of the plate, the Daly City Montis roared in once again to the Fall Classic in what has for years been an annual victory march. Last year they went 8-2 in the postseason before their coup de grâce, a 4-0 sweep of the SWL Champion Pentax Shake Reducers, and the 2007 version of the Montis looked even more dominant, bashing their way to 1098 runs (besting 2nd place by 157 runs, after only leading by 28 the previous year) and allowing an anorexic 485 runs (440 earned) all year, for an astounding 2.68 team ERA in a year when the UL average was 4.94 (a team ERA+ of 184!).

Their opponents from the SWL side had a less glamorous road to the championship series. The Paris Forfeiters scored just 834 runs this season (7th out of 8 teams in the SWL), though they kept opponents to a SWL-low 784 runs (second in baseball to the Daly City), thanks largely to a rotation led by free agent import Kyle Katarn (who attained the first SWL Triple Crown after playing runner-up to Daly City pitchers in the UL league for years).

Game 1 started with a duel of star pitchers Yan and Katarn, almost certainly the Pitcher of the Year award winners for their respective leagues. Katarn gave up an early unearned run in the 3rd inning when second baseman Christian Lee failed to put away a 2-out grounder, allowing leadoff wunderkind Christian Ortiz to score. At the bottom of the 6th, Daly City slugger Francis Chen hammered a massive solo homerun to stake the lead to 2-0. The way Yan was pitching, Chen’s homer looked like the nail in the coffin – Yan had pitched 7 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 15. But over the course of a barely-over-.500 season and a gritty 7-game series victory in the League championship just to get here, the scrappy Paris Forfeiters wouldn’t give up. In the eighth, rightfielder Willis Hoffman led off with a double, and just two batters later was driven in by a Shigemoto Noriyuki PINCH-HIT homerun that tied the game up. The Montis failed to score in the 8th, and in the 9th Yan ran into trouble again, giving up a leadoff triple to Anthony Reyes, who was promptly driven in by Lamont Sanchez’s single for the go-ahead run. Despite catcher Tina Quach earning herself a walk with 1 out to set up the tying run, the game was to end on a pinch-hit strikeout by Jonathan Chee. Katarn pitched brilliantly against a high-octane Daly City offense, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits and a walk over 8 innings, while striking out 8. Yan, in perhaps a more awe-inspiring but leaky performance, allowed 6 hits (4 going for extra bases) and 3 runs, despite striking out 18 batters and requiring just 9 outs from his fielders. It was his second loss of the season.

The Montis came roaring back with a vengeance in the next three games, winning by a combined score of 23-3. In an all-team effort, the Montis piled up for 44 hits, 3 walks and a combined line of .379-.388-.543 to back a dominant  trio of performances by starters Esguerra (1 run on 4 H+BB in 8 innings, 10 K’s), Chin (1 run on 6 H+BB in 8 innings, 13 K’s), and Zhao (1 run on 8 H+BB in 9 innings CG, 13 K’s). The Montis line up exacted a blistering revenge on Forfeiters ace Kyle Katarn in Game 5, ripping him for 14 hits and 9 runs in 7+2/3 innings in by far his worst outing of the season.

The Forfeiters would not go out so easily, however. Determined to win at least one on the last night of their homestand, leadoff CF James Talmage put on a 1-man show, stroking 2 doubles and a homerun in 3 hits to score 3 runs and drive in 4 himself, having a hand in 7 of the Shake Reducers 8 runs in their 8-6 victory. The young starter Alfred Vong was hit hard in this game, allowing 5 runs in 5+2/3 innings, and even closer Leong could not stop the bleeding – he gave up 3 more runs in just his 2nd appearance this postseason, driving up his ERA to a comical 33.76.

The Montis made things interesting in Game 6. Despite having both #1 and #2 starters Yan and Esguerra fully rested, the Montis manager instead trotted out long reliever Kelley Cox, making just the 2nd starter of her young career. She was the most well-rested of anyone on the Daly City pitching staff, having pitched just a two-inning outing in the opening series against the Asia Giants. Still, it was a curious choice, considering that Cox had not fared well in her only other audition as a closer, a May start against the Caribbean Pirates in which she lasted just 3+2/3 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 Hits+BB.

The move proved to pay off, however – Cox threw an understatedly dominant 8 innings, allowing just 3 hits, 2 walks, and a single run in by far the longest outing of her career. Unfortunately for Cox, the fairytale of clinching the World Series championship win in her first postseason start in her rookie season was denied by Paris starter Kenneth Price, who pitched an equally dominant 9 innings with just 6 hits, 1 walk, and allowing a single run, all in an efficient 102 pitches. Cox left the game in the 9th with a 1-1 tie, having thrown 116 pitches, yielding to closer Leong.

The stalemate went on for what seemed like forever – after a Francis Chen double to put him on base at the bottom of the 11th, the Montis passed up two potential chances to score – the first when Chen (speed 70/100) was stopped at third on a Derek Lew single to leftfield (not wanting to challenge LF Luciano Ferrant’s 91-rating arm), and another on Salgu Wissmath’s flyout to right (with RF Willis Hoffman’s 84-rating arm).

It was finally down to bottom of the 15th frame, with 2 outs in the bag. By this time, the Forfeiters had exhaused 3 pitchers and were on their 4th reliever, middle reliever Bobby Kantor. Josiah Leong, drawing from his experience as a converted starter, had muscled through an astonishing 7 shutout innings in relief, utterly dominating the Forfeiters to the tune of allowing just 2 hits, a walk, and a hit batter, while striking out 10 batters. With 2 outs against Kantor, RF Francis Chen, just 1 for 6 on the day, reaches base on a hit by pitch. With the aura of a man who’d been here many times before, Daly City all-time great Derek Lew strolled up to the plate.

Stepping up to the plate is… first baseman Derek Lew.
He is 2 for 6 tonight with a double.
There are two down, the count at 3 balls and zero strikes.
A walk here would bring up shorstop Salgu Wissmath.
Lew waits for the 3-0 pitch…
fastball…
Lew swings…
LINE DRIVE to left-center
a long run for Luciano Ferrant, but he’s got the stronger arm.
He is running fast…
it rolls to the wall…
Lew is heading for second…
and this time there is NO hesitation for Francis Chen, he is blazing past 3rd…
Chen slides, the throw will not be in time…
and Lew will have the game winner, the series winner with a stand-up RBI double!!!

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The 2007 Playoffs: Divisional Series Recap

Game Recaps, Uncategorized

Saturday, October 9th – in a divisional series round with few tight races, things went even easier than expected for the favored teams. One series ended in  a sweep, and the three others went 4-1, setting up the earliest league series round (starting October 10th) in recent memory.

For a supposed pushover opponent, Game 1 of the Daly City Montis-Asia Giants series started off with a dramatic opener – Whitney Esguerra, leading off the series after #1 Starter Nathan Yan pitched the final game of the regular season, turned in a solid 2 run, 7+1/3 inning performance against the Asia Giants, striking out 7.  The prolific Montis offense, however, couldn’t quite get started against the Giants’ Ramon Obando , racking up only 3 runs through the first 8 innings.

With middle reliever Alvina Chu effectively handling the 8th, it was up to the erratic closer Josiah Leong to finish out the 1-run lead. Despite evolving into one of the most dominant closers in the league this season (his 2.09 ERA and 11.6 K/9 were both 3rd-best among relievers), Leong promptly imploded with a walk, two hits, a wild pitch, and two runs to give up the lead and throw the Montis into a rare do-or-die at the bottom of the 9th, down by a run.

Nonetheless, the Montis had reason to hope, with the core of their lineup coming up, starting with Reid-Kwong-Chen-Lew. The group went 2 for 4 to set up runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs, and then it was up to the feeble-hitting catcher, Tina Quach, to make things happen at the plate.

Strike 1, taken.

Strike 2, taken.

Then a diving split-fingered fastball, some hesitation, and a late swing.

Fouled off, just barely, dribbing in the dirt down the first base line.

And then like a Cinderella story gone terribly wrong, it all seemed to unravel  for the underdog Asia Giants.  Closer Pendergast issued four straight balls, to grant Quach a walk and load up the bases, and set up a final showdown against Daly City’s #8 hitter.

And for a game as dramatic as this, who else would be waiting on deck, in the 9th inning with two outs, but the legendary clutch hitter of storied postseasons past, Joanna Maung. Naturally, she loads up a full 3-2 count…

The count is 3 and 2…
Pendergast kicks and fires…
fastball…
Maung swings…
it’s lined
Simmons dives…
but he can’t get it…
Reid scores with the tying run…
Kwong is rounding third…
Batchelder throws home…
Beasley takes it…
Kwong slides…
it’s going to be close…
SAFE!
And the clutch hero Maung comes through yet again with a game-winning, 2 RBI single!

The rest of the series ended without too much fanfare – the versatile middle infielder Wissmath powered the offense in Game 2 with 2 hits, a walk, a homer, 2 runs and 2 RBIs, and a stolen base in 4 plate appearances from the 9-spot, as the Montis won a 6-2 game that was never much in doubt.

The Montis then closed the series out with dominating performances in games 3 and 4, with Yan pitching a 1-hit, 1-walk, 20-K shutout in game 3, backed by 12 runs and 21 hits and 2 walks in an offensive massacre.  The clinching game 4 ended 8-2, on the strength of a 5 for 5 on-base day for leadoff hitter Kuo (4 hits, 1 walk, 3 stolen bases, 3 runs) and 3 for 5, 4 RBI game for leftfielder Kwong.

There weren’t too many surprises elsehwere in the league, either.  Microsoft looked to be in dire trouble aftr their first game, when ace pitcher Kernel Tyranus (18-8, 2.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP in the regular season) strained his rotator cuff after pitching just 2 outs into the 2nd inning, and the Carribean hitters feasted on the Longhorns bullpen to the tune of 22 hits and a walk in 47 at bats, including 6 doubles and 2 homers for an overall .468-.479-.723 day en route to 13 runs.

The Pirates seemingly spent up all of their offensive energy in that first game, and weren’t able to mount much of any offense thereafter, even against a Longhorns pitching staff ranked woefully below-average this season.  The fading Sherwood Bertsch, who mustered only a 5.01 ERA and 1.23 WHIP this season, kept the Pirates down to just 1 run over 7+2/3 innings. Willhuff Tarkin, who earned a 5.48 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in the season, then pitched a gem in a 5-hit, no walk, 1-run, 8+2/3 inning Game 3 performance.  And then lastly Eddie Castilleja (6.59 ERA, 1.62 WHIP in regular season), combined with relievers Ellsworth Hartzler (4.98, 1.26) and rookie reliever Miguel Ojeda (3.28 ERA, 1.35) for another 1-run performance in the game 4 win. The clinching game 5 was delivered by a fearsome hitting clinic put on by Jabba Desilijic Ture (3 for 4 with 2HRs, 3 RBIs, and 2 runs), but also came with a cost: #2 starter Sherwood Bertsch went down after just 3+1/3 innings with an inflamed rotator cuff, making him doubtful for the rest of the playoffs, and possibly putting down the Longhorns to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th starters of their already woeful staff.

League Series: Daly City Montis vs. Microsoft Longhorns

Even at full strength outset, this matchup would have been tough – the Longhorns might have hoped to hammer some of Daly City’s starters with their core lineup (the only one in the league with 3 hitters with a  > 1.000 OPS this season), but after losing their ace and only above league-average starter Kernel Tyranus, and then even losing their #2 starter Bertsch, it’s hard to imagine the Longhorns being able to do much at all to stymie the onslaught of a Montis offense that is firing on all cylinders, with four hitters (RF Chen, DH Reid, CF Kuo, and LF Kwong) with a divisional series OPS greater than 1.000, and an overall team performance in the first round of .354-.429-.524.

Prediction: Montis, 4-0

Over in the SWL, some analysts questioned how well Skywalker would produce in his first postseason stint with the Shake Reducers, and if it would be enough to propel the otherwise weak-hitting Pentax offense over the more well-balanced Nikon Vibration Reducers.  To the first question, as if it were anything but rhetorical, Skywalker raked the Nikon pitching staff to put up an incredible line: .550-.609-1.800, going 11 for 20 with 8 (EIGHT!) homeruns while driving in 14 RBIs and scoring 9 runs himself.  He homered in every single game of the 5-game series, hitting 2, 1, 1, 1 and 3 homeruns.

The second question is more vital to how far the Shake Reducers go this season. While Skywalker certainly led the way, Pentax piled on 41 runs in five games over the Vibration Reducers, who were no slouches as the 5th-best staff in baseball by ERA this season.  The offense was bolstered by a hot week by centerfielder Steffen Richardson (.400-.455-1.000 in driving in 10 RBIs and scoring 8 in 22 plate appearances) and 2B Joseph Thomason (.450-.500-.650 in 22 plate appearances), two players who didn’t show much offensive prowess during the regular season (.737 and .736 OPS, respectively).  If they cool off, and no one else heats up, things could get much more challenging for the Shake Reducers.

In a masterful demonstration of pitching dominance, Paris pulled off a dominant 4-1 series victory over Tokyo by allowing just 11 runs over 5 games – 2.2 runs per game, compared to 4.0 allowed by Pentax and 4.2 allowed by Microsoft in their 4-1 series victories. They were led by two dominant outings by ace Kyle Katarn, who pitched two complete games to go 2-0, 18 innings, 15 K’s, with a 1.00 ERA and miniscule 0.61 WHIP.

League Series: Pentax Shake Reducers vs. Paris Forfeiters

The SW league series once again pits offensive prowess against dominant pitching, with baseball’s hands-down Batter of the Year, Skywalker, hoping to lead a one-man offense against a solid rotation led by the hands-down SWL Pitcher of the Year and Triple Crown winner Kyle Katarn.  While the Shake Reducers bashed the other side into submission and the Forfeiters mowed down the opposing offense, both dominated to similar degree – Pentax outscored Nikon 41-20 (2.05x, 0.808 pythag. win%), while Paris outscored Tokyo 21-11 (1.91x, 0.785 pythag. win%). The deciding factor may be Forfeiters ace Katarn’s limited schedule, having pitched complete games in both Games 1 and 4 of the division series, ruling him out for what may be a critical Game 7 third start.

Pentax: 4-3

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The 2007 Postseason Preview

League Review

Saturday, 2007 October 3 – the cool autumn breeze and the turning of the calendar to October means one thing for baseball fans – the playoffs are in the air, and while the Daly City Montis enter the postseason as dominant favorites once again, intriguing storylines abound everywhere, especially in the SWL where the four contenders were separated by just 4 games in the regular season.

While the past four years have been a gradual downward decline for the Montis (albeit still playing in a different class compared to other teams in the league), the Montis roared back to vintage dominance with a 131-31, .809 record, their second-best in team history and a 12-game improvement over the previous season. A weaker field also meant they completely ran away in the division – they clinched the division crown by August and finished with a staggering 41-game lead over the 2nd-place Microsoft Longhorns, who were no chumps themselves at 90-72, .556 with the 2nd-best record in baseball.

The Mozilla Firefoxes rose out of the cellar for the first time, as the bottom seemed to fall out of the Apple Septic Tanks, who have fallen from 2nd to 3rd to 4th place in the division in consecutive season, and finished with an abysmal losing record – 72-90, .444. They’re definitely feeling the loss of ace pitcher Kyle Katarn, who achieved the Triple Crown in the SWL with a 19-11, 3.34 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 298 K season.

Over in the tumultuous and always disappointing Terran Division, the Caribbean Pirates ascended to the top, posting a strong 79-83, .488 record – the best any Terran team has ever played. The Pirates were buoyed by the addition of free agent Simeon Sarvis who defected over from SWL’s Pentax and put up a .309-.376-.580 line, and the continued development of monster prospect Clifford Alfano, who followed up his outstanding rookie campaign (3rd place in UL rookie of year voting) by posting a .349-.446-.584 line and a scary 11.2 RC/27, 4th-best in the UL.

Last year’s first place Asia Giants took a slight step back, winning two fewer games but still managing to snag the last playoff berth with an abysmal 67-95, .414 record.

Following a tumultuous offseason in the Shinto-World League, the playoff picture will look massively different, both in terms of the teams present, the faces on them, and the familiar faces missing from October baseball.

The Canon Image Stabilizers, who had secured the division both years, plummeted to a tie for 3rd with the loss of all-galaxy slugger Gates Skywalker, who left to shatter his previous records in leading the Pentax Shake Reducers to the division crown. The Nikon Vibration Reducers, despite suffering from the loss of their own all-world slugger Richard Eager, replaced enough of his offensive prowess with free agent 1B Maul Foundation (.367-.403-.687, 2nd-best OPS and RC/27 in the SWL) to again finish 5th in baseball in offense, while shoring up their pitching with free agent Josue Berrero, who became the team’s ace with a 14-11, 3.88 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 234+1/3 IP season, good for the 5th-best ERA and 2nd-best WHIP in the SWL. They rose from the cellar last season to finish 84-78, .519, securing second place by 12 games.

Despite winning their division cleanly by five games, and dominating both sides of the ball by finishing 3rd in both runs scored and runs allowed (for a +119 run differential – no team outside of Daly City was better), the Pentax Shake Reducers come in with a bevy of question marks after their offseason makeover. Having lost their best two sluggers from 2006 – 1B Walter Vanish and RF Simeon Sarvis, who both went on two post .950+ OPS seasons with new teams – the Shake Reducers pulled in a free agent haul to more than replace them – 1B Barney Raymo slugged .292-.357-.558, and the ever-growing legend Gates Skywalker obliterated all records with a .359-.444-.981 season (1.426 OPS, 16.93 RC/27) to carry the team. If the prolific Skywalker can replicate his regular season success, even the veteran Montis offense will be pressed to keep pace.

The most dramatic late-September race was in the World Cities division. On 2007 September 23, with five games to go on the season, the Tokyo Samurai stood at had 84-73, and had secured a mildly comfortable lead over the 82-75 Las Vegas Valleys, who themselves had a 2-game margin over the 80-77 Paris Forfeiters. Tokyo went 3-2 the rest of the way to win the division by two games, but the Valleys stumbled a bit at 2-3, while the Forfeiters swept five games, including a crucial 161st game, 8-2 win against the Valleys to finally move ahead into second place, leaving the mercenary Richard Eager, he of the record-busting $38.3M annual salary, out of the postseason once again (something that will no doubt vindicate fans of the playoff-bound Vibration Reducers, his former team).

Matchups

Round 1: Asia Giants vs. Daly City Montis

Interestingly enough, despite being the weakest team in the playoff field this year, the Asia Giants tied with the Mozilla Firefoxes as the most succesful team against the Montis in 2007, albeit that “success” meant losing only at a 7-16 clip (.304). Still, they’ve fared much better against the Montis than either the Microsoft Longhorns or the Caribbean, who had combined to go 5-42, .106 against the Montis. Nonetheless it looks to be a longshot for the Giants – while rookie of the year Benjamin Trepanier has evolved into one of the top-five players in baseball (4th-best 11.9 RC/27 this year on a .316-.461-.606 line), and franchise cornerstone 1B Alex Quiros (who recently signed a 7-year, $8.45M per deal) whacked .294-.388-.616 over a full 162 game season, they lost their #5 slugger Tom Clark (.294-.373-.553) to a torn back muscle a few days before the end of the season. The powerful Montis lineup should also feast on the Giants’ atrocious hitting (5.87 ERA, 1005 runs allowed, both last in baseball).

Prediction: Daly City, 4-0

Round 1: Caribbean Pirates vs. Microsoft Longhorns

The Microsoft Longhorns come into this matchup noticeably less balanced than the year before, when they finished 2nd both in runs scored and allowed. Despite some importance losses – .300-.335-.583 SS Maul Foundation to free agency, .300-.339-.593 1B G.A. Thrawn to a complete skills regression (he hit .186-.233-.316 over 249 plate appearances this season), the rapid development of some of their younger hitters allowed the Longhorns to keep pace with 941 runs to once again finish second. Of particular note is the star-studded trio of gap hitters Jango and Boba Fett (.368-.453-.655 and .336-.407-.599, respectively) and UL homerun champion Jabba Desilijic Ture, who hammered 63 homers and a .246-396-.605 line). The Fetts and Desilijic Ture make Microsoft the only team with three players with a 1.000 or greater OPS. Their pitching, however, has been just mediocre – while Kernel Tyranus dominated once again (18-8, 2.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP), no other member of the rotation has an ERA less than 5.00.

While the Longhorns’ potent offense and ace Tyranus will present a tough matchup for anyone, the 2007 Caribbean Pirates squad – 10th in runs scored and 9th in runs allowed – is about the best the Terran Division has ever fielded, about on par with the 2005 European Cricketeers. Their lineup boasts a trio of stars – 20-year-old phenom Clifford Alfano, RF Simeon Sarvis, and 1B Luis Devitt, who on a good day can hit as well as the Longhorns’ three stars.  The Pirates’ pitching features solid but thoroughly unexciting innings-eater workhorses in Wilfredo Raposa, David Barnett, and Glenn Robertson.itt

On the  surface, Longhorns-Pirates looks to be an awfully lopsided matchup, but the Caribbean pitching staff, while not the dominating playoff ideal, actually match up well against Microsoft’s #2-4 starters.  With the right offensive burst, the Pirates might manage to win out two or so games in the series.

Prediction: Microsoft, 4-2

Round 1: Nikon Vibration Reducers vs. Pentax Shake Reducers

Though the Shake Reducers’ record did not fare much better than previous Photomaker division winners (they tied last year’s pennant-winning Image Stabilizers), their team looks to be the most stacked and balanced of all in the SWL, with a solid top-3 pitching rotation and the simply unstoppable Gates Skywalker, who could absolutely demolish the left-handed hopes that Nikon will ride on, #1 starter Josue Berrero and #2 Josue Huerta (Skywalker was a staggering .444-.529-1.294 against lefties this season).  The Shake Reducers’ hopes will lie almost entirely on Skywalker, however, as the team simply has no offense outside of him, while the Vibration Reducers can rely on young sluggers Maul Foundation and Brandon Wroten (.367-.403-.687 and .322-.405-.615, respectively).  Look for the Nikon squad to win a few games on a Skywalker off-day, but there likely won’t be enough of those before Skywalker single-handedly demolishes their pitching staff (especially against the lefty-heavy rotation).

Prediction: Pentax, 4-2

Round 2: Paris Forfeiters vs. Tokyo Samurai

A classic matchup of fearsome pitching against a fearsome lineup.  Tokyo run the division by bashing away at the opposition – they tied for 2nd in homeruns and 3rd in runs scored, led not only by free-agent import Walter Vanish (41 homers) and RF Ronald Peterson (39 homers), but also three additional batters who hit at least 20 round-trippers.   Their swing-for-the-fences approach, however (they ranked 3rd in the SWL in strikeouts), could be exactly the wrong matchup against a lights-out Paris pitching staff that led the SWL in strikeouts and were 2nd in baseball, especially against Triple Crown winner and ace Kyle Katarn.  The problem for Paris will be generating enough offense; they don’t have a star hitter in the bunch, with shortstop Lamont Sanchez, at .271-.393-.471 (.864 OPS) as their best hitter.  The Forfeiters do make up for this in terms of consistency, however – their lineup is loaded with 6 regulars with an OPS between .798 and .864, which should mean slow but steady run production.  Combine that with a star-studded pitching staff that doesn’t need too many runs to begin with, and the Forfeiters should be able to upset the division champion Samurai, and have a fair shot at going far in these playoffs.

Prediction: Paris, 4-2

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Season-so-far: September 1st, 2007

Team Review

In Need of Relief

The Montis are rounding the final corner into September, and on paper they’re looking the strongest they’ve been in years.  They’re 109-26 (.807) and with a 33 game lead over the 2nd place Microsoft Longhorns (76-59, .563, second-best in baseball), they’ve already clinched the division.  They’re on pace to blow away their records the past two seasons (125-37, .772 in 2005 and 119-43, .735 in 2006), and they’ve even got a fair shot of beating out their second-best 131-31 (.809) record from their inaugural 2003 season.

But the Montis have hit a roadbump that threatens to derail their season – while staying virtually injury free all season (save for a broken rib injury that allowed Tina Quach to play in only 17 games between July and August), the Montis lost two critical players right at the end of August – on the 30th, setup reliever Alvina Chu suffered a devastating ruptured tricep tendon that will leave her out for 4-5 weeks, likely leaving her out for at least the first round of the playoffs.  The very next day, star leftfielder Ted Kwong injured his back running the bases on a double, and is out 1-2 weeks.  While a condensed 3-man rotation of Yan-Esguerra-Chin (a combined 64-5 over 609 innings with 1.88 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 918 K’s (13.57 K’s/9) will likely be able to hold for the playoffs without too much bullpen support, the offensive machine will need Kwong to come back at full strength if it expects to continue humming at its league-leading 6.81 runs per game pace.

The rest of the league is starting to shape up as well – the Microsoft Longhorns seem to have a firm grip on 2nd place as they’ve done all season, backed by their murderer’s trio of  sluggers (Jango Fett – .376-.455-.669, Boba Fett – .346-.411-.612, Jabba Desilijic Ture – .251.396-.609), and the Caribbean Pirates have reversed their 2006 last-place fortunes by staking themselves to a 66-69 (.489) record and 7 game lead atop the UL Terran Division.

The race in the SWL is a bit more interesting – while Pentax (led by .349-.438-.971 Skywalker and no one else) and Nikon seem to have secured playoff spots for the Photomaker division, the World Cities division will come down to the wire, with Las Vegas, Tokyo, and Paris all within 3 games of each other.

The Lineup

Tina “Experimental Error” Quach, Catcher/Third Basewoman: Quach hasn’t done much at all the past couple months, playing in just 17 games since July after breaking several ribs in a collision at the plate.  As such, her numbers haven’t changed much – Quach went an unremarkable .274-.338-.306 and hasn’t been all that impressive since her outstanding April.

Marco Paz, Catcher: After a blistering first-half performance, Paz has regressed mightily, hitting a terrible .214-.290-.325 in July-August, and with Quach healthy and spot starting behind the plate (albeit not hitting all that well either), Paz will need to fight to maintain his current position.  Paz has worked much better on his defense, however – he’s thrown out 10 of 22 runners since the season’s midpoint, finally fulfilling the potential of his cannon arm.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: Derek Lew is nothing but consistent, and while other hitters have had flashed terrific parts of seasons, Lew has been content to continue plugging along near his career averages – so far he’s put up a .288-.342-.559 line on the year.  Lew won’t have any earth-shattering developments this year – he’s on pace to put up 74 doubles, 12 triples, 27 homers, 144 RBIs, 136 runs (great but no career bests) – but one area of encouraging improvement is Lew’s improved walk rate – he’s already set a career best for walks with 47, and his walk rate of 7.7% is a vast improvement over the 4.6% rate he put up last season.

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: Ortiz has continued his torrid June pace into the blistering Indian Summer,  propelling Ortiz to career bests in almost every category, with a full month left to go.  Ortiz has already set a career high in homeruns (26), doubles (36), RBIs (106), Runs (130), walks (74), and has already broken last year’s stolen base record with 95 so far this season.  He’s batting .309-.396-.532, all career highs, and should have no problem achieving the lofty goal of 100 steals on the season (he’s on pace for 113).

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: The oldest player on the Daly City team may finally be showing his age – at 30 years old, Nghe is putting up career lows in almost all categories, with a replacement-level .263-.324-.404 line.  While attributed to poor luck early on, Nghe hasn’t been able to get good contact on the ball at all – his BABiP has plummeted from  to .425 to .457 to .304 this season, which has been terrible news for a player who built his on-base and slugging rates on good batting averages.

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah-basewoman: Written off in the first half of the season after compiling worse than replacement level .250-.320-.288 batting, Maung has finally begun to heat up, hitting .308-.390-.385 and .385-.417-.477 in July and August.  She’s even refound her clutch intangibles, hitting .563-.611-.750 in close/late situations.

Salgu “Swissmath” Wissmath, Utility Infielder: Swissmath has gone through significant growing pains as a rookie, but she’s done fairly well for a #9 hitter, raking .420-.474-.620 in July and raising her line up to .302-.371-.413 on the season, and even stealing 21 bases to boot (on just 315 plate appearances). With the continued struggles of Nghe at shortstop, and Maung only now finding her stroke, Swissmath has a decent shot at playing herself into a solid infield starting position by the time the postseason rolls around.

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: If the slight cool-down heading into the all-star break cast any doubts on the young rookie’s skills, Kwong answered them authoratatively in July and August, hitting a monstrous .393-.480-.749, with 20 homeruns, 52 RBIs, 53 runs, and 34 walks in that span. He’s vaulted himself into the leading position for the Batter of the Year award, with a .364-449-.713 line, 43 homeruns, 123 RBIs, and 130 runs on the season.  His 1.162 OPS, .713 slugging, 13.1 RC/27, and 130 Runs lead the field of candidates, and opposing managers have come to fear him, intentionally walking him a UL-leading 17 times (just one behind Pentax uber-slugger Skywalker).

Jessica Kuo, Centerfielder: The fleet-footed Kuo didn’t blaze the basepaths quite as fast in August – she nabbed just 11 bags after pacing the league (including league-leader Ortiz) every month from May through July.  With Ortiz’s increased power pushing him back to the #2 slot in the lineup, Kuo has taken most of the starts at leadoff, where she’s produced mixed results – her speed has been impressive, but she’s gotten on base at a league-average rate of just .340.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: After his monstrous June performance won him an All-Star nod for the very first time, Chen’s BABiP regressed back to normal as he saw his batting average plummet to .235 over July-August.  Still, between walks and hit-by-pitches (12th and 6th in the league, respectively) Chen has pulled things together enough to make him serviceable at the plate (a .362 OBP for the season), which has given him enough chances this season to develop and display his prodigious power – and oh what power!  Chen is slugging .656 on the season, and ranks second in the league behind Microsoft’s Desilijic Ture in homeruns.  He’s already tied Norman Ho’s record of 49 homers, and has still got a month to go!  Needing only another 11 homers (which he’s already done in 3 of 5 months this season), Chen even stands a fair shot of becoming only the second player to hit 60 homers since the 2005 league reboot.

Tiffany Ho, Utility Outfielder: Perhaps the most consistent of all the young centerfielders, Ho still lags behind both Kuo and Reid in starts but has demonstrated her versatility by playing at least twenty games in all three outfield positions. While she’s still learning to take a walk (just 14 walks in 305 plate appearances – fewest on the team by far), she’s smacking the ball at a much better rate (.330 batting average), and putting a little more power on it as well (she’s raised her bases per hit from 1.32 to 1.40).  It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out, as all three players will be competing fiercely to gain a foothold on the starting job for the postseason, and 2008.

Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: After leading the field of standout rookie centerfielders, the rookie Reid has been finding success in patches.  Reid stumbled out of the gate in the second half, batting an abysmal .065-.121.-065 in July, but then followed up with a fantastic .373-.431-.644 August.  With better defenders Kuo (or occassionally Ho) establishing themselves in the centerfield position, Reid has mostly been delegated to designated hitter duties, but he’s performed well enough there to carve out a sizable majority of starts.

Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee, Designated Hitter/Emergency Catcher: Chee isn’t quite sure what position he plays these days – he’s started just 8 of 58 games in the field, none of them in the outfield where he has most experience. In fact, the lack of positional flexibility and his defensive liability in the outfield has probably hamstrung Chee the most in his search for consistent playing time to establish himself this season.  Nonetheless, while Chee continues to struggle with an abysmal slugging percentage (just .322 – set to be the second-lowest on record of any Daly City season with at least 250 plate appearances), he’s refound some of his ability in his area of strength: walks and hit-by-pitches and on-base percentage.  Since July Chee has reached base at a .439 pace, behind only LF Kwong in that span.

Nathan Yan, #1 Starter: The second half of 2007 has been marred with inconsistency for Yan, who has put together 10 complete games, 7 without earned runs, in 12 starts over July and August, yet came away with a solid but not awe-inspiring 0.95 ERA to show for it. Despite a dominating stretch (complete games in 17 of his past 19 starts, including his second PERFECT GAME of the season), he’s also been hit hard, giving up his first non-quality start of the season – 4 runs over 7 innings against the United States Patriots, and the brilliant control he demonstrated in the first half of the season seems to have regressed (he walked 9 batters in July alone, after walking just 8 in the three preceding months).  Nonetheless, Yan’s peripherals remain strong, and with his aggressive start schedule he could break several records – he can make up to 6 more starts in September, which currently projects to give him new career highs (and league records) in innings (294 IP), strikeouts (595), complete games (28), and shutouts (16).

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starter: Esguerra has truly evolved into a lights-out phenom in just her second year, and has shown no signs of letting up – behind Yan, she’s second in baseball in nearly ever pitching statistic, from ERA (2.19) to Wins (20) to Quality Starts (23) to K’s per 9 (11.2).  For the year she’s 20-1 in 25 starts, and has been immensely consistent in her dominance – she hasn’t gone a single month with an ERA above 3.00 or a WHIP above 1.00.  If she can maintain the same level through September, Esguerra has a chance to set several Daly city marks – with 4 more wins she’ll have put up the best Wins mark of any pitcher not named Yan or Fong, and her current K-rate would put her at 283 K’s and 11.2 K’s/9 – both non-Yan Daly City records for a starter.

Samantha Chin, #3 Starter: While Esguerra has captured all the headlines and imagination with her potential, Daly City’s other young phenom starter has quietly continued her steady season-on-season improvement.  While none of her numbers jump off the graphs, she’s set to put up career bests in almost all categories, and put together a dominating July stretch in which she pitched shutouts into the 9th inning in four straight starts, completing two of them.  Chin had a forgettable August however, giving up a 4.24 ERA and managing less than 7 innings per start.

Terrence Zhao, #4 Starter: While the dominance of the 2005 Zhao may be long gone, he’s quietly turned around his abysmal first half with solid performances in the second half, winning all eight starts with a 2.10 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and even finishing out August with a pair of complete game shutouts.  With a 3-man rotation a strong possibility going into the playoffs, Zhao will have to reach back for some of that 2005 magic to displace Chin for that #3 slot.

Alfred Vong, #5 Starter: Vong entered the season with high expectations for himself, and for four months it looked like he was destined become another lights-out ace in the loaded Daly City rotation.  Through the end of July, Vong had compiled a 7-2 record in 12 starts, with a 2.83 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.  Things came crashing down for Alfred in August, however, as he put up ugly starts and a 5.97 ERA en route to a 1-3 record in 5 starts.  Vong’s lone gem in that span was a complete game, 1-run win.  For now the bullpen convert will struggle through some consistency issues, and with the knockout of setup reliever Chu, may find himself resuming his old relief duties for the month of September.

Sean Wade, #6 Starter: Bad has turned worse for Wade, whose pitches have looked like homing missiles for bats this season.  With a 5.23 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, Wade is having one of the worst seasons on record for a regular starting pitcher in Daly City – no one who has thrown more than 50 innings has ever fared worse (and Wade has been given 105!).

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: Cox has struggled of late, although her problems are partially due to rust – solid starts by the Daly City rotation in July meant almost no work for Cox, who made just two appearances and pitched 1+1/3 innings that month.

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: Dugtong hasn’t been flashy (her numbers are 3.46 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 5 holds against 1 blown save), but she’s been adequate and durable stopgap in middle relief.

Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever: Chu’s farewell tour ended early as she ruptured her tricep tendon at the end of August, leaving Daly City’s most experienced reliever out for the rest of the regular season, and possibly into the playoffs as well. Up to that point, Chu had been putting together a solid second half – she sported a 3.04 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through 26+2/3 innings of work.  Her loss means an already thin bullpen (down to just three relievers, including closer Leong) will have to work overtime over the last month.

Josiah Leong, Closer: After months of dull perfect innings and few save opportunities, Leong was back to his thrill-seeking ways in July and August, going 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA and both blowing and saving critical leads. On the whole, however, Leong is having his best season yet as a closer – he’s blown just 2 save opportunties (21 for 23 – 91.7%, tops among relievers with at least 20 save opportunities) and has dominated with a 2.12 ERA, though he hasn’t had many opportunities to protect close leads for the overpowering Daly City offense.

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The 2006 Playoffs: League Series Review

Game Recaps

Friday, October 22nd – It’s been a rollercoaster ride the last ten days in the baseball world, as the powerhouse teams came together in the final four round.  The DC Montis against the M-Dollar Longhorns, and the Canon IS vs. the Pentax SR.

The bookies won little and lost big this round.  Heavily favored going into the series, the Daly City Montis swept past the #2 seed Microsoft Longhorns, outscoring the team from Seattle 28-13 to take the series in 5 games.  Daly City led off with a 9-0 shutout start by ace Nathan Yan, who pitched a gem of a 2-hitter, while Derek Lew provided the offense with a 4 for 5 game, hitting two solo homers, but dropped the next game behind an average start by Esguerra and a dominant 1-run start by Microsoft starter Eric Holl.

Tragedy struck game 3, as midway into the fifth inning, starter Terrence Zhao pulled a bicep tendon, taking him out of the game.  Alfred Vong finished the rest of the game out, which Daly City won 9-6.  Zhao, however, will be out for 1-2 weeks with the injury, taking him out of the rest of the playoff picture.

Samantha Chin pitched another strong game in Game 4, in which Daly City’s offense took care of the rest by slamming Microsoft ace Sherwood Bertsch for 13 hits and 7 runs.  By Game 5, it was all over, as the reborn Sean Wade took to the mound for another masterful start, throwing a complete game, 2-hit, 1-run gem to shut down the Longhorns 2-1.’Like the Galactic Colossus growing ever stronger with each new planet it consumes, the Montis seem unstoppable on its quest for a 4th straight World Championship. They’ll have a surprising opponent for the final round, however.

Originally picked to bomb out in the first round, Pentax, with a bit of luck, eeked into the 2nd round with a 4-3 series win over the Paris Forfeiters, who had blown a 3-1 series lead.  Facing the powerhouse Image Stabilizers, however, few gave them much of a chance.  True to form, the Image Stabilizers cleaned house with the Pentax Shake Reducers the very first game, obliterating them 15-2 behind a solid start by Justin Ramage and explosive by hitting from the 1-9 spots in the batting order.  The IS slipped the next game however – going into the 8th leading 5-4, the bullpen blundered and gave up two runs in the 8th and 9th, off solo shots by RF Simeon Sarvis and CF Steffen Richardson.  Interestingly enough, Gonzalo Bolanos once again pitched for the save.

The very next game, Canon was embarrassed 4-10, behind a near complete game by Augusto Figueroa and a couple of 3-4, 2HR, 4RBI games by CF Steffen Richardson and SS Noe Pessoa.  If Canon ever needed a wake-up call, it was then, and Justin Ramage stepped up to make it, bowling over Pentax with a 4-hit shutout in a scant 106 pitches, while Gates Skywalker brought the hardware with a two-homerun performance.

The surge, however, was momentary, as a Robert Bone implosion the very next game (7 runs and 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings) doomed Canon, no matter what 4-4, 2HR performance Gates could pull out that day.

As in any great back-and-forth matchup, Canon rebounded back to make it 3-3, with a 6-3 win in Game 6.

With the series and a shot for a 2005 World Series rematch on the line, the Image Stabilizers needed to bring it, and who else to have on the mound by ace Justin Ramage, who was almost single-handedly responsible for two of Canon’s three wins, and would surely be MVP of the series if he worked his magic to win 3 out of 4 wins for Canon.  Ramage pitched 7 innings, with 9 K’s and only 2 runs, and Gates Skywalker hit another homer for his SIXTH homerun in four straight games.  What nobody counted on was the game put on by 29-year-old Moises Silva, who in four postseason starts had gone 2-2 with a 7.11 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.  Silva brought the heat with an 8-inning, ONE RUN start, inexplicably besting Ramage and bringing the Shake Reducers to their first  WORLD SERIES!!

Round 2 was a round of what could’ve beens.  Microsoft lost two save-situation games, where the production brought by their slugger Jabba Desilijic Ture could’ve made the difference.  Microsoft’s #1 starter, Kernel Tyranus, and #2, Wilhuff Tarkin, could have also easily made up two or three games.  Similarly on Canon’s end, the team felt the absence of their #2 best hitter Francis Cote in their three save situation losses, as well as the two of their starters.

Canon’s Gates Skywalker, who blew away the league in the regular season with a 182 RBI, 146 Run, .350-.441-.891, 79 homer regular season campaign, and bashed away with a marvelous 27 RBI, 20 Run, 12HR, .467-.561-1.467 postseason (his run production alone outnumbers that of the entire Las Vegas or Pentax teams during their matches).  A free agent this year, Skywalker could very well move on to greener pastures, after two seasons without a ring in Canonland.

Looking forward to the World Series, 2006 seems to be another easy one for the Daly City Montis, who coast into this series outscoring their opponents 63-25 in the postseason (that’s 6.3 runs to 2.5 runs per game), while Pentax has stumbled along into two miraculous underdog 4-3 series wins, scoring 73-76 along the way (that’s 5.2 runs to 5.4 runs per game).  Yes, that’s right, Pentax has actually been outscored in the postseason, despite arriving at the World Series with the Shinto-World League pennant. 

Round 3, World Series: Pentax Shake Reducers vs. Daly City Montis

The Daly City Montis come into this series like they came into the regular season – a so-so offense backed by a lights-out pitching staff.  This description may be more true than ever now, as Daly City has stumbled with poor performances by their top players, and has relied heavily on star performances from their light-hitting batters like Joanna Maung (.429-.489-.595) and Tiffany Ho (.488-.543-.683).

The pitching has been lights out, however.  Daly City’s starting five: 

Nathan Yan: 2-0, 0.50 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 16.5 K’s per 9
Whitney Esguerra: 1-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.9 K’s per 9
Terrence Zhao (injured, out for playoffs): 1-0, 2.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 8.7 K’s per 9
Samantha Chin: 1-0, 2.77 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.3 K’s per 9
Sean Wade: 2-0, 1.53 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 7.1 K’s per 9

The pitching has been so good, the bullpen’s barely been tapped at all, meaning Daly City has a well-rested reserve compared to Pentax.

Pentax’s star hitter Walter Vanish has been ailing so far, with a .236-.300-.382 line in the postseason.  They’ve been buoyed mostly by two very strong performances by RF Simeon Sarvis (.298-.386-.660, 14RBI, 16 Runs) and CF Steffen Richardson (.373-.439-.824, 16RBI, 12 Runs).  The rest of the lineup has been downright abysmal, and right now Pentax is relying on both of those players heavily to come up with some kind of offense.

Their pitching is worse than average, and while they have a clutch workhorse in Augusto Figueroa, who’s thrown 39 innings in 5 games this postseason, his ERA is still a middling 4.62.

Prediction: Daly City, 4-1

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The 2006 Playoffs: Divisional Series Recap

Game Recaps

Tuesday, October 12th – tensions are high on the eve of the league championship round of the 2006 Monti Bizarro Baseball postseason.  From eight teams down to four, the teams here are more evenly matched, and the stakes higher than ever.

As expected, both the Daly City Montis and the Microsoft Longhorns blazed past their Round 1 opponents.  Daly City was dominant with a set of five strong pitching performances:

Game 1, W8-3: Whitney Esguerra, 7 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 K’s on 108 pitches
Game 2, W6-2: Terrence Zhao, 7 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, 7 K’s on 108 pitches
Game 3, W9-1: Nathan Yan, 9 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, 19 K’s on 152 pitches
Game 4, L3-4 (12 innings) : Samantha Chin, 6 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 6 K’s on 96 pitches
Game 5, W9-2: Sean Wade, 8 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 7 K’s on 132 pitches

After being dominated for three games, the United States managed to avoid the sweep by mounting a stubborn upset bid in game 4 – they scored 3 runs on Chin, were held scoreless by Khan for 3 innings, but finally came away with the win in the bottom of the 12th inning, when third baseman Juan Truex hit a homer off of reliever Alvina Chu.  Nonetheless, Sean Wade came in Game 5 and dominated, carrying a shutout through 8 2/3 innings and winning the game.

Microsoft had a similarly easy time with the Asia Giants, winning the series 4-1.  They’ve been lead by a monstrous postseason run by SS Maul Foundation, who batted .579-.591-.842 with 5 RBI and 6 Runs in the five Round 1 games.  Staff ace Sherwood Bertsch, who was disappointing in the regular season, has stepped up so far in the playoffs, winning both his starts with a 2.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, going a long way towards compensating for the loss of SP Kernel Tyranus.

Over in the Shinto-World League, as expected the tight matchup between the Pentax Shake Reducers and Paris Forfeiters went down to the wire in a 4-3 matchup, in which FOUR out of the seven games were 1-run decisions.

Game 1 went into extra innings, as starter August Figueroa blew a 3-1 lead in the 8th inning, sending the game into extra innings.  Having thrown 141 pitches over 9 innings, many questioned the Pentax manager for leaving in his starter.  Going into extras, Paris DH Jeff Borum hit a HR off of Pentax’s shaky closer Gonzalo Bolanos in the 11th inning to take a 1-0 lead.

Things bounced right back to Paris’ court the next game, however.  Pentax SP Moises Silva was working on a 1-run gem going into the 8th with a dominant 8-1 lead.  Things started to fall apart, however, as Paris mounted a comeback bid, scoring 2 runs off of back-to-back Ernesto Monalto-Luis Sanchez homers in the 8th, and a BIG 4-run 9th inning, pulling them within 1 run.  Alas, it wasn’t to be.  Pentax’s shaky reliever Gonzalo Bolanos closed out the game and gave Pentax the win, despite giving up FOUR runs in the 9th inning.

Game 3 was another tight matchup, with Robert Arredondo pitching an edge-of-your-seats 7-inning, 3 run performance that took up 111 pitches and saw 9 hits and 2 walks (1.57 WHIP!).  2B Christian Lee provided all the offense they needed, however, with a pair of two-run homers to give Paris the 4-3 win.

Entering into Game 4 after three consecutive 1-run matches, everyone was expecting another tight game.  Instead, Paris surprised everyone, and the Shake Reducers most of all, by exploding for a 9-0 shutout win.  Christian Lee hit yet another pair of 2-run homers to lead the team again with 4 RBIs, but the story of the night was Paris’ phenom Rex White, facing Pentax’s ace Augusto Figueroa yet again and shutting down the Pentax offense with an 8 2/3, 0-run start.

At this point, Pentax was put into serious doubt.  Paris was hot off the heels of a 9-0 shutout performance, their best hitter was on a 4-HR, 8-RBI tear in the past two games, and their hero Augusto Figueroa had just suffered an embarrassing 6-run loss in one of the most critical games of the postseason.  With the momentum Paris had, there didn’t seem to be much hope for Pentax.  They turned to Moises Silva, who again broke out with a dominant start, bringing a 1-run game into the 8th inning.  With another commanding 6-1 lead, it seemed as if Silva had this game squarely locked up.  Paris rallied however, and at the end of the eighth had answered back with 4 runs to make it a 1-run game.  Turning yet again to Gonzalo Bolanos, the Pentax closer pitched a 1-2-3 9th for the save, ensuring Pentax would live to play another day.

Things began falling apart for the Forfeiters, who after Game 4 seemed to be in such a dominating position, with a 3-1 series lead.  Game 6 saw the utter implosion of the Paris pitching staff – starter Robert Arrendodo lasted only 3 1/3 innings and gave up 6 runs, and the subsequent relievers were equally abysmal, giving up a collective 7 runs over the next 5 2/3 innings.  The Pentax hitters had a field day, led by RF Simeon Sarvis, who had a 4-5 day with 5 RBI and 3 runs.  Pentax won the game 14-3, and all of a sudden the series was tied 3-3, and headed to Game 7.

Here it was, Game 7, and both teams were throwing out their best.  Pentax had their hero pitcher Augusto Figueroa on the mound, who had dominated before but definitely showed his age in the last matchup, where he gave up 6 runs.  On the visiting side, Paris had their 22-year-old boy wonder Rex White, who dominated Pentax the last time around with a near complete game shutout.  Things seemed to be going Paris’ way at first, when they scored 3 runs in the 4th, while White went into the 5th with another shutout bid at hand.  Things fell apart, however, as the Pentax hit hard with a 4-run 5th inning, and not letting up even after White had been taken out, tagging the Paris relievers for 2 runs each in the 6th and 7th.  At the end of the day, Paris was up 8-3, and Augusto Figueroa had a complete game victory, proving why he’s still one of the game’s best.

Although Canon’s 4-2 series win doesn’t show it, they were perhaps the most dominant team all the way through the first round.    Right out of the gate, they slammed down the Las Vegas Valleys on a 2-hit, 7 2/3 shutout start by ace Justin Ramage.  #2 ace Robert Bone picked up right where he left off with a dominant 1-run start for an 11-1 win.  Out of nowhere, however, the Valleys came back to win the next two games, both by 4-3, one run victories.  This apparently woke some sort of sleeping giant, as Canon exploded the next game with a 20-3 victory, with Skywalker’s 2-HR, 5RBI performance and SS Antonio Nevarez’s 5RBI day leading the way.  The Image Stabilizers wrapped up the series on a low-key 6-2 victory.

Round 2: Microsoft Longhorns vs. Daly City Montis
The top two teams in the league meet in perhaps the real world championship round.  Without Microsoft’s ace Kernel Tyranus and their slugger (and league HR leader) Jabba Desilijic Ture, this may very well be the match that could’ve been, but nevertheless Microsoft brings a strong lineup and a so-so pitching staff to the table.  Microsoft outscored Asia 28-19 in Round 1, while Daly City was 35-12, but Microsoft’s offense has looked unstoppable at times, with SS Maul Foundation (.579-.591-.842) and Boba Fett (.409-.409-.636) leading the way.  Daly City has been no slouch either, and despite their star hitter, Derek Lew, struggling at the plate (.182-.174-.364), other light-hitting members of the batting corps have been surprisingly good, including 3B Joanna Maung (.591-.625-.727) and CF Tiffany Ho (.565-.583-.870).  Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Daly City’s playoff hero has been Francis Chen, who is once again on his October tear with a .333-.444-1.067 performance, leading the team with 3 HR, 6 runs, and 7 RBI. Pitching-wise, the series is hands-down in the favor of the Daly City Montis, especially without Microsoft’s star (and #2 pitcher in the league) Kernel Tyranus.  Even Microsoft’s #1, Sherwood Bertsch, seems a shaky bet to be able to beat any of Daly City’s starting 5.
Prediction: Daly City, 4-2

Round 2: Pentax Shake Reducers vs. Canon Image Stabilizers: In the David vs. Goliath battle out in the Shinto-World League, Canon seems to be firing on all cylinders after their dominating performances over Las Vegas.  Their 48-14 run differential in Round 1 was by far the best of any team, and it dwarfs the 41-36 performance by Pentax in the 1st round.  Pentax has a fleet of hitters firing on all cylinders.  However, the production from Canon’s Gates Skywalker alone (.450-.556-1.550, 14 RBIs, 8 Runs) nearly dwarfs all of them combined.  Pentax still’s got a fighting chance, however, with Canon’s all-world catcher Francis Cote on the DL, along with two of their starting pitchers.
Prediction: Canon, 4-2

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The 2006 Playoffs Preview

League Review

Saturday, October 2nd – dawn as the playoff series begin.  Eight teams jockeying to win the pennant, although once again there’s one sole favorite.
The last month of the season ended with few surprises and a bit of heartbreak, and ultimately a playoff picture that again leaves the Daly City Montis as the clear favorite to win this season.

Finishing with a 119-43, .735 record, their worst season yet, the Daly City Montis are again the #1 seed in the playoffs, finishing 23 games in first place with the top offense and top pitching in the league, once again.  Microsoft stayed strong in the Galatica Division, holding onto a 96-66 record for 2nd place, and 2nd seed, beating out Apple by four games.  With another year, the Galatica Division’s dominance over the Terran Division seemed all the more obvious – this year all of the Galatica Division finished with a record above .500, while every team in the Terran Division was sub-.500.  In fact, the 4th-place Mozilla Firefoxes, 37 games out of first place, led Terran Division champions Asia Giants by 13 games.  An unfair world, surely, and one that means a playoff season without Galactica stars Pitcher of the Year runner-up Kyle Katarn (Apple), Batter of the Year contender Ben Kenobi (Apple), or Mozilla’s Robert Kroger.

Although all of their teams finished under .500 once again, things were certainly shaken up in the Terran Division.   Last year’s last-place Asia, who had the worst record in the league, rose to 1st place prominence (with a measly 69-93, .426 record), bolstered by their #1 draft pick and likely Rookie-of-the-Year Benjamin Trepanier, who set the table this season with a .437 OBP, #3 in baseball and #1 in the UL.  Last year’s division winners Europe Cricketeers, who were the closest to .500 with a .475 record, narrowly missed the playoffs by one game, failing to win their last game against the Daly City Montis, which would have forced a 1-game playoff with the United States.

Over in the Shinto-World league, Canon once again leads the league, although their division championship this year was cut down to a meager 1-game lead over the Pentax Shake-Reducers.  Despite being led by the 2005 SW Pitcher of the Year Justin Ramage and Gates Skywalker’s record-breaking season, they were narrowly beaten by Pentax, who mounted an 18-9, .667 September surge to come within one game of a tie for the division championship.  Nikon, interestingly, despite posting the 2nd-best offense in the SW league and possessing possibly the 2nd and 3rd best hitters in baseball, finished below .500 and in last place in the Photomaker Division.

Fast becoming like the Terran Division, 2006 wasn’t a good year for the World Cities division, whose 4 teams all finished below .500, albeit only marginally.  While both Tokyo and Paris dominated the division in 2005, with records well over .500, Tokyo, who last year was fairly dominant with star slugger Ronald Peterson, dual aces Willard Weiler and Michael Contreras, and the #2 pitching staff in baseball (behind only the Daly City Montis), finished 3rd place this year, although their projected 84-78 record would have tied them for first in the league.  Making the playoffs instead are the light-hitting Paris Forfeiters (only one player over .500 SLG, only one player over .300 AVG), who look to be mere Round 1 pushovers, and the even weaker Las Vegas Valleys (like Paris, only one player over .500 SLG, one player over .300 AVG, and no players                over .333 OBP).

Playoff projections:
Round 1: United States Patriots vs. Daly City Montis
The US brings the power, led by sluggers Juan Truex 3B, and Andrew Amey, C.  Outside their top hitters, however, they haven’t gotten anyone else who can set the table (next highest OBP is .335), or who can drive in runs (next highest SLG is .458).  Daly City pitching should mow through them, and even the relatively light Daly City offense should have a field day with the Patriots’ league-worst 5.73 ERA.
Prediction: Daly City, 4-0

Round 1: Asia Giants vs. Microsoft Longhorns
The Giants’ two-star offense has become a 3-star offense this year, with outstanding rookie Benjamin Trepanier one of the best in the game at getting on-base (#1 in OBP, #1 in walks in UL).  Tom Clark is a good run-producer, and the monstrous bat Asia has in Alex Quiros makes them a contender in every game.  When it comes to Microsoft, however, Asia is facing an uphill battle.  Microsoft possesses FIVE bats in their lineup slugging over .500, not to mention 3 players over .375 OBP.  They scored the second-most runs out of any ballclub, and are solidly 2nd in all the major pitching categories.  Microsoft has taken huge hits over the last month, however, when in a span of a week they lost their best starter, and arguably the league’s second best pitcher, Kernel Tyranus, who was dominating hitters with a 22-5 record and 2.03 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in only 30 starts.  They also lost a workhorse starter in Wilhuff Tarkin, and in another big loss, are also without slugger Jabba Desilijic Ture, an .885 OPS hitter who also ended up leading the league in homeruns, despite missing the last half month.  Microsoft definitely isn’t the same team they were a month ago, and while they’ve been absolutely decimated, they should still be able to pull this one out against the Giants.
Prediction: Microsoft Longhorns, 4-2.

Round 1: Las Vegas Valleys vs. Canon Image Stabilizers
With a 12th-ranked offense and 7th-ranked defense, the Valleys don’t bring much to the table against Canon’s #3 offense and #6 defense.  Aside from the terribly inconsistent Luciano Ferrant , there is no one on this Vegas team who can hit.  Vegas’ lone hope rests in their star hitter, 35-year old SS Hector Valdivieso, who currently sits on the DL with a fractured knee.  After 5 weeks on the DL, he makes his comeback in 5 days – Las Vegas just hopes it can stave off elimination by Canon’s Gates Skywalker wrecking ball until then.  Canon is perhaps not the juggernaut it was last year, with the flawless 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 24-3 Justin Ramage pitching more like a mortal this year.  Despite his 18-10 record, 3.46 ERA, and 1.27 WHIP, he’s still one of the best in the league. Canon also lost their #1 hitter, catcher Francis Cote, for the rest of the season, leaving a large hole in their lineup.  Nonetheless, they still have the best hitter in the game in Gates Skywalker, which should get them past this first round, at the very least.
Prediction: Canon Image Stabilizers, 4-2

Round 1: Paris Forfeiters vs. Pentax Shake Reducers
Perhaps the only toss-up in the first round, the red-hot Pentax, 8-2 in their final 10 games, play host to the Paris Forfeiters.  Paris has been merely mediocre this year.  They’re still led by OBP machine Lamont Sanchez (.427 OBP, #4 in the SWL), and have a decent supporting cast in an improved Christian Lee (.289-.372-.508) and James Talmage (.289-.393-.496).  In fact, Paris topped the SWL in OBP, and came in only #2 to Daly City.  The Shake Reducers plan to counter that with their raw power, however – finishing #3 in homeruns (and #1 in the Shinto-World League, beating out even Gates Skywalker and the Image Stabilizers).  They have three players over .500 SLG, and with three players over a .350 OBP, they can set the table as well.  Pitching-wise, both teams are fairly mediocre.  Pentax’s ace, Augusto Figueroa, who last year dominated with a 3.07 ERA, has been all over the place this season, posting a 4.10, and their #2, the promising young Warren Hobson, is out for at least the first round with a tight elbow.  Pentax has a 4.69 team ERA, while Paris has slightly better 4.60, and the teams are ranked 8-9 in the league.  Paris, however, has the outstanding Rex White, their 22-year-old star of the future, who has been getting better all season long – he was 5-0 in 6 starts in September, posting a 2.23 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.  The series might be decided by Pentax’s one weak point – closer Gonzalo Bonalos, who has been abysmal this season with a 5.09 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, blowing 5 saves in the process.  Pentax’s inability to close out games, along with some Rex White dominance, and inconsistency in their hack-or-miss offense, might just hand this round to the Forfeiters.
Prediction: Paris Forfeiters, 4-3.

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The Season 2006 Preview – Aftermath of the Hitter Exodus

Team Review

The morning shines again on the Daly City Empire.  Of course, these days the sun never really sets.  On yet another sunny April in the Gateway to the Peninsula, spring training abounds yet again with the same enthusiasm, determination, and fresh faces.

Coming off yet another World Championship, last year’s team nonetheless fell short with their first sub-.800 season in history, finishing at 125-37, .772.  The falloff was somewhat expected, given the mass departures of team stalwarts such as 3-4 hitters Ho and Tienturier, a .951 OBP SS Mok, and a full ½ of the pitching staff.  If 2005 was any indicator of how Daly City could carry on without many of its star players, 2006 might see even further decline.  The 2005-2006 offseason saw the departures of all-star catcher Sam Lau, Batter of the Year Joey Wong, speedy CF Aubrey Cubilo, and reliever Katie Clayton.  The trio of batters accounted for 337.4 out of the team’s 1083.7 runs created, or 31.1%, and so far none of their replacements seem completely capable of approaching their production levels.

There are new faces, and new roles, however.  Last season’s crop of promising rookies return, and this year sees two new rookies in starting pitcher Whitney Esguerra, who looks to take role of #2 starting pitcher, and catcher Marco Paz, who will likely fill into the backup catcher position.  In the wake of the latest round of retirements, longtime backup catcher/utility outfielder Tina Quach finally gets her chance at the starting catcher position, while longtime benchwarmer Joanna Maung steps into the big shoes left by Joey Wong at third base.  The centerfield position is the biggest question – Tina Quach, having the best CF defensive ability, used to fill in here (21 games in CF in 2005), but with her new role as catcher, Tiffany Ho seems the best candidate (67 out of 100 defensive rating), although her hitting skills are still a bit underdeveloped and her defense is better at the corner outfield positions.  Jason Liu, with a 55 out of 100 CF rating, also seems capable, although again his defensive skills seem much better suited for the corner positions.  On the pitching side, the departure of Clayton has opened up a spot in the bullpen, which no other than 2005’s closer, Zubeda Khan, steps in to fill.  After a tumultuous season filled with blown saves, the closer position for 2006 goes back to a known commodity in Josiah Leong, who despite shaky stats managed a bottom line of 40 saves and only 3 blown saves in 2004.

More than ever, the team seems to rest on the strength of the pitching staff – though still quite formidable, the lineup has taken yet another strong punch this year, and would be hard-pressed to repeat last year’s league high 1085 runs.

Without further ado, the hardened sophomores, old stalwarts, and new faces of Daly City’s 2006 team.

Tina “Experimental Error” Quach, Catcher: After two years as an understudy to retired all-star catcher Sam Lau, Quach finally moves up to take the reins of the catcher position.  Playing in two partial seasons, Quach has shown signs that she can be a capable on-base hitter, with her .381 career OBP, but this season will be a test of how well she can sustain that level of production over the course of an entire season, in addition to handling her defensive responsibilities as catcher and her management of the pitching staff.

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: Straight from AA ball, Paz is a new recruit who spent part of 2005 in the minor leagues, beginning in AAA where he struggled and then moving onto AA, where he batted .250-.317-.515 in 20 games. While still a bit underdeveloped, the retirement of Lau and the lack of any other viable catcher meant that Paz was needed up with the major league club to serve as a backup.  The 17 year old is projected as a below-average defender, although he has a cannon arm.  His hitting skills are in the below-average range, but as indicated by his short time in AA last year, he projects out to be an average hitter with decent slugging skills.  He’ll be watched closely as the season winds along, making sure he isn’t impossibly challenged at the major league level, in which case someone else, such as emergency catcher Jonathan Chee, would have to fill in.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: After a vigorous offseason of training, Lew bursted into spring training like a vicious Vladimir Guerrero-type swinger.  So far he looks like he’s been more aggressive free-swinging with the bat, meaning even less walks and a bit more strikeouts, but he’s also been doing it with much greater contact and power than last season.  With last year’s disastrous campaign, Lew is looking to come back, and in a big way.  With Joey Wong gone, Lew remains the last of the “Big Four” of hitters of the inaugural 2003 team, and more than ever, the offensive production will rest squarely on his shoulders.

Rudy Puzon, Designated Hitter: Puzon looks to follow up his explosive rookie season with further development, although it might even be fair to say that he had already began hitting like what many hitters projected he would do after he reached his prime. After a solid all-around performance, with no clear weaknesses in his game, nobody knows what to really expect in terms of development for Puzon.

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: The defensive wizard surprised everyone last year as he turned in a strong statistical season, most especially on the basepaths.  Despite being deemed Daly City’s “breakout” player of the year, many of the league’s scouts still rate Ortiz as simply average in almost all categories, and put strong doubt on whether Ortiz can replicate his 2005 numbers.  2006 will be the year Ortiz proves that his ‘breakout’ performance was no fluke.

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah Basewoman: After three years coming in from the bench, Daly City’s most prolific pinch hitter steps into her first starting role.  With only limited playing time over three seasons, Maung has shown decent OBP ability and virtually no power skills, although it’s anyone’s guess what kind of hitter Maung will actually be in her 4th year and 1st full season.  On the defensive side, Maung has been training hard, and has built herself up to a very respectable 61 defensive rating at 3B. She certainly won’t be an MVP Joey Wong (or will she?) but in terms of sheer love for the game and enthusiasm at finally getting the coveted starting third basewoman role, she may yet turn out to be the Wiggin to the now-retired Wong’s Bean.

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: Reigning Rookie of the Year and oldest player at the same time, Henry Nghe returns for his sophomore campaign hoping to continue on his first-year success.  Surprisingly, like Ortiz many scouts still have doubts over Nghe’s ability, believing he far exceeded performance expectations last year.  Without a dedicated middle infield backup in Kelvin Chang (since retired back to AAA), both Nghe and Ortiz will test their endurance and look to gut out all 162 games on their own out in the middle this year.

Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee, Leftfielder: Daly City’s “comeback” player of the year, Chee looks to continue his tremendous success into 2006, this time going the distance to play in a whole season (last year, he played in only 119 games and had 446 at bats).  Chee’s slated to be in either of the 1-2 leadoff positions, where he’ll set the table for the more powerful hitters with his team-high career .392 OBP.  Having come ever so close to the 50 hit by pitch mark (he had 49 HBP last year), Chee looks to make another run, this time possibly getting there with a full season.

Tiffany Ho, Centerfielder: Taking over the reins from longtime incumbent Aubrey Cubilo, the rookie Tiffany Ho, who had an unremarkable rookie year (.279-.305-.361), is one of the biggest question marks.  While she’s still one of the more promising hitters in terms of skill, she hasn’t demonstrated the ability to hit well yet.  Although originally a corner outfielder, with Quach at catcher, Ho is the best fielder left at the center position, although her 67 CF rating lags behind her 77 rating at the LF and RF positions.  Nonetheless, she’ll be thrown out of the frying pan and into the fryer, starting centerfield on opening day in baseball’s biggest small-town stage.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: The enigma Francis Chen returneth once again.  Afer enduring a horrendous 2005, Francis was dropped from a starting role, replaced by slugger Jason Liu, and at times, utility player Tina Quach.  After toiling away all during the regular season, however, Chen seemed to catch on fire in the postseason, batting .244-.404-.805 in 41 at bats.  Despite all this, he was about to be dumped back to the bench, or even back to the minors for more conditioning, before the Daly City fans emerged.  All winter long they picketed and protested the stadium and front office with a grass-roots “Bring Francis Back” campaign, ultimately succeeding when management gave in to demand.  So by popular demand, the oft-inconsistent and fleetingly brilliant Chen is back to his role in RF, ready to take a backseat manage whenever Yan is on the mound, albeit with a tighter hook than ever.  He’ll have to jump out of the April gates full blast if he hopes to establish any security at the RF position.

Jason Liu, Backup outfielder: For the third straight year, Jason Liu finds himself starting the season on the bench, despite consistently demonstrating his skills at the plate, and in the field.  After a breakout rookie campaign in 2004 and a strong 2005 followup, Liu was all set to become the starting rightfielder, before the “Bring Francis Back” campaign derailed the club’s plans.  For now, Liu remains on the bench, his pure strength and raw power ready to pounce the second Chen begins inevitably slipping at rightfield.

The Pitching Staff

Nathan Yan, #1 Starter: After a record-shattering 2005 campaign, in which he went 30-2 yet again, with a 0.98 ERA and 0.48 WHIP, the staff ace and three-time reigning Pitcher of the Year returns with his overpowering arsenal of stuff.  Virtually unrivaled anywhere in the league, at this point it’s pretty much just a guess of what record highs he’ll accomplish next.  Zero-loss season?  A 500-K campaign?  30 complete games?  In any case, Yan is on track to surpass 1000 career innings, 1500 K’s, and 100 wins, and 100 complete games and 50 shutouts is not out of the question either.

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starter: After a year of demonstrating her skills in the minors, rookie Whitney Esguerra makes her way to the big leagues in a surprise move, taking over Josiah Leong’s spot in the rotation.  The young right-hander comes in fully polished already, with a 93-96mph fastball, good control and movement pitches, and dominating stuff.  Her Stuff-Control-Movement rating is 101-77-70, with a talent potential of 124-78-96.  Spending nearly a full season in the minors in 2005, Esguerra pitched 29 games, dominating with a 27-0 record, 2.01 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 341 K’s in 246 innings (that’s 12.48 K’s per 9, and 8.48 innings per start!

Terrence Zhao, #3 Starter: Daly City’s unexpected staff ace continues to flourish.  A year after a breakout 2004 campaign, Zhao found himself with yet another breakout beyond all expectations.  There doesn’t seem any stopping Zhao, who worked hard to improve his control, his one point of slight weakness, this offseason.  Zhao looks to continue his winning ways and dominating stuff, although he once again finds himself sitting pat behind the #2 spot for the second straight year.

Sean Wade, #4 Starter: Daly City’s other star rookie is back for a sophomore season.  Wade was a breakout success in his rookie year, and despite not having spectacular stuff, cruised by on sheer consistency to earn himself a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.  All signs point to Wade repeating his rookie success, although his second-half dropoff in performance could be some cause for reservation.

Samantha Chin, #5 Starter: Chin finds herself in the not-so-enviable role of being the best #5 pitcher in the league, by a far margin.  With at times dominating stuff, Chin floundered with a bit of inconsistency in 2005, with a 4.06 ERA.  Her 3.23 CERA, however, indicates that she can do a lot better, and much like Zhao breaking out in 2004, after a shaky 2003 that was brimming with potential, many scouts believe Chin will break out into one of the league’s most dominating pitchers this seasons.

Miguel Pardo, #6 Starter: Daly City’s #6 returns to round out the DC6, the only rotation in the majors consisting of 6-man rotation.  Pardo has improved in some aspects – his 2005 season certainly saw significant improvement over his past seasons, although the second-half Pardo looked much more like Miguel at his worst.  It’s perhaps time to see if Pardo can work his fleeting magic once again, and it might be his last chance to do so, with new rookie Alfred Vong breathing down his neck for the #6 slot.

Alfred Vong, long reliever: The oft-forgotten rookie pitcher, Vong spent much of 2005 as the long reliever, a role in which he was, in a word, inconsistent.  While clearly displaying good all-around talent, consistency has been a bit of a problem, which is why Vong once again finds himself back in the bullpen.  With a little more time to develop, however, Vong looks to become a solid pitcher, and could look to dislodge Pardo from his coveted #6 starting spot soon.

Helen Yamamoto, mopup reliever: After the worst season in recorded history, Yamamoto returns in 2006 with her 2005 numbers not leaving much to hope for: 9.35 ERA and 2.54 WHIP, and an opponent’s line of .379-.475-.672.  The upcoming season will probably be make-or-break for Yamamoto, as the reliever, especially the mopup kind, seems to be a dying breed in the Daly City system.

Angel Poon, middle reliever: Once again, Poon finds herself in the middle relief role, although the increasingly better pitching staff and increasingly closer games may mean even fewer innings than ever.  While her ERA has been erratic – 4.15, 2.88 3.75, Poon has shown consistency in her WHIP (1.14, 1.14, 1.19), and she looks to fill in a few, although likely not many innings, in middle relief.

Zubeda Khan, middle reliever: Once the team’s great hope at closer, a season marred by blown saves and stretches of downright atrocity have left her out of the running, despite averaging out to a decent 3.47 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 2005.  She joins the regular bullpen, although like Poon she doesn’t expect to see many innings this year, especially with the development of Vong at long relief, the introduction of Esguerra, and the movement of starter Leon to the closer role.

Alvina Chu, setup reliever: Perhaps the most maddening member of the bullpen in 2005, Chu put it down with one of the league’s best 1.70 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, yet at the same time blew wins and saves like no other.  Still, over the past two years (102 innings, 2.03 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 95 K’s), she’s been Daly City’s most dominant reliever by far, and she once again earns her spot as the team’s setup woman.  Forever the bridesmaid, never the bride, I guess….

Josiah Leong, closer: After an unsuccessful try at turning rookie Zubeda Khan into closer material, it was an offseason back to the drawing board, and at this point, the best Daly City has turns out to be none other than their 2004 closer, Josiah Leong. Partly driven by his prior experience, and partly by his abysmal track record as a starter, 2006 will bring Leong back to the bullpen, where he pitched 58 1/3 innings with a 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 40 saves in 2004.  All signs point to things being more of the same for Leong, who still hasn’t quite gotten a handle on his control issues, but many still hold out hope for a Gagne-like conversion (without the Gagne-like injury flameout)

On a closing note, everyone’s contract ends after the 2006 season, so it’s time to rework those $1/year salaries.  That’s right: Contract year for everyone.

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The 2005 Season Review

Team Review

2005 started off as a year of uncertainty for the Daly City Motnis. The team lost their two best hitters, Norman Ho and Desireé Tienturier, who in 2004 combined for 328 RBIs and 325 Runs, as well as starting shortstop Sean Mok. On the pitching staff, they also lost half of thei pitching staff with Willis Fong, Michelle Lin, Sarah Jimenez, and Erica Lum all retiring down into the AAA affiliate. A big chunk of the bullpen, including Tirta and Absalon, were gone too.

With all of the huge losses, the team entered into the 2005 season, a fresh start in a new league of players, with big question marks. Big hitters Derek Lew and Joey Wong remained on the team, but there hardly seemed anyone on the team, the entire league even, who could duplicate the 3-4 slot numbers of Ho and Tienturier. Daly City needed to field three new starting positions players: The starting LF position went to the feeble Jonathan Chee, who the previous yea had barely even reached 200 plate appearances and provided a weak .219-.344-.303 line. Cristian Ortiz, while a slick defender, hardly seemed a proficient hitter, putting up a .230-.296-.392 line over only 81 plate appearances in 2004. At shortstop, the rookie Henry “Mr.” Nghe, who had all of 12 plate appearances in the previous year, would be taking over the reins. Meanwhile, the pitching staff saw two fresh pitchers straight out of high school – Sean Wade and Samantha Chin, who had not even gotten the benefit of being eased in through the farm system. Josiah Leong also had to be pulled back from the bullpen to fill in a rotation spot, leaving another rookie, Zubeda Khan, in the closer role straight out of high school.

Despite all of these uncertainties, and the stigma of being the youngest, most inexperienced, and lowest-salaried team in the majors, Daly City exploded out the gate, putting up a 24-4 record in their first month (a .857 winning percentage!) and outscoring their opponents 198 to 92. By midseason almost all of the early season doubts had been erased – after a torrid first month, Jonathan Chee as the leftfielder had began picking up steam, and would end up leading the league in OBP and scoring 93 runs on only 550 plate appearances. SS Mr. Nghe was already having a fine rookie season, although he wouldn’t turn on the afterburners until the 2nd half. Cristian Ortiz, meanwhile, was proving a stellar defender as well as a high-contact hitter and a demon on the basepaths. On the pitching staff, rookie Sean Wade had turned projections of cool consistency and control into flat out domination – his ERA was in the low 2’s, and his 11 wins were 2nd on the team.

The team would end atop the leaderboard, placing a 125-37, .772 record, 29 games in 1st, while placing 1st with runs scored (1085) and 1st in team ERA (2.94 in the league). Coordinated team effort, rather than flash-bang power numbers, were the name of the game for the 2005 squad – there were no 40 HR hitters or 160 RBI/Run players to be found on this year’s squad – instead the team had 6 of its 9 starters with an OBP over .380, and four players with an OPS over .900, though none over 1.000. Despite losing lights-out players in Fong, Lin, and Jimenez on the pitching staff, the pitching staff found new life with a consistent shutdown starter in rookie Sean Wade, a 2nd breakout season for 3rd-year starter Terrence Zhao, and some first-half razzle dazzle from longtime player Miguel Pardo. Many players showed huge promise and growth, and the year 2006 looks to be an even better one for the Daly City Montis, now the reigning three-peat champions of the baseball world.

Recap of stats:
Games: How many games the player played (there are 162 games in a season)
At bats: How many times a player went up to bat – roughly a measure of how many chances a player got to hit
Hits: The total number of hits (runs are the “points” of the game, and hits generally are needed to achieve runs)
2B: A type of hit where the batter gets 2 bases instead of the usual 1.
3B: An even better type of hit where the batter gets 3 bases instead of the usual 1.
HR: The best type of hit, where the batter gets 4 bases (and thus scores 1 run).
RBI: A measure of how many runs by other player the player has driven in
Runs: A measure of how many runs the player himself has scored
K: A strikeout, where the batter fails to hit the ball at all
Walk: An alternative to a hit, where the pitcher throws badly and the batter gets to advance a base for free
Hit-by-pitch: Similar to a walk, except instead of the pitcher throwing multiple bad balls, the batter just gets hit by the ball once
Steals: When a player runs to get an extra base – this is usually an indicator of good speed
CS: Caught stealing, when a player tries to get an extra base but gets out instead
AVG: The percentage of at bats that the player gets a hit – this indicates good contact ability and is a more traditional, although outdated method of measuring a player’s value.
OBP: The percentage of times a player gets on base, or rather, not out. This is a more modern metric that is a good indicator of a player’s run-scoring ability.
SLG: The average number of bases per at bat – this is an indicator of a player’s power and ability to drive in other players’ runs.
OPS: This is a combination of OBP and SLG, yielding an overall performance metric.
RC: Runs Created, this is a cumulative statistic of how many runs (points) the player was worth – this is a standard metric for total, cumulative achievement.
RC/27: Runs Created per 27 outs, this is the cumulative achievement represented by RC divided by the number of chances, yielding a very advanced overall value metric for the batter.

Sam Lau, Catcher: The team’s longtime catcher returned to full-time duty in 2005, after a 2004 season split with then-rookie Tina Quach, and Lau came back with fury, posting career highs in almost every category – his .304-.397-.498 line completely obliterated his career averages, as Lau also put up 161 hits, 26 doubles, and 25 homeruns in 530 at bats. Lau also hit 113 RBI and scored 105 runs, one of four 100-100 players on the team, and made it to the all-star game for the first time in his career. On top of consistently hitting well, Lau also came through in the clutch when it counted – his line bumped up to a .352-.430-.582 with runners in scoring position, and an even greater .356-.456-.733 in close/late situations. Unfortunately, 2005 will go down as the final year for Sam Lau, who moves on to Daly City’s AAA affiliate, but not before posting his .278-.381-.463 line and going down in history as high OBP, power- hitting first catcher of the Daly City Montis.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 155 548 146 19 3 24 104 97 62 98 10 5 0 .266 .395 .443 .838 102.5 6.57
2004 110 387 101 17 0 18 74 63 38 63 2 5 0 .261 .374 .444 .818 67.8 6.16
2005 140 530 161 26 1 25 113 105 46 75 11 5 0 .304 .397 .498 .895 109.1 7.54

Tina “Experimental Error” Quach, Utility Catcher/Outfielder: Backup catcher Tina Quach found herself in much the same role she had last season, seeing significant playing time both at catcher and in the outfield. Quach started out the season abysmally, posting a .167-.286-.333 line in April, and following it up with a .172-.351-.207 May. She began to come to life after that, however, and exploded through June-July-August, eventually ending up with a .303-.386-.433 season in 290 plate appearances, similar to the .299-.386-.409 line she posted in 2004. With a second solid, albeit once again part time season, the Experimental Error seems to have established herself as a passable hitter – good average with a high OBP, although not quite much in the power department. Her abilities will be tested, especially on defense, when she moves in to become the team’s starting catcher in 2006.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2004 78 281 84 18 2 3 33 42 19 33 2 0 0 .299 .377 .409 .782 44.4 5.90
2005 72 254 77 14 2 5 40 40 25 34 1 1 0 .303 .386 .433 .819 45.2 6.74

Derek Lew, 1st Baseman: Expected to be a cornerstone of the young, new squad, unlike the previous two seasons Lew was anything but a measure of consistency in 2005. He started out the season with a huge April – .361-.370-.648, with 30 RBIs and 30 Runs, along with 17 doubles. At that point Lew had seemed all but set to go onto a career year. Instead, Lew plummeted, going .226-.247-.417 in May (yet somehow still driving in 16 RBI) before getting injured for 7 weeks with a fractured knee, a devastating loss that sidelined him until mid-July. Lew returned, but didn’t seem to be the same – he posted an impressive .282-.301-.615 July, but dipped down to .254-.269-.509 in August, and bottomed out at .176-.211-.308 in September. The postseason, however, seemed to hint at a resurgence for the powerhouse hitter – in 80 at bats (and 84 plate appearances), Lew went .325-.357-.637, driving in 17 RBIs and scoring 14 runs. He ended the season at .266-.285-.507, a mark which seems to indicate that his power-hitting prowess is all there, but he’s not making consistently good contact, despite posting a career-low 6 strikeouts. Overall, an extremely disappointing season for Lew, with an offseason spent hoping he can recover from his fractured knee and return to the form that helped him hit a league-leading 74 doubles and last 764 at bats in 2004.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 162 729 219 67 6 37 160 141 35 32 11 6 2 .300 .348 .561 .909 132.2 6.54
2004 162 754 241 74 1 28 133 138 24 19 7 7 0 .320 .344 .532 .876 127 6.33
2005 116 489 130 40 6 22 103 87 6 14 2 1 0 .266 .285 .507 .792 66.4 4.70

Rudy Puzon, Designated Hitter/Backup 1st Baseman: The rookie Puzon entered into the season as a player straight out of high school. Projected initially as a decent hitter with both low ceiling and high floor, Puzon shocked many when he posted a .325-.391-.588 line in his first month, while leading the team with 8 HR. Thereafter, Puzon settled into a consistent groove, and went on to post 116.8 Runs Created, 3rd on the team behind Batter of the Year Joey Wong and Rookie of the Year Henry Nghe, and hit .301-.383-.522, an extremely impressive performance that bodes well for the rookie. With Lew going down in late May, Puzon stepped up and filled in most of the games at designated hitter, and was one of the biggest additions in terms of replacing the output void left by the departures of sluggers Ho and Tienturier.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2005 139 554 167 16 5 32 115 109 94 76 2 5 4 .301 .383 .522 .904 116.8 7.65

Cristian Ortiz, 2nd Baseman: Signed on back in 2003 as a defensive wizard, Ortiz had big shoes to fill as he moved into the starting 2nd base job. No one expected him to hit for power, get on base consistently, or score runs – Ortiz’s role was purely as a defensive specialist who could hopefully pass as a decent hitter in the lineup. Ortiz started the season at the #8 slot, usually reserved for the worst hitter in the lineup. Having gone .257-.324-.421 in 2003 when he played half a season, and a .230-.296-.392 in only 25 games, the expectations weren’t very high. Ortiz, however, surprised all of his critics when he went .289-.315-.488 in his first month, a line he would more or less stick to. Throughout the rest of the season, Ortiz would draw comparisons to a “Jeter with speed”, as he hit a .284-.342-.460 line while knocking in a surprising 23 homeruns and stealing 58 bases. Like the real-life Jeter, however, Ortiz would really come to life once in the postseason, where he hit .422-.458-.688 in 64 at bats and hit 16 RBI and scored 12 runs, something which seemed to directly contradict his .173-.205-.212 line in close/late situations during the regular season. We’ll have to see next season if his newfound hitting abilities are the real deal or some one-season fluke.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 73 261 67 7 3 10 38 33 39 26 6 2 0 .257 .340 .421 .761 38.2 5.16
2004 25 74 17 0 0 4 17 6 13 7 0 1 0 .230 .313 .392 .705 8.7 3.85
2005 143 563 160 28 1 23 88 105 80 46 6 58 8 .284 .342 .460 .803 93.7 5.91

Kelvin Huang, Backup 2nd Baseman: Without a backup middle infielder for much of the first half of the season, newcomers Ortiz and Nghe manned the middle infielder positions for most all of the first half. Meanwhile, Kelvin Huang, a 60-rated second baseman and 40-rated shortstop, bashed away in the minor leagues, where he had gone 340 at bats with a .353-.437-.588 line. By July the club decided he was major-league ready, and was brought up to the bigs, where he served as a spot starter to give the starting middle infielders some much needed rest. Rather than being a simple fill-in starter, however, Chang exploded in his first two starts, going a combined 4-9 with 4 runs and 4 RBI. He went on to a .333-.359-.617 line in 60 at bats and 16 games, although he sank somewhat with a .217-.217-.261 August and saw a resurgence in limited duty with a .600-.588-.667 line in 4 September games. Overall, the rookie backup showed some strong flair, going .347-.365-.541 in 26 games, although the limited playing time and more standard scouting reports cast some doubt as to whether those numbers are truly representative of his ability. In any case, Daly City has seemed to have found a solid middle infielder from the bench, putting some confidence behind SS and 2B should Nghe or Ortiz ever go down with an injury.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
AAA 80 340 120 23 3 17 58 90 84 51   6 4 .353 .437 .588 1.025    
2005 26 98 34 8 1 3 21 17 18 4 0 0 0 .347 .365 .541 .906 19.4 7.72

Joey Wong, Third Baseman: With the big losses of Ho and Tienturier, much of the burden fell on Wong as the primary run producer, especially after Lew’s injury and subsequent troubles. Wong didn’t disappoint, and in this, his final year, finally captured the batter of the year award in which he had long been overshadowed by five tool players Ho and Tienturier. Wong finished .001 behind batting champion Nghe, and was #3 in OPS in the league, #8 overall in the entire Monti league, and finished 2nd with 148.5 runs created. The overall season was fairly on par with Wong’s career numbers he finished with a .361-.421-.567 line, and 130 RBIs and 124 Runs, to lead the team. For his career, he finished with 1924 at bats in 474 games, accumulating 707 hits, 115 doubles, 10 triples, and 92 HR, along with 421 RBI, 396 Runs, 220 K’s to 203 walks, and 31 stolen bases, for a .367-.427-.581 line, making him the team’s all-time leader in HR, RBI, Runs, Hits, and Batting Average.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 161 642 236 49 5 28 157 131 73 68 1 20 0 .368 .441 .590 1.018 161.8 10.07
2004 162 665 248 40 1 33 134 141 67 68 4 3 0 .373 .436 .585 1.016 165.5 10.13
2005 151 617 223 26 4 31 130 124 80 67 1 8 0 .361 .421 .567 .988 148.5 9.69

Joanna Maung, Backup saung-gah-basewoman: It was another year of slight improvement for the young third basewoman. Playing sparingly again (56 games, 186 AB), Maung put up some fairly good numbers – a .306-.378-.435 line, marking a good increase in her contact abilities, although this was somewhat negated by a decreased ability to garner walks – 21 in 207 plate appearances, compared to 26 in 186 the year. Nevertheless, she saw a second consecutive increase in her OPS. Whether she likes it or not, however, Maung seems set to be cast into the frying pan come next season – with the imminent departure of Joey Wong, Maung is left as the only player with significant experience fielding 3rd base, where she carries a 61-rating defense. Maung will have to demonstrate her ability to both field 3rd and improve her performance against lefties, against whom she batted .206-.325-.441 this season.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 39 135 37 9 0 0 20 25 23 20 1 0 0 .274 .373 .341 .714 18 4.66
2004 50 160 44 6 0 3 31 30 25 26 1 0 0 .275 .386 .369 .755 23 4.96
2005 56 186 57 6 0 6 32 32 26 21 1 1 0 .306 .378 .435 .813 31.9 6.48

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: The “rookie”, if a 28-year old can be called that, was a huge question mark entering the season. He seemed to have mediocre skills, and few believed he could jump in and begin replicating the OBP ability of the prior year’s Sean Mok to set the table. Instead, Nghe surprised many with his first .324-.389-.520 month, where he began a precipitous rise until the climactic month of August, where he posted a gaudy .414-.439-.638 line that solidified him as one of the premiere players of the game. Instead of being a bottom-of-the-order player, or even a top of the order table setter, by mid-season Nghe had found himself hitting in the #5 spot behind Joey Wong, with his league-leading .362 AVG and propensity for hitting big (49 doubles, 13 triples, and 74 extra base hits to lead the team) that would eventually lead to his winning the Rookie of the Year award. Barring a sophomore slump, Nghe looks poised to become one of the best shortstops in the league, and take on a role as one of the primary run producers of the team, especially with star 3B Joey Wong retiring.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
AAA 148 587 182 21 3 27 97 100 97 86   29 9 .310 .398 .494 .892    
2004 3 11 3 0 0 0 1 2 4 1 0 0 0 .273 .333 .273 .606 0.8 2.44
2005 148 607 220 49 13 12 100 118 89 46 3 19 9 .362 .408 .545 .953 139.3 9.13

Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee, leftfielder: After a dreadful 2004 spent in and out of a starting role, Chee returned to the Leftfield position he held in 2003, and in the two years since, has shown some dramatic development as a hitter. Chee started out slowly, with a .226-.314-.387 line, causing him to only play 8 games all of April (and allowing players like Tiffany Ho and Jason Liu a chance in the outfield). Chee bounced back in May, however, with a .324-.472-.471 line, buoyed by a monthly high 12 hit-by-pitches, despite only 88 plate appearances overall. Fully up to speed now, Chee found himself firmly in a starting role, and put up a solid and surprisingly consistent performance throughout the rest of the season, coming on fire in September when he belted out a .383-.495-.580 month, combined with a 12 hit-by-pitch surge that brought his total to a league-leading 49. For the season, Chee went .312-.436-.424, 3rd, 1st, and 8th on the team, respectively. Chee also piggy-backed a league-high 20 steals on double steals with Cubilo and Ortiz, a dramatic feat considering his 10 (out of 100) running speed and 5 stealing ability.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 144 525 146 18 2 8 68 68 112 70 4 3 0 .278 .363 .366 .729 75.3 5.23
2004 54 178 39 3 0 4 17 40 40 34 0 1 0 .219 .344 .303 .647 20.5 3.88
2005 119 446 139 23 0 9 73 93 65 52 49 20 0 .312 .436 .424 .860 92.2 7.78

Jason Liu, Leftfielder: Liu exploded onto the scene out of nowhere in 2004, getting a callup two months into the season and shocking all with a 39-39 double/HR performance in 433 AB, for a .323-.409-.702 season. Though projected in scouting reports as a raw power hitter, Liu’s overall line seemed to indicate a complete player, who had good contact and basewalking ability in addition to his propensity for extra base hits. Liu was up for a second season, and despite shocking numbers in 2004, once again started the season from the bench, with Jonathan Chee and Francis Chen seated at the corner outfield positions. With early struggles by both Chee and Chen, however, Liu came onto a starting role quickly, and mashed his way as a starter to succesively more impressive months in the first half. Liu hit some struggles in the second half, however, and with Jonathan Chee catching a groove, Liu found himself in a part time position as he continued some second-half struggles. Liu ended the season with a still impressive .298-.348-.579 line, cashing in on 28 homeruns, 3rd behind Puzon and Wong, despite having only 399 at bats.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
AAA 22 90 28 7 2 9 22 23 18 17   1 1 .311 .421 .733 1.154    
2004 118 433 140 39 4 39 126 104 109 63 14 2 0 .323 .430 .702 1.132 129.7 11.26
2005 100 399 119 18 5 28 89 83 106 30 3 9 0 .298 .348 .579 .927 79.7 7.32

Aubrey Cubilo, Centerfielder: Another of the soon-to-be-departed, Daly City’s longtime leadoff hitter would go off with a humble last season. After hitting at a torrid .319-.333-.459 pace, and stealing 26 bases in 46 games, before going down with a season-ending injury in 2003, Cubilo came back in 2004, asserting her proficiency at the leadoff position with 58 doubles and 15 triples, along with 123 runs and a team-leading 67 steals. This year, Cubilo provided more of the same, though sacrificing some power for improved on-base ability, and blazing the basepaths for a new league-record 77 steals to 9 caught stealing, for a 89.5% SB%. Aubrey retires with a .296-.322-.409 line, and 170 steals, far and away the all-time team leader.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2003 46 229 73 20 6 0 20 42 30 5 0 26 2 .319 .333 .459 .792 35.9 6.07
2004 153 698 204 58 15 0 83 123 78 23 6 67 13 .292 .323 .418 .741 98.2 5.05
2005 138 600 175 38 7 0 71 99 59 25 7 77 9 .292 .325 .378 .704 79.8 4.79

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: It was a maddening year for Francis Chen. After breaking onto the scene with a .241-.268-.537 season that showed as many gaping flaws as huge promises, Chen’s sophomore season proved to be all disappointment. Out of the gate, Chen stumbled with a .210-.333-.419 line, although his OBP and relative SLG showed some glimmer of hope if Chen could find the ability to make consistent contact. However, Chen only plunged to further depths of atrocity, going .125-.263-.250 in May and never getting better, eventually ending his season with a quite pitiful .179-.307-.417 line. While analysts and scouts everywhere knew Chen would be an inconsistent enigma, even his most pessimistic critics didn’t expect him to flame out this early. The future holds great uncertainty for the once promising Chen, although his ending line for the 2005 postseason run to the world series may yet leave a lingering bit of hope: .244-.400-.805 in 12 games, with a team-leading 7 homeruns.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
AAA 15 70 15 4 1 6 15 18 13 5   0 0 .214 .267 .557 .824    
2004 42 162 39 7 1 13 41 29 41 6 2 0 0 .241 .285 .537 .822 22.8 4.77
2005 79 252 45 9 3 15 44 39 69 46 2 10 2 .179 .307 .417 .724 36.1 4.49

Tiffany Ho, Backup SS, Outfielder: The spirited Ho, like fellow rookie Alfred Vong a fresh player out of high school (and the two youngest players on the team), turned out a decent performance in her rookie season, in which she went .279-.305-.361 with 10 steals in 64 games. Ho started off slowly, with a .243-.263-.297 April, but began to become progressively better, with strong contact numbers in the second half. She also seemed to be a much more confident player at home, where she hit .333-.365-.433. Given the ever-tumultuous outfield situation, especially with Chen’s flame-out and the retirement of Cubilo, Daly City fans chance to see a lot more of the spunky rookie outfielder in 2006.

Year Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
2004 64 233 65 12 2 1 23 34 35 8 1 10 1 .279 .305 .361 .665 25.6 3.95

The 2005 Batter Composite (sorted by Runs Created per 27 outs):

Name Games At bats Hits 2B 3B HR RBI Runs K Walks Hit-by-pitch Steals CS AVG OBP SLG OPS RC RC/27
Joey Wong 151 617 223 26 4 31 130 124 80 67 1 8 0 .361 .421 .567 .988 148.5 9.69
Henry Nghe 148 607 220 49 13 12 100 118 89 46 3 19 9 .362 .408 .545 .953 139.3 9.13
Jonathan Chee 119 446 139 23 0 9 73 93 65 52 49 20 0 .312 .436 .424 .860 92.2 7.78
Kelvin Huang 26 98 34 8 1 3 21 17 18 4 0 0 0 .347 .365 .541 .906 19.4 7.72
Rudy Puzon 139 554 167 16 5 32 115 109 94 76 2 5 4 .301 .383 .522 .904 116.8 7.65
Sam Lau 140 530 161 26 1 25 113 105 46 75 11 5 0 .304 .397 .397 .498 109.1 7.54
Jason Liu 100 399 119 18 5 28 89 83 106 30 3 9 0 .298 .348 .579 .927 79.7 7.32
Tina Quach 72 254 77 14 2 5 40 40 25 34 1 1 0 .303 .386 .433 .819 45.2 6.74
Joanna Maung 56 186 57 6 0 6 32 32 26 21 1 1 0 .306 .378 .435 .813 31.9 6.48
Cristian Ortiz 143 563 160 28 1 23 88 105 80 46 6 58 8 .284 .342 .460 .803 93.7 5.91
Aubrey Cubilo 138 600 175 38 7 0 71 99 59 25 7 77 9 .292 .325 .378 .704 79.8 4.79
Derek Lew 116 489 130 40 6 22 103 87 6 14 2 1 0 .266 .285 .507 .792 66.4 4.70
Francis Chen 79 252 45 9 3 15 44 39 69 46 2 10 2 .179 .307 .417 .724 36.1 4.49
Tiffany Ho 64 233 65 12 2 1 23 34 35 8 1 10 1 .279 .305 .361 .665 25.6 3.95

Recap of stats:
Games: The number of games a pitcher has played – although this is out of 162 games, pitchers are not expected to play all games
Starts: This is the number of times a starter has started the game. A full-time starter in a 5-man rotation can be expected to throw 32 starts. In a 6-man rotation, which the Daly City Montis use, a full-time starter can be expected to throw 27 starts.
Record: The win-loss record of the pitcher. Wins are how many times a pitcher has won a game, and a loss is the number of times the pitcher has lost, both calculated using complicated methods. These stats are largely irrelevant.
Saves: The number of times a pitcher has finished out a game and protected the team’s narrow lead. This stat is largely irrelevant.
Holds: The number of times a pitcher preserved a lead. This stat is largely irrelevant.
Blown saves: The number of times a pitcher has given up a narrow lead – low numbers are irrelevant, but high numbers indicate a bad reliever.
QS/CG/SHO: Quality Starts are how many times a starter has thrown 6 innings while giving up less than 3 runs, which is a standard of consistency. Complete games are how many times a starter has thrown the entire game, which is a standard of endurance. Shutouts are how many times a starter has thrown an entire game without giving up a run, which is a standard of dominance.
Innings: How many innings (baseball’s time unit) a player has thrown
K’s: Strikeouts (the batter fails to hit the ball at all) – strikeouts indicate a dominating pitcher
Walks: The number of times a pitcher allows a batter a free advance because the pitches are not thrown accurately – this is a rough indicator of a pitcher’s control and throwing accuracy.
HBP: Hit-batter-with-pitch, the number of times a batter has been hit with a pitch.
WP: Wild Pitch, in which the ball is thrown so far off target that not even the catcher can catch it.
RS/G: Runs Scored per Game, counting how many runs the offense scores per start by the pitcher.
AVG: The opposing batters’ AVG, indicating how often batters achieve hits
OBP: The opposing batters’ OBP, indicating how much the pitcher allows batters to reach base
SLG: The opposing batters’ SLG, indicating how much the pitcher allows batters to hit for power
K/9: The rate at which the pitcher throws strikeouts – roughly a metric of dominance
ERA: The number of runs a pitcher allowed on average – this is a measurement of the pitcher’s real performance.
CERA: A metric on the same scale as ERA, but which is an overall performance metric.
WHIP: Another overall performance metric, more crude than CERA.

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: The starting ace was dominant yet again this year, as Yan brought his lights-out pitching to an entirely new level. Once again finished 30-2 (he’s been 30-2 in 32 starts in all three seasons), Yan finished with an astounding 0.98 ERA and 0.48 WHIP, not to mention a godly 0.19 Component ERA. Padding his power numbers, Yan also struck out 469 batters in 276 innings this year, obliterating his previous career record of 444 K’s in 276 2/3 innings in 2003 and setting a 15.3 K’s per 9 innings mark. Yan also set career highs with 31 quality starts, 25 complete games, and 14 shutouts, and highlighted the season with astounding performances, including his 10-inning 1 hit shutout on opening day, FOUR 1-hitters and a no-hitter (1 on-base-by-ERROR short of a perfect game). Yan also pitched five consecutive shutouts in September, and currently holds a 28-game winning streak.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2003 32 32 30-2 0 0 0 28/21/10 276 2/3 444 18 9 13 6.3 .186 .206 .248 14.4 1.46 1.11 0.73
2004 32 32 30-2 0 0 0 31/22/11 277 1/3 366 30 10 9 7.3 .170 .201 .230 11.9 1.20 0.88 0.70
2005 32 32 30-2 0 0 0 31/25/14 276 469 20 6 3 6.9 .120 .144 .209 15.3 0.98 0.19 0.48

Josiah Leong, #2 Starting Pitcher: The ever on-the-cusp Leong threw in yet another almost there season. Making 30 starts, Leong switched back and forth between brilliance and abysmality – he made nine starts with 1 run or less, third most behind Yan and Zhao, yet ended up with the highest ERA of the five main starters and the highest WHIP of anyone on the entire team. Despite this, Leong continued to flash great potential – he struck out 227 batters, good for #12 in the league and #6 in the UL. In addition, his 11.1 K’s per 9 innings was second most in the league, only behind Yan. Leong’s Achilles Heel still seems to be his control – while his opponent’s AVG and SLG numbers seem to be a good .217 AVG and .392 SLG, his OBP was a high .324, especially considering his low initial AVG. He gave up 87 walks in only 183 2/3 innings, in addition to hitting 23 batters to lead the Universal League, although his 4.26 walks per 9 innings mark is dramatically improved from his 6.69 mark when he was a starter two years ago. With the starter’s pool getting crowded, with Zhao emerging as a dominant ace and rookies Wade and Chin proving their worth, and possibly a young Vong waiting in the wings, Leong’s hold on the #2 starter position, and even a guaranteed spot in the rotation, seems uncertain, as he’s currently the worst starter on the team.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2003 18 17 7-6 0 0 0 12/0/0 109 90 81 15 9 4.7 .201 .357 .388 7.4 4.21 4.41 1.45
2004 47 0 1-2 40 0 3 0/0/0 58 1/3 58 31 5 0   .189 .306 .354 8.9 3.70 3.02 1.20
2005 30 30 13-9 0 0 0 16/1/0 183 2/3 227 87 23 7 6.8 .217 .324 .392 11.1 4.07 3.84 1.27

Terrence Zhao, #3 Starting Pitcher: Zhao had a break-out year in 2004, where he was a surprise sleeper as the #3 starter, with a 2.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, a dramatic improvement over his 4.14 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in the inaugural 2003 seasons. With a dominating 3-hit shutout in his 1st start of the season, Zhao set the tone early, going 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA in the first month. From there, Zhao continued to dominate, and really began to shine when he hit August, where he pitched five consecutive shutouts. For the first time, Zhao also threw more K’s than innings, for a 9.3 K’s per 9 innings mark, and he asserted his dominance with a 2nd-place 27 quality starts, 2nd-place 9 shutouts, and 11th-place 11 complete games. Zhao also finished 2nd place in opponent’s AVG, OBP, and SLG. All in all, the past three seasons have seen tremendous growth for Zhao from a middling #5 starter to solid ace, and now to a lights-out legend, the undisputed second best pitcher in the league.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2003 28 24 14 7 0 0 14/2/1 163 120 91 5 0 7.5 .221 .324 .436 6.6 4.14 3.99 1.37
2004 28 28 15 4 p 0 20/7/4 186 2/3 143 68 5 0 6.7 .176 .257 .375 6.9 2.94 2.52 0.99
2005 31 31 23 4 0 0 27/11/9 237 1/3 245 75 4 0 6.9 .192 .258 .278 9.3 1.74 1.74 1.01

Sean Wade, #4 Starting Pitcher: One of three rookie starters on the team, Sean Wade came in projected as the #5 starter – a kid with good control and a decent floor who projected to be consistent, though not spectacular. Compared to fellow rookie Samantha Chin, Wade was to be the thunder to Chin’s lightning. Instead, Wade took off in the first half of the season, going 5-0 in five starts in the first month with a 2.04 ERA and an amazing 0.63 WHIP, bested only by Nathan Yan. Wade continued to dominate into May and June, and for a time even led the team in wins. By his fourth game, Wade would already have his first complete game shutout. He began to cool off once he hit the second half, however, with a bad 5.60 ERA July (although he still managed a decent 1.24 WHIP), and at the end of September finished the season at 20-8 in 29 starts, with a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 201 innings. To top it all off, Wade would go 4-0 in the postseason with a 1.72 ERA as the team’s second-best postseason starter. All in all, a huge rookie season for Wade, who also finished #2 in Rookie of the Year balloting behind teammate Henry Nghe, and a promising sign of huge things to come for the slow-throwing Wade.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2005 29 29 20-8 0 0 0 23/3/2 201 163 38 5 0 6.9 .217 .258 .345 7.3 3.00 2.33 1.00

Samantha Chin, #5 Starting Pitcher: The other half of the team’s rookie starter duo, Chin flashed on and off all season like a strobe-light – she was slammed with a horrific 7.33 ERA, 1.37 WHIP month in April, then proceeded with a promising 2.57 ERA, 1.09 May (where she went 3-1 with her only loss, a 9-inning 2-run outing). The following month would see her fall back to a more average 4.44 ERA, but the next July Chin jumped back with a 2.21 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. She would fail to keep her success going on, however, and met with a 5.76 ERA, 1.44 August, before showing her explosive side yet again with a 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP September. The most amazing aspect of this is that through it all, Samantha finished with a 13-1 record, the second W-L ratio on the team, luckily aided by her league-best 7.7 run support per game. Overall, an extremely promising rookie year for Chin, who showed flashes of being one of the league’s best starters every other month. Whether she can harness that into season-long consistency remains to be seen.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2005 26 26 13-1 0 0 0 14/2/1 168 1/3 163 37 16 13 7.7 .234 .290 .402 8.7 4.06 3.23 1.11

Miguel Pardo, #6 Starting Pitcher: The old stalwart, with magic soaking his spine – no one could read Pardo’s mind in April, when he went a phenomenal 3-0 in 3 starts, throwing 25 innings with 2 complete games and 1 shutout, posting a 1.08 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Pardo, who had been with the team as a starter since way back in the 2003 season, had always showed flashes of brilliance that were often drowned out by his other starts that were often so bad that sports writers didn’t know whether they could still call him a ‘starting pitcher’ or if the simple ‘thrower’ was a more appropriate term. Pardo’s start, however, amazed all, and many wondered if Pardo had finally gotten it all together. After all, Pardo’s 1.08 ERA was even lower than the great Nathan Yan’s! The doubts were all back with his 4.43 ERA follow up month, but a 2.93 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in June once again sparked intense interest in the #6 starter. The magic would run out eventually for Pardo, however, as he settled into his old-self numbers – a 6.38 second-half ERA. Pardo would end the year with a 9-2 record and 4.19 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, showing significant improvement over his previous two years, although his second-half numbers cast serious doubt over exactly how much Pardo developed. Like Leong, Pardo, who’s on the borderline as one of the worse pitchers on the team, faces stiff competition in the rotation, where several new pitchers have emerged to crowd the rotation

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2003 21 19 10-3 0 1 0 9/1/0 126 79 90 2 1 8.2 .241 .362 .395 5.6 4.79 4.52 1.61
2004 9 9 3-4 0 0 0 4/1/1 46 25 34 0 0 5.7 .302 .401 .556 4.9 6.65 7.62 1.98
2005 20 13 9-2 1 0 0 8/2/1 103 77 35 3 0 7.8 .247 .311 .399 6.7 4.19 3.57 1.27

Alfred Vong, Long Reliever: Another newcomer this year, Alfred, who projected as a starter, figured to spend most of his time in the bullpen, especially with the packed rotation. There Vong pitched as the team’s long reliever all season, accumulating 63 2/3 innings in 24 games, including 1 start late in the season. Overall, Vong’s 4.24 ERA was slightly under the league’s average, but this statistic partly masks Vong’s fine season-long performance that was peppered with huge meltdowns. Vong started out very well, maintaining a sub-3.00 ERA at the half-season point, but saw his July ERA balloon up to 8.18, and got hit hard again in September with an ERA of 21.60. Discounting the months of July and September, Vong’s ERA would be a scant 2.01. The prospects look good for the young rookie, although it may yet be a while longer until Vong finally gets a shot at a full rotation spot.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2005 24 1 4-2 2 3 0 1/0/0 63 2/3 53 15 1 1 12.4 .245 .289 .469 7.5 4.24 3.83 1.18

Angel Poon, Middle Reliever: As the team’s middle reliever, a supersized rotation meant that the bullpen saw little work this year, and having been displaced as the team’s top reliever by now-setup reliever Alvina Chu, Poon worked only 50 innings, compared to 65 the past two seasons. Poon’s ERA also saw a bump from a 2.88 ERA 2004, although this was somewhat expected given the rather high 1.14 WHIP last year. Overall, Poon was very effective during the three-month middle summer stretch from May-July, but she got slammed in the other months, resulting in a fairly average overall season.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2003 41 0 3-2 1 13 3 0/0/0 65 51 11 4 3   .252 .289 .388 7.1 4.15 3.42 1.14
2004 28 0 4-1 4 2 0 0/0/0 65 2/3 46 13 0 1   .249 .286 .414 6.3 2.88 3.20 1.14
2005 27 0 2-2 2 4 2 0/0/0 50 1/3 45 11 3 3   .262 .310 .449 8.0 3.75 3.96 1.19

Katie Clayton, Mopup Reliever: The often down Katie Clayton finally came around to putting up a decent season this year – after hitting the 9.00 ERA mark each of the past two seasons (on 43 and 12 innings), with WHIPs well into the 1.90’s, Clayton turned in a 4.50 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, and a 3.70 Components ERA. With the rotation getting ever more crowded, however, and showing no signs of letting up their dominant, complete-game throwing performances, Katie Clayton, the league-average bullpen pitcher, may be a part of a dying breed that won’t remain very much longer with the team.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2003 30 0 0-0 0 4 0 0/0/0 43 26 31 1 0   .316 .411 .526 5.4 9.00 7.63 1.98
2004 10 0 0-0 0 0 0 0/0/0 12 8 13 1 0   .238 .429 .405 6.0 9.00 5.95 1.92
2005 21 0 0-0 2 1 1 0/0/0 34 34 12 4 0   .240 .324 .438 4.0 4.50 3.70 1.21

Helen Yamamoto, Mopup Reliever: Taking over the title from Katie Clayton as worst pitcher ever, Yamamoto set record-worsts in pitching for the Daly City team – she packed a 9.35 ERA and 2.54 WHIP, and even worse, had a components ERA of 12.05. Despite this, she still pitched a substantial 26 innings of work, raising the team’s ERA from 2.83 to 2.94 all on her own.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s Walks HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
2005 19 0 0-0 2 0 0 0/0/0 26 12 22 0 0   .379 .475 .672 4.2 9.35 12.05 2.54

Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever: After breaking onto the scene with a stunning 2.58 ERA, 1.04 WHIP part season in 2004, Chu impressed even further in 2005, although not without controversy. Chu became the team’s primary reliever, appearing in 35 games and 63 2/3 innings with a 1.70 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Chu, however, was not the most consistent of relievers, especially early on. While she pitched astoundingly well on her own, she made life a nightmare for many of the starters, inheriting 28 runners and allowing a team-high 11 (39.3%) to score, making her the 7th worst pitcher in the league. Chu also finished 3rd with 7 blown saves in 19 opportunities, robbing many a starter of a hard earned win while padding her league-leading 9 wins as a reliever.

Year Games Starts Record Saves Holds Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP RS/G AVG OBP SLG K/9 ERA CERA WHIP
AAA 12 0 1-1 8     0/0/0 14 11 3             7.1 1.29   1.14
2004 20 0 5-0 2 0 0 0/0/0 38 1/3 41 13 1 1   .196 .270 .283 9.6 2.58 2.10 1.04
2005 35 0 9-3 1 12 7 0/0/0 63 2/3 54 16 0 1   .191 .239 .309 7.6 1.70 1.72 0.91

Zubeda Khan: The rookie reliever came in at the beginning of the year hoping to be the team’s next new savior at the closer role, which has now seen a tumultuous 3 closers in 3 years. Would she be the one to finally establish security at the position? Khan seemed to have the right make for a closer – unlike last year’s flamethrower Josiah Leong, Khan was projected as a crafty, control-driven pitcher who’d be able to finish out games with consistency. Khan astounded in April when she jumped out to an 0.87 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 10 1/3 innings of work, working 9 games, saving 5 games, and winning one in the process, quickly drawing comparisons to 2003’s closer Michelle Absalon (she had finished that year with an 0.83 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 46 saves in 64 2/3 innings). The magic wouldn’t last very long, however, as Khan got hit badly in May and June, before throwing 7 shutout innings in July and also having a good September. Overall, the rookie managed to save 29 games in 34 opportunities, marking a second straight year of decline after Josiah’s 40 edge-of-your-seat saves in 2004 and Absalon’s 46 saves in 2003. Perhaps Khan’s consistency will begin to develop later on in her career, but for now, it’s back to the drawing board to find a consistent closer for Daly City.

Year Games Starts Record Saves
Holds
Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP
RS/G
AVG OBP SLG K/9
ERA CERA WHIP
2005 42 0 2-3 29 0 5 0/0/0 46 2/3 38 11 0 1   .241 .283 .408 7.3 3.47 3.28 1.14

2005 Pitcher Composite (sorted by Components ERA)

Name Games Starts Record Saves
Holds
Bl.Sv. QS/CG/SHO Innings K’s
Walks
HBP WP
RS/G
AVG OBP SLG K/9
ERA CERA WHIP
Nathan Yan 32 32 30-2 0 0 0 31/25/14 276 469 20 6 3 6.9 .120 .144 .209 15.3 0.98 0.19 0.48
Alvina Chu 35 0 9-3 1 12 7 0/0/0 63 2/3 54 16 0 1   .191 .239 .309 7.6 1.70 1.72 0.91
Terrence Zhao 31 31 23 4 0 0 27/11/9 237 1/3 245 75 4 0 6.9 .192 .258 .278 9.3 1.74 1.74 1.01
Sean Wade 29 29 20-8 0 0 0 23/3/2 201 163 38 5 0 6.9 .217 .258 .345 7.3 3.00 2.33 1.00
Samantha Chin 26 26 13-1 0 0 0 14/2/1 168 1/3 163 37 16 13 7.7 .234 .290 .402 8.7 4.06 3.23 1.11
Zubeda Khan 42 0 2-3 29 0 5 0/0/0 46 2/3 38 11 0 1   .241 .283 .408 7.3 3.47 3.28 1.14
Miguel Pardo 20 13 9-2 1 0 0 8/2/1 103 77 35 3 0 7.8 .247 .311 .399 6.7 4.19 3.57 1.27
Katie Clayton 21 0 0-0 2 1 1 0/0/0 34 34 12 4 0   .240 .324 .438 4.0 4.50 3.70 1.21
Alfred Vong 24 1 4-2 2 3 0 1/0/0 63 2/3 53 15 1 1 12.4 .245 .289 .469 7.5 4.24 3.83 1.18
Josiah Leong 30 30 13-9 0 0 0 16/1/0 183 2/3 227 87 23 7 6.8 .217 .324 .392 11.1 4.07 3.84 1.27
Angel Poon 27 0 2-2 2 4 2 0/0/0 50 1/3 45 11 3 3   .262 .310 .449 8.0 3.75 3.96 1.19
Helen Yamamoto 19 0 0-0 2 0 0 0/0/0 26 12 22 0 0   .379 .475 .672 4.2 9.35 12.05 2.54

A look at the team awards for the 2005 season:

Team Defensive Player of the Year: Sam Lau
Despite starting only 139 games, the stout catcher actually led the league in starts, defensive innings, and total chances. Most importantly, however, Lau also led the league by a huge margin with 48.3% of would-be basestealers thrown out, which was probably the biggest factor in earning him the league’s Golden Glove award at catcher, as well as the team’s defensive player of the year.

Rookie of the Year: Henry “Mr.” Nghe
It’s rare for a player to perform so well in his first year, but the 28-year old “rookie” performed better than any rookie in recent memory since Ichiro Suzuki made his first appearance in the Major League Baseball league and won both Rookie of the Year and MVP. Nghe didn’t do quite so well, but did win the league’s Rookie of the Year award and made a strong showing in the Batter of the Year awards. The shortstop exceeded all expectations and developed into a polished, middle-of-the-lineup hitter. Nghe emerged as the best among a strong class of rookies – Rudy Puzon himself developed into another strong, middle-of-the-lineup hitter, and also led the league in homeruns. Sean Wade also developed into one of the best and most consistent pitchers in the league, and Samantha Chin showed strong promise as she put together a very decent rookie season. The younger rookies, Alfred Vong and Tiffany Ho, also performed decently in limited time, and should see even bigger roles next season.

Comeback Player of the Year: Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee
There weren’t many candidates to choose from this year – for such a young team, not many players have really had time enough to be great, fall from glory, and become great once again. While not the epitomic Comeback Kid, “The Cheet”, the RF starter way back in the 2003 season, had put up a decent .278-.363-.366 line in 525 at bats in 2003 – average in the average department, decent in the OBP department, and downright atrocious in the SLG department. With the sudden surge of RF power potential in newcomers Francis Chen and Jason Liu in the 2004 season, Chee took a backseat, playing only 54 games (178 at bats) and putting up a .219-.344-.303 line. With Norman Ho gone this year, however, Chee found a berth at LF, and after a slow start, became the starting LF and put up his best season yet – .312-.436-.424 in 446 at bats, with career highs in virtually every hitting category, including a dramatic cutting down of K’s from 112 in 525 at bats to a 65 in 446.

Breakout Player of the Year: Cristian Ortiz
Although this award could have also gone to Chee, who developed from league-average obscurity + OBP ability to become an AVG and OBP machine, Ortiz, the team’s second base defensive wizard, who had been a below-average Pokey Reese type hitter each of his past two seasons, displayed solid hitting and tremendous speed for the first time ever – Ortiz far more than doubled his numbers from his 2003 half-season, hitting 28 doubles to his previous 7, 88 to 38 RBI, 105 to 33 Runs, and most importantly 58 to only 2 steals.

Performance of the Year: 5-peat shutouts by Zhao and Yan
This year’s Performance of the Year award goes to Zhao and Yan, who in consecutive months accomplished a streak of 5 consecutive shutouts – from July 30 through August 22, Zhao made 5 complete game shutouts in 5 games, including a one-hitter in which he also struck out a career-high 17 batters. During this time, Zhao gave up 23 hits, 16 walks, and got 44 strikeouts, for a WHIP of 0.87 and an 8.8 K/9. Picking up right where Zhao left off, the following month Yan embarked on his own 5 shutout streak, although one of these games was marred by an unearned run on an error. Nonetheless, Yan threw 5 complete games without an earned run, including two 2-hitters and another near-perfect game (imperfect because of an error) and 18- and 19-K games. Overall, Yan gave up 13 hits, 2 walks, and got 81 K’s, for a WHIP of 0.33 and a 16.2 K/9.

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The 2005 Playoffs: World Series Recap

Game Recaps

22 October 2005 – It’s the start of the Fall Classic, and two rounds and three weeks of postseason play have pared down the competition to the final two, with no surprises – the regular-season leading Daly City Montis of the Universe League, and the Canon Image Stabilizers of the Shinto-World League.

Daly City rolls in with a pitching staff filled with top-flight starters that had faltered a bit of late – Nathan Yan had been rolling along, but Josiah Leong had been pounded, even more so than usual – four postseason starts, a 1-3 record, and not a single quality start. Things hadn’t been supremely better for Terrence Zhao – he pitched a decent 2-run, 6 2/3 inning start in his first start, but was then hit hard in his worst start of the season, a 12-hit, 3-walk, 7 run 6-inning outing against the United States. Zhao also faltered with a 3-run, 6-inning outing in the league series against Europe. Wade had been the only other starter with a decent playoff record thus far, throwing 3 quality start wins. With only half of their all-star staff running at full force, the previously unstoppable Daly City team began seeming vulnerable, just barely getting past the worst-seed United States in a full 4-3 series, and struggling for a 4-2 win over sub-.500 Europe.

Game 1 started with a well-rested Nathan Yan, on 5 days rest for the first time since July, getting the start against Canon’s #2 Max Allen. Canon jumped ahead with a run to lead off the 1st, one of the few times Yan had found himself behind early. Daly City bounced back, however, and on 2-4 days by Ortiz, Puzon, and Liu, and a 3-4 day by the resurgent Derek Lew, Daly City emerged with 6 runs on 10 hits, while Yan eked out a challenging 2-run start.

Game 2 was grittier battle. Josiah Leong made the start, but against the 6.21 ERA Mohamed Arthur, he was about evenly matched, with a 7.48 ERA of his own. The teams battled back and forth throughout the game – again Canon led off with a run in the first for an early lead, which was answered back by a 3-run 2nd inning, from a huge Sam Lau homer. Canon hit back with a huge 5-run 6th, however, putting Daly City in a 3-6 hole. Daly City hit back with a run in the bottom of the 6th from a Joey Wong HR. 3 more runs in the bottom of the 8th gave Daly City a tenuous 7-6 lead, and only 3 outs away from a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. By this time Samantha Chin had since replaced Leong, who had given up 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings, and she had pitched flawlessly for 2 1/3 innings so far. With one out in the bag, she yielded a run to C Francis Cote, and with Daly City unable to respond to the tie score in the bottom of the 9th, yielded another two in the 10th, handing Canon a 9-7 win and tying the series 1-1.

Game 3 saw Terrence Zhao matched up against the best pitcher from the Shinto-World league, Canon’s 20-year-old Justin Ramage, who had finished the regular season with a 24-3 record and a 2.48 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Based on Terrence’s shaky recent starts, the prospects didn’t look good. Daly City hit the Image Stabilizers early, with a Derek Lew HR and Mr. Nghe double to put the team up 3-0. Zhao was hit by Gates Skywalker’s 2-run homer, but managed to stave off the Image Stabilizers, going 7 innings and giving up 2 runs for the eventual 4-2 win.

Sean Wade pitched game 4, and right from the get-go, Daly City exploded – Derek Lew hit three doubles in a 3-4 day (although he didn’t driven in any runs), while Nghe and Lau both hit homers and Ortiz stole three bases. Daly City went on to win 9-2, on a complete-game win by Sean Wade, and with a commanding 3-1 lead, and Nathan Yan starting the 5th game, fate seemed all but certain.

Yan would pitch game 5, and with the entire Image Stabilizers team already demoralized beyond hope, Daly City trounced Canon to the tune of a 9-1 win, to win the series 4-1 and win the league championship (Their 3rd in 3 years of play).

Stay tuned for a report on the season awards, and a team recap!

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