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Will Lee Lead Junichi to Victory in the Japan League?

Posted October. 27, 2007 03:08,   


The Junichi Dragons will play against Hokkaido in the first round of the Japan League playoffs at Nihonham Sapporo Dome at 6:15 p.m. today. The winner of the series will be the champion of Japanese baseball.

These two teams played against each other in 2006. Nihonham won 4-1.

Junichi has not won the championship since 1954. This series will be a good chance for the team to avenge a past defeat and win the Japan Championship Series for the first time in 53 years.

Lee Byung-gyu Wants to Taste Victory-

Lee Byung-gyu (33), who led his team to victory by a hitting double and home run in the second series of the Central League play-offs against Yomiuri, has been eyeing a ring ever since moving to the Japan League.

After Lee joined LG in 1997, he played in the Korea Series in 1998 and 2002, but never won the championship.

It is not as likely for Lee to hit a home run in this series because the Sapporo and Nagoya domes, where the baseball matches will be held, are much larger than the Tokyo Dome. But if he hits line drives, taking advantage of his speed, he can potentially hit for doubles and triples and contribute.

Lee’s batting average was .262 (478 at bats, 125 base hits) for the year, with nine home runs and 46 runs. It is not a great record, but he has been doing better recently with two home runs and six runs in five postseason matches.

Better Batting Lineup: Junichi, Better Pitching :Nihonham-

Junichi is ahead of Nihonham in team home runs (121) and runs (623), while Nihonham has 73 home runs and 526 runs. Tyron Woods, Araki Masahiro, Ibata Hirokazu, Morino Masahiko, Nakamura Norihiro, and Lee Byung-gyu have all batted well.

In pitching, Nihonham has first-rate players including Darvish, who secured 15 wins, Ryan Glynn, and Taketa Masaru (all with more than 9 wins). Darvish, a Japanese pitcher of Iranian decent, recorded the most strikeouts (210) and the second best earned run average of 1.82.

Junichi also has good pitchers, including Kawakami Kenshin (12 wins), Nakata Kenichi (14 wins), and Asakura Kenta (12 wins), but its ERA is in the 3 range.