[j-ball] Hasegawa comes through again
- While Irabu, Yoshii, and Nomo get all the ink, perhaps the most
effective Japanese pitcher in the US is in Anaheim
From: Los Angeles Time
Monday, August 31, 1998
Man in Middle Stands Tall for the Angels
Baseball: Hasegawa's relief role doesn't draw Japanese
limelight, but his
impact preserves Anaheim's 8-6 win.
By MIKE DIGIOVANNA, Times Staff Writer
BO STON--Relief pitchers in Japan are deemed
newsworthy as utility players in the United
States, their lightly
regarded roles virtually ignored by a Japanese
press that is
infatuated with starting pitchers.
So while Japanese reporters flocked to Dodger
Stadium for Met
right-hander Masato Yoshii's start and to Yankee
Yankee right-hander Hideki Irabu's start Sunday,
not one Japanese
reporter was in Fenway Park to monitor Angel
That's too bad--they're missing a great
Hasegawa, who has become as vital to the
Angel bullpen as
Darin Erstad is to the lineup, came through with
Terry Collins called a "brilliant" performance
Sunday, throwing 3
1/3 shutout innings to key the Angels' 8-6 victory
over the Boston
Red Sox before a crowd of 31,476.
The right-hander replaced starter Jeff Juden
with two outs in the
fifth after Juden was rocked by Mo Vaughn's
homer, which trimmed the Angel lead to 7-6.
Hasegawa retired most-valuable-player
Garciaparra, who homered in the fourth, on a
grounder to end the
inning, then gave up only two hits over the sixth,
seventh and eighth
innings to earn the victory, improving to 7-3 with
a 2.85 earned-run
average in 53 appearances.
Troy Percival pitched a scoreless ninth for
League-leading 38th save, Garret Anderson hit a
two-run homer in
the second and an RBI groundout in the third, and
two-run double highlighted a four-run third for
Combined with Texas' loss to Chicago, the
Angels moved three
games ahead of the Rangers in the West and
improved to 5-3 on
this demanding, 10-game trip through New York,
Cleveland, assuring that they'll be in first place
when they return to
Anaheim after Wednesday night's game against the
"We're on a roll," Angel designated hitter
Tim Salmon said.
"We've gotten some breaks, no question, and we've
advantage of them. This is it, the road trip of
the year, but we still
have two more games in Cleveland. If we can win at
there, it will make it a successful trip."
Hasegawa has been a smashing success for the
Angels in his
second season, making up for the loss of injured
setup man Mike
James by filling a variety of bullpen roles, from
middle relief to setup
to closer. In his last six appearances, Hasegawa
has given up no
earned runs in 12 1/3 innings.
"It's scary to think where we'd be without
him," Collins said.
"Outside of Percival, he's been the most valuable
player of the
You'd never know that reading the Japanese
sports magazines. When it was apparent Hasegawa
would not start
this season, the Japanese press, which numbered 72
photographers for Hasegawa's first spring training
workout in 1997,
began disappearing like Dodger tradition.
"I think someone should finally acknowledge
that it's not just
Irabu and Yoshii from Japan," Angel catcher Phil
Nevin said. "If
you ask me, this guy is the best of the Japanese
pitchers and no one
knows about him."
Hasegawa doesn't seem to care.
"I understand the Japanese media," he said.
"No one is here
today because Irabu and Yoshii are pitching.
That's OK with me.
Maybe now that will change."
Hasegawa went 3-7 with a 3.93 ERA last season
but has been
more consistent in 1998, hitting the corners with
his fastball and his
vast array of breaking balls and off-speed
pitches. He is not making
the mistakes over the heart of the plate that he
did in 1997, and he
seems more confident.
"I know American hitters better," Hasegawa
said. "Some power
hitters, their weak point is inside. Others, their
weak point is
outside, or the changeup. I didn't know that last
Hasegawa, who struck out John Valentin with a
runner on third
to end the seventh Sunday and got the dangerous
Vaughn to ground
out to start the eighth, has been a pleasure for
Phil Nevin to catch.
"He's been one of the most consistent
pitchers on the staff, he
has command of his pitches, and his ability to
throw any pitch at any
time is impressive," Nevin said. "You can use the
scouting report on
every hitter because he sticks to it like a T. We
wouldn't be where
we are right now without him, that's for sure."
Copyright 1998 Los Angeles Times. All Rights
South Pasadena, CA
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