Eighteen year old Japanese sensation Eri Yoshida made her much anticipated US pitching debut last Saturday for the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League. Featuring a sidearm knuckleball and a fastball that tops out at a sizzling 70 miles per hour, the “Knuckle Princess” (insert lewd joke here) as she is called back home in Japan, retired 7 of the first 10 batters she faced, but finished with a line of 3 IP, 4 r, 5 h, 1 bb, 0 k. Former major leaguer Kit Pellow had this to say about Yoshida’s signature pitch, “It wasn’t a very good knuckleball tonight.”
Here are my three main takeaways from the game:
1. Tijuana Cimarrones leadoff hitter, Ivan Ochoa, opened the game with a bunt single. If someone were to finally take the initiative to write down baseball’s much ballyhooed “unwritten rules,” I think the first rule would be: When facing an 18 year old girl who cannot throw faster than 70 mph, do not bunt to lead off the game. I can only imagine what Dallas Braden would do if he were an 18 year old girl and A-Rod bunted off of him.
2. Yoshida hit an RBI single in her first at bat off of Cimarrones starter David Rivas, who is currently sporting a 30.16 ERA (although, he is striking out 8 per 9 innings, so sabermatricians might contend he is just unlucky right now). When you get to the point where your ERA is greater than your age and you are giving up hits to 18 year old girls, it might be time to hang up the spikes.
3. Former Cubs 2nd baseman of the future, Bobby Hill, is now playing for the Chico Outlaws. He never panned out for the Cubs, but at least they were able to pawn him off for Aramis Ramirez in that one year the Pirates decided to give all of their players to the Cubs for nothing. I have a feeling Hill may be the subject of an upcoming post.