American League champions, but Irabu... The Yankees clinched the American League championship title on Oct. 13, for the 35th time. Irabu, although was unable to contribute to any of the games from the playoffs to the division series. Still, he was drenched in champagne in the celebration.
as relief pitcher on September 27 To follow the wish of the Yankees manager, Irabu came to pitch as a reliever against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He, however lost 2 runs in 2 innings. Those scores did not count against him though. As a matter of fact, the Yankees won 8 to 3.
29th game, September 22 The victory against the Cleveland Indians is believed to have secured Irabu a place in the playoffs. He only lost a run in the 2nd inning. He hurled a total of 8 innings, and clinched his 13th win of the season. The Yankees finished the game 5 to 1.
28th game, September 17 Irabu was in good shape this time. He had a good start from the beginning. He finished the first inning with just 3 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In the end, Irabu pitched 8 scoreless innings, and earned his 12th win. The Yankees won with homeruns by Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada-- 4 to 0.
27th game, September 11 It was a game filled with violence. In the 5th inning, Irabu's pitch hit Toronto Blue Jays' Shannon Stewart. Stewart gave a mean look. That angered Irabu, and he headed toward Stewart. Both team members came rushing to the rescue. In all, 6 were dismissed from the game. That did not include Irabu. At any rate, his performance was no good. Irabu was homered by 4 Blue Jays including Stewart in 6 0/3 innings. The Yankees lost 4 to 5 and Irabu was given his 9th loss this season.
26th game, September 6 In one of Irabu's shortest games of 2 1/3 innings, he succumbed to 8 hits and 6 runs. This was against the Chicago White Sox. The Yankees were defeated 5 to 6. It became Irabu's 8th losing game.
25th game, August 30 This was the worst game ever for Irabu. In the 1st inning, he gave up 4 runs to the Seattle Mariners. Then in the following inning, Ken Griffey Jr. homered his 47th off Irabu. That was a 3 run. Irabu lost another run in the 4th. He was taken off the mound that inning with one out, and leaving a runner on second. The consequence was a 13 to 3 for the Mariners. Irabu recorded his 7th loss.
24th game, August 25 It's been quite a while since Irabu started a game. He has been out due to a foot injury. Irabu, this time faced the Anaheim Angels. He lost a run in the 3rd inning. Disaster came after he hit a batter with his pitch in the 6th inning. He gave up hits after hits. He left the mound without taking an out in the 7th with the Yankees leading 4 to 3. In the end, the Angels defeated the Yankees. .
23rd game, August 15 In the 2nd inning, Irabu gave up a grand slam to Rusty Greer of the Texas Rangers. He did not last even 3 full innings. In 2 1/3 innings, Irabu succumbed to 7 runs. It's his worst and shortest showing in the U.S. Major Leagues. He is now with 11 wins 6 losses.
22th game, August 10 Until the end of the 4th inning, Irabu was pitching a no hitter game against the Minnesota Twins. He was in such a good shape that in 7 innings, he only gave up 2 base hits. The Yankees won 7 to 3, and Irabu marked his 11th win. His ERA has improved to 3.07.
21th game, August 5 In the 5th inning, Irabu gave up only one base hit, but lost a run, because he had runners on bases as a result of hitting one with the ball and then walking the next. In the 8th, Rickey Henderson homered off Irabu. Even though Irabu lost only 2 hits to the Oakland Athletics, they cost him the game. Irabu took his 5th loss.
20th game, July 31 Just a couple of days before this game, a rumor that Irabu may be traded to the Seattle Mariners for Randy Johnson arose. It didn't happen afterall, because Randy was traded to the Houston Astros on July 31. Irabu celebrated that day by winning his 10th game of the season from the Mariners. He hurled 7 1/3 innings and gave up 3 runs. The Yankees had 5 runs.
19th game, July 25 In the 3rd inning, Derek Jeter batted in a run for the lead off score of the game. The Yankees had another run in the 6th to catch up with the Boston White Sox 2 to 2. However, Irabu gave up a total of 6 runs in 6 0/3 inning. It's his 4th loss in a 6 to 2 game.
18th game, July 20 to 21 It was the latest night game in which Irabu ever pitched. It started at 10:32 p.m. That's because the Yankees game which was held against the Detroit Tigers went into 17 innings earlier the same day. Irabu pitched 7 innings, and when he finished, it was past midnight or 12:49 am. Irabu gave up 3 runs, but he won again--his 9th game this season. The game ended at 1:17 a.m. with a score of 4 to 3.
17th game, July 15 The Yankees hit well, and Irabu performed in pretty good shape. The Detroit Tigers was held to a 5 hit no run by Irabu for 8 full innings. Irabu left the last inning to a relief. The Yankees, meanwhile, succeeded in hitting in 11 runs. Irabu improved his record to 8 wins 3 losses.
16th game, July 10 It wasn't an easy game for Irabu against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In the 2nd inning, bases were loaded and a Devil Ray came home during a grounded ball. Irabu was then homered in the 3rd and 4th innings. In the 6th inning, he left the mound with runners on 1st and 3rd bases. In all, Irabu lost 3 runs. His teammates hit well meanwhile, and beat the Devil Rays 8 to 4. Irabu luckily clinched his 7th win against 3 losses.
15th game, July 2 Irabu had a hard day again. He succumbed to 3 homers, or a total of 5 runs in just 3 1/3 innings facing the Philadelphia Phillies. The game itself became very competitive thereafter that it went into 11 innings. The Yankees in the end won 9 to 8.
14th game, June 26 Shea Stadium was packed with fans cheering on both New York teams--the Mets and the Yankees. However, Irabu was unable to pitch well. He had to deal with runners on base from the 1st inning. There he lost a run. Then in the 5th, he succumbed to a 2 run homer. He was out in the middle of the next inning after losing another run. Fortunately, his teammates hit well and defeated the Mets 8 to 4. His ERA has gone further down to 2.47, and his chance to be selected on the All Star squad diminished.
13th game, June 21 So far, Irabu had been holding his opponents to a few runs at the most. But it was quite different against the Cleveland Indians this time. Manny Ramirez singled a homerun in the 2nd and had 3 come home on another in the 3rd inning. Irabu pitched only 3 innings and lost 5 runs in all. The pitchers who relieved Irabu were in total turmoil that in the end the Yankees lost 0 to 11. Irabu faced his 3rd loss of the season and his ERA dropped to 2.19.
12th game, June 16 Irabu lost only 2 runs in 7 innings to the Baltimore Orioles. It includes a homerun by Alomar. However, he had no support from his teammates in batting. Therefore, he had to take the loss of this game. It's his 2nd loss against 6 wins.
11th game, June 10 The fact that Irabu played in the Interleague game gave him a chance to bat for the first time in the U.S. Major Leagues. He had his first base hit, and the second time he was at bat, he succeeded in a bunt. Pitching wise, Irabu did well too. In the 7th inning, the rain interfered with the game. When the game was back on, Irabu was gone. Still, he collected his 6th win. The result was a 6 to 2 win for the Yankees over the Montreal Expos. Irabu is still top in the American League's ERA ranking with 1.59.
10th game, June 4 It was three days after the 1998 May MVP of the American League was awarded to him for marking 4 wins, 1 loss and an ERA of 1.44 that Irabu started for the Yankees against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This was on June 4. He pitched 7 1/3 innings. He had a runner on base in all innings except the 4th inning, but only lost 1 run in all. Irabu marked his 5th winning in a game which ended 6 to 1 for the Yankees. Irabu keeps first place in the American League ERA category at 1.45.
9th game, May 30 It's the first time Irabu had to take a loss. He was doubled a homer by Mo Vaughn of the Boston Red Sox and that turned the game. Irabu lost a total of 3 RBIs in 7 innings. It was a 2 to 3 defeat for the Yankees.
8th game, May 25 The Yankees took off to a great start. In the 1st inning, the team batted in 6 runs against the Boston White Sox. It was the first time for Irabu to face the White Sox. But there was nothing to worry about. Irabu completed a 9 inning shut out game--his first ever in U.S. Major Leagues. His ERA has gone down to 1.13 and because he has achieved the required innings, Irabu surged to number 1 in the American League's pitching ranking. The Yankees won 12 to 0, and Irabu earned his 4th win.
7th game, May 20 The Orioles and the Yankees were on top of eachother in a wild fight with regard to a pitch that hit Tino Martines in the 8th inning the day before. There were worries that the unfriendly atmosphere might affect Irabu, but it was not at all felt. He lost a run in the 1st and the 6th innings. Meanwhile, his teammates hit well, especially Derek Jeter who had 3 hits and 2 RBIs. Irabu finished 6 1/3 innings. The consequence of the game was a 9 to 6 for the Yankees. Irabu clinched his 3rd victory.
6th game, May 14 In New York, Irabu shut out 7 innings. At that point, the Yankees were leading 5 to 0, so naturally, it was assumed that Irabu's win was secured. However, the pitcher who took over lost runs. In the 9th inning, the Texas Rangers caught up with the Yankees. Then in the 13th, the Rangers succeeded in topping them, and clinched the game 7 to 5, instead. Poor Irabu, his effort had not been given credit. At least, Irabu's ERA is down to 1.11.
5th game, May 8 Irabu lost an RBI in the 4th inning to the Minnesota Twins. But in the 5th inning, Derek Jeter singled a homerun to tie the game. Then it was Jeter's base hit in the 7th that gave Yankees the lead. Irabu was off the mound after a double in the 8th inning with no outs. Although the pitcher who followed him was rather shaky, the game finished 5 to 1, and He was given the win--his second this season.
4th game, May 2 In Kansas City, Irabu marked his first win this season. He was only homered a single in the 3rd inning. He hurled a total of 7 1/3 innings, the longest for him with the Yankees. It was a close with the Kansas City Royals-- a 2 to 1 game.
3rd game, April 26 The Yanks are back in their own stadium. Irabu started for the first time at his homeground this season. It was raining from the start. Despite the bad weather Irabu struck out 8 in 4 innings against the Detroit Tigers. However, the game was officially called off after 1 hr. and 15 minutes of waiting. At that point, the game was a 2 to 1 for the Yankees.
2nd game, April 19 Rain and cancellation of home games at Yankee Stadium postponed Irabu's 2nd start of the season. His turn finally came in this game against the Detroit Tigers. He struck out 7, and hurled a shut out game until the 7th inning when he was homered. Irabu was not able to pick up a win despite the fact that he pitched well, because the Yankees as a consequence lost 1 to 2 to the Tigers.
1st game, April 8
Irabu's opening game was in Seattle. He pitched against the Mariners.
Irabu struck out a batter every inning until the end of the 5th, including
Ken Griffy Jr. He lost 1 RBI. The Yankees in the end won 4 to 3.
The consequence of the game was not awarded to Irabu.
Michiyo's Note: A rain out game had affected Irabu's pitching schedule. His first game of the season was originally slated to Apr. 5, but was rescheduled to the 8th. The change didn't seem to bother Irabu.
PRE 1998 SEASON NEWS
Irabu is ready for official games
For the first time since Irabu was diagnosed with tendinitis, he pitched in a game. On Mar. 30, he experimented his arm in a game against San Diego State University hurling 3 innings. He struck out 7 and proved he was ready to play in the Major League games. Irabu is expected to start on Apr.5 against the Oakland Athletics.
Back again in practice
Irabu was not so seriously struck with tendinitis afterall. He hurled the ball and tried different kinds of pitched just before an exhibition game on Mar. 27. That's for the first time in a week. He's discovered that his elbow was not much of a problem. .
Injury keeps Irabu out
On the morning of Mar.21, Irabu complained of pain in his right elbow. X-ray examination reported tendinitis. He not only had to cancel his plans to pitch on the 22nd and 27th in the exhibition games. It has become very likely that he will not be able to recover soon enough for the 1st week of the season.
3 straight exhibition victories
Irabu hurled 4 2/3 innings successfully on Mar. 17 against the Blue Jays. In total, he has pitched 12 2/3 scoreless innings and clinched his 3rd victory in a row in the exhibition games. Besides, it is said that Irabu had gained 5 pounds during one month.
Irabu's first exhibition game
On Mar. 2, Irabu started the exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians. He was able to hurl a pitch of 95 miles or 153 kilo per hour, but his performance in the 2 innings were basically unstable. He walked 4, and was batted in 4 runs. He appeared to have lost his concentration when the umpire called ball, for what seemed to Irabu a strike.
Irabu's first practice game
The Yankees are on spring training in Florida. Irabu got to pitch 2 innings in a practice game for just his team. He was able to pitch without walking anybody nor losing a base hit. One of his pitches is said to have reached 93 kilos per hour.
Irabu slims down
Irabu left for spring camp from Narita Airport on Jan. 26. His figure surprised people waiting for him at the airport. He used to weigh over 100 kilos, but he seemed to have lost more than 10 kilos. Irabu kept to a strict diet according to his private trainer.
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