Major League Baseball is reviving the Japan All-Star Series again for 2018, with the event taking place during November 7th through the 15th while visiting three Japanese stadiums. The best players from Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Professional have been facing off irregularly dating back to 1986; this year’s iteration will mark the 12th time that the two sides have matched up and the second time MLB’s best will face the National Team from the Land of the Rising Sun - Samurai Japan.
Japan’s National Team defeated the MLB All-Stars for the first time ever the last time these two sides met, which was in a best-of-five series in 2014. This year’s event will be a best-of-six series with both teams playing one exhibition game against a neutral opponent - Samurai Japan versus the National Team from Chinese Taipei on November 7th, and the MLB All-Stars versus NPB’s Yomiuri Giants on November 8th.
The series officially begins on November 9th with three straight games at the Tokyo Dome through the 11th. The 12th will be a day off, then three more games on consecutive days - the 13th at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima, and finally the 14th and 15th at the Nagoya Dome.
Today, MLB released their official roster for the event:
Brewers RHP Junior Guerra is on the MLB roster for the Japan All-Star series. Here’s the rest: pic.twitter.com/jgRFCUlBg0— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 29, 2018
One could argue that the term “All-Star” is used loosely in putting together this roster, at least in terms of the pitching present. Our Milwaukee Brewers will be represented at the event by none other than Junior Guerra, who threw the most innings of any pitcher on MLB’s roster (141.0) in 2018. Guerra spent the majority of this past season as a starter for Milwaukee before losing his rotation spot in September, but did look stellar in a relief role during the season’s final month and into the playoffs after debuting a new curveball. He finished the regular season with a 4.09 ERA (100 ERA+) across 31 appearances (26 starts) with marks of 8.7 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9, and was charged with one earned run in 4.2 postseason innings (5:0 K/BB). This will be a good chance to Guerra to build off his strong end-of-season performance before the Brewers need to make a decision whether or not to tender him a contract in arbitration, where he’s projected to earn $2.7 mil.
Christian Yelich was also on the preliminary roster to represent MLB, but he has opted to skip the event in favor of resting after a deep postseason run. Yelich was recently given the Hank Aaron award as the NL’s top hitter and was also nominated for a Gold Glove, and he’s the favorite to win the Senior Circuit’s MVP award after posting a 1.000 OPS with 36 homers and 22 steals in 2018.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference