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John E. Gibson

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Greisinger ready to rumble

by John E. Gibson and Jim Allen (Nov 5, 2008)

The Saitama Seibu Lions launched some rockets off Yomiuri's Seth Greisinger in two interleague games during the regular season, but the Central League wins leader is down to Earth about his Game 4 start.

The Lions slugged five home runs and scored 14 runs off Greisinger, and beat him twice in going 3-1 against Yomiuri in interleague play. But the Giants right-hander said he's ready to blast away any theory that the Lions have his number.

"I'm not concerned about it," Greisinger said before Game 3 on Tuesday at Seibu Dome.

"Obviously they [the coaches] are and that's why I'm starting fourth. But with that said, I think our first two starters, [Koji] Uehara and [Hisanori] Takahashi did a great job, and I think [Tetsuya] Utsumi's going to do a great job today. So it could work out."

But Greisinger didn't really handle any team well early in the season.

"I had bad numbers that entire month," said Greisinger, who got a no-decision in his Game 1 start in the second stage of the CL Climax Series against the Chunichi Dragons.

"In that regard, I don't think I'd be starting one or two against any team in the Pacific League," said Greisinger, who was 16-5 against the CL in the regular season but 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in interleague.

"If you look at my first half and my second half, I think there's a pretty big contrast between the two. I think at the end of June I was 6-6 with a close to a 5.00 ERA. I think I picked it up a little up a little bit after that."

The Lions are missing some big bats in Craig Brazell and G.G. Sato--who combined for 48 homers and 149 RBIs--and Greisinger said he'll just have to wait and pitch to assess the current lineup.

"I haven't faced them--I've watched them," he said. "It's tough to tell because I think we've done an excellent job pitching against them. The big thing is you try and stay away from the longball."

ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE: One of the few Lions who looked as at home in the first two Series games as he did in the season is shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.

"I'm enjoying this, really, really enjoying it," he said.

The No. 3 hitter's solo homer in Game 1 gave Seibu a 2-1 lead that held up, and he put the Lions up by the same score with a two-run shot in Game 2.

"The first time they performed 'Kimigayo,' I thought, wow, we're in the Japan Series," he said. "But that was it. Since then, they've been like regular-season games."

UNDER THE RADAR: Giants outfielder Yoshiyuki Kamei doesn't have the big name, but he has brought A game to the Series.

He made a fantastic catch in Game 2, crossing into foul ground and crashing against the wall along the right-field line to grab a long fly from Seibu's Hiroyuki Nakajima in the ninth inning of the 3-2 walk-off win.

He also had a sixth-inning RBI double that leveled the score.

"I don't feel any added pressure," said Kamei, who was in the seventh spot against lefty Kazuhisa Ishii for Game 3.

"Hitting first or second, it's important to set up the heart of the order. But in the bottom third [with the designated hitter], it's also important to set up the top of the order."


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