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April 1st Fujinami v Yamai - Bring on the Dancing Girls

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Featuring Christopher Amano-Langtree (a.k.a. Christopher)

This blog will attempt to report on as many Hanshin Tigers games as possible. Games will be, if possible, reported the day after and on rare occasions the same day.

April 1st Fujinami v Yamai - Bring on the Dancing Girls

4 replies. Most recent reply: Apr 2, 2014 3:32 PM by Guest

Let us look at what positives we can take from this game. Well Fujinami pitched decently for 6 innings and that's it. With signs that he was tiring in the seventh one would have thought that putting him in for the eighth was not wise (but hey it is April Fools Day aka Nakanishi day). However, Tigers did just that and a winnable game rapidly became a rout. I must say I didn't quite expect such stupidity so quickly though. Tigers have already dropped two of the relief down to the second team for punishment purposes (Futagami and Tsuru) so at this rate they won't have any relief left. Kaneda signaled by his body language that he would rather be anywhere else and the home run pitch had the quality of an 'I don't care and I don't care if you know' pitch to it.
As for the dancing girls (Tigers girls) they appeared in the seventh. NHK didn't show them though and all we saw was a flash of pompom before they cut to the news. By the time NHK returned to the game the cheerleaders had gone. Let us understand quite clearly the motivation to introduce cheerleaders (first time since 1978) has nothing to do with logic or understanding of Tigers and their target market. The mediocrities making up the Tigers off field management have noticed that other teams have cheerleaders therefore Tigers should have them as well. That is all. No CB analysis, no marketing survey, no needs analysis - nothing linked to a practical business decision. Other teams have them so we should as well. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dragons 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 7 1 10 13 0
Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0

Starting Lineups

1. Ohshima (Centre)
2. Araki (Second)
3. Luna (Third)
4. Hirata (Right)
5. Morino (First)
6. Wada (Left)
7. Hernandez (Short)
8. Tanishige (Catcher)
9. Yamai (Pitcher)

1. Uemoto (Second)
2. Yamato (Centre)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (First)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Imanari (Third)
7. Fukudome (Right)
8. Fujii (Catcher)
9. Fujinami (Pitcher)

Tigers reshuffled their lineup to take account of the loss of Nishioka and Toritani moved back to third with Uemoto coming in and taking over the lead off spot. It didn't help - the atmosphere at Kyocera Dome was soulless which quite suited the Dragons who play in the soulless Nagoya Dome. Yamai would be constantly too high with his pitches but Tigers wouldn't be able to do anything at all to counter. This of course is not an indicator of future performance but three multi run wipeouts in the first four games is not what one likes to see as a start to the season. Fujinami started the game well getting Dragons batters to swing at high and outside pitches (Ohshima and then Araki). Luna hit deep to centre but Yamato tracked it down nicely. Yamai was a bit wild in Tigers first and one thought that as the match went on he would deteriorate. Still he retired the batters in order in the first. Dragons first hit came in their second with Wada singling left with two out. Next was Hernandez but all he could do was ground out to second and end the innings. Gomez then made his only contribution to the game leading Tigers second off with a single. This was academic as the next batter Murton hit into a simple double play. Then Imanari grounded out. Yamai had still shown signs of wildness though. Another hit came for Dragons in their third, once again a two out single this time to Ohshima. Araki hit his first pitch deep to centre but once again Yamato was comfortably under it and the innings was over. Yamai was actually abysmal rather than wild in Tigers third walking Fujii with one out. Possibly Fujii's shortness confused Yamai as all the balls were above the zone. Fujinami tired to bunt and failed disastrously and then Uemoto struck out swinging. Yamai had recovered the situation quite well.

Luna hit to short to lead off Dragons first and Toritani did well to stop the ball diving to his right. He couldn't stop Luna reaching first though. Hirata struck out swinging and then Morino hit a grubber to Uemoto who fumbled the ball as he went to pick it up. He managed to get it to Toritani in time for the force out and then Toritani threw to first for the double play. It did look a bit harsh on Morino but the umpires were very strict on swings and first base this game. Toritani hit right with one out in Tigers fourth but Gomez hit into a double play as well and ended that innings. So far the game had not taken off and the teams were matching each other. Dragons batters in their fifth all tried to hit right but Fukudome showed nice positioning and agility to take all three catches. It was a brauva display of right field catching. Yamai was pitching comfortably by now but his dismissal of Murton was notable - he threw low outside pitches below the zone for most of the at bat then brought the ball up for the third strike and Murton left it. No one else got on base and the game remained scoreless. Dragons sixth was where things started to go wrong for Tigers. Dragons by now knew what Fujii would be calling - he is nothing if not predictable and whilst the first out went down Ohshima bounced the ball over Fujinami's head and into the outfield for a single. Araki tried to bunt non to successfully but changed tactics and picked up a walk - runners on first and second and the first real threat of the game. Fujinami went low in response to Fujii's call but Luna was primed for it and dug the ball out nicely putting it into left field. Ohshima raced home 1-0 Dragons runners on first and third. Nakanishi came out for a chat which did no good as the next batter Hirata hit into centre for another timely single 2-0 Dragons, runners on first and third. Fujinami managed to strike out Morino and then Wada hit his first pitch to short for the final out. It was only two runs but somehow you felt that it was an unassailable lead. Tigers sixth was really the bottom of the order with Fujinami batting second. With Fujii out Fujinami showed the batters how it should be done hitting Yamai nicely into left centre for a double. He got absolutely no support and was stranded there for the rest of the innings.

Fujinami returned for Dragons seventh and was clearly beginning to tire. His control wasn't quite as good as it had been but he did strike out Hernandez looking. Then Tanishige walked on a full count. Yamai went to bunt and popped it up with Fujii taking another fine catch. This time his throw to first actually worked and Tanishige was caught off base. It was a bit easier as Tanishige isn't the fastest or most agile base runner despite being the Dragons player manager. Yamai then mowed Tigers clean up down in their seventh. It really was a poor batting display. The decision to pitch Fujinami can really only be attributed to folly and stupidity. He was pitching his first game of the season and had shown signs of tiredness in the seventh. There was absolutely no need to keep him on for the eighth and instead Tigers should have gone with their A team relief in an attempt to take a winnable game. Instead we had an incompetent management generated disaster of an innings. Ohshima led things off with a single to centre. Araki hit to third but Tigers weren't able to make the double play and Araki was safe on first. Luna singled right to set up runners on first and second and if alarm bells weren't ringing by now they should have been. It was the last moment Tigers had to control the game. Once Wada and Nakanishi failed to replace Fujinami the dice were cast. Fujinami walked Hirata and the bases were loaded. With one out a sacrifice fly was always on the cards and Morino provided just that opportunity hitting deep to left. Araki tagged up and was comfortably home as the throw from Murton was not the best 3-0 Dragons, runners on first and second. Then Wada hit left once again choosing the right ball to hit and Dragons had another run 4-0 runners on first and second. Finally, Wada and Nakanishi lumbered into action and replaced Fujinami with Kaneda. Kaneda didn't really seem to want to be there and certainly not pitch to Fujii. He was lackadaisical and casual on the mound. He started by walking Ogasawara (pinch hitter) to load the bases again. Then Tanishige singled into centre bringing in two more runs 6-0 Dragons. Tanishige sent Nomoto in to pinch hit for Yamai and by now relations between Fujii and his pitcher were poisonous. The fifth pitch to Nomoto was the I don't care pitch and Nomoto blasted it into the right stand for a three run home run 9-0 Dragons. The next batter was Ohshima and by now Fujii had given up. He let Kaneda spray balls around without making any attempt to call and Ohshima eventually singled. Finally Araki hit deep to centre and was caught by Yamato for the final out. It hadn't been a good innings. Takahashi pitched Tigers eighth and was really pitching to a beaten team. Imanari grounded out but Fukudome worked a walk. However, Umeno (pinch hitter and replacement catcher) and Ryota Arai (pinch hitter) could do nothing and Tigers were denied even a consolation run. Iwamoto pitched Dragons ninth and one has to ponder what might have been. A potentially excellent starter converted into a disappointing reliever by Tigers inept coaches. He started giving up a lead off single to Luna. Hirata walked to set up runners on first and second. Morino flew out deep to right and Morikoshi (pinch running for Luna) tagged up and took third. Kudoh (replacement centre) added insult to injury by hitting a sacrifice fly to right 10-0 Dragons, runner on first. Finally, Iwasaki (replacement second) flew out to right to end the innings. There only remained Tigers ninth which was pitched by Matayoshi. He started poorly by walking Uemoto but it didn't matter. Yamato struck out swinging, Toritani grounded out to first and finally, Gomez also struck out swinging to end the game. Dragons victory.

This was Tigers first shutout defeat and there will be others. This series was also the series where Tigers after having failed to compete with the best would show themselves to be better than the rest. They can still do so but the nature of the defeat was worrying. Dragons had been unexciting in amassing their 10 runs but efficient and ruthless. Tigers were anything but. It is just the start of the season but one doesn't like to see so many unprepared pitchers in the relief indicating poor coaching and a willful disregard of a pitchers capabilities. It didn't take long for Wada and Nakanishi's inadequacies to be exposed.
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Re: April 1st Fujinami v Yamai - Bring on the Dancing Girls

[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: Apr 2, 2014 2:27 PM ]
Out of about 50 Tigers games in the last several years, this is only about the second time I have left a game early. Not a good sign when I did that even during the much-anticipated home opener.

Re: April 1st Fujinami v Yamai - Bring on the Dancing Girls

[ Author: Guest: Gern | Posted: Apr 2, 2014 2:52 PM ]
Are the cheerleaders replacing the jetto fusen?

Re: April 1st Fujinami v Yamai - Bring on the Dancing Girls

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Apr 2, 2014 3:03 PM | Posts: 3481 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
I haven't heard that and Kyocera did use to allow jettos. We will have to see when Tigers return to Koshien.

Re: April 1st Fujinami v Yamai - Bring on the Dancing Girls

[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: Apr 2, 2014 3:32 PM ]
I don't think they'll put an end to jetto fusen anytime soon. It's too much of a Koshien tradition. (Although it was briefly halted during the swine flu scare...)
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