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April 5th Messenger v Ogawa

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

Welcome to the Tiger Tails Blog

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 5th Messenger v Ogawa

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Messenger was looking for his first win and didn't get it with Ogawa out duelling him and pitching the better game. One questions the need for Messenger to throw 117 pitches as well. Certainly the calling was inept as ever but Messenger did struggle at times. However, there is a very good case for bringing up a different catcher - Komiyama would be good and giving him all the support possible. Murton who is incredibly hot right now once again had a good game though. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 8 0
Swallows 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 2 X 5 10 1

Starting Lineups

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

1. Yamada (Second)
2. Yuhei (Centre)
3. Milledge (Left)
4. Balentien (Right)
5. Kawabata (Third)
6. Hatakeyama (First)
7. Morioka (Short)
8. Nakamura (Catcher)
9. Ogawa (Pitcher)

Tigers would struggle against Ogawa and he maintained a sharp control on the game. The Swallows catcher was also competent and made sure Tigers didn't get going. The first started with batters falling in order and no Tiger got on base. Yamada led Swallows off with a single but afteer a fly out fell to a Milledge double play. Tigers second and with one out Murton doubled to left centre. This was a nice chance but both Fukudome and Imanari failed to move him off second and the innings was scoreless. Messenger's first real challenge came in Swallows second and he was found wanting. Balentien led off with a full count walk. Kawabata grounded out to Messenger forcing out Balentien but making first himself. Hatakeyama singled to centre putting runners on first and second and then Morioka hit his first pitch to centre to bring in a run 1-0 Swallows. In the attempt to throw Kawabata out the runners advanced to second and third. Nakamura walked to load the bases but unlike his fellow pitchers Messenger was not going to tolerate any nonsense from the opposition pitcher's at bat and Ogawa struck out swinging. Yamada then grounded out with the bases loaded. Given the trouble Messenger had found himself in he had done well to get out of it with only one run damage. With two out in Tigers third Uemoto walked and then decided to chance Nakamura's arm. The arm won and the steal failed - that was the third out. Milledge singled to centre in Swallows third with Yuhei already gone. He stayed on first and no score resulted.

So far the game was tight and no team had found a way to pull ahead. Tigers fourth was quiet with no runner managing to reach base. Ogawa had found a good rhythm was proving difficult to deal with. Swallows fourth was also quiet but Messenger was using more pitches to get there and Fujii's calling was wasting his pitchers energy. Murton led off Tigers fifth with another double, this one to right centre. Here was a great chance but Tigers couldn't exploit it. Murton finally got to third on Imanari's ground out but Swallows walked Fujii to get at Messenger who grounded out to short to end the innings. Messenger ran into problems in the Swallows fifth and by now he was tiring. With two out he failed to get the third out and instead walked Yuhei. Milledge was next and hit the ball hard and far into the left stand for a two run home run 3-0 Swallows. Balentien also tried to go left but flew out. Finally Tigers woke up and Uemoto singled left. Surprisingly Yamato wasn't asked to bunt and flew out instead. Toritani singled right but could only set up runners on first and second. Gomez grounded out to third forcing out Toritani but Uemoto made third. Then Murton pulled the ball left for a timely single 3-1 Swallows, runners on first and third. Fukudome though struck out swinging and the innings was over. Messenger returned for the unnecessary sixth and got the first two outs but then Morioka singled to centre. Next Nakamura singled to centre as well and Swallows had runners on first and third. Fortunately, the next batter was Ogawa who struck out swinging. It had been a lucky escape.

Tigers seventh and Ogawa confidently retired the batters in order. No one made base. Tsutsui took over for Swallows seventh and struggled throughout the innings. He started by walking Hatakeyama. Ueda (pinch hitter) stupid bunted him to second and then Milledge walked - runners on first and second with a wasted out.Balentien struck out looking pretty flummoxed and finally Kawabata grounded out to third to end the innings. Now it was Swallows turn to push their pitcher too far as Ogawa returned for the eighth. He struck out Uemoto but then Yamato singled. Yamato stole second and Swallows messed up the take of the throw to second allowing Yamato to reach third. Toritani walked and it was clear that Ogawa was almost out of gas. Why he wasn't replaced was a mystery but it was probably due to management laziness and innate stupidity. Still it benefited Tigers - Gomez singled to centre bringing in a run 3-2 Swallows, runners on first and second. Next was Murton but this time he hit into a double play to end the innings and Swallows could breathe again. Wada should have switched his pitchers and maybe used Fukuhara but instead he left Tsutsui on. This rapidly went pear shaped as Morioka doubled with one out. Next up was Nakamura who hit left and managed to keep the ball inside the foul pole for a two run home run 5-2 Swallows and the killer blow. Tanaka ( pinch hitter) flew out but then Yamada singled. Even though he did steal second it didn't help as Ueda (replacement centre) struck out looking to end the innings. However, the Swallows were pretty much home and dry. Carpenter took over for Tigers ninth and doesn't look to have the makings of a very good closer at the moment. He messed up when Fukudome hit back at him but luckily Imanari flew out to short and Swallows were able to get Fukudome as well. Finally, Saka (pinch hitter) struck out to end the game. Swallows victory.

Messenger still doesn't seem to have found his form yet even though he is by a long way the best Tigers pitcher at the moment. The relief is very, very weak though but here the victory was due to a superior performance by the Swallows pitcher Ogawa.
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