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August 15th Nohmi v Inoh - Playing the bumblers

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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.

August 15th Nohmi v Inoh - Playing the bumblers

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It is always good after a serious defeat to play a lesser side and actually win. Even so Tigers made heavy weather of the game. Throwing away a 4 run lead is not an impressive performance by any means even though it all went right in the end. Nohmi was paired with Shimizu as catcher on the grounds that he had won the game before with the same catcher so he must like the catcher. Nohmi is tired and one cannot predict when or if he will win and this game demonstrated that in detail. The amazing thing about using Shimizu was that he was paired with Andoh in relief. Andoh worked superbly with Umeno but was not so secure with Shimizu and then we saw Tsuruoka who was dismal but didn't give up any runs. Still it was a surprise to see him after his pathetic performance in the previous game. I suppose that being an 'experienced' catcher absolves him of responsibility for the fact that he's not actually very good. Umeno needs to be catching entire games - he is still a rookie and still has a lot to learn but his progress has been amazing and his ability is quite stunning. Giving him more time instead of switching catchers (instead of substituting catchers with starters which is Wada's latest fad) is the way to go. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tigers 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 3 0 7 8 0
BayStars 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 4 9 3

Starting Lineups

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

1. Ishikawa (Second)
2. Yamazaki (Short)
3. Kajitani (Centre)
4. Blanco (First)
5. Gotoh (Left)
6. Baldris (Third)
7. Ide (Right)
8. Kurobane (Catcher)
9. Inoh (Pitcher)

Fukudome being a starting member makes one question Wada's sanity. He does field well and is fast round the bases but then that suggests he is suited to the role of pinch runner or late game defensive replacement not batting No. 6. His inclusion sums up Wada's total incompetence and inability to manage a team. Tigers didn't start well and in fact no one reached base in the first. BayStars started very impressively. Nohmi's first pitch was dispatched to left centre for a double by Ishikawa. Then Nakahata blew it stupidly having Yamazaki bunt Ishikawa to third. This gave Nohmi his breathing space and he struck out the next two batters to end the innings. BayStars would pay for their managers idiocy. Inoh started Tigers second by walking Gomez. He was forced out as Murton hit a grounder to third but the double play didn't come off. Fukudome - well Fukudome flew out. Next was Itoh who hammered the ball into right centre. Murton took off round the bases and positively flew to home. BayStars fielding was perhaps a bit slow but even so it was really impressive running by Murton 1-0 Tigers, runner on third. Shimizu though grounded out to end the innings. Tigers had shown the BayStars how it should be done. BayStars didn't respond and their second was quiet with no one reaching base. Nohmi seemed to be pitching at something like his best - so far he had struck out four. Tigers gave another demonstration of how to score in their third. With one out Uemoto doubled to left centre. Imanari flew out but Toritani hit left bringing in Uemoto 2-0 Tigers, runner on first. Gomez also hit left - runners on first and second but Murton managed to mishit and ground out to Kurobane to end the innings. Kurobane led off BayStars third with a single. He was bunted to second by Inoh. Nakahata hadn't learned anything. Ishikawa grounded out to short taking Kurobane to third but Yamazaki grounded out as well so no score there either.

Tigers fourth was interesting. A mess up at first allowed Fukudome to reach base safely. Itoh grounded out to second forcing out Fukudome but reaching first safely himself. Then Shimizu grounded out to Inoh forcing out Itoh but reaching first safely himself. Finally, Nohmi grounded out to short. BayStars fourth was just quiet - no one reached base. Inoh was tiring by now Uemoto led off Tigers fifth with a walk. Imanari managed to hit into a double play but then Toritani walked. Gomez hit his first pitch right over the head of Ide putting runners on second and third. A wild pitch was missed by Kurobane and Toritani slid home 3-0 Tigers, runner on second. Murton hit to short and the return throw from Ishikawa had to be seen to be believed. Totally wild it enabled Gomez to make home and Murton to take second 4-0 Tigers. Finally, Fukudome provided relief for the BayStars by grounding out to second. BayStars fourth was quiet and Tigers looked to be cruising. Nakahata wasn't going to risk Inoh with a sixth innings and instead Ohsada was chosen. He did well containing Tigers and allowing no base runners. Nohmi having done well through five innings collapsed in BayStars sixth and also exposed his catcher's inadequacies. Shimizu didn't have the ability to call to a tired pitcher. Nohmi basically could not control his pitches - he struck out Shirasaki (pinch hitter and replacement short) but then Ishikawa singled left. Tamura (pinch hitter and replacement right) singled left - runners on first and second. Kajitani singled left - a pattern was beginning to appear and one which Shimizu couldn't cope with. This was a significant single as it brought in the runner 4-1 Tigers, runners on first and second. Then Blanco singled...yes left bringing in another run 4-2, runners on first and second. Not only was Nohmi drifting but Shimizu was calling abysmally. Gotoh flew out to right but then Baldris doubled left and another run scored 4-3 Tigers, runners on second and third. Given the obvious deficiencies exhibited by the Tigers battery it was amazing that nothing was done about it. Shimizu had called totally uselessly repeating the same mistake again and again with his tiring pitcher. Finally, Ide grounded out to third but still trying to hit left.

Soto took over for Tigers seventh and got Uemoto to strike out. Then Imanari hit high to left where a wool gathering Gotoh dropped the ball - runner on second. Toritani struck out looking; something he is doing more often these days. His judgement of pitches is slipping. For some reason this brought a change of pitching and Kaga took over. He got Gomez to fly out to left ending the innings. Andoh pitched BayStars seventh and like his outing with Tsuruoka didn't really respond to the second rate pitcher. Kurobane led the innings off with a single. He was bunted to second by Shirasaki - another stupid move from Nakahata. Ishikawa grounded out to second but took Kurobane to third. Then Matsumoto (replacement right) singled left to bring the runner in 4-4 scores tied, runner on first. BayStars had done well to draw level but Nakahata's brainless insistence on the bunt had robbed them of the chance to take the lead. The final batter was Kajitani who struck out swinging to end the innings. Kuniyoshi pitched Tigers eighth and at first everything went right. Murton flew out to centre and Fukudome struck out swinging. Then things went pear shaped. Itoh hit right and reached second on a pass ball. Ryota Arai (pinch hitter) walked and Sekimoto (pinch hitter and replacment third) singled left. Tigers were too conservative and Itoh was held up on third - bases loaded. Uemoto was next and hit deep to left - BayStars field was standing too close in forgetting that Uemoto can hit so the ball sailed over the head of Kajitani and bounced of the wall for a bases clearing double 7-4 Tigers, runner on second. This knocked the stuffing out of the home team and despite the fact that Imanari struck out swinging to end the innings Nakahata's reaction in the dugout said it all. BayStars were beaten - they had given their all getting level and the sudden three run surge had broken their resistance. Fukuhara pitched BayStars eighth with Tsuruoka as catcher. Tsuruoka was incompetent but BayStars batters were quelled and surrendered meekly to the pitcher. No one got on base. Hirata pitched Tigers ninth and started by walking Toritani. Gomez struck out but then Murton walked - runners on first and second. Fukudome worked a walk to load the bases with Itoh next. He hit high and to left where he was caught but the ball didn't go far enough. Toritani set off for home and Gotoh threw well to Kurobane the ball arriving before Toritani. Kurobane blocked the plate and Toritani cannoned off him. Here the plate umpire blundered - Kurobane had the ball but didn't tag Toritani - it wasn't a force out situation and the tag was needed. The incompetent buffoon still gave Toritani out though without the tag. Kurobane was perfectly justified in blocking the plate - he had the ball before the runner arrived but he needed to make the tag. Oh pitched BayStars ninth and had to contend with some absolutely abysmal calling from Tsuruoka who was incompetent and wasteful taking his pitcher from a 0-2 situation to an eight pitch strike out. The next two batters went down quickly but only because Oh ignored Tsuruoka's calls and did his own thing. Tigers victory.

It had been nice though not entirely convincing. Oh picked up his 29th save and the victory went to Andoh. BayStars had been truely incompetent and every level and the spirited fightback concealed the fact that they had played pretty poorly. Tigers hadn't played well and really need to end this policy of switching their catchers which doesn't help their side. It would help if their manager had management knowledge but he doesn't. His three year contract is up this season and one hopes it won't be renewed though one shudders at the thought of who might be next.
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