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Tigers take the first rubber

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

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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.

Tigers take the first rubber

2 replies. Most recent reply: Apr 1, 2016 12:04 PM by Christopher

Because of the Spring kiddie baseball tournament Tigers started their campaign in Kyocera Dome. Team selection was interesting with Fukudome batting No. 4 (it brings to mind the '03 Tigers when Hiyama batted 4). The big surprise was Okazaki starting as catcher. For those who remember his rare appearances in the top team he would be brought up for a game and would be an absolute disaster. A rapid return to ni-gun would follow and this was the case with even the most obtuse Tigers manager. So it was a surprise to see him starting the first two games. Maybe Yano sees something in him others don't. I would have thought that if Tigers needed to start an older catcher Tsuruoka would be the most logical choice and he had called impressively the previous season. Watching Okazaki it was difficult to see exactly how he had changed on previous form.
Messenger started opening day and was his usual rusty self for his opener. Okazaki didn't seem to be able to help and was replaced in the seventh by Umeno who managed to stop the Dragons scoring. Tigers had started the game brightly with a neatly taken RBI in the first innings off the bat of Matt Hague (who bats 3). I do like the new upper order of Takamiya and Yokota though. They are both active and aggressive and if they continue this way should cause the opposition some trouble. Things continued at 1-0 until the Dragons fourth when they levelled the score and then proceeded to add runs one every innings until the eighth. Tigers added a tying run in the bottom of the fifth but then the runs dried up. One has to say that the relief pitching also wasn't particularly impressive and Tigers are going to struggle here. The final score was 5-2 Dragons. By the way Kanemoto doesn't wear a coaches number but his old uniform number (No. 6).
Nohmi started the second game and was also rusty though having Okazaki as catcher didn't help either. As I said one hopes he will grow into the role. However, this time Tigers were able to get to the Dragons pitcher, Yamai who basically blew the game by the fifth. Hague, once again had a good day with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly. Some Tigers goofiness managed to manifest itself here. The runner on first tried to take second on the fly which was perfectly placed in left field for the run from third but not for a runner to reach second. He was tagged out. Gomez blasted a three run home run as well in the fifth and Nohmi despite not being particularly impressive had enough to maintain the lead. Mateo made his first appearance as well. To be honest Dragons will be kicking themselves with this game - they managed 3 runs from 9 hits which isn't really a good return but Tigers had their first win of the season and Kanemoto his first victory of his management career 7-4. Another Okazaki mess up was trying to bunt with one out in the seventh. Yano kept signalling the hit and Okazaki kept on trying to bunt - the bunt was a waste of course.
The decider game of this series was Fujikawa's first game as starter. He wasn't exactly impressive. Everything started well with Tigers racking up the runs in the first three innings to stand at 4-0 with a Fukudome home run and Takamiya and Yokota RBIs. Then Fujikawa lost it and had to be replaced in the sixth. The catcher was Umeno who worked well with the relief - certainly it looked more solid than the day before under Okazaki and with Hague supplying the go ahead RBI Tigers held on for a 5-4 victory. Mateo earned the save with the victory going to Enokida. Mateo was clocked at 155 kmh during the series. Everyone is still learning and so it will be interesting to see this team develop and progress.
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Re: Tigers take the first rubber

[ Author: Guest: Gern | Posted: Mar 31, 2016 3:23 PM ]
Welcome back.

Re: Tigers take the first rubber

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Apr 1, 2016 12:04 PM | Posts: 3481 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Many thanks
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