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Okazaki survives

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.

Okazaki survives

2 replies. Most recent reply: Apr 25, 2016 10:57 AM by Christopher

The big mystery of Tigers selection for catcher was how Okazaki came to be chosen. A bit player over the last previous seasons who on his appearances tended to demonstrate that he wasn't up the job he was preferred to the vastly more experienced Tsuruoka and to Komiyama and Shimizu as well. Incidentally one notes that Yano has abandoned his previous plan of using Kanoh or Imanari as the third back up catcher and Shimizu is now ensconced in the top team. Okazaki meanwhile started the most recent series against the Carp as if he meant to return to ni-gun.

Game 1 of the series saw him paired with an off form Messenger who despite his three wins hasn't looked nearly as dominating as before. This may be Messenger's last season in Japan. The game was quite exciting and the only reason Tigers won this one was because Carp's pitching wasn't quite as good enough. Yokoyama started badly and continued badly giving up three runs in the top of the first. The problem was Messenger started even more badly and by the end of the first innings the score was 4-3 Carp. Yokoyama was even worse in Tigers second and they took 4 runs from that innings with a Toritani three run home run 7-4 Tigers. Messenger meanwhile managed to keep Carp off the scoreboard in the bottom and Tigers added another couple of runs in the third as Yokoyama's replacement Nakata struggled. Carp hit back with one run 9-5 Tigers and added two more in the fifth in response to Tigers 2 run fifth 11-7. Okazaki wasn't doing well here and didn't actually stop the run rot either. Tigers final score was 12 runs and Carp 9 making the game a bit closer than it should have been after Messenger had been replaced.

For the second game we saw Iwasada start against Kuroda and how Tigers can struggle against a pitcher well past his best is a mystery. However, struggle they did. Still Iwasada did well and by the time he departed the score was 1-0 Carp. The issue was Kanemoto's desire to pinch hit his catchers and here he is still prone to panic. Okazaki was brought on to replace Umeno and promptly ran into trouble managing to give up two runs in the eighth. This gave the Carp a three run lead and with Gomez hitting a two run home run in the ninth a 3-2 victory. Probably though with Umeno behind the plate the Carp would have stayed at only one run. Okazaki wasn't exactly covering himself with glory.

He caught the third game with Nohmi as pitcher and here he redeemed himself. This was a superbly pitched game and yes Nohmi did throw all 9 innings but on only 104 pitches he was dominant and was well marshaled by Okazaki. This wasn't a shut out - an Aizawa home run and an Eldred single saw to that but with Tigers driving in six runs (three from the bat of Takayama) they were always comfortably in control. So the jury is still out on Okazaki but his performance in the third game shows what Yano sees in him and which everyone else missed. He needs to build on this.

[Edited by: Christopher on Apr 25, 2016 4:41 PM]
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Re: Okazaki survives

[ Author: Guest: guest | Posted: Apr 25, 2016 12:45 PM ]
Poor Iwasada can't catch a break. Has pitched well in every start, but only one win to show for it.
By the way, the homer on Saturday was by Gomez, not Toritani.

Re: Okazaki survives

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Apr 25, 2016 4:40 PM | Posts: 3481 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Thanks for that - entry corrected and yes you're right about Iwasada.
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