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The catching debacle

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.

The catching debacle

5 replies. Most recent reply: May 19, 2016 4:28 PM by Christopher

Tigers have tied up with Skymark - a low cost domestic carrier which has just emerged from an establishment induced bankruptcy. One of the Skymark aircraft will carry the Tigers logo and will fly all over Japan. The aim is to attract Tigers fans to use Skymark when they travel to places like Tokyo Dome. Seat covers for the aircraft will be in the Tigers colours as well.

Moving on it is difficult to figure out what is going on in the minds of Tigers management with regard to catching. They started out with Okazaki and Umeno which was clear enough though the choice of the first named was strange. Umeno didn't really prosper as a result of being paired with the more difficult pitchers but Okazaki also wasn't setting the world on fire. One wonders why the more experienced and able Tsuruoka was ignored. However, Tigers entered the Giants series with Umeno, Okazaki and Shimizu as catchers.

The game started well and everything went nicely. Fujinami pitched effectively and for the first five innings all the Giants could put on base were a couple of walks. Tigers in the meantime worked themselves into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Fukudome sacrifice fly and error at first in the bottom of the third. Fujinami meanwhile managed to continue his hitting streak with a double. Things fell apart quite suddenly in the sixth innings when Fujinami suffered a meltdown. Four runs flowed from the Giants bats in the sixth with neither Fujinami nor Umeno being able to do anything about it. Order was restored in the seventh with the batters being retired in order but Giants added a run in the eighth which was answered by a Tigers run in the bottom from a Toritani double. However, the Giants ran out 5-3 winners.

Umeno was dropped after the game - Kanemoto and Yano feeling that his performance wasn't sufficient. Certainly his batting has suffered a big slump. The big surprise was the elevation of Haraguchi given the availability of other catchers like Komiyama and Tsuruoka. An Ikusei player who has never played in the first team it was an interesting move. Shimizu started the game with Iwata as pitcher and it all went pear shaped. Iwata who notoriously did not get on with and refused to work with Fujii in the Japan series did not work well with Shimizu either. The Giants were six runs up by the fourth and Iwata didn't last beyond that innings. Tigers added their only run in the sixth but the Giants settled down for a run festival. Haraguchi took over the catching duties in the sixth and was disastrous allowing four more runs. The game was a whitewash with a final score of 11-1 to the Giants. The faithful were not pleased.

Exit Shimizu to ni-gun and enter Komiyama who to my mind should have been a first team catcher from the start of the season. Messenger pitched to Okazaki and this also wasn't what the doctor ordered - three runs in the third from a Sakamoto home run. Tigers managed to peg the Giants back slightly with one run in the sixth as Komiyama took over the catching duties. He lasted until the eighth when he was pinch hit for by Haraguchi who managed to hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Couple this with a Gomez home run and the game was 3-3. Try as they might the Giants could not get runners home despite putting them in scoring positions. This was real backs to the wall stuff but once again one has to question Yano and Kanemoto's judgement. Haraguchi is not first team material. Tigers were well beaten this series and the tie could not conceal the fact that they were outplayed. The cluelessness about catching is worrying and events in this series seem to have degenerated into farce. Constant switching of catchers and bringing on pinch hitters is not a way to win games but shows a level of desperation that one would not have credited to Kanemoto. Let's hope that the game of musical catchers stops and Tigers stick with the three they have now.
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Re: The catching debacle

[ Author: Guest: guest | Posted: May 4, 2016 4:38 PM ]
Off topic from this post, but any update on Hague? I just read a news report a while back that he had been "deactivated," so not sure if this just meant a rehab stint at 2-gun or worse. I thought Kanemoto gave up on him too soon. He was in a slump, but at the time he was still batting much higher than some key players like Toritani.

Re: The catching debacle

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: May 5, 2016 11:03 AM | Posts: 3481 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Toritani is the team captain and Japanese. Therefore he will not be dropped until he demands it. A foreign player though will be dropped if he is failing to hit sufficiently. It also allowed Tigers to bring up Dollis as well.

Re: The catching debacle

[ Author: Guest: T-Ray | Posted: May 11, 2016 11:19 PM ]
I talked to Matt and he said the move was primarily done as a way to get Dolis in there to help beef up the weak bullpen. Still, I can't help but wonder why they don't see a need to bring Matt back up to beef up the anemic bats.....

Re: The catching debacle

[ Author: Guest: guest | Posted: May 18, 2016 9:10 PM ]
With some recent bad outings by Dolis, Hague might get his second chance before long. And Fujikawa is the closer tonight as I write this, so we'll see how that goes.

Re: The catching debacle

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: May 19, 2016 4:28 PM | Posts: 3481 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Mateo has been put on the DL with hip problems and certainly Hague could return
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