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BayStars being BayStars and the first two games at Chunichi

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.

BayStars being BayStars and the first two games at Chunichi

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In what was seemingly a tight series BayStars demonstrated convincingly why they are bottom of the Central League and likely to remain in that spot throughout the season. The first game saw Tigers go behind by one run until Yohkawa came to the plate in the fifth. Getting a good swing on a slightly too high pitch he propelled it over the fence for a home run. Even better was that there was a runner on so Tigers had a 2-1 lead. It is nice to see a lot of young new talent getting batting but the press comments were a bit much. The home run was lucky and Yohkawa still has work to do before he can be considered a regular. Iwasada who had pitched nicely for six innings picked up his second win and Haraguchi handled the game well.

The second game once again saw BayStars take the lead. This saw Fujikawa back again who pitched reasonably well over six innings and then ran into trouble in the seventh. At that time BayStars had a one run lead and we saw a resurgence of the pinch hitting for catchers disease (which is all the more unintelligible as Haraguchi is actually proving quite useful with the bat). Okazaki took over catching duties and what had been a slender 1 run lead turned into a 3 run lead by the ninth. This insurance was needed as Gomez blasted a two run home run to make the score 3-2 in the ninth. It made for an exciting finale but the BayStars were able to hold on and win the game.

So far so good for the BayStars and the rubber game was even more than they could have hoped. Okazaki having been incompetent the night before continued in similar vein with Nohmi who gave up three runs in the second and another three in the sixth. Tigers did add one in the third but the score stood at 6-1 BayStars. Having blown one game the night before and put Tigers into a loosing situation this could not be said to have been Okazaki's finest series. He was replaced by Haraguchi who is rapidly making a case for being the main Tigers catcher though one hopes that Umeno will return. The real shock (for the BayStars that is) was that Tigers bounced back in the seventh and scored five runs to tie the game 6-6. Next innings they put runners on and Yamato supplied the go ahead run 7-6 Tigers. This knocked the stuffing out of BayStars who had basically lost a series they should have won and Mateo had an easy job closing out the game.

So to Nagoya Dome against Dragons. The first game was a typical mind numblingly boring energy sucking Dragons performance. This means that they won. Tigers weren't able to get the hits with runners on and the Dragons were able to score as and when they desired. Fujinami was overpitched again - there was no need for him to pitch the seventh and given the tightness of the game it would have been better if the relief had gotten some practice. Dragons ran out 4-2 winners though it would have been more exciting to watch paint dry.

However, the second game of the series was a complete turnaround. This time Kanemoto went with Yokoyama as starter and he responded well to Haraguchi keeping the Dragons from scoring. Tigers then destroyed Yoshimi in the fifth with five runs and followed up in the sixth with two more. Haraguchi not only had a great game behind the plate but drove in four runs including his first home run. Gomez added three and Itayama and Hojoh one apiece. It is nice seeing younger players getting the chance to score and to play. Tigers basically took control of this game and stamped their narrative on it. Tigers narrative happened to be a 9-0 thrashing of the Dragons. I had begun to think that Kanemoto and Yano's negative experiences at Nagoya Dome had shaped their team's collective interpretation of how the game should develop whenever they visited and so was delighted to see their team creating a new storyline.
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