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Tactical naivety

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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.

Tactical naivety

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Tigers batters started to hit runs this series. Lots of them but not enough. Closer by committee didn't work though and Tigers are paying the price for the neglect of the relief. Mateo is still struggling with his hip issue and Kyuji is not the force he was anymore. One might be seeing a gradual decline into the twilight for the last survivor of JFK.

Game 1 of the series was everything we hoped it would be. Hanshin seized the lead with three runs in the second from the bats of Yamato and Hojoh. Another run followed with a sacrifice fly from the bat of Nohmi. This was really embarrassing for Yagi. Pitchers do not score runs. Swallows though were able to peg Tigers back by one run but Nohmi exited after six innings with a 4-1 lead and an expectation of another win. Tigers relief as they do regularly now tried to squander the advantage. Firstly 2 runs to the Swallows in the seventh from the pitching of that old nag Andoh and then another run in the eighth from Fujikawa. This put the score at 5-4. Tigers weren't done and were able to add two more runs in the ninth with Gomez and Takayama. Swallows took a run off Mateo but Tigers held on for a 7-5 win. In case you were wondering how Haraguchi did he hammered a solo home run in the seventh.

More runs followed in the second game of the series. Yokoyama started and stank after three innings he had given up six runs. However, his opponent, Davies, also stunk and by this point the score was 6-4 Swallows. Yokoyama was pulled after three innings and Tigers introduced Tanabo who was also poor. One wonders why Tanabo is in the top team as he is not a particularly good pitcher by any means. Two more runs and an 8-4 lead to Swallows. Swallows then sat on their lead and suddenly were in trouble. Toritani clubbed a two run home run and Gomez drove home another to put the score at 8-7 Swallows. With Swallows running around gibbering in panic it was up to Kanoh as pinch hitter to drive the tying run in in the top of the eighth. So to the bottom of the ninth and Kyuji took the mound to close out. He started badly and gave up a two base hit to Hatakeyama. Then came the tactical idiocy. Tigers decided to walk Yuhei to set up a double play. The risks of this move were quite high. If they had tried to fireball Yuhei it would have been the wiser course of action. He is known for his under performance in this kind of situation. As it was Tigers set up just the situation they had hoped to avoid. Kyuji was under more pressure and folded. With one out and one on it would have been easier to retire the other two batters. So it came to pass Nishida bunted Miwa who was pinch running for Hatakeyama to third and then Imanami supplied the sacrifice fly to claim the victory 9-8 Swallows. Kyuji had blotted his copybook.

The rubber game followed a similar pattern to the second. Swallows took the lead and Tigers equalized. Swallows took the lead and Tigers equalized. Swallows took the lead and Tigers equalized. After all this the score stood at 5-5. The teams then went to sleep until the ninth though Swallows did come close to scoring in the seventh. Haraguchi collected another home run and a plunk. Fukudome also collected a home run which made his 1,000th RBI in all leagues. But back to the ninth after the tactical ineptness shown by Fujikawa in the previous game the Tigers pitcher for the ninth was understandably Mateo who however, has recently shown a propensity to give up at least one run in every inning he has pitched. This innings would be no different. He started by walking Sakaguchi and giving up a first base. Then he plunked Balentien. Balentien was a bit annoyed and started towards the mound. This emptied the benches but after the handbags at dawn incident Swallows had the bases loaded with no outs. They would have had to have been exceptionally stupid to blow this but for a moment it looked like they were going to make a real effort to do so when Kawabata flew out to centre but not far enough for the sacrifice. Still Hatakeyama held his nerve and singled to bring home the winning run 9-8 Swallows.

So Tigers need to find starters, relief and closers to win close games. One wishes them luck as they don't have much time before the inter league bore. The only consolation is that some of the Pacific League teams (though not the best ones) are even worse than they are.
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