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Not edifying

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

Welcome to the Tiger Tails Blog

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.

Not edifying

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Cast your minds back to 2005 when Tigers were the best side in Japan and had crushed their opponents in the Central League handily. In the pre-playoffs Japan series they met Marines who absolutely steamrollered our beloved team in 4 games. I have the 2005 victory DVD series and these 4 games are painful to watch. Talent was no match for motivation and Marines were very motivated. At that time they were led by Bobby Valentine whose ability to wear out his welcome was legendary and who believed that he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He made some comments about Tigers fans which were stupid in the extreme but which engendered a rivalry between the two team's fans which at times could turn quite nasty.

Anyway it led to some epic battles between Tigers and Marines who were normally the inferior team but were always able to call on incredible motivation. This had been dying off but with the return of the 'old guard' of Kanemoto, Shimoyanagi, Kataoka and Yano one wondered if it would have been revived. It seems not on Tigers side. Tigers opened the series at QVC stadium (the only stadium in Japan to be affected by fog) with Nohmi pitching. Nohmi did well and this was quite a tight game. However, the Marines pitcher, Ishikawa was marginally better and was pulled in time. Marines managed two runs in the first six innings with Tigers having zero. Tigers did get runners in scoring positions but neither Kanoh nor Haraguchi could bring them home. Things continued this way until the 7th when Ishikawa then lost steam and Fukudome drove in an RBI putting the score at 2-1. Lotte's manager was perspicacious enough to switch his pitcher and Gomez struck out with runners on first and second. Lotte's relief kept things tight and despite a Toritani stolen base in the ninth Tigers never looked like equalizing the score.

After the hard fought victory of the first game one could look forward to the Marines struggling - this was the team that the BayStars had walloped 11-0 for the sweep. Not so. This second game was a canter for the Marines who got to the Tigers rookie pitcher Aoyagi. He took time to find his feet and had runners in scoring positions in the first three innings. He managed to avoid a score in the second but gave up four runs and then allowed another couple in the fifth. Tigers in the meantime could only respond with two runs and the deficit was clearly insurmountable. Marines added another couple in the eighth exposing the paucity of the Tigers pitching resources and the final score ran out 8-3.

The final game was if anything even more embarrassing. Tigers ace against a mediocre pitcher. However, it worked out perfectly for the Marines. Futaki gave up only two runs whilst Fujinami gave up four in the first two innings. He incidentally had to be replaced in the fourth when a ball cannoned off his wrist and he needed to go to hospital. Haraguchi also needed a trip to the hospital with a jammed thumb. A 4-2 game wasn't irredeemably lost but Tigers relief needed to hold the Marines and couldn't. They took 3 runs off Moriya in the fifth. One wonders what he was doing in the lineup anyway. There is no way a catcher can do anything if the pitching material is poor. Tigers really do need to find a good bullpen. There was the usual clueless shuffling of players which once again demonstrates that Tigers management is out of its depth. So Tigers were swept comprehensively and Marines had bounced back from their drubbing by BayStars.

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