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A welcome break

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.

A welcome break

2 replies. Most recent reply: Jun 23, 2016 7:42 AM by Christopher

Tigers ended the Interleague with a win but quite frankly in a mess. They currently have one batter over .300 (Haraguchi) and to include him and Umeno means leaving their main power batter Gomez on the bench. Their pitching is lamentable and no attempt is being made to organize and direct it strategically. Players are being moved around without logic and the perfect illustration of this was the moving of an on form Haraguchi lower down the order to accommodate Kanoh. Kanemoto's ineptness is obviously demotivating his players and he does need to inject a bit of stability and good sense into his management of the team.

Tigers series against the Buffaloes is one of those which Buffaloes would like to see as an Osaka derby but Tigers fans don't care that much about. Buffaloes are just another team not one of Tigers great rivals. The first game of the series was pitched by Nohmi and called by Haraguchi who was at least batting No. 5. It was a low scoring affair though and Nohmi was struggling with his breathing but managed 5 scoreless innings. The relief kept things tight for a change but this was against Orix remember. Runs came from the bats of Gomez and Takayama and Tigers won this 2-0. Fujikawa is now being regularly used as set up with Dollis as closer. This seems to be working effectively.

In the second game Haraguchi was benched and Tigers only managed one run. The desire to use Umeno has to be balanced with the fact that his batting is very poor at the moment and that Tigers desperately need as many batters as they can load into the lineup. For most of the game the score was 1-1 but then bringing on the useless Takahashi proved to be Tigers doom. Buffaloes exploded with 4 runs and took the game out of Tigers hands. Fujikawa was used for the ninth but of course it wasn't a situation for him to do any damage. So a 5-1 defeat which should have and could have been a victory with a different lineup. The final game was rained off and played after the Hawks series.

Fujinami who blows hot and cold nowadays was hot against the Hawks. However, Tigers lacked power and batting and could only manage one run with the bat. Their other runs came from oshidashis. Hawks took the lead in the fourth but their pitching fell apart in the sixth and Tigers were able to tie the game 2-2. One feels that if Hawks pitching hadn't collapsed Tigers would have lost this one. Again in the ninth Hawks wobbled and Fukudome who had a good game drove home the winning run for a 3-2 sayonara victory.

Messenger pitched the next game which was tight and for once saw an economical performance from him. Okazaki was the catcher and one wonders at his retention. If you're going to have a catching team at least have Umeno and Haraguchi rather than Okazaki who lacks in both batting and catching duties. The sad thing is that Hawks pitching was also tight and by the time Tigers brought Haraguchi on as a hitter it was as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Tigers were shut out 1-0 and one wonders about the lineup once again.

Hawks cut loose in the third game getting to Iwasada and knocking him out of the game in the fifth with five runs. Tigers managed hits and Haraguchi picked up three with a double which helped Tigers mount a rally of sorts in the seventh. More runs followed in the ninth but Hawks had added to their lead and were dominant winners 8-4. What was interesting about this game is that it was Tigers 14th without a home run. Iwasada meanwhile gave up a grand slam - it was that sort of game.

The final interleague game was the postponed game with Buffaloes. Here Haraguchi was inserted at first and Gomez benched. The complete cluelessness was demonstrated by the fact that the clean up was Haraguchi, Fukudome and Itoh. Haraguchi was required to bunt in the the sixth as well; a sure sign a manager has no clue what he's doing. Luckily he was able to overcome this stupidity and in the eighth slammed a two run home run winning the game for Tigers. In fact the score was 2-0. Pitching held up well for a change.

So Tigers have some serious thinking to do. They can't bench Haraguchi given his batting and the general paucity of batting in the lineup. However, if they bench Gomez because Haraguchi plays first they also lose out on their power batter and main run scorer. This logically means that Haraguchi should continue to be the starting catcher. He is the hot batter and needs at bats but Gomez also needs to be in the side. Pitchers who prefer other catchers need to be told to get in line and put up with it. At the moment even though Tigers are struggling with batting the pitching is not pulling it's weight. Partly this is due to the poor pitching coaching but also it is due to poor management of the pitchers who have (with some honourable exceptions) become salary hogs.
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Re: A welcome break

[ Author: Guest: T-Ray | Posted: Jun 22, 2016 9:51 PM ]
You do realize that Gomez struck out in 7 straight ABs from Wednesday (4th AB) to Saturday (2nd AB at which point he was pulled and benched). He looked CLUELESS up there, lost, swinging at pitches two feet outside the zone, then watching strikes over the heart of the plate. That explains his benching. He needs some time to get out of his funk, and I think Sunday and Monday's benching might help more than harm in the long run.

Re: A welcome break

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jun 23, 2016 7:42 AM | Posts: 3481 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Yes but Gomez is still Tigers highest RBI scorer by a long, long way and needs to be back in the side quickly. Seven ABs is too quick bench someone anyway and shows a coaching and management failure.
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