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Things haven't changed

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.

Things haven't changed

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In the past one could be sure that the Carp would start well and then fade quite dramatically over the second half of the season. This pattern doesn't seem to be the case this year and the Carp actually look good value. Tigers though don't look good value at all. With almost a non-existent bullpen Tigers are forcing their starters to go very deep and it doesn't seem to be bringing them any reward.

Umeno called to Fujinami and blotted his copy book from the start with a pass ball in the first and a runner on third 1-0 Carp. Tigers though hit back in the top of the second with a Nakatani RBI which leveled the scores. The teams traded runs in the fourth and with the score at 2-2 Fujikawa was brought on to pitch the Carp's eighth. If proof was needed that he is a busted flush then this innings supplied that. Quite simply he is in the first team on name value only and doesn't have the old fire and skill anymore. Luna singled and was pinch run for by Akamatsu who stole second. Matsuyama was walked to set up the double play but then Carp went with Ryota's older brother who used, of course, to play for Tigers. He tripled bringing in both runs and giving the Carp a 4-2 lead. I wonder what Kanemoto thought about that? The game was called in the ninth due to rain with a runner on for Tigers and no outs and possibly a slice of fortune for the Carp.

Game 2 saw Haraguchi take over catching duties but with no real change in fortunes. Nohmi wasn't that good and gave up three runs in the third and then another in the fifth. Tigers meanwhile couldn't figure out Okada though he hadn't won a game yet. However, he won this one. Nakatani hit his first home run which brought in 2 runs and made the final score 4-2. In another little record Fukudome had his 2,000th hit in all leagues.

Iwasada was the pitcher for the final game and suffered from Tigers lack of a bullpen. He pitched almost a complete game and whilst he managed to hold the score at 2-1 from the third he couldn't do so in the fifth when Carp equalized 2-2. Tigers added a run in the eighth to take a 3-2 lead and one would have thought that a setup would have been used. Instead Iwasada pitched the eighth and got out of it without damage. However, having him pitch the ninth was pointless and he was in trouble straight away. Bases were loaded and the score was tied 3-3 when Kanemoto finally decided to switch his pitcher. Dollis came on and Matsuyama launched a flyball to centre. Both Shunsuke Fujikawa and Nakatani went for it and collided with the result that the ball landed safely and Carp scored the winning run 4-3. Shunsuke was stretchered off and looks to be out of the game for a while.

Not a satisfactory series for the Tigers who are now entering the if anything goes wrong it will go wrong mode. Kanemoto is not convincing as a manager and certainly lacks the motivational or selectional ability needed for a Central League team. There are also serious structural issues with the bullpen and these need to be addressed with urgency.
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