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Can Kanemoto cut it?

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.

Can Kanemoto cut it?

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It's always interesting to compare sports and managers. For example, the England rugby team replace their director and generate an immediate turnaround with a crushing tour of Australia. Tigers manage to bring in another old boy and fail miserably. One would assume that they have talented players who just need someone who can manage. However, Kanemoto has said that it will take about 4 years to get a championship team ready. This is a condemnation of Tigers front office and himself. In no other sport (or MLB) would that inability to deliver be tolerated. Once Kanemoto said that Tigers should have said, "thanks but we've reconsidered; we're choosing a genuine manager". It seems he can't even get the batting lineup right. Gomez at 4 and Haraguchi at 5 are the best opportunities for runs to be scored. Both have power and ability to drive in runs. However, when a manager is using Kanoh and Nishioka at 5 and neither of those are particularly prolific and Fukudome at 4 then one realises that the manager is clueless. Fukudome works best at 3 or 6. Nishioka should be 7 or 2 but not 5. With a team that is struggling like the Tigers consistency is important to establish a base to build on. Whilst it is nice to have adaptable players who switch positions it doesn't really help batting when it is done to the level Kanemoto wants to do it. It also helps to identify who is driving in runs regularly and hitting extra bases. This kind of analysis isn't happening and one feels that there is an element that no one must be allowed to stand out. Theoretically great for team spirit but not for winning games.

Tigers series against the BayStars started with Messenger and Okazaki and really it is time for Tigers to settle on one catcher and have them start all games. Messenger's pitch count is too high and given that he is the only pitcher performing that is a worrying factor. This time he faded badly in the sixth but because Tigers batters had actually delivered was able to pick up the win. Once again it was Gomez who led the way with two RBIs. Nishioka and Takayama chipped in with one apiece and Tigers were 4-0 up. BayStars bounced back with 3 in the sixth as Messenger had a totally forgettable innings. Okazaki behind the plate was clueless as well but BayStars didn't have the oomph to get past Tigers and the innings ended 4-3. Tigers added an insurance sacrifice fly in the seventh and held on to win 5-3.

The second game was lost to rain and for the final game we saw Kubo against Iwazaki. Kubo had a very good career with Tigers but left rather than accept Wada's plans for him. He has struggled against Tigers batting but not this game where he was awesome. Admittedly, Tigers batting was dismal with one of Kanemoto's pointless lineup reshuffles which helped no one. They managed three hits over the whole game and no walks. As the hits were all singles in different innings Tigers were shut out. Kubo meanwhile went the entire game on 109 pitches and was totally dominant. Tigers really have some serious rethinking to do if they want to be a challenger for a Climax Series berth. There is literally no bullpen and the batting lacks consistency with the wrong players in the wrong positions.
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