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'Stars Fall to Dragons - March 31, 2013

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

Welcome to the Bayside West: Yokohama Blog

Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.

'Stars Fall to Dragons - March 31, 2013

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We all knew it was a matter of time, right? That Yokohama would eventually lose a game? Knowing its inevitability doesn't make it feel any better, though.

Hanshin discard Kai-wen Cheng started for Yokohama on Sunday in Nagoya Dome, but got roughed up all over the place, lasting just 2-0/3 innings before getting yanked. Cheng's performance during the pre-season, including a win against the Saitama Seibu Lions on March 23rd, earned him a spot in the BayStar rotation. But he wasn't fooling anyone in what was otherwise a fairly inept lineup the previous two days. The damage could have been much worse had Kazuki Mishima not come in and put out the fire.

With Yoshimoto Tsutsugoh failing to get anything going at the plate Friday and Saturday, Norihiro Nakamura started at third base. Nakamura wasted no time, singling up the middle to lead off the second inning. He then came round to score on catcher Shuto Takajyoh's 1-out double to left. That run may have tired him out, though, as he was hitless the rest of the game.

There's been a lot of talk about Takajyoh, and a lot of favorable comparisons to Motonobu Tanishige. Takajyoh broke Tanishige's Yokohama franchise record for youngest starting catcher on Opening Day and has shown great promise in his ability to throw potential base stealers out. A catcher with such abilities has been sorely missing in Yokohama since Tanishige left for Chunichi as a free agent in 2002.

Tanishige has had an awful habit of destroying the BayStars since his defection. I remember looking up his stats a few years ago and he'd be hitting below .200 against every team in the Central League except Yokohama, against whom he'd be hitting over .300. After the first three games of the season, Tanishige went 5 for 8 for a .625 batting average while driving in 4 runs (1 on Saturday, 3 on Sunday). The 5 hits have also reduced Tanishige's "magic number" to 2,000 hits to 26.

And speaking of countdown to 2,000 hits, the main man, Alex Ramirez, had another hit on Sunday, reducing the number to just 3. And with the start and hit his first at bat, Nori reduced his number to 31. 2,000 hits are well within these three players' grasp.
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