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After the Rains - April 3, 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.


After the Rains - April 3, 2013

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Yokohama's second year steward, DeNA, had prepared well for the BayStars' homecoming on the 2nd of April with 7 varieties of good to celebrate Alex Ramirez breaking the 2,000 hits (in Japan) milestone. T-shirts, hand bags, and other merchandise is just waiting for the veteran slugger to connect three more times.

However, the first game of the three game series was a wash out. Rain fell all day long and Opening Day in Yokohama was postponed.

I was worried the game on the 3rd would be a rain out as well as high speed winds and more rain greeted me in the morning. However, by sunset, the sky had cleared up (and was breathtakingly beautiful). Play ball!

Nakahata-kantoku decided to slide his opening day pitcher, Enyelbert Soto, to open against the Yomiuri Giants. Soto started off each of the past two seasons as a reliever, then was promoted to starter mid-season. As a starter against the Giants, he had 2 wins, 1 loss, and 5 no-decisions over the past two years. Against the Giants in 2012, Soto had a 3.47 ERA in 23.1 innings, second worst to his 3.68 ERA against Yokohama (albeit in just 7.1 innings of work). The 5.1 innings he threw in Yokohama Stadium last season saw him allow 3 runs (all earned) for his worst stadium to throw in. Soto's three appearances during Spring were alright, but with an awful lot of walks. This seemed like an odd choice.

Hara-kantoku, on the other side of the field, elected not to slide Hirokazu Sawamura but stick to his rotation with Toshiya Sugiuchi. Sugiuchi, who spent the Spring with Samurai Japan, didn't last long.

After the Giants scored a run off of the shaky Soto in the top of the first, Yokohama immediately answered after Sugiuchi walked #2 batter Kensuke Uchimura and plunked Nyjer Morgan to follow. Tony Blanco then pulled a pitch to left that plated the pair of runners to take a 2-1 lead.

Ramirez, having stated before the game that he's not interested in rushing to the record, drew a walk next, but Norihiro Nakamura grounded into a double play to end the threat.

Soto struggled through the second and third innings, somehow escaping each time with only allowing a single run in each, to put the Giants up 3-2.

Sugiuchi then walked the first two batters in the bottom of the third, with Morgan sacrificing them over to second and third. That brought up Blanco who decided that this should be his night. With a mighty swing of his bat, Blanco hit the ball off the rim of the stadium just to the left of the scoreboard, almost sending the ball into the park outside. Blanco drives in 5 runs in his first two at bats, and the BayStars take the lead back, 5-3. And that's it for Sugiuchi.

Despite a leadoff double by Hisayoshi Chono in the top of the 4th, Soto gets out of the inning facing just three batters as Chono is tagged out at home on a fly ball to center. Yokohama manages to add another run in the bottom half of the inning and take a 6-3 lead.

Then everything falls apart. Shinnosuke Abe flies out to center to lead off the 5th inning. Then a walk, hit, and 2-run double by John Bowker finally convinces Nakahata-kantoku that Soto isn't up to the task this game. Neither is the relief corp. Shigeru Kaga strikes out Taishi Ohta for the second out, then intentionally walks pinch hitter Yoshinobu Takahashi and unintentionally walks Chono to load the bases. Shoma Satoh is then thrown into the fry pan and allows a hit to Ryota Wakiya to tie the game a 6-6, then a bases clearing double to Hayato Sakamoto put turn the game around 6-9 in favor of the Giants.

Yokohama threatens a couple more times, and even scores single runs in the 7th and 8th, but it's not enough as the Giants go on to defeat Yokohama 10-8.

So, how did Ramirez do? He went 0 for 4 after the walk in the first inning. Unless he can put together three hits tonight (April 4), it looks like he'll be looking to reach the 2,000 milestone at his nest for 7 years, Jingu Kyujyo.

頑張ろう、ラミちゃん。
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