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Magic 1 for Rami-chan - April 5, 2013

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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.


Magic 1 for Rami-chan - April 5, 2013

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Alex Ramirez's patience has paid off on his return to the nest where his Pro Yakyu career started, Jingu Kyujyo.

In the top of the fourth inning, with one man out Nyjer Morgan singled up the middle, then Tony Blanco singled to left. With an off-balance follow through on the final pitch to Blanco, Yakult's starting pitcher, Shohei Tateyama, signaled to the first base side bench that something was wrong. His right elbow just wasn't feeling right.

That brought in relief pitcher Ryo Hirai to face Ramirez. Putting aside his troubles against the Giants the past couple of days, Alex came through with a broken bat blooper over the first baseman's head, plating Morgan from second base. Yokohama takes a 1-0 lead!

Kentaro Takasaki started for Yokohama and threw well through the first 4-2/3rd innings, including striking out the side of Swallows in order in the 3rd. When Takasaki allowed a 2-out solo home run to left-center by #8 hitter Keizoh Kawashima followed by a doiuble by pinch hitter Akinori Iwamura, I started having visions of "that fateful inning" raising its ugly head again. However, he got Hiroyasu Tanaka to foul out to the right side to end the inning and the threat. Takasaki went on to allow just one more hit through a total of 7 innings of work.

Nonetheless, having allowed Yakult to tie the game up in the 5th meant that Yokohama needed some more offense. The next two Swallow pitchers, Ryo Hidaka and Taiyoh Fujita, helped us out. With a runner at second and two down, Hidaka threw four straight balls to Ramirez, not coming close. That got him the hook and Fujita came in to pitch. But Fujita promptly walked Nori (Norihiro Nakamura) to load the bases and face #7 hitter Sho Aranami. Aranami took three straight balls, then watched two strikes (which I thought were a bit inside) to bring the count full. He then fouled a couple of close pitches off before delivering a single up the middle to take a 2-1 lead.

Rami-chan had another hit in the top of the 8th inning and was promptly replaced for a pinch runner, as it was unlikely that he'd have another chance to bat and, with such a close game, it'd be nice to have someone who can cover a bit more ground in left the final couple of innings. That makes it one to go to reach the 2,000 milestone.

BayStar closer, Shun Yamaguchi, naturally has to make things a little more exciting than necessary. He walks Kazuhiro Hatakeyama with one out. Pinch runner Wataru Hiyane swipes second as Yuhei Takai goes down swinging for the second out. Then, with veteran Shinya Miyamoto at the plate, Hiyane gets caught off the bag by a great throw by substitute catcher Kazunari Tsuruoka. (Reporter John Gibson suggested that he deserved the save after the game.)

So, Yokohama takes the first game at Jingu 2-1. Ramirez has two hits to reduce his magic number to 1. And the BayStars are back at .500 ball and in third place. I know, I know. It's only been a week since the start of the season. But it's been a long time since things looked so positive for the team.

頑張れ、ベイスターズ。
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