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Blanked Again - April 17, 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.

Blanked Again - April 17, 2013

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Yokohama was held to just four hits and no runs in Hiroshima, suffering their third shutout loss in five games. After a scoring explosion to start the season, runs seem to have started coming in clumps, every other game.

Shoichi Inoh got his second start against the Carp (third start of the season) for Yokohama. He had given up 4 runs in 6-⅓ innings a week ago against this same team and was looking to make amends. While he pitched very well, allowing just one run in the first on a leadoff single, sacrifice, walk, stolen third base, and sacrifice fly, he got tagged with the loss as Yokohama was unable to counter the one run.

The best chance we had came in the top of the third inning. The bases were loaded with two down and Alex Ramirez at the plate. Rami-chan ripped the ball to the left side, looking like a clean base hit all the way. But Hiroshima third baseman Shota Dobayashi made a diving stop, and from his knees, was able to get the ball to second base before a sliding Tony Blanco could reach the base.

And that brings up a point about this game that kind of became a theme. Hiroshima's defense when they needed it was rock solid. Yes, they committed two errors during this game, they've become famous (infamous?) for their, let's say, less than sterling image with the glove and their throws. But when it came time to make the important plays, they executed superbly.

Kan Ohtake, getting the start for Hiroshima, looked unhittable. There were a lot of big whiffs, Ohtake keeping everyone off balance. The only thing that disturbs me looking at the box score after the game is that he only had 4 strike outs. Man, oh man, it seemed like more than that. And all swinging. But for all the balls put into play, Yokohama only managed 3 hits against him, one in each of the first three innings. Ohtake was in command for the 7 innings he worked.

Takeru Imamura retired Yokohama in order in the 8th inning, striking out two, then Kameron Mickolio allowed a lead-off hit to Blanco in the top of the 9th. Could we do it against him again to nights in a row? You know that wasn't the case. Despite an error by shortstop Tomohiro Abe with what should have been the final out of the inning, pinch runner Kenjiro Matsumoto was stranded at third base.

And that, like the hard hit ball by Ramirez in the third inning, was due to a fine play by second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi. Pinch hitter Tatsuya Shimozono hit the ball just left of Brad Eldred at first, the ball looking like it would go through to tie the game. But Kikuchi made a miracle dive for the ball, came up, and got Shimozono by a step. Yes, Hiroshima's error extended the game, but another amazing play saved the Carp.

And that was the game. Hiroshima takes the second game of the series 1-0.
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