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Giant Wall - April 24, 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.

Giant Wall - April 24, 2013

3 replies. Most recent reply: Apr 26, 2013 9:29 AM by Christopher

Coming off a sweep of the Chunichi Dragons, the Yokohama BayStars found themselves at .500 and firmly in third place. It was off to the countryside to take on the first place Giants in three different venues leading into Golden Week.

Despite a valiant try in the first game against the Giants, coming back to within one run from a seven run deficit, Toshiya Sugiuchi shut down Tony Blanco and the rest of the BayStar offense. In fact, our only run of the game came off a 2-out double by starting pitcher Shoichi Inoh in the 5th inning, providing a glimmer of hope before the darkness set in.

Sugiuchi didn't let Blanco hurt him, but it had nothing to do with pitching around him. Mixing his pitches inside and outside, Sugiuchi got Blanco whiffing three consecutive at bats. With a runner on in the 9th, Yuki Koyama got Blanco to fly out to left, finishing off Blanco's 5 game home run streak and 8 game hitting streak.

Norihiro Nakamura continued his steady pace toward 2,000 hits with a leadoff double in the 5th (later scoring the only Yokohama run) and a single in the 9th inning. He's reduced his magic number to 12.

But it's really hard to come back after the 8th inning that third BayStar pitcher had.

Down 1-8 going into the bottom of the 8th inning, Kazuki Mishima struck out the first batter he faced, walked the next two, then allowed four consecutive base hits before a bases clearing double to pinch hitter Kenji Yano. That was 6 runs so far.

Shinji Ohhara was finally called in to try to stop the pain, but it didn't work. He allowed an infield single before giving up a 3-run home run to Takayuki Terauchi, who had led off the inning striking out. That was the 9th run of the inning (7 charged to Mishima). Unable to score in the top of the 9th, Yokohama takes a 1-17 loss.

How do the Giants make it look so easy to score runs? We fight and struggle to get a runner across, and they just score runs as easily as they breathe. After everything went so right for us against the Dragons, how could they go so wrong against the Giants? Will we every get over this Giant wall?
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Re: Giant Wall - April 24, 2013

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Apr 25, 2013 8:54 PM | Posts: 3482 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Yokohama were bleeding runs from the third. They really look unprepared and one must speculate that they have the wrong manager.

Re: Giant Wall - April 24, 2013

[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Apr 25, 2013 11:20 PM | Posts: 35252 | From: Yokohama, Japan | YBS Fan | Registered: Aug, 2001 ]
I think that Nakahata-kantoku is trying to approach one issue at a time.

It used to be that Denny-pitching coach was always right next to Nakahata-kantoku in the dugout. Lately, though, it's Ninomiya-general fielding coach that is closes to the manager.

A shift in pitching change strategy has also been going on lately. Rather than immediately panic and start the merry-go-round of pitchers, as the BayStars had done in the past, who ever is in charge there has been sticking with the starter (or inning starter) for longer periods of time. Let them get into trouble and see if they can get out of it, seems to be the new philosophy. I hope that it helps in the long run. But it doesn't appear to work against the Giants.

Then again, what will work against the Giants? I just don't see a way of stopping Chono, Abe, and Sakamoto. Those three alone have been awful thorns in our side. And nobody on the staff seems to know how to pitch to them.

In short, I think the problem is not with Nakahata-kantoku. He's trying to figure out a sustainable strategy along with his coaching staff. They just haven't yet cracked one that will work against the Giants.

If you want to blame one manager for not figuring it out, then you have to give credit to Wada-kantoku for the Tigers' success against the Giants (or Fujii-catcher for his game calling). Are you willing to go that far?

Re: Giant Wall - April 24, 2013

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Apr 26, 2013 9:29 AM | Posts: 3482 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Given that two out of three Tigers victories are due to the Enokida/Hidaka pairing and the two losses with Fujii as catcher I don't think we can credit the latter with a successful performance. In fact he looked totally clueless at Tokyo Dome. Giants have gotten off to a slow start against Tigers but the Tokyo Dome series actually indicated just how powerful they are. As they figure out things I think that Tigers are going to struggle.
The problem is that the Giants are just too well balanced as a side. Sticking with the starter and innings starter in spite of everything is not something I would think wise. We saw this with Wada who brought on Kubota and then stuck with him for the entire innings while he and Fujii gave up eight runs. It's nice to let the pitcher get out of trouble but if the pitcher isn't going to do so why leave him in and destroy his confidence? As other teams also figure this out I would suspect that the BayStars are going to be looking at some big margins.
My own thought on Nakahata is similar to that of Zman (commenting on Tigers BayStars) that the sum of the whole is lacking. He cannot seem to glue his side together.
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