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Miura Throws Quick and Precise - May 20, 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.

Miura Throws Quick and Precise - May 20, 2013

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When Daisuke Miura pitches, it's generally going to be a quick game. This evening's affair at Kyocera Dome in Osaka against the Orix Buffaloes went just over the 3 hour mark, but not due to Miura wasting time.

Through the first 8 innings, the time that the BayStars spent on the field was 7 minutes or less, Miura throwing a maximum of 16 pitches. He may have only hit 139 on the speed gun, but he put his pitches where he wanted them, and the Buffaloes had a hard time getting on. In fact, Miura walked none, and allowed only two base runners (both on singles) through 8.

Going for the shutout, though, Miura allowed back to back 1-out base hits in the bottom of the 9th, allowing a single run. With Shun Yamaguchi having been sent down to the farm, it was Jorge Sosa coming in to close, walking one in between a pair of ground outs for Sosa's second save of the season.

On the mound for Orix was Brandon Dickson. When we failed to score in the top of the 6th inning after a leadoff single and double placing runners at second and third with nobody out, I seriously doubted we'd get anything off of him. He really nailed it when he got into a pinch. (Although Norihiro Nakamura came this close to hitting a grand slam, only to end up grounding out to Dickson.)

But the defense behind Dickson was his unwinding.

An error by Aarom Baldiris (couldn't get the ball out of his glove) followed by a double by Noriharu Yamazaki put runners at second and third with one out. Myjer Morgan came in to pinch hit, grounding out to first base. But the runner at third came home to put Yokohama on the board.

Sho Aranami walked, then swipes second. And on the throw, Yamazaki comes across the plate to score. Double steal! Yokohama goes up 2-0.

Baldiris then commits his second error of the inning, allowing another run and Kensuke Uchimura to reach second base. That's it for Dickson, now on the hook for the loss with 3 un-earned runs across and a potential 4th on second base.

Motoki Higa takes over on the mound and immediately allows that run to score as Tatsuhiko Kinjoh singles up the middle.

As stated above, Orix scored 1 in the 9th, so the final on the night was Yokohama 4 - 1 Orix.

Of note, Nori returned to the starting lineup after taking a few days off with a slight muscle strain, I think it was. Also, Alex Ramirez continues hitting in the designated hitters slot, rapping out a pair of singles and grounding out twice.

I was worried that changing catchers midway (Morgan pinch hit for Shuto Takajyoh - Kazunari Tsuruoka took over behind the plate in place of Kinjoh after the 7th) might throw Miura off. But he continued just fine through the 8th inning, and I wouldn't call the two hits allowed in the 9th due to a change in backstop.

With Hiroshima losing to Lotte and Chunichi losing to SoftBank, Yokohama leaps back up to third place in the Central League standings, still a distant 8 games behind the Giants and 5.5 behind Hanshin. At 20 and 24, they're still 4 games under that .500 wall.
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