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Tsutsugoh Returns - June 25, 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.


Tsutsugoh Returns - June 25, 2013

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With uncertainty hanging in the air over Tony Blanco's condition after being hit above the elbow pad by a pitch on Sunday, the BayStars recalled Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh to the top team for their travel up north to Jingu. It turned out that Blanco was ready for play, so Tsutsugoh started batting #5 playing third base in place of Norihiro Nakamura.

I would like to say that the promotion was due to Tsutsugoh burning up the Easter League, showing that he's ready for the top team. But batting .282 with only 5 runs in a league with much smaller stadiums is not the kind of sign that screams that he's ready.

Nonetheless, the young slugger singled in each of his first three at bats back with the top team, a very good sign. I'm hoping that he has some sticking power this time around. But with Nori playing a fine third base and maintaining a presence in the top 10 for batting average, OPS, home runs, and RBIs, I'm afraid that he's just here to give the veteran an occasional holiday.

As far as the game was concerned, Yokohama starter Kazuki Mishima did even worse than his last outing, making it just 3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, one being a 2-run home run by Lastings Milledge in the first inning. Right after Yokohama's offense had tied the game up 2-2 in the top of the 3rd, Mishima gave up a walk and back to back doubles to retake the tail 2-5.

The only part of the Yokohama offense that impressed me was how well they managed to get runners going around the bases without resorting to the sacrifice bunt. Granted, they only managed to score single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 8th innings. But they did it while pounding out 10 base hits and drawing a good number of walks. (While Yakult starter Chris Leroux only allowed 2 runs, he was pulled after 3 innings as well, looking like even more damage was on the way.)

Unfortunately, Yakult was looking much the same, albeit with a few more sacrifice bunts thrown in, and a few less walks. They scored an insurance run soon after Yokohama in both the 5th and 8th innings, the 8th inning run coming on a solo shot by shortstop Keizoh Kawashima, his 2nd home run of the season. Kawashima's first home run came at Jingu against the BayStars on April 5. We sure do give up a lot of home runs.

Nonetheless, like Tsutsugoh, the BayStars felt like they'd played well, but came up on the short end, a 4-7 loss.
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