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Can't Get Out of a Non-Jam - July 9, 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.


Can't Get Out of a Non-Jam - July 9, 2013

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Kazuki Mishima seemed to spend the entire 6 innings on the mound putting Carp on base just to reset the next frame. But when nobody was on, ouch.

Mishima started off well, getting the Hiroshima top three batters in order, striking out the latter two. Great. But a leadoff double, walk, and sacrifice bunt in the top of the second inning put Mishima in a pinch. He got shota Dobayashi to strike out swinging (one of 7 strike outs on the night), but then walked Yoshiyuki Ishihara (one of 7 walks). Like a cat playing with his prey, Mishima then got opposing pitcher Yusuke Nomura to ground out to third for the final out.

The third inning saw a hit go for nothing against Mishima, then he walked a pair in both the fourth and fifth innings while allowing no Carp to score.

But the 6th inning was his undoing. New foreign player Kila Ka'aihue gave the ball a ride to straight away center, hitting the beer can ad on the lower-right side of the scoreboard. At the time, that tied the score up 1-1. Eishin Soyogi followed that with a double into the right-center field gap, was sacrificed to second, then came home on a sacrifice fly to right. Right fielder Sho Aranami threw as hard as he could to the plate, but the ball was far too deep for a close play even if the ball had been a strike. Carp take the lead 2-1.

Shinji Ohhara came in to pitch the top of the seventh for Yokohama, and immediately got into a jam himself. After walking the first batter he face, he gave up a single to Yoshihiro Maru to put runners at first and third with nobody out. Pinch hitter Jun Hirose grounded the ball to Norihiro Nakamura at third who threw the runner out at home for out number one. After striking out Kila for out number two, it looked like Ohhara may pull a Mishima, except that Maru and Hirose pulled off a double steal of second and third on the K. Soyogi saw to it that the aggressive base running paid off by doubling up the third base line to score the two runners.

On the offensive side of things, it looked like Tony Blanco got all of Nomura's third offering leading off the bottom of the second inning, but the ball came down at the warning track in left. Why? Are we only using the old, dead balls when we bat?

A double by Kazunari Tsuruoka and single by Sho Aranami put Yokohama on the board first in the third inning. Sho was mid-way to second when first baseman Kila cut off the ball going home from center and threw to the second baseman. But with the first baseman making the cut off play and the second baseman having run out to shallow center, nobody was covering first, allowing Aranami to return. However, he promptly got thrown out trying to steal second, so that save was squandered.

Kazunari Taustsugoh, the latest left field experiment (listen to this week's Japan Baseball Weekly podcast for reference), singled to right in the bottom of the fifth for the first of two hits by the young slugger, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Tsutsugoh did make it home from first on Tsuruoka's second double of the game in the eighth inning, then cutting the score to 2-4.

And 2-4 turned out to be the final. Nomura threw the whole nine innings for the Carp, allowing 6 hits, striking out 4, and walking none. Granted, the 8 walks Yokohama gave up this game didn't score (for a change), but they desperately need to be reduced.
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