Both teams displayed less than maximum competence in this game with Tigers getting a superb pitching performance from Iwata. He has gone down the route that under-performing Japanese sportsmen often take of shaving off most of his hair. Whether it was the vital factor or whether his disregard of Fujii's calls (which left the catcher often looking very aggrieved) something worked. Wada's use of the bunt, though, bordered on the criminally stupid. He was supposed to have worked with the younger players on this on Monday but it obviously didn't sink in with Yamato who's attempted squeeze was poor to say the least. Scores
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tigers 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 3 7 1
Golden Eagles 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 2
1. Hirano (Second)
2. Yamato (Centre)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Kanemoto (DH)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Arai (Third)
7. Brazell (First)
8. Fujii (Catcher)
9. Shibata (Right)
Starting pitcher; Iwata
1. Hijirisawa (Centre)
2. Uchimura (Second)
3. Takasu (Third)
4. Garcia (DH)
5. Fernandez (First)
6. Nakashima (Left)
7. Terrero (Right)
8. Masuda (Short)
9. Oyama (Catcher)
Starting pitcher; Mima
It was nice to see Arai back in the lineup after Wada's pointless demonstration of nothing. One expected more from Golden Eagles but at home they were strangely off form. Mima also seemed a bit off form but managed somehow to keep his pitch count within reason. In Tigers first he retired the batters in order striking out Yamato swinging and Toritani looking. Iwata started well and soon found that following Fujii's calls slavishly was not the way to go. Once he started to pitch his natural game things improved rapidly. He got out of the Golden Eagles first without a runner. With two out in Tigers second Arai bounced one to third and was able to beat the throw for the first hit of the game. Brazell struck out looking though and the innings was over. Garcia led Golden Eagles second off by flying out and then Fernandez mishit one toward third. Arai had a difficult take and his throw was too high for Brazell to take - runner on first. Nakajima singled to short which Toritani managed to stop but couldn't get a throw away in time. Terrero grounded out to Iwata who took the option of the second out - runners on second and third. Then Masuda flew out to Iwata to end the innings. It was a very nice pitch from Iwata. Fujii led off Tigers third with a single to right and then the farce started. Shibata went to stupid bunt and this was fielded by Fernandez who threw to second. Fujii would have been out easily but the throw was too wide and Uchimura had no chance - runners on first and second. Wada then decided to bunt again, this time the victim was Hirano. The bunt was successful and the runners moved round to second and third and then came the stupid bunt to end all stupid bunts. Wada decided he was going to execute a squeeze. Never mind a sacrifice fly or grounder might have been better it was going to be a squeeze. So Yamato lined up with Fujii primed on third and followed his first pitch too far and fell over without making contact. Yamato had plenty of time and could have left the pitch and waited for a better one. Instead he had to go for that one. Fujii set off immediately the pitch was thrown without waiting to see if the bunt was good and was almost two thirds of the way down the baseline before he realised that the squeeze wasn't on. Oyama had taken the ball and was up in time to catch and tag Fujii out. Shibata took third whilst all this was going on but the whole process was slapdash and indicated not only player failings but a management mental gap. Finally, Yamato struck out to end the innings - the use of the bunt had condemned the Tigers to no score. Golden Eagles third saw some nice pitching by Iwata who kept the runner off base and was dominant.
Tigers fourth started with a Toritani ground out which brought up Kanemoto. Nothing was expected from him so it was a bit surprising when he got hold of his first pitch and rammed it high into the right stand for a solo home run 1-0 Tigers. Murton grounded out and then Arai struck out swinging. Golden Eagles tried to fight back in their fourth with Garcia singling successfully. He stayed on first as Iwata was able to dominate the next two batters. Tigers fifth saw nothing happen - Mima seemed to be handling things well. The same happened in the bottom. Iwata was pitching economically and smoothly. Tigers sixth had the batters falling in order and the game had gone to sleep. Golden Eagles sixth saw Iwata, by now enjoying himself, strike out two using a range of heights and speeds which it was all Fujii could do to keep up with. It was very nice pitching.
Tigers seventh brought up Kanemoto again. He hit a straight forward grounder to Fernandez who knocked the ball to one side and by the time Kanemoto had ambled to first he finally recovered it and Kanemoto did amble. Murton then lined out to first and Fernandez took a good catch and reacted quickly enough to catch Kanemoto off base. Arai singled left and then Brazell grounded out to second. I have written about how Iwata was ignoring the calls and this got him into trouble in Golden Eagles seventh. He was the architect of his own misfortune not Fujii. Garcia hit low to third where Arai took a nice catch for the first out. Iwata was too high to Fernandez who hit along the left baseline for a two base hit. Next was Nakashima who drove straight into centre. Fernandez rounded the bases and beat the throw for the tying run 1-1 scores tied, runner on second. Terrero walked to set up runners on first and second. This brought a mound conference and then Masuda hit to second. Hirano made a superb diving stop and threw to Brazell to get the out. Masuda attempted to get on base by diving head first and this is what caused him to be out. He probably would have made it if he had slid in. The runners moved round to second and third though but the final out was Oyama who was bundled up and flew out to Arai in foul ground. Mima returned for Tigers eighth and you thought that this perhaps was an innings too far and so it proved. He started well by striking out Fujii. Then he walked Shibata. Hirano hit to short who made a mess of it (though this wasn't called an error). Tigers had runners on first and second and Mima clearly couldn't continue. He was replaced by Heuser who would look the most competent Golden Eagles pitcher on the night. He struck out Hiyama (pinch hitter) in fine style and then got Toritani to fly out to first. Iwata also pitched the eighth with considerably more aplomb than Mima. The batters fell very rapidly and Iwata would retire after eight innings having given up only one run on four hits with one walk, all in 106 pitches. Heuser started Tigers ninth and struck out and struck out Kanemoto in fine style. Then Hoshino went with Aoyama who has just won the May Pacific League MVP. He was dismal and looked nothing like the pitcher of the past month. First he walked Murton and then Arai. He was clearly struggling and even more so when Brazell hit to right bringing in the run 2-1 Tigers, runners on first and third. Brazell was pinch run for by Tagami and Wada - stupid chump that he is - went for the squeeze play again. This was telegraphed and the executor was to be Fujii. The first attempt Fujii didn't try and hit and it was called a ball. Arai was prepared for this and was able to tag base safely. The next pitch was also a ball and once again Fujii left it - this was very poor batting by the Tigers catcher. Arai had to gamble again and though he didn't come off base that far was too far and tagged out by third after a fine throw by Oyama. Two out and another mess up and wrong option. Things got even more ridiculous. Fujii hit weakly infield where Fernandez fielded safely and then went to throw. However, Aoyama hadn't bothered to run across to cover and so there was no one on first. Fernandez wisely didn't throw but Fujii was safe on first. However, the Tigers catcher had exceeded his design speed and had to go off field for treatment. He returned after a few minutes. Strangely Aoyama stayed on the mound and repaid the faith placed in him by walking Shbata to load the bases. Now he was replaced with Arime. He couldn't cope and walked Hirano - oshidashi 3-1 Tigers, bases loaded. Arime departed and Koyama took over, He faced Asai (replacement left) who hit nicely but couldn't beat short. The innings was over and Tigers were practically home and dry. Fujikawa pitched the ninth and had trouble with Fujii who wanted him to throw out course pitches all the time. This led to a one out hit from Fernandez. Nakamura (pinch hitter) flew out to short and then with Fujii still calling outside pitches Fujikawa went inside (by a big difference) and struck out Terrero to end the game. Tigers victory.
Tigers pitching had been good. Iwata picked up his fourth win and the hero interview. Fujikawa got his tenth save and Kanemoto had driven in another run. Tigers in the end were better in the field and on the mound and these factors won the game for them. Golden Eagles fielding was poor in the extreme and Tigers took advantage of it. Wada's incompetent use of the bunt though cost them a lot of potential scoring chances and the victory might have been a lot more comfortable otherwise. Still a very useful victory.
Re: June 5th Iwata v Mima - Squeeze me baby!
[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: Jun 6, 2012 2:35 PM
As I figured, you beat me to it in complaining about the bunts. I can't recall being so angry at a manager and team despite WINNING the game! We got away with it this time, but it's just so silly. A squeeze should have an element of surprise, but every other team should know by now that Wada loves it. I'd like to say he loves it because it's worked so well, but obviously that isn't the case.
The Yamato one was particularly ridiculous, being so early in the game. If this was a pitcher's duel between Darvish and Tanaka (for example), there is great value in even one run. But just let Yamato hit. He's actually had some really big hits with runners on this season, so just let him swing away!
As you mentioned, we screwed up more scoring chances later in the 8th. We still won the game, but we threw away the chance to have an even bigger inning.
It's official. Wada is even dumber than Mayumi.