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April 2nd Iwazaki v Okada - A complete turnaround

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Featuring Christopher Amano-Langtree (a.k.a. Christopher)

This blog will attempt to report on as many Hanshin Tigers games as possible. Games will be, if possible, reported the day after and on rare occasions the same day.

April 2nd Iwazaki v Okada - A complete turnaround

1 reply. Most recent reply: Apr 3, 2014 3:22 PM by Guest

It is indeed difficult to believe but supremely welcome that Tigers after having been smashed by the Dragons the night before repaid the complement. The Dragons didn't cover themselves with glory this game and were definitely bad losers. Tomonori's hitting his pitcher was just one of the sour notes they generated and one felt that it was a well deserved defeat. The question of whether Tigers still use jettos with the cheerleaders is answered with a yes. The jettos were much in evidence before the seventh. Incidentally, being a Tigers Girl looks a very easy job - you only have to dance during the seventh innings for about 40 seconds. Maybe they will do more dancing at different stages of the game but at the moment it isn't exactly taxing work.
News on Nishioka's condition is confused. He was readmitted to hospital for further checks which apparently revealed a couple of broken ribs. Some sources are postulating a return by the time Inter League starts whilst others are more circumspect. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dragons 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Tigers 0 0 0 4 0 4 6 1 X 15 16 0

Starting Lineups

1. Ohshima (Centre)
2. Araki (Second)
3. Luna (Third)
4. Hirata (Right)
5. Morino (First)
6. Wada (Left)
7. Hernandez (Short)
8. Tanishige (Catcher)
9. Okada (Pitcher)

1. Uemoto (Second)
2. Yamato (Centre)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (First)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Ryota Arai (Third)
7. Shunsuke (Right)
8. Fujii (Catcher)
9. Iwazaki (Pitcher)

Pleasingly Tigers used one of their new 2013 draft signings as starter for this game. Presumably because the coaches have not had time to wreck his style. Iwazaki did well enough but still needs some work. He did not impress as much as Iwamoto when the latter started and gave up too many hits but had enough to get out of the binds he got into. His start was good with a nice challenging strike out of Luna in the Dragons first. Okada also started well for the Dragons and Tigers first was quiet. In fact until his meltdown Okada looked the more assured pitcher. Dragons second saw their first hit with Hirata leading the innings off with a single. Morino hit to Gomez and whilst the force out was assured the double play didn't come off and Morino replaced Hirata on first. No one could move Morino off first and Hernandez was the last out with a fine stop by Ryota creating the dismissal. Okada, meanwhile, was still comfortable and he retired Tigers 4-5-6 in order in the bottom of the second. Iwazaki walked Tanishige to start Dragons third. It wasn't good pitching with Iwazaki spraying four pitches around the zone. Okada went to bunt but popped up to Fujii for the first out. Ohshima struck out looking to a nicer piece of pitching from Iwazaki but then Araki planted the ball nicely into the gap between centre and left for a double. Tanishige isn't the fastest thing round the bases anymore and stopped on third. Still runners on second and third with Luna next looked threatening. Luna swung and mistimed flying out to Shunsuke and ending the innings. Tigers third saw the side go down in order. So far even though the game had been scoreless the Dragons had had the best of the early exchanges and it was beginning to look only a matter of time before they scored and won another game.

Dragons fourth was led off by Hirata who once again led off with another hit. Morino grounded out to third which produced another force out but no double play. Both Wada and Hernandez could only fly out to right and still the Dragons had failed to exploit a runner on. Now though their time had run out. It is difficult to say what happened to Okada but he started Tigers fourth by walking Uemoto. Wada being Wada had Yamato bunt. However, the Tigers centre shaped to bunt and then changed at the last minute and bounced the ball well over Luna's head for a single. Uemoto took third comfortably. Wada looked peeved at this but what was better - a bunt with one out or runners on first and third with no outs? Yamato had taken the chance and shown good enterprise. This is where Okada's meltdown started. He dead balled Toritani on his arm - purely accidentally but it is the custom in this situation to doff your cap to the batter to acknowledge the fault. Okada did not. So Tigers had bases loaded with no outs and Dragons were in trouble. Okada couldn't handle the situation at all. Gomez walked in four - oshidashi 1-0 Tigers, bases loaded. Then Murton hit a sacrifice fly to right - deep enough for Yamato to tag up and make home 2-0 Tigers, runners on first and third, Toritani having tagged up and taken the next base. Ryota was next and he whacked his first pitch into left centre for a timely double 3-0 Tigers, runners on second and third. Shunsuke seemed at first to be struggling but put one back past Okada for a single to centre 4-0 Tigers, runners on first and third with one out. Ryota had stopped on third which in this situation was wise. Next was Fujii and this was a bizzare at bat. Fujii seemed to be trying to work a squeeze and the third base coach was signalling that he should hit. Fujii had trouble understanding the call or at least that was what he signalled so the coach repeated the signal. Finally, Fujii went over to the coach and received his instructions which were clearly to hit. Fujii screwed this one up hitting into a straightforward 6-4-3 double play to end the innings. Still Tigers were 4-0 up and in a strong position. Iwazaki did exactly what was needed in the Dragons fifth shutting them down and keeping things tight and under control. This time no one got on base. Okada had been pinch hit for in that innings and the Dragons new pitcher was Matayoshi. He had a spectacular innings striking out all three batters in succession. Andoh took over for Dragons sixth and here Dragons were in with a chance. It was a good move by Nakanishi to bring on an A team reliever but they also needed to change the catcher as Andoh and Fujii have not communicated well this season (though it is early stages). The innings started badly - Araki was the lead off and as a survivor of the Ochiai Dragons he has the ability to lift his game and attack. This is what he did singling left. Then Luna singled right - runners on first and second. The calling had been far too complacent. Hirata struck out looking though but then Morino singled to centre to load the bases. Here Andoh showed his quality. Wada's first pitch was just above the zone luring him into swinging and popping up to Uemoto in foul ground. Two outs. Then Nomoto hit to Uemoto who made no mistake throwing to first for the final out. Dragons had shot their bolt. Tigers proceeded to take full advantage of this situation. Matayoshi was the victim of this - his second innings was as forgettable as his first had been memorable. Toritani cracked a straight right for a double. Gomez hit to Naomichi Donue (replacement short) who could only field - runners on first and second. Then Matayoshi dead balled Murton to load the bases with no outs. The fourth innings was repeating itself. Ryota hit right bringing in a single 5-0 Tigers, bases loaded. Shunsuke flew out to right but not far enough for Gomez to chance the run. Fujii who wasn't batting well flew out to Matayoshi and it looked like Dragons would limit the damage to one run. Wada though sent in Arai as pinch hitter for Andoh. His first two swings were wild and things didn't look promising but these had just been to get his eye in. The third pitch was fouled and then the fourth was hit deep over the head of centre for a bases clearing double 8-0 Tigers, runner on second. Finally, Uemoto flew out to centre to end the innings. Tigers were in control.

Katoh took over for Dragons seventh and preserved the Tigers clean sheet with his usual aggressive pitching. For Tigers seventh Kobayashi took the mound and was immediately in trouble. Yamato singled to centre. He was forced out by Toritani's hit to second but Toritani was safe. Gomez swung strongly and hit deep into the left corner for a two base - runners on second and third. Then Murton pulled his first pitch left past the dive of Luna for a timely single bringing home both runners 10-0 Tigers, Ryota hit left as well - runners on first and second. Shunsuke picked a nice low pitch and hit to right with one run scoring 11-0 Tigers, runners on second and third. Finally Fujii got in on the act as well hitting neatly left to bring in yet another run 12-0 Tigers, runners on first and third. Sekimoto (pinch hitter) was next and worked a full count walk to load the bases. It was about this time that Tomonori came out to the mound with a face like thunder and hit his pitcher on the chest. As a motivational tactic it is not to be recommended and would prove worthless in this situation. If Tomonori was really that bothered about the score he could have asked Tanishige to switch pitchers. Uemoto drove into centre past a no longer viable Kobayashi to bring in another run 13-0 Tigers, bases loaded. Yamato hit a sacrifice fly to right and yet another run scored 14-0 Tigers, runners on first and third. Finally, the offense ran out of steam and Toritani flew out to left. Tsutsui took over for Dragons eighth and retired the batters in order striking out two. Both Luna and Hirata did work their respective counts full but couldn't delay the inevitable. A new pitcher appeared for Tigers eighth and was more effective. He only gave up one run. Tagami (replacement left) hit to second where Iwasaki (replacement second) fielded but had no chance of a throw. Saka (replacement third) singled to centre to put runners on first and second. Fukutani let go a low pitch which Tanaka (replacement catcher) screwed up letting the ball escape from his glove and the runners moved round to second and third. Then Ryota hit a deep fly to right for the sacrifice 15-0 Tigers, runner on second. A balk took Saka to third before Shunsuke grounded out to third and Shimizu (replacement catcher) grounded out to second ending the innings. Dragons ninth was pitched by Iwamoto who looked more comfortable pitching to Shimizu. He retired the batters in order getting two to fly out. Tigers victory.

The hero interview went to Ryota and to Iwazaki. Whilst the latter's first four innings hadn't been spectacular the fifth to hold the lead had been very impressive. Ryota had of course made an enormous contribution and totally eclipsed the golden boy Imanari's contributions to date. Iwazaki was the first Tigers rookie to win his first start since Kojima had done so in 2007. Tigers had bounced back in the most emphatic way possible putting the Dragons to the sword. As I noted in the introduction they didn't appreciate it but they hadn't taken their chances and their pitching had been abysmal. The third game of the series is going to be very interesting.
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Re: April 2nd Iwazaki v Okada - A complete turnaround

[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: Apr 3, 2014 3:22 PM ]
Looks like I went to the wrong game, darn. But good to see the team show some life.
The cheerleaders were on the field for more than just the 7th inning, but hopefully it's just a bad experiment that lasts only one season. We already have a couple mascots and one of the most fanatic cheering sections in Japan. Why cheerleaders? Don't answer that Christoper, it's rhetorical. We already know the answer.
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