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June 6th Nohmi v Kaneko - Wada must go

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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.

June 6th Nohmi v Kaneko - Wada must go

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At last I have a bit of time to do a full game report but unfortunately there is not a lot of good things to be taken from this game. Batting - yes Tigers batting has prospered under the guidance of O'Malley and they do score runs. However, the pitching and catching is not of the same order. A pattern has begun to emerge with Wada pushing his starter too far in games and then having to switch him suddenly with the momentum with the opposition. It happens far to frequently to be considered a misjudgment and must be considered a serious flaw in Wada's management style. He just doesn't have an understanding of the game. Pitchers tire and as they do their accuracy and ability to place pitches tails off. By overpitching his starters Wada ensures that this will happen more and more as the season goes on. His second failure in this pattern is choosing the wrong relief pitcher and under-using his relief in general. This game was not a game to put Fukuhara in for his first game back after injury and in fact Fukuhara did not look fully recovered. The relief is not performing well this season - demotivated and Nakanishi as pitching coach is totally at sea. He doesn't have a clue beyond patting his pitchers on the butt. Both Wada and Nakanishi need to become suddenly ill so they can disappear and someone who can manage can take over. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Buffaloes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 8 0
Tigers 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 9 0

Starting Lineups

1. Herman (Third)
2. Hirano (Second)
3. Itoi (Right)
4. Pena (DH)
5. Sakaguchi (Centre)
6. T. Okada (Left)
7. Shimada (First)
8. Itoh (Catcher)
9. Adachi (Short)

Starting Pitcher was Kaneko

1. Uemoto (Second)
2. Yamato (Centre)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (DH)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Arai (First)
7. Imanari (Third)
8. Umeno (Catcher)
9. Ogata (Right)

Starting pitcher was Nohmi

With Umeno basically being the starting catcher for the moment Tigers are doing something right. As long as we never see Fujii again something good will have come from the Wada misreign. Kaneko was not on top form and whilst not there to hit Tigers took runs off him intelligently and well. The weather may have contributed to the problems as it rained heavily and steadily throughout the match but Nohmi started well so it wasn't entirely down to the conditions. In Buffaloes first Hirano singled with one out but Nohmi then struck out the next two batters. Kaneko started by walking Uemoto. He went to second on the inevitable stupid bunt but Toritani hit his first pitch back to the mound for the out. Gomez though hit left over the infield bringing home Uemoto 1-0 Tigers, runner on first. Murton grounded out to second to end the innings. Buffaloes second saw Nohmi protect the lead well striking out two of the three batters he faced. In Tigers second Imanari singled right with one out and then Umeno singled to centre - runners on first and second. However, Kaneko kept his nerve and no one moved beyond second. Itoh led Buffaloes third off with a neat single and then was stupid bunted to second by Adachi. Herman then hit a grounder back to Nohmi who fired the ball to third for the tag out. Herman made first safely though. Hirano hit to Nohmi who was having to do a lot of work on the mound and he could only deflect putting runners on first and second. However, Itoi grounded out to end the danger. Tigers decided they needed a bit more insurance and with one out Toritani hit his first pitch into the right stand for a solo home run 2-0 Tigers. The next two outs followed but Tigers were controlling the game well.

Buffaloes did get a runner on base in their fourth with a T. Okada single. It didn:t result in anything as Shimada grounded out. Arai led Tigers fourth off with a single to short but for the next two outs couldn't get off first. He finally made second on an Ogata hit but this time Uemoto struck out swinging to end the innings. Nohmi controlled Buffaloes fifth and no one got on base. Tigers fifth saw Gomez walk with two out but nothing came of this. Both pitchers were controlling the batters but Kaneko was working harder to stay still. Hirano led Buffaloes sixth off with a single. Itoi struck out swinging but Nohmi walked Pena - a sign he was beginning to tire a bit. He still had enough in him though to strike out the next two batters which stranded the Buffaloes runners on first and second. Imanari hit the first double of the game in the sixth with one out but nothing came of this.

Nohmi returned for Buffaloes seventh and did well retiring the batters in order and adding another strike out to his collection. He had however thrown 108 pitches and needed to be relieved. Recognising that his starter was finished Moriwaki brought on Nakayama for Tigers seventh. This didn't prove to such a good choice. Uemoto led the innings off with a single to right. Yamato laid a bunt along the line and this time it worked. Toritani doubled to bring in the run 3-0 Tigers, runner on second. It did require some neat running from Toritani to make second safely though. Nakayama departed to be replaced by Kishida who got Gomez to ground out before walking Murton. Arai couldn't deliver and flew out to centre going for the big one. Wada being his usual obtuse self sent his tired pitcher back to the mound for the eighth. As usual he probably thought that Nohmi should go for a complete game shutout. Wada's obsession with this worthless achievement really is damaging his sides chances of victory time and again. Nohmi was immediately in trouble walking Herman and then letting fly a wild pitch which took the runner to second. It was just tiredness - Nohmi hadn't gotten nervous. Hirano singled right but Herman stopped on third. Things looked dangerous with no outs but Itoi hit a grounder to second. This resulted in a run 3-1 Tigers, runner on second. Here Wada woke up and decided to change his pitcher. He also decided to change his catcher and put Shimizu behind the plate. This was not an occasion to experiment with Fukuhara who has been rushed back too quickly from injury and merely emphasises Wada's overall ineptness. Pena grounded out taking Hirano to third but providing the second out. This was the last piece of good news for the Shimizu/Fukuhara pairing. Sakaguchi walked on a full count which brought up T.Okada. Fukuhara basically threw straights at T.Okada who picked his fourth pitch and hit it sweetly into the right stand for a three run home run 4-3 Buffaloes. Why on earth Wada took Umeno off and then used Fukuhara instead of Katoh will escape the most positive of minds. It was just plain stupid. Issei Nakamura (replacement left) singled but then tried to steal second and was thrown out to end the innings. Tigers had blown a comfortable and well crafted victory and all the good work had been undone by managerial incompetence. Tigers eighth was pitched by Satoh who managed to dead ball Ogata dropping the ball on his foot with two out. Uemoto hit back to the pitcher for the easiest of takes and throws to first and the innings was over. Buffaloes ninth saw more Wada idiocy (and it really was on display tonight). Tsuru took over the pitching and pitched to Hidaka. It is amazing that Hidaka who proved totally worthless is back in the top team. Luckily though the combination didn't make any mistakes and the Buffaloes batters fell in order. Finally Yoshihisa Hirano took over for the Tigers ninth. He did walk Gomez with two out and Wada sent Sekimoto to pinch hit for Murton. There was a moment's excitement when Sekimoto hit along the first baseline but the ball landed foul and nothing came of it. Sekimoto finally struck out to end the game. Buffaloes victory.

As GG mentioned this inconsistency is maddening. However, the issue is the management and their complete inability to handle the pitching effectively. It shows the bankruptcy of the policy of choosing old boys to be the manager no matter what. What Tigers need are genuine managers not amateurs with pig headed obsolete opinions. Wada's style of management fails to take account of his pitchers limits and he seems not to realise that constant over use of the pitching arm leads to tiredness and an inability to go deep. Too often Tigers build a protectable lead and then it is blown by the pitching. But this is a management issue - the wrong relief pitchers are selected, the wrong catchers are used, the starters are required to do too much. The stubborn inability of the management to see what they are doing though is the biggest issue. Tigers do need a change at the top.
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