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June 21st Messenger v Norimoto - Almost finished

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

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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 21st Messenger v Norimoto - Almost finished

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We had a prime example of one of the reasons why our pitching is not exactly setting the world on fire with Nakanishi sounding off about Oh. Nakanishi was saying how it might become necessary to send Oh down to the second team. Now this is the pitcher who leads the Central League in saves and just because he has blown one or two the Tigers coaching talks about demoting him. The sheer stupidity of the comments once again exposes the lack of ability in Tigers coaching and management. No wonder the pitchers are not doing well with nincompoops like this in charge. Absurdly high standards are set and then pitchers are blamed because they don't get the support from the incompetents who coach them. Though to be fair Nakanishi did get one thing right and finally dispatched Tsuru to the second team. It took too long though. Scores

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

Starting Lineups

Golden Eagles
1. Okajima (Right)
2. Fujita (Second)
3. Akaminai (First)
4. Jones (DH)
5. Lutz (Third)
6. Bowker (Left)
7. Gotoh (Short)
8. Shima (Catcher)
9. Moriyama (Centre)

Starting pitcher was Norimoto

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

Starting pitcher was Messenger

Putting Imanari ahead of Arai was strange to say the least and one feels that Tigers management really don't have a clue about their players capabilities. Once again Messenger was pitched to long but this is a phallic reaction which Japanese managers just have to follow - 'My pitcher can last as long as yours - My dick is just as big as yours'. There was absolutely no point in having him pitch into the eighth apart from the above reason. Rakuten started the game with a single to Okajima but then wasted it by having Fujita bunt him to second. Okajima made third on Akaminai's ground out but then Jones grounded out to short. Norimoto is a pretty hot pitcher at the moment but this wasn't his most dominating performance even though it all turned out well. He gave up a one out single to Yamato in Tigers first and Yamato was able to steal second. It didn't help as Norimoto was able to strike out Gomez comfortably to and the innings. Golden Eagles got another runner on in their second - Bowker doubled and then with another down Shima walked. Moriyama struck out but it didn't look good for Tigers and it was almost inevitable that Golden Eagles would score soon. The question was would Tigers be able to match them. They were doing pretty well at getting runners on with Murton leading off the Tigers second with a single to left. Imanari grounded out to first which took Murton to second and then Arai grounded out as well taking Murton to third. Ogata couldn't convert and flew out to centre to end the chance. Okajima led off Rakuten's third hitting towards Messenger. Messenger went to field and managed to miss the fielder when he threw putting the runner on third. Rakuten went for mediocrity with Fujita bunting Okajima to third. Then Akaminai hit a deep sacrifice fly to bring the runner in 1-0 Golden Eagles. Jones struck out but the visitors had the lead. Despite getting a runner on Tigers could not respond. Whilst Messenger failed to lift his game Norimoto did just that and even though he gave up a single to Uemoto and the latter was able to make second on Yamato's ground out Norimoto remained in control and struck out Toritani looking to end the innings.

The game was slipping away from Tigers and Golden Eagles fourth merely emphasized it. Lutz led off the innings with a double to right putting it over Imanari. Jones was next and he also hit right putting the ball over the fence for a two run home run 3-0 Golden Eagles and some truly pathetic calling from Fujii. No one else made base but Tigers suddenly lost the will to fight. Their fourth was quiet with the batters falling in order. The whole fifth was quiet as all batters went down in order. No base runners but some pretty casual shots. This was OK for Golden Eagles who had a good lead but not for Tigers who should have been more focused. Golden Eagles sixth was also quiet. However, it needed a nice catch by the fence from Yamato to ensure that it was quiet. In Tigers sixth Yamato singled right but stayed on first as the next two batters flew out. This was the story of the Tigers evening - runners but no one to drive them in.

Gotoh led off Golden Eagles seventh with a single to right. The stupid bunt was laid down to take him to second and he made third on Moriyama's ground out. Next was Okajima who hit his first pitch to centre to end the innings. Tigers second saw Imanari single with one out but Arai spoilt any chance by hitting into a double play and ending the innings. Now we had Wada's 'Bigus Dickus' decision and Messenger came back for the eighth. He was immediately in trouble with Fujita singling. Akaminai flew out to Fujii. Jones was next and Fujita tried to steal second. Fujii's throw really was a joke and Fujita ended up on third with Tigers in trouble. Messenger was also having trouble locating pitches and clearly needed to be replaced. Jones walked - runners on first and third and then Lutz hit deep to left over Murton to bring in a run 4-0 Rakuten, runners on second and third. This brought the much needed pitching change with Enokida taking over and striking out Bowker looking. Then Wada switched pitchers again and brought on Watanabe who got Nishida (replacement short) to fly out to end the innings. Tigers eighth was quiet with no one getting on base. For Golden Eagles ninth Tigers changed the pitcher bringing on Shimizu. Golden Eagles got a one out single courtesy of a Moriyama hit to centre. He stole second and made third on Okajiam's ground out but then when Fujita did the same he was stranded. Tigers ninth saw Norimoto going for his complete game shutout - he too had thrown an awful lot of pitches but had been much better and had had a better catcher behind the plate. He started with two outs but then Gomez hit to third and was able to beat the field. It was a fine piece of fielding one must admit. Murton hit right to put runners on the corner but Norimoto had that little bit extra left and got Imanari to hit his first pitch to first ending the game. Golden Eagles victory.

Tigers lost their chance of winning an interleague series. They have lost some and tied some in a truly appalling interleague series characterised by management and coaching of the lowest levels. They can still tie this series by winning the final game before the All Star break. Tigers batters had hit but not far enough - no extra base hits this game. It seems that Tigers have decided to add Akiyama to the rotation and shift Enokida to the relief. We will see how this goes but I wouldn't hold my breath.
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