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June 29th Nohmi v Hamada - Holed below the waterline

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June 29th Nohmi v Hamada - Holed below the waterline

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How to describe this latest debacle. Nohmi has been struggling of late and this game saw him implode in a big way in the first innings. True he was helped by abysmal fielding but one wonders how it was that a developing problem had been left this late. Wada said after the game that Nohmi had some discomfort in his side. Was this a recent problem or was it something that had started earlier? If the latter then what on earth were the management doing continuing to pitch a semi-fit pitcher. However, a hospital check didn't reveal anything and so we can possibly think of the explanation as a Wada fantasy. Once again Fujii was totally incompetent behind the plate and had to be removed along with Nohmi. As for the Dragons, they could relax, they had won the game in the first and everything else was going through the motions. They even managed to add two more runs though and as a result of this victory pushed Tigers into fourth. Scores


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dragons 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 13 0
Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 10 4


Starting Lineups

Dragons
1. Ohshima (Centre)
2. Tani (Second)
3. Hernandez (Short)
4. Luna (Third)
5. Morino (First)
6. Wada (Left)
7. Fujii (Right)
8. Tanishige (Catcher)
9. Hamada (Pitcher)

Tigers
1. Nishioka (Third)
2. Uemoto (Second)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (First)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Fukudome (Right)
7. Yamato (Centre)
8. Fujii (Catcher)
9. Nohmi (Pitcher)

Compared to the first voyage of the Titanic, this game went quite well. Nohmi started badly and things rapidly went downhill from there. Ohshima singled to centre to lead off the innings. Fair enough but then Tani hit left - runners on first and third. Hernandez drove into centre 1-0 Dragons, runners on first and third. Luna slammed his first pitch into the stands for a three run home run 4-0 Dragons. Things were looking pretty bad but Tigers contrived to make it worse. Morino doubled off his first pitch - here I would have removed Nohmi and removed Fujii as well as it was clear that this pair wasn't working. Wada though left them in. Frozen in the headlights his bluster was totally useless when it came to making a decision. Wada walked - runners on first and second. Then Dragons decided to bunt - why they should do that when they were already 4-0 up and had Nohmi reeling escapes me. Maybe they felt sympathetic and wanted to help him. Anyway the bunt went trundling to first where Gomez messed up and Dragons loaded the bases. Tanishige was the first out striking out swinging but the second act was yet to come. Hamada grounded out to first but in such a way that another run was scored 5-0 Dragons, runners on second and third. Ohshima hit to Uemoto who missed the take on the liner by a mile and deflected the ball into the outfield. Runners raced round and two more runs were scored 7-0 Dragons runner on first. They weren't finished Tani singled left again and Dragons had runners on first and third yet again. Hernandez hit to centre and another run scored 8-0 Dragons, runners on first and third. Finally Luna grounded out to Uemoto who got it right this time for the end of the innings. Tigers had been beaten before they even got to the plate. Hamada didn't exactly lay down the most wonderful of starts, giving up a lead off single to Nishioka. Uemoto flew out and then Toritani walked. Gomez though hit into an innings ending double play. Tigers would get the runners on base but for the most part fail to bring them home and their LOB was a distressing 11 runners. If it was surprising that Nohmi lasted out the whole of the first innings it was truly stunning that he returned for the Dragon's second. Morino led off and hit to Uemoto who messed up yet again - runner on first. Wada singled right which put runners on first and second but Fujii flew out and then Tanishige hit into a double play to end the innings. Tigers had escaped. Tigers second saw Yamato hit with two outs but the next batter was Fujii who basically has added not being able to hit to his repertoire and so nothing resulted from this. The miracle continued as Nohmi pitched Dragons third. With one out Ohshima singled left. Tani then banged the ball into the left centre sweet spot and the two speedy runners raced round with Ohshima making home 9-0 Dragons, runner on third. Hernandez flew out to centre but Nohmi walked Luna in four and this was too much even for Wada who reluctantly changed pitchers. He brought on Watanabe who doesn't get on with Fujii who was rubbish anyway and so Umeno took over. This produced a strike out of Morino to end the innings. Tigers third saw Uemoto single left but with two out it needed a lot from Toritani and he failed to deliver grounding out to second.

From Tigers viewpoint things settled down. Dragons fourth saw Tanishige walk with two out but with Hamada next the chances of scoring now the Nohmi question had been settled were very slim and Hamada flew out to right. Tigers fourth was a wasted opportunity. Hamada wasn't exactly wonderful at all and with one out gave up consecutive singles to Murton and Fukudome - runners on first and second. Another out followed and then Shunsuke (pinch hitter) walked to load the bases. Umeno was next but he grounded out to short to end the innings. Kaneda took over for Dragons fifth and with one out Tani doubled to left centre. Hernandez singled but Tani was held up on third with Hernandez on first. Here the Kaneda/Umeno combination showed considerably more steel than the Nohmi/Fujii outfit. Firstly, Luna struck out looking and then Morino grounded out to short to end the innings - no addition to the score. Tigers fifth was Hamada's best innings with all three batters falling in order and no one reaching base. Dragons sixth saw Kaneda run into a spot of bother though. With one out he walked Fujii and then did the same to Tanishige - runners on first and second. Hamada tried to bunt and failed, being out on the three failed bunt rule. The batters stayed on first and second and then Ohshima grounded out to end the innings. Hamada returned for the Tigers sixth but by now had run out of gas. The first batter he faced, Gomez doubled neatly to left centre. Murton singled to centre but Gomez could only get to third; still runners on first and third with no outs was rather encouraging. Fukudome finally did something doubling to left centre as well and bringing in one run 9-1 Dragons, runners on second and third. Murton isn't exactly fast round the bases and so stopped on third. This was the end of Hamada, Tanishige showing the good judgement which had been lacking from Wada in respect of Nohmi. Sobue was the new pitcher and he got Yamato to fly out to second for the first out. Imanari (pinch hitter) and he hit straight to second for a ground out. This brought Murton in and moved Fukudome to third 9-2 Dragons. Umeno walked with Nishioka next. However, Nishioka grounded out to second to end the innings. Tigers hadn't really made an impression on the margin.

Enokida took over for Dragons seventh and would in fact pitch the rest of the game for Tigers. This was a bit of a strange decision by Wada but nothing is straightforward with our manager. He walked Tani to start the innings but then persuaded the next three batters to fly out so that Tani couldn't move off first. Tigers seventh saw Uemoto also lead off with a walk which was immediately invalidated by Toritani's double play. Gomez singled to centre but Murton flew out to end the innings. Dragons eighth was quiet with no batter getting on base. Okada took over for Tigers eighth and one felt that Dragons were handling the relief far better than Wada was. Okada gave up a one out single to Yamato but the next two outs were straightforward and no score or movement off first resulted. Dragons ninth and Yoshikawa (pinch hitter and replacement second) led off by flying out. Then Ohshima hit to Uemoto who once again blew things and threw the ball away for his third error of the game. Ohshima reached second on this. Tani flew out but Hernandez doubled into left centre to bring in the runner 10-2 Dragons, runner on second. Yusuke Matsui (replacement left) struck out swinging to end the innings. Tigers ninth was pitched by Ogawa. With one out he managed to walk Uemoto who was forced out by Toritani. Then Gomez grounded out to short as well ending the game. Dragons victory.

Tigers had been well beaten in this series and dropped to fourth place, one game below the dragons. The records established this game were all ones which one would wish to forget. Uemoto equaled the record of three mistakes in one game for a second base and the eight innings in the first was the biggest number of runs that Tigers had given up since 1998. This had been an ignominious series for the Tigers and with the obvious incompetence in management one has to say that it will continue. Of course one hopes that Tigers pick themselves up and they do have a good chance to do so against the Swallows but they are not playing well at all.
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