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Pro Yakyu This Week - October 21, 2008

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Pro Yakyu This Week - October 21, 2008
Pro Yakyu Fans,

I know that it's not the usual Monday edition of Pro Yakyu Live, but I wanted to squeeze Monday night's game into this week's broadcast.

I'll be going live at around 8:00 pm JST [World Clock] with a recap of the Climax Series from the past week. The broadcast will be here. This is the same as the "Live!" link on the tabs at the top of each page.

I usually have oenka (cheering music/songs) going on before and after the broadcast for your listening pleasure.

Since the number of topics to my monologue is pretty slim at the end of the season, I'd really like to hear from you all during the broadcast. So please, call in via Skype (a free telephony system over the Internet) and give us all your opinion on the season, the future, or what ever topic about Japanese baseball you like. I look forward to making this segment more of a two-way, three-way, or multi-way commutation.

More information about Skype, as well as how to download and install it, is available here.

If you can't tune in live, I'll make the archive available in the audio archives for downloading to your favorite MP3 player after the show. The archives are located here. Scroll down to the bottom for "Pro Yakyu This Week" archives. The top part is for former Pro Yakyu Live! broadcasts.

As mentioned above, you can call in during the show with questions and comments. You're also welcome to send in submissions to the mailing list or directly to me to be address during the show.

As always, I hope to have you tune in live.
Comments
Time Change
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 21, 2008 7:14 PM | YBS Fan ]

I just remembered that I have a community meeting at 7:30 this evening (20 minutes from now). I'll do the broadcast when I return from there, probably around 9:00 or 9:30 pm.

Sorry for those of you who woke up early for the broadcast.
Re: Pro Yakyu This Week - October 21, 2008
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 21, 2008 10:33 PM | YBS Fan ]

Sorry for the delay in this week's report. Without further ado, here is the audio [9.6MB, approx 25 minute MP3].

Enjoy.
Re: Pro Yakyu This Week - October 21, 2008
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Oct 23, 2008 1:17 AM | HT Fan ]

Here's a picture of the memorable "I throw bases" t-shirt that Westbaystars-san mentioned in the podcast.
Re: Pro Yakyu This Week - October 21, 2008
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Oct 23, 2008 6:10 PM | NIP Fan ]

Heh. I haven't been able to listen to the broadcast but here's a photo I took of a Carp staffer in 2006 wearing the "Wanted Dead or Alive - Charged for Appealing and Cleaning Bases" t-shirt.

Man, I wanted one of those so badly.
Re: Pro Yakyu This Week - October 21, 2008
[ Author: No.1BayFan | Posted: Oct 24, 2008 10:15 AM | YOK Fan ]

Oh man, that shirt has got to be one of the funniest Japanese baseball things I've seen in a while (if you don't count the Kiyohara "Security System" stickers I recently bought).

I don't know why Hiroshima doesn't do more with marketing because they can make some pretty good merchandise, but whenever I go to Hiroshima or try to get stuff on-line, I can't usually because either their selection is limited or they just don't have anything in stock.
Transcript Part 1
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 28, 2008 10:08 AM | YBS Fan ]

Pro Yakyu This Week
Week of October 13 - 19 (+20)



Central League Climax Series Stage I

We're leading off the week with the recently completed Central League Climax Series Stage One. And as you all already know by now, the Tigers' collapse was complete. After leading the Giants by as many as 13 games (on July 8), the Tigers fell apart in August and September to lose the pennant. And it was with a reverse momentum that Hanshin went into post season play, where they really haven't done so well.

How poor has Hanshin been in the post season? Well, let's go back to the 2003 Nippon Series under the leadership of Hoshino-kantoku. With a 3-2 advantage over the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, the series returned to Fukuoka Dome where the Hawks' Sugiuchi and Okamoto downed Irabu, Fukuhara, Yoshino, and Ishige 5-1 to even up the series. Wada then threw a complete Game 7 for a 6-2 victory and the Japan Championship.

Under Okada-kantoku, the Tigers were swept in 4 games by the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005, the Tigers scoring 1, 0, 1, and 2 runs in Games 1 through 4 respectively, compared to the Marines scoring 10 runs in each of the first three games, then narrowly getting past the Tigers 3-2 in the Series final.

The introductory Climax Series in 2007 saw the Tigers go 0 for 2 against the same Dragons, although roles were reversed with the Dragons finishing the season in second and the Tigers in third. Nagoya Dome had haunted the Tigers all season, and was probably the place they least wanted to deal with a playoff.

So here we are again in 2008, with the Tigers and Dragons squaring off at Kyocera Dome (while Koshien continues to get a make over).

For Game 1, Ochiai-kantoku played the Small Ball card, getting a run across the plate in the first inning with a leadoff single by Lee, a bunt by Araki, a round out by Mori, then an RBI single by Woods. That one run would turn out to be all they need (although a solo shot by Morino to lead off the 6th was nice insurance), as Kawakami scattered 4 hits through 7 innings, Asao got into and out of a jam in the 8th, and Iwase closed the door on the Tigers in the 9th to a Dragon 2-0 win. This made in 9 post-season losses in a row for the Tigers. It just doesn't look like the post-season agrees with them.

But the Tigers' fortunes turned around in Game 2. In the bottom of the first, a timely single by Kanemoto followed by a three-run home run by Toritani gave the Tigers all they would need to break their post-season misfortune. Toritani, with just 13 home runs on the regular season, hit a solo shot in the Tigers' 3-run 6th inning. Hanshin went on to take the game 7-3.

Then came the rubber match, Game 3 last night. Yoshimi allowed jsut 4 hits while striking out 4 and walking none through 8 innings of work. A pair of errors by the usually sure handed Araki, and one by Yoshimi himself made things a little more tense at times than they should have been - although Toritani helped out by starting toward second then getting tagged out at first after the overthrow in the second. You really don't see that very often.

But Hanshin's Iwata threw even better. Over 8 innings he allowed just 1 hit, walked one, and hit a batter (Lee leading off the game - Koike pinch ran for him and stayed in the game at right). And Iwata didn't suffer too much from a pair of errors at first thanks to a pair of double plays (was first base located in the Twilight Zone last night?).

So the 9th inning saw relief ace Fujikawa on the mound for the Tigers. After allowing a pinch hit lead off base hit to Tatsunami and pinch runner Hidenori to advance to second on an Araki sacrifice, Fujikawa unleashed a wild pitch to put a runner at third base with just one out. But he managed to get Morino to pop out to second for out number two.

Next up was Tyrone Woods. Fujikawa's no strike - 3-ball pitch was up in the strike zone and Woods couldn't hold up a check swing. I don't know if Woods was baiting Fujikawa or what, but that seemed to boost the Tigers' closer's confidence in his straight. Another strike, and the count is full. Fujikawa's shobu pitch, swing on and hit deep to center field. Woods just stands there at home plate, admiring the shot. There's little doubt about this one. Haittaaaaaaaaaa! 2-run home run by Woods puts the Dragons up 2-0.

Wada followed with a single before Nori popped out to right to end the inning. But the damage was done.

The heart of the Tigers' order, Arai, Kanemoto, and Toritani, went down in order to Iwase in the 9th.

Super closer Kyuji (Fujikawa), Baseball's Child, closes out the 2008 season for the Tigers with just his second loss all year. (His only loss during the season was a sayonara loss to Chunichi on May 4.) And the first thing that the press starts asking him is whether or not he'll be pursuing getting posted to the Majors while he's still got some speed on his fast ball.

You can get much more insight and candor about the Tigers at Christopher's Tiger Tails blog. The review for this game (not up as of this writing) should make for some very interesting reading of the commentary.


Reader Question

I got a write in question from Ken D.

- With Hiroshima's Matsuda-owner and Marty Brown still yet to agree on a contract, can you tell us where the situation stands now and your opinion on if and when a deal will happen?

Apparently, my teaser last week that Hiroshima's Brown-kantoku may be returning after all got some notice. But I didn't tell enough of the tale to allow people to take sides on the issue, and not enough information is available in English for others to know what's going on.

Basically, Marty's agent issued 11 conditions under which the Carp manager will return for 2009. The conditions were not made public, but Matsuda-owner took offense to three of them, thinking that they were unreasonable, and asked for clarification yesterday (October 20th) as part of his "final notice" on the matter. The Carp owner has set October 21st (today) as the deadline for an articulate response before he goes to the next phase - most likely promoting ni-gun manager Yamasaki Ryozo to fill the job.

[Talk about Brown-kantoku and Matsuda-owner in general.]

So that's where we stood going into today. I hope to have the conclusion to this on next week's show.
Transcript Part 2
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 28, 2008 10:09 AM | YBS Fan ]

Pacific League Climax Series Stage II

Game 1

The Fighters made a big "to do" about the ground condition at Omiya Stadium after practicing there on Friday. The infield and outfield are full of pot holes and other uneven surfaces, sometimes caused by regions where the grass doesn't grow. For a team that relies heavily on their defense to keep things close, this was a major concern for Nippon Ham.

However, the fear was completely unfounded. After all, when all the balls go sailing over your outfielders' heads or into the gaps, irregular bounds really don't matter that much.

Glynn, who gave up just 66 earned runs all season, surrendered 10 earned runs in 3+ innings of Game 1. Glynn allowed 38% ground balls to 34% fly balls on balls in play during the regular season, 17% on the ground and 44% in the air (the other 39% unknown but mostly split between line drives and fly balls) going through the Lions' order two times in Game 1. A solo home run by Sledge in the 5th; and an error, single, and 2-run double (also by Sledge) in the 9th weren't nearly enough to overcome the 10 runs after 4.

Seibu takes the first round 10-4.

Game 2

It's off to Seibu Dome for the remainder of the series, with Seibu up 2 games to none (including the freebee). But on the artificial turf, under a dome, and with Darvish on the mound, it was Nippon Ham's game.

The Tsubamegun's Christopher Pellegrini already did Yu Darvish was Yu Darvish for a lead in. And Deanna did a blog entry entitled "The importance of being Darvish" (I love her use of literary references). So what kind of Darvish reference is left for me to use? How about ...

Darvish was his brilliant self again, allowing just 3 hits and walking 3 while striking out 6 in a complete game 5-0 shutout of the Lions.

The Fighters managed to scrape out a run in the 3rd inning when an 0 for 15 Morimoto got his first hit of the Climax Series. Still against Kishi, the Fighters topped off a 4 run 4th on #9 batting Kaneko's 2-run home run to left. Mitsui, Iwasaki, Ohnuma, and Onodera worked the last five innings for Seibu, allowing just three hits - Ohnuma striking out the Fighters in order in the 8th. But the Lions' offense couldn't get anything going against Darvish, dropping Game 2 by a score of 5-0.


Game 3

The Fighters then evened up the series at 2 games to 2 after the third game (Seibu starting with a 1 win advantage) when both teams' offenses came alive. A leadoff double and a 2-out error plated one for Nippon Ham in the 2nd. Then the Fighters batted around in the 3rd, capping off a 4-run inning with a 3-run home run by Sledge.

The Lions answered with a pair of runs on a 2-out double by #9 batting Akada in the 5th inning. Then they added another run on no hits in the 6th inning as walk, hit batsman, ground out, and sacrifice fly made the score Fighters 5 - Lions 3. But that's as close as the Lions got.

It took 4 Lion pitchers to get out of the 8th only allowing one run. Then Graman allowed another run in the 9th. Micheal wasn't his usual lights out in the bottom of the 9th, though, as he struggled to keep the Lions down to just one run, striking out Kataoka with two on to end the game 7-4.

I really liked Sledge's hero interview. He spent most of it waving to fans and smiling between questions. That wasn't Deanna shouting at him the whole time, was it?

So the Lions no longer have an advantage, and both teams need to win two more. Darvish, expected to throw Game 6, is rumored to be ready to throw tomorrow in Game 5 if necessary. [Give current score as an indication of the possible urgency.]


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Game 4 notes [Discuss current game situation]:

Sweeney is off to a rocky start, allowing 4 runs in the first inning.

おかわり-kun doesn't have the body of someone who looks like he can run fast or dive for balls, but he does it all! Coming home from first on a hit to left field. Diving at a ball hit up the third base line, grabbing the ball, and throwing the batter out. I know his nickname is a tease on his love of food and, consequentially, his size. But Nakamura has more speed and dexterity than many slim infielders. He is just fun to watch.

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About

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)
Founder

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