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May 9th Tsuru v Kenta Maeda - Tigers foreigners shine

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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.

May 9th Tsuru v Kenta Maeda - Tigers foreigners shine

2 replies. Most recent reply: May 10, 2010 1:08 PM by Christopher

After the debacle of 8th Tigers needed to win but they were faced with Carp's only real pitcher (Maeda) and a very good one at that. Tsuru made his first start this season and is a different pitcher to the one who crashed so abysmally against Lotte. As I predicted Tsutsui is now in ni-gun but the good news is that Egusa is ready for the first team. Tigers have missed his skills. Scores

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

Starting lineups

1. Higashide (Second)
2. Soyogi (Short)
3. Amaya (Centre)
4. Kurihara (First)
5. Fiorentino (Left)
6. Kokubo (Third)
7. Akamatsu (Right)
8. Ishihara (Catcher)
9. Kenta Maeda (Pitcher)

1. Murton (Centre)
2. Hirano (Second)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Arai (Third)
5. Johjima (Catcher)
6. Brazell (First)
7. Sakurai (Right)
8. Katsuragi (Left)
9. Tsuru (Pitcher)

Tigers and Tsuru had something to prove - Tigers after the debacle of the day before and Tsuru after his unsuccessful previous start. Both came through, Tsuru was assured in Carp's first retiring the batters in order and even managing to strike out Amaya. Maeda is pitching well this year and it showed - he did give up a hit to Toritani but was able to avoid any trouble from this. Tsuru walked Kurihara in four as lead off in Carp's second but then retired the next three batters keeping Kurihara locked on first. Maeda ran into trouble in Tigers second though. He had disposed of Johjima and faced Brazell. Brazell has been a bit quiet of late but came through. With the count at 2-2 Maeda sent a 141 kmh straight ball slightly left but centre. Brazell was on it in a flash and drove it into the left stand for a solo home run 1-0 Tigers. Maeda collected himself and then retired the next two batters to end the innings. In Carp's third Higashide hit to centre with two out but nothing came of this. Tsuru was - in complete contrast to Fossum and Standridge - doing a very good job of keeping the Carp batters under control. Tigers third saw Hirano hit a very nice two base but this time Toritani could not hit and this chance was missed.

Tsuru began to struggle in Carp's fourth. He started by walking Amaya. Kurihara hit and then Fiorentino bunted the runners to second and third. Kokubo hit his first pitch straight at Arai who made sure of the out. Then Akamatsu picked up a walk to load the bases. Ishihara hit to Toritani for the final out and Tigers had escaped. It was nice to see a Tigers pitcher being able to get out of a jam. Once again in Tigers fourth Maeda faced Brazell this time with two out. This time it was quite a battle taking nine pitches in all. The ninth pitch was a 146 kmh straight ball which Brazell blasted over the right field fence for another solo home run 2-0 Tigers. He later said the right stand at Koshien had not been kind to him so he had doubts it would go over but it did. Sakurai struck out swinging to end the innings. So far Maeda had been lucky - he had given up two home runs to Brazell but both had been solos without runners on. Tsuru had struggled in the Carp's fourth but Mayumi decided that he should pitch the fifth. Undoubtedly he wanted to get Tsuru into postion for his first win. It didn't work that way. Maeda grounded out to first but an error put him safe on base. It would be costly. Higashide grounded out which allowed Tigers to get Maeda going for second but Higashide was safe. Soyogi hit a two base which Higashide turned into a run 2-1 Tigers and Soyogi made third on another error. Amaya lined out but the run did not score. Kurihara was next and he hit a two base to centre 2-2 scores tied. Fiorentino walked to set up runners on first and second but Kokubo flew out in foul ground. Still the Carp could be pleased with themselves, they were level. Maeda then made sure that the Tigers counter-attack did not develop. In Tigers fifth he gave up a hit to Murton but otherwise had no problems. Mayumi decided to trust Tsuru with another innings and he did impressively well retiring the batters in order and finishing with Maeda but this time the ground out was correctly executed. Tigers sixth was quiet as once again Maeda kept things tight.

Tsuru didn't return for Carp's seventh Mayumi deciding that to have him face the top of the order was risky. Instead Nishimura took the mound and was just as impressive as he had been before. Carp were quiet. Nomura decided that Maeda had another innings in him. Brazell led off with a single this time. Shunsuke Fujikawa grounded out allowing Maeda to throw to second and get Yamato (pinch runner for Brazell) but the latter was safe on first. Then Katsuragi walked in a sign that Maeda might be tired. However, Kanemoto (pinch hitter) flew out to centre which kept the runners on first and second. Murton was next and this third pitch was a 147 kmh straight ball which Murton hit into right centre for a two base hit. Katsuragi charged round the bases ensuring that it was 4-2 Tigers, runner on second. Maeda's straight had certainly taken a battering this game with all the runs coming from it. Hirano flew out to end the innings. For Carp's eighth we saw Kubota who started by walking Kurihara, an unimpressive piece of pitching. Fiorentino struck out looking and Shima grounded out to second which took Kurihara to second base. Akamatsu was next and he managed a hit which set up runners on first and third. Here the next move was debatable. Could Kubota have got the final out without giving up a run? We shall never know as Mayumi decided to switch to Fujikawa. He pitched within himself and consequently, Tomonori Maeda (pinch hitter) swung and hit to right driving home a runner 4-3 Tigers, runners on first and third. This was especially galling for Kubota who was charged with the run. Nakahigashi (pinch runner) then stole second but Iwamoto (pinch hitter) grounded out to Fujikawa to end the innings. Things were getting close. Bale started Tigers eighth and retired Toritani. He was then replaced by Yokoyama who got the next two batters. It was all down to Kyuji Fujikawa. He struck out Higashide and then gave up a hit to Soyogi. This was a lucky affair as Soyogi actually thought he had fouled but the ball stayed in. Soyogi then stole second but the throw from Johjima was very poor. If it had been on target he would have been well out. Amaya flew out to centre keeping the runner on second and then Kubo (pitching coach) approached the mound. He wanted Kyuji to walk Kurihara. Personally, I don't think this was necessary but Fujikawa duly did so - runners on first and second. Fiorentino was next and he struck out to end the game. Tigers victory.

The heroes were Brazell and Murton both of whom had made vital contributions. Tigers had been much tighter and Tsuru's pitching had been very sound. In fact the quality of pitching had been much better and Carp had not been able to make any real progress. The fielding had still been error prone and needs to improve significantly.
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Re: May 9th Tsuru v Kenta Maeda - Tigers foreigners shine

[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: May 10, 2010 12:22 PM ]
We both picked good games to go to. This was a fun game. As you wrote, Tsuru pitched quite well, the only problems being ocassional lack of control and some poor fielding.
Kubota worries me. He can be really wild and almost threw this game away. I'm not sure he's right for such an important relief role.

Re: May 9th Tsuru v Kenta Maeda - Tigers foreigners shine

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: May 10, 2010 1:08 PM | Posts: 3482 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
Kubota has talent and generally manages to keep his wildness under control. However, he doesn't quite have the ice cool temperament at times. He used to be Tigers closer until Fujikawa took over the role. On form though he is better than Fujikawa.
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