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Yamaguchi Fails Confidence Booster Outing

Discussion in the Bayside West: Yokohama forum
Yamaguchi Fails Confidence Booster Outing
Yokohama's closer Yamaguchi Shun had a bad day Sunday, allowing 3 unearned runs in the bottom of the 9th for a come from ahead sayonara loss. Down 0-2 to the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome in the bottom of the 8th yesterday (Monday, March 7), Obana-kantoku decided to send Yamaguchi to the mound to hopefully recover from the previous day's shock. It didn't work out that way.

Ohka Tomokazu got the start for Yokohama. He threw 4 strong innings, not allowing a Dragon base runner through the first three before back to back singles and a sacrifice fly plated the first run of the game in the 4th inning. Overall, Ohka is looking like he'll be the opening day starter for Yokohama.

Left handed Makka Takayuki threw the 5th through 7th innings, allowing a home run to Tony Blanco to lead off the 5th, then settled down to allow just one other hit through his three innings of work. Like Ohka, Makka is looking like he'll be a part of the starting rotation when the season begins. Combined, the two pitchers threw seven innings of 4 hit ball without allowing a single base on balls.

Then came Yamaguchi and the bottom of the 8th inning. He faced the bottom two batters in the Dragon order to start with, allowing singles to center and right respectively, former team mate Saeki Takahiro hitting the second one, his second hit on the afternoon against his former team. Back to the top of the order in Araki Masahiro, and Araki makes it three hits in a row to plate Fujii Atsushi, lifting the Dragons to a 3-0 lead. A ground ball to shortstop Ishikawa Takehiro fails to turn two, but does get the first out of the inning. Veteran Chunichi third baseman Morino Masahiko then singles to right to load the bases. Ohshima Yohei, who came into the game defensively in center, grounds the ball to Yamasaki Norihara at first, who fires to home for the force, and things are looking a little better. But as I said yesterday, Yamaguchi isn't that stable with runners in scoring position, even with two outs. And sure enough, Joel Guzman comes through for the Dragons with a 2-run single to left, putting the Dragons on top 5-0, which was the final.

If this outing was meant to have Yamaguchi's confidence restored after the three unearned runs on Sunday, I don't think that allowing three earned runs on Monday did the trick.

Chunichi sent five pitchers to the mound, scattering 8 hits (only twice did Yokohama get two in an inning) while striking out 5 BayStars and also allowing no walks.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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