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Sinking ever deeper into the mire

Discussion in the Tiger Tails forum
Sinking ever deeper into the mire
One begins to realize how Tigers fans must have felt in the 90's; a succession of managerial mediocrities who whatever their virtues as players failed miserably to develop a winning side. Fans are staying away and even though the crowd in the final Giants game was up to 38,000 it was far off the 46,000 capacity of the ground and below the 39,000 they were able to pick up against the Swallows in April.

After their loss in the first game Tigers sent Messenger to the mound and he didn't do too badly. However, he was tagged for 3 runs and Tigers batters did nothing. Tigers really could have done more as they managed to score runs and Haraguchi handled the relief (such as it is) well. He was able to steal a base well and one wishes Kanemoto would stop messing him around. We at least didn't see Fujikawa which was a blessing. However, Tigers are going to need to find some decent pitching quickly or at least a pitching coach who knows what he's doing. Hojoh managed to hit a solo home run - nice but no runners on and Takayama drove in another run so the final score was 3-2.

The third game in the series was unlucky Utsumi was in blistering form and Tigers struggled to find any response. However, they somehow seized the lead in the fourth with Fukudome singling in a run. Everything went well and Sakamoto who had started as catcher was replaced by Haraguchi. Kanemoto decided that it was worth letting Aoyagi go for a complete game shutout. Up until then he had been lucky particularly in the first where he loaded the bases. He ran into trouble in the eighth with one out dead balling first Donoue and then Chono (though the ball just brushed the latter's uniform). Then Kanemoto brought on Fujikawa who was out of his depth. Even though Sakamoto's (Giants's poster boy not the Tigers poster boy catcher) hit just cleared the fence it counted. Sentiment is the only reason Fujikawa is used as he's obviously past it and should only be used with big leads. Tigers failed to mount a rally as Kanemoto's gratuitous lineup changes smacked more of desperation than planning. Tigers had been swept by the Giants the result of the game being 3-1. They have now opened up a gap between them and the Swallows of 3 games and could even finish bottom.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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