The Dragons 2-gun team traveled out to Kobe for this round of games.
Let's start our analysis/run-down with the first game that took place on Tuesday.
Game 1 was a fairly one sided adventure where the Dragons socked home 7 runs to the Buffaloes 2. Solid contributions again from fringe players Masahiko Morino, Nobumasa Fukuda and Tetsuya Tani (who was called up to the first team) ensured a valuable victory against a Buffaloes team almost as good as their first team comrades.
|Muto is comin' up so you|
better get this party started.
Former top prospect, Junki Ito started this game. The now 25 year old has a 150+ fast ball at his disposal as well as a good few breaking balls. He has never lasted more than a few games with the big boys, often due to persistent injury, but he put in a decent performance today. Ito threw down 5 innings and gave up the only two runs of the game with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Yuuta Muto, another man that's been called up to the bigs, threw a tidy 2 innings, allowing one hit and a walk while taking 2 strikeouts. Daisuke Sobue would also go without loss giving away a hit and a walk for his one strike. Takeshi Kaneko would close things up with just the single inning, giving up two hits and taking as strike.
|Mizo"wackied" his way to 2 hits.|
The line-up was pretty productive today getting 13 hits to drive in 7 runs. Tetsuya Tani would be the pick of the bats today with 3 hits and 2 RBIs as DH in his 5 plate appearances. This to add to his homerun against the Hawks, it's no wonder that he's been lifted.
Masahiko Morino kept doing what he does best. He made up for an error in a long awaited appearance in the field by hitting a double and getting a walk to go along with a single strike-out. Fukuda only managed two hits today but picked up an RBI while young infielder Hayato Mizowaki got himself 2 hits today including an RBI in a rare show of potential. He also made 2 errors in the field...but at least the batting was good? Right?
A good win for the Dragons, and some good performances all around. Mitsumata was the only one in the line-up to not contribute with the bat in some way.
Game 2 was to be a shut-out for expected starting rotation arm, Jordan Norberto in a 5-0 win. Jordan made his debut for the Dragons against Hanshin as a reliever, but the brass seems to think he's better served as a starter. Hitoki Iwase also continued his recovery while Morino was at the centre of everything good about the batting. Tani as well kept on his pillaging of the 2-gun league as well.
and allowed 4 hits in his 5 innings. Achira would take the mound for one inning taking a strike and sending a Buffalo for a stroll. Iwase continued his comeback throwing only 8 balls to take 3 batters out of the contest for his one inning. Mitsuma would get another chance at relieving and would take a strike and walk one for his efforts. Things were wrapped up by Kaneko, who seems to be closing more and more often, who threw down 3 batters in eleven balls to conclude the game.
Jordan and Iwase with the most exciting numbers there. Jordan may well be needed to come in as a starter with Tatsuro Hamada proving he's not up to the number one job yet.
|What about me? It isn't fair.|
As I mentioned, Morino was at the centre of all things good as he whacked 4 hits to claim 2 RBIs in his 5 at-bats as DH. Tani found his way onto base 4 times from two walks and 2 hits as he scored twice. Fukuda and Hiroki Kondo both sent a batter home each and another development player, Masaru Watanabe sent one runner back to the sheds as well. Mitusmata made up for his lack of production in the previous game against his former employer grabbing a hit and a walk
Another good game from the old fellas and the new with Jordan making a very strong case to be starting when he regains eligibility for the first team.
Game 3 (2-1) would be a much nervier affair as the Dragons almost let it go in the final inning after a great continuation to the recovery of Kazuki Yoshimi. Mizowaki continued his form with the bat, and Fukuda made a telling contribution.
|Guess who's back? Back again?|
Kazuki's back, tell a friend.
Fukuda would be the one to make an instant impact as he sent Tomonaga home in the first inning to start the scoring. Mizowaki would be the only other to contribute with an RBI as he batted home Kondo to make it 2-0 in the 5th. Takuya Kinoshita, the newly drafted catcher continued his rocky start to life in pro-ball with 2 strikeouts and a walk. Tomonaga however made a positive impact today with 2 hits.
3 positive wins for the Dragons. It was always likely that today would be more difficult with Tani out but the return of Yoshimi and the continued recover of Iwase should be enough to get people excited about the future.
In further 2-gun news, two development players have gone out on loan to the independent leagues. Junki Kishimoto will be going to Kagawa Olive Guyners in the Shikoku I-League for a full season and Takahiro Kawasaki will be joining Fukushima Hopes in the BC League for their season. Both pitchers will be looking to get more experience in pressure situations.
Tatsuro Hamada、Kazuyuki Akasaka and Kyouhei Kamezawa will be linking up with the second team after being dropped from the Dragons roster.