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Monday, March 28, 2016

On the Farm: Chunichi Dragons v Softbank Hawks (March 25th, 26th & 27th)

We had three games over the weekend against the Softbank Hawks in Nagoya with a mixed bag of results.

Game 1 was a narrow 5-6 loss where Tetsuya Tani made a claim for first team duties after narrowly missing out on the opening day squad and Ryosuke Oguma showed his skills as starting pitcher.

In the mix for a start against the Carp?

Oguma had 5 full innings conceding 3 runs taking 5 strikes and giving away one walk. It was a
productive spell and as a result it seems he has been picked up by the first team for training in the lead-up to tomorrow's game against Hiroshima. With Jordan Norberto unable to play after being de-registered from the 1-gun squad to make way for Drew Naylor, it is plausible that Oguma could be the final starter in the rotation.

Junki Kishimoto showed more promise today as well striking out one and walking one in his 2 innings. Daisuke Sobue was on the unfortunate end of a fielding error as he gave up 3 runs against the four batters he faced. Takuya Mitsuma would restore some stability as he pitched out the rest of the inning for no loss with Mutoh finished up the 9th with 2 strikes and two hits


Nobumasa Fukuda was among the scorers again today as he drove one batter home, had a walk and struck out once in his 3 at-bats. Masahiko Morino recorded similar stats with two hits and one strike-out as DH. All plaudits however would go to Tetsuya Tani who slammed a 2-run homerun, a hit and a walk in his 3 at bats. Taiki Mitsumata and Ryosuke Tomonaga also contributed a hit each to help the Dragons get to their 4 runs.

Game 2 had far less to be excited about as Softbank steamrolled the Dragons 0-6.


What are "Yuu" looking at?
Occasional first team starter Shinji Iwata started this game and pitched 5 innings recording 3
strikeouts and giving up two runs. Yuta Mutoh would once again provide relief claiming 2 strikeouts in a single scoreless inning. Hitoki Iwase would continue making his way along the comeback trail by also pitching a scoreless inning, striking out two in the process. Junki Kishimoto and 2015 draftee, Yuu Sato would take the remaining innings with both giving up 2 runs a piece with Sato giving up a walk and taking a strikeout in the process.


Nothing to really write home about, but Masahiko Morino once again proved that he's above this level getting two hits from his 4 at plate appearances. Fukuda failed to bother the scorers apart from striking out once. Mitsumata stole a base! (Woohoo?!)

Game 3 was all we could hope for as draftee #1 Shinnosuke Ogasawara made his starting debut in the Western League and although a bit wobbly at times, helped set-up a Dragons win and leave the Hawks scoreless at 4-0. Development player, Hiroki Kondo would also impress with a 2-run dinger.


Starting out for the Dragons was the much talked about ex-Koshien ace, Shinnosuke Ogasawara who was Chunichi's first draft pick after the team missed out on Gifu Shoukou's Junpei Takahashi who went to the Hawks after a ballot. The young southpaw was a bit all over the place and served up 3 walks and 2 strikeouts in a relatively marathon 3 1/3 innings where he pitched 66 deliveries. Takuma Achira, who would be winning pitcher, would take up relief and restore some sanity where he pitched 2 2/3 innings with 1 strikeout and one walk. Mitsuma and Sobue would follow with an inning a piece with the former walking one. The 9th inning was made by Mutoh who struck out two and allowed 2 hits but kept things scoreless.


Morino did what he does best and milked a walk, hit an RBI and struck out once. Fukuda managed to steal a base but otherwise got a hit, a walk and struck out once. Tetsuya Tani had two hits in his three at bats and Hiroki Kondo, the outfielder, claimed a 2 run home run in the bottom of 2nd for the standout performance with the bat.

Overall, very mixed bag of results but it seems that Morino probably will be back in the first team at some stage this season and I feel that Fukuda and Tani are probably doing about enough at the moment to get extended runs on the roster.

In related news, Hitoki Iwase, Ryosuke Oguma and Yusuke Matsui were all called up for training with the first team today at the Nagoya Dome. I can see Oguma maybe starting game 3 against the Carp with no other real options available and maybe Matsui taking Ricardo Nanita's role in the squad. Iwase is apparently only in the squad to see how much progress he's making.

Other information, if you want to watch the 2-gun team, here is schedule of the games that will be broadcasted on the Dragons free Ustream channel. There are two games against Softbank on the 14th and 15th of April and another two games against Orix on May 16th and 17th. Other games are scheduled for broadcast from August.

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