Hee-haw what a hootenanny we had down on the farm this week! We was down on the ranch in NAH-GOE-YAH spitting tobacky and throwing curve balls as the Dragons faced off against the Softbank Hawks in another rain affected series. We had two games with the third being called off because of the weather and it would be a win a piece to each side but Softbank inflicted the larger of the damage.
Game 1 of the series was a cricket score in favour of the Hawks as they ran out 10-0 winners after a 6 run blow-out by Yudai in the second inning marked particularly painfully by a three run homerun to Go Kamamoto. Yuu Sato would also be dealt the same punishment in the 3rd inning by Takuya Kai to put the Hawks up to 9-0 in 3 innings. The game was also showed a return for Asao who has been worried with niggling injuries since sometime last year. He would unfortunately be the last to give up a run as Takuya struck a double to put the game to rest at 10-0 in the 7th inning.
As mentioned, it was a bit of a disaster for Yudai who pitched 1 1/3 innings, including 4deliveries, and gave up 5 hit, 6 runs and 2 walks. Awful. Yuu Sato faired a bit better as he was given a long relief role despite being battered in his first full inning. Sato pitched 4 2/3 innings, striking out 5 and walking two for 3 runs. Asao was tidy in his only inning despite giving up a run. He fanned two and conceded 3 hits. Mituma was even more impressive in his inning as he struckout two batters and gave up a walk for no loss. Ogawa and Kaneko finished out the last inning with no particular stats to worry the scorers.
One of those days I guess, but giving up 9 runs in the first two isn’t exactly forgivable. Then again, neither is not mounting a meaningful counter-attack.
Here's Asao's return to the mound:
Kei Nomoto just keeps doing what he needs to and surely he isn’t too far away from replacing the likes of Fukuda or Morino in the first-team squad. The first-baseman raked 3 hits in his 4 plate-appearances on a day where his team-mates didn’t really help him out. The only other hits went to Watanabe, Tomonaga, Tamura and Kato who all scored singles. Pretty damning assessment. One does have to assume that the Softbank pitchers were on point, or the boys were swinging at everything as no walks were issued in the game. That really just makes Nomoto's form all the more impressive.
Some Nomoto highlights:
A pretty bad game for the Dragons but well, you win some you lose some.
Game 2 of the series was a much closer affair and much nicer result for the Dragons. After going up 3 runs early against Daisuke Matsuzaka, Chunichi were able to keep a hold of their lead and add one more to their total in the 9th inning to seal a 4-1 win.
Shinji Iwata got his third win of the Western League season while Matsuzaka sits with two losses from three games.
Shinji Iwata has pitched really well in his last start and did it again today as he pitched out 6 innings taking a whopping 9 strikeouts while only conceding 2 walks, 4 hits and a run against 23 batters. You have to be impressed with the strikeout column. For 6 innings that’s some decent pitching. Ryuya Ogawa took 2 and 2/3 innings of perfect relief pitching, striking out two and avoiding giving an inch to the batters with a mini no-no. Sobue took his man out in 2 balls while Takeshi Kaneko got the save with another inning of no hits and no walks.
Quite exciting numbers coming from the pitching today but it does make one curious as to how good the Hawks batters were on the day.
|Tamura lightly tapping the accelerator|
Well, the man making all the 2-gun highlights was at it again today. Kei Nomoto once again put his firm foot down to state his case to be an 1-gun call-up. 3 hits and a walk in 4 plate appearances. Honestly, the guy is untouchable at the moment. Nomoto averages .438 in the Western League. If those kinds of numbers don’t deserve a call-up I will never understand what will. Tomonaga and Ishikawa both had two hits to their names and it was the latter and Watanabe that picked up the only RBIs of the game. Anderson Hernandez also picked up a single while Hitoshi Tamura got himself a walk and a hit for his hard work on the day.
Overall a much improved performance on the previous day in all aspects. The pitching was much better and the batting line-up did what it was supposed to do. Kei Nomoto might have to knock a bit harder to get Tanishige’s attention. Lord knows what’s keeping him in the reserves at the moment. He’s certainly doing all he can.
Here's some more Nomoto highlights from Wednesday:
That’s all for the Western League at the moment as there will be a recess until the 6th when the Dragons play the Carp. There will however be a small Cup tournament at the Nagaragawa ball park in Gifu called the “Bay Blues Cup” during the Golden Week holidays.(May 1st, 2nd & 3rd) I don’t really know too many details but it seems to be 3 games against industrial league teams; Nishino Transportation, Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems Yokohama and 77 Bank. I will try and report on the games if I can find some info!