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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On the Farm: Chunichi Dragons v Softbank Hawks (April 5th & 6th)

We're back on the farm! I forgot to milk the cows this week and I dozed off in the hay so the report is a wee bit late this week (almost a week...eep).

Anyway, lets get down to business, as I have a first team and a second team report on the pile to get through today!

It was to be the second shortened 2-gun series in a row for the Dragons who would face off against the Softbank Hawks in Fukuoka. T

Performances in the first game today the main first-team pushers would actually make their push successful after this series as Morino and Fukuda both earned call-ups against the Baystars and the Giants. Mitsumata as well would join them to play small roles in both series. Kyouhei Kamezawa would remain with the seconds for the time being playing a role today as replacement at second base late in the game. Okada would make his first appearance in the 2-gun this year after being unceremoniously dropped after his poor performance against Hiroshima in Game 5.


Dat look.
Things would start off with Junki Ito who has been somewhat of mainstay starter in the 2-gun
this year. The young prodigy would give up 7 hits, taking 4 strikeouts but conceding two from a Tu-Hsuan Lee double in the 7th. Itoh would be withdrawn with two outs as Okada took to the mound to complete one inning including 3 strikeouts and a walk against 4 batters. Mitsuma would continue his regular run in the seconds as he held on after seeing off two batter for a hit and a strikeout. Daisuke Sobue would conclude proceedings and claim the save as he took three straight strikeouts to end the game. Sobue looks to be doing better and better as a closer. Should certainly be a possible call-up if Fukutani ever goes off the boil or even as a late-inning reliever.

Overall a good opening spell from Ito, with a near-perfect relief performance from the bullpen.

The star keeps rising.

There were contributions throughout the batting line-up, but it was the experienced Fukuda and Morino along with the prodigious Kondo, that put in the runs at vital moments. Each picked up an RBI each in the 2-3 win. Morino would pick up two hits for the day while Fukuda and Kondo would also find another way to base with a walk a piece. Hits would also come from Akasaka, Ishikawa an Mizowaki to cap off what would end up being a close win.

The victory would ensure the Chunichi 2-gun's position at the top of the Western League for the time being.

Our second game of the series would end the exact same way as the last with 2-3 win to the Dragons. With Fukuda whisked away, Morino would move from the DH spot to first-base while the DH would be filled by Kei Nomoto. Issei Endo would make his first appearance in the 2-gun at short-stop while Kamezawa returned to the starting line-up to man second base. Aside from Mizowaki at 3rd, the infield would not have looked out of place in the first team last season. Nevertheless, with all out of favor for the time being, the hope for good production was high. Joining the de-registered first-teamers would be Tatsuro Hamada who returned for his first game since being humiliated after conceding 7 against the Carp in Game 5.


Hamada on the come-back trail.
Humiliation would be at a minimum for Hamada today as he started on the mound. The southpaw would concede only 2 this time around to Kaneko and Kamamoto, only one being his fault as he took 6 strikeouts and gave up 7 hits. Focusing on the strike-zone this time around, Hamada only gave up two walks in his 5 1/3 innings. Takeshi Achira took the last of the 6th inning as well as the 7th as he relieved perfectly, taking two strikeouts and not allowing a single hit. Takeshi Kaneko would claim winning pitcher status today for his 1 inning of work where he forbade any hits but failed to take a strikeout. Daisuke Sobue would be the saviour again as he once again rolled three batters in a row this time only taking a single strikeout.

Furumoto with the trademark specs.

The pick of the potential first-teamers would be Morino who registered 2 hits, including the first RBI of the game. He also took a walk to make the best of his 3 at-bats today. Furumoto would be the next pick of the batsmen as the outfielder nailed the game winning double, despite striking out twice. Endo would make a triumphant return with the bat as he nailed 3 hits and stole a base in his 4 at-bats. Kamezawa as lead-off today would also make a hit but also strikeout once.

Once again a case of the big players standing up and carrying the team. This would prove to be Morino's last involvement with the 2-gun as he was called up for the series against the Giants. A just reward for his fine form.

The 2-3 win would solidify the Dragons spot at the top of the league. A statistic that will surely please the Michihiro Ogasawara who one must remember is still in his first year of tenure as a coach.

Two great results for the farm-team against the might of the Hawks.

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