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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Daily Update: Dragons v Baystars @Nagoya Dome, 29th August; Yoshimi lit up, Super Araki to the rescue

Hello Dragons fans, after a long, largely unexplained hiatus, I have returned to the blog to hopefully see out the rest of the season. Due largely to work commitments over the July/August period it has been very difficult for me to get time away from my desk to work on the blog, but I'm back for the forseeable future now.

Some of you may have noticed that I'm back to being active on twitter and I will be looking to get the Facebook page a little better updated in the near future too.

Before we get into the write-up for last nights's game, I'll fill in on some of the more major turning points that have come out of camp in the last month in a bit.

Talking Points

* Ryosuke Hirata has been considering surgery on a meniscus injury that has troubled him for sometime. Recovery time would put him out for another 12 months.
* Dayan Viciedo has a broken arm and will play no further part this season. Nobumasa Fukuda has taked over 1st on a full-time basis after filling it at 3rd for a while. He's whacked 13 homers so far this year and seems to be finally breaking out. Shuhei has been playing third the last few games.
* Yota Kyoda continues to go on a tear and has broken the Chunichi record for rookie triples in the post-war era (7) which was previously held by legendary slugger, Kenichi Yazawa in 1970. Kyoda also looks set to equal or top Yoshinobu Takahashi's record (1998 Giants) of 140 hits in a "Heisei era" rookie season. The Heisei era in this case refers to after 1988 when the current Emperor began his reign. The overall NPB record is 180 hits set by Shinya Sasaki of the then Takahashi Unions (later Mainichi Orions and now Lotte Marines) in 1956. Chunichi's record amount of hits in a rookie season belongs to Shinichi Endo who thumped 139 hits in 1959. Kyoda looks on pace to take rookie of the year honours which would be the first time in 29 years that a Chunichi outfielder has claimed the prize. Strangely enough, it was Kyoda's idol, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, also a short stop, that last captured the honour in 1988. Kyoda also looks set to top Tatsunami's Chunichi rookie stolen base record as well as he only has one more base to steal before equaling.
* Alex Guerrero leads the NPB homerun tables with 32 and has slotted in nicely to 4th in the order after Viciedo's injury. His average is up to the .270s now. That's the most homers by a Dragon since Kazuhiro Wada's MVP season in 2010 where he slugged 37. Tony Blanco is otherwise the last foreign power bat to hit over 30 homers in a season for Chunichi when he hit 32 in 2010 as well. If Guerrero can reach as far as 39 homeruns, he'll equal Blanco's team rookie/first year record.
* Hitoki Iwase broke the NPB record for mound appearances (950) previously held by Masaichi Kaneda on the 6th of August against the Giants. On August 16th Iwase also broke the record for season mound appearances by a pitcher in their 40's (48) which was set way back in 1948 by Hanshin's Tadashi Wakabayashi. This adds to a long list of achievements by the legendary closer who also holds the NPB record for career saves (by quite a large margin). Iwase however was not pleased by his performances after achieving these benchmarks and asked to be sent down to the farm team to tune up again which was granted.
*Yuya Yanagi the first draft pick last year is, as far as I know, out of action with an injury which has prevented his development in the first team. As it is, I don't know when he'll be back or what kind of injury he has. Sometimes this information is a bit hard to get to hand.

Dragons 7 - 6 Baystars

WP: Katsuki Matayoshi (6W 1L) 1IP 0ER 1SO                Guerrero 4-2, 3RBIs, 1HR
LP:  Edwin Escobar (1W 2L) 1IP 2ER 1SO                      Miyazaki 4-1 4RBIs, 1HR

Kazuki Yoshimi lasted only one inning as he received a belting giving up 2 walks and 2 hits including a grand slam to Toshiro Miyazaki.

 The Dragons would fight back immediately as a rally at the top of the order ended with a Guerrero 3-run dinger, his 32nd of the season to put the Dragons back within touching distance.

The 'Stars however took a liking to Junki Ito and added another two through an Ishikawa sac-fly and a Tsutsugo grounder. 3 runs to the good, the 'Stars looked in control as Scott Wieland continued to deal but a Masato Matsui triple in the 4th scored Fujii and Shuhei Takahashi to put the home team within one. The Dragons gave the bullpen a good run out as Daisuke Sobue, Keisuke Tanimoto and Katsuki Matayoshi took 4 scoreless innings and it was at the bottom of the 8th that the Dragons took the lead as a pinch hitting Araki drove home Nobumasa Fukuda to level up and provided a stunning dive to home plate to clinch the winning run.

Shinji Tajima exited the bullpen to secure his 29th save of the season and to secure a Dragons win in the first game of the series.

With this win the Dragons maintain there spot at 5th on the table with only the awfulness of the Swallows keeping them from sliding further. It's a bit strange given how much individual brilliance has come out of this season, but the pitching has been beyond disappointing. The bats have produced fairly well this year, but the pitchers have just had far too many issues. Very much a contrast to last year where the line-up was disjointed and failed to get going on many occasions. This is also in contrast to the woes experienced at the beginning of the year where pitchers like Raul Valdes weren't getting the support they needed when they were pitching well.

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