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Monday, May 28, 2018

Series Wrap: Dragons vs Baystars @Yokohama Stadium, 22 May - 24 May; I am Yamai, destroyer of 'Stars; Bats fail to connect

The Dragons faced off against the Baystars in a 3 game series that was to be shortened by rain to be a 2 game series in Yokohama. The Baystars have been struggling this year but have started to pick themselves up again while the Dragons have just about been themselves.

Game 1 of the series was to however bring a massive surprise as 40 year old Daisuke Yamai was brought to the mound to start the game. I didn't give the veteran much of a chance...but he proved me wrong.

Also, just a warning, as I've lost track of what game number of the season we're up to, I'll just go by the game number against the Baystars.

Game 7

Dragons 0 - 8 Baystars

Good: Just about everything, but how about that Yamai CGSO?
Bad: My predictions.

As mentioned in the preview, Daisuke Yamai, the man that hasn't pitched with the first team all season was given the chance to start in Yokohama this time around. Yamai has a bit of a good record against the 'Stars however. Last year he got a win in Yokohama after averaging 7.30 on the farm and if you go back to 2013 where Yamai got his no-hitter, that was against the Stars too. All in all, it proved a good omen as Yamai's unique-ish slider fooled many a batter as he threw down 9 shut-out innings with 6 strikeouts.

On the batting side of things, well, it was a bit weird. Oshima went yard not once, but twice in consecutive at-bats.

Dongers from Viciedo and Hirata rounded off a very powerful batting performance. Fukuda also picked up the modasho for getting 3 hits.

Yamai became the member of a very select club in completing a 40-year old complete game joining former teammate Masahiro Yamamoto. He is the 9th man in NPB history to achieve the feat.

Game 8

Dragons 2-3 Baystars.

Good: Well, Yoshimi wasn't bad.
Bad: Well, the lineup wasn't well jointed.

Kazuki Yoshimi had another start as his rotation with Matsuzaka continues. His opponent was Katsuki Azuma, the 2017 first draft pick for the Baystars.

Yoshimi kept the Dragons in the game for the most part pitching out 7 innings for 3 earned runs. Those three earned runs however came off consecutive homeruns to Blast Brothers, Jose Lopes and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Azuma kept the Dragons honest through 6 but it was a story of missed chances.

Hirata would kick things off in the first scoring Oshima and it was Oshima who would find the middle of his bat once more as he whalloped his 3rd homerun in 2 games.
 The Dragons were a able to muster 11 hits but the lack of a good bat in a clutch situation meant that many good chances went missed. Both Hirata and Oshima took home modashos but it was perhaps Fukuda's inability to convert anything into a hit that was most glaring.

Overall, a series with a big win and a game of missed chances. You can't complain too much as the Dragons were in with a chance in the second game. Signs still looking okay as the season progresses. Next up, the Carp.

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