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Monday, April 8, 2019

Series Wrap: Dragons vs Carp @Nagoya Dome, 2 April - 4 April; Vets + Romero bring home the Koiyaki

The home opener came up against last year's pennant winners (and they year before that, and the year before that..) the Hiroshima Carp. The Dragons have had the best of the Carp at home on a number of occasions and a Carp team minus last year's MVP Yoshihiro Maru could be cause for some optimism. The first two cards had Yudai Ono and Kazuki Yoshimi lining up with the ball, both former staff aces, while Enny Romero, the unknown quantity, would back up on Thursday looking for his first win in Japan.

A series win would be the spoils for the Dragons who were perhaps a little unlucky not to get the sweep. A good result for the team and for Tsuyoshi Yoda's first home series:
  • Game 4: Carp 4 - 7 Dragons 
  • Game 5: Carp 3 - 2 Dragons
  • Game 6: Carp 2 - 3 Dragons
Game 4 of the season was decided after Geronimo Franzua uncharacteristically gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th thanks to a 2 RBI, pinch-hit, Toshiki Abe single and a sac-fly from Masaru Watanabe to give the Dragons a 3-run buffer. Hiroshi Suzuki would claim his first save of the season. Yudai Ono threw down 7 innings for 4 earned runs which is what I'll call a par outing. Donoue and Viciedo both had multi-hit games with Abe being the top RBI getter with 2. 

Game 5, up against the Carp's 2/3 starter, Ryosuke Nomura was to be a heart-breaking bullpen loss thanks to a Seiya Suzuki 3-run dinger of Daisuke Sobue in the top of the 7th. Sobue had previously kept Suzuki entirely silent throughout their battles but the law of averages would see Suzuki give his team a 2-run lead. The Dragons would have a mini-come back in the 9th with Viciedo stroking home Yohei Oshima, but a poor attempt at base-running from pinch-runner, Kyohei Kamezawa saw the game end in a double play. 
An unfortunate loss decided on one pitch in the end. The Dragons had their chances but failed to make the most of them. Hirata and Oshima both had mult-hit games. Kazuki Yoshimi got through 5 2/3 innings before Tanimoto was brought in to break him out jail. While Yoshimi took a lot of hits (8) he dealt 6 strikeouts in his 103 pitch outing.

Game 6, the first start for Enny Romero since he arrived in Japan was up against Akitake Okada, truly one of the bottom of the rotation starters for the Carp. Nobumasa Fukuda would take the lead through his solo homer that landed in the upper decks of the left-stand. Some commentators have mentioned that it's likely the first time a Japanese players has lodged one up that high since Kosuke Fukudome. Yota Kyoda would join in on the action in the 6th with his first long-ball of the season while a wild pitch in the same inning with bases loaded gave the Dragons a 3-0 lead.  Romero would get through 6 innings on his debut, fanning 5, while Matyoshi and Joely Rodriguez kept the Carp on the back foot. There would be late drama in the 9th however as a Batista double down the third-base line would give the Carp one run while another scored in the middle of a ground-out. Hiroshi "Kimbrel" Suzuki would however keep his calm grabbing Ryoma Nishikawa on a left field fly from a 151km/h fastball. 
Seeing Romero on the sidelines with the worst case of "ants in ones pants" in the 9th was one for the more amusing points of this game. The Dragons did enough where it counted and Suzuki showed improvement on last year holding on to a narrow win despite giving up some runs and shouldering runners. 

A good home series win with a lot of positives to take away. Next up, the Swallows at Jingu. Ugh.

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