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July 27th Messenger v Fukui - Not enough batting

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July 27th Messenger v Fukui - Not enough batting
Why Wada thought it necessary to have Tsuruoka as starting catcher is difficult to comprehend unless he thought that Umeno needed a rest. This did not work out as Tsuruoka managed to put in such an inept display as to doom Tigers chances of winning. His work in the second was really substandard and on a par with anything Fujii could produce. It really is time to shunt all these has been catchers off to ni-gun until their contracts expire and then bring up catchers like Komiyama and Shimizu on a permanent basis. Scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tigers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 2
Carp 0 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 X 6 11 0

Starting Lineups

1. Uemoto (Second)
2. Imanari (Third)
3. Toritani (Short)
4. Gomez (First)
5. Murton (Left)
6. Fukudome (Right)
7. Itoh (Centre)
8. Tsuruoka (Catcher)
9. Messenger (Pitcher)

1. Dobayashi (Right)
2. Kikuchi (Second)
3. Maru (Centre)
4. Eldred (Left)
5. Ka'aihue (First)
6. Tanaka (Third)
7. Kimura (Short)
8. Aizawa (Catcher)
9. Fukui (Pitcher)

Tigers got a dream start with Uemoto who has been relishing the Carp pitching doubling to lead off the game. Then things went wrong - the idiot Imanari bunted Uemoto to third. A runner on second and the waste of an out like that! It really did show a paucity of thought and of planning. Next up was Toritani who slammed his first pitch into left centre for a timely triple 1-0 Tigers, runner on third. Tigers really should have made more of this situation but Fukui dead balled Gomez and then got Murton to hit into a double play to end the innings. Now if that fool Imanari hadn't bunted Tigers could have traded the double play for another run and would have been two runs up not just one. Messenger started nicely getting two outs before walking Maru. He attacked Eldred though and got the Carp clean up to strike out swinging. It had been a good innings. Tigers second was disappointing. The two passengers (Fukudome and Itoh) both flew out and then Tsuruoka struck out swinging. Things started to unravel in Carp's second. Tsuruoka's calling was abysmal lacking anything resembling variation as first Ka'aihue, then Tanaka and then Kimura hit right to load the bases with no out. Messenger lost control and dead balled Aizawa - one which no doubt the latter wasn't too angry about as it was an oshidashi 1-1 scores tied, bases loaded. Two outs followed as Messenger used the momentum of Fukui's strike out to get Dobayashi to fly out but then Tsuruoka pulled Messenger right again. This time the beneficiary of the largess was Kikuchi who hit right to bring home two runs 3-1 Carp. Fukudome fielded and threw in but Tsuruoka messed up and spilled the take allowing another run to score and Kikuchi to take second 4-1 Carp. Maru grounded out to first to end the innings and spare Tigers any further blushes. Tigers second saw two outs and then Imanari remembered he was supposed to hit. A single to left took him to first and Toritani singled right to put runners on the corners. This time Gomez didn't deliver being a bit too impetuous and hitting his first pitch into the glove of Maru to end that innings. To be honest though Tigers were already beaten. Messenger then produced his best innings striking out all three batters in Carp's third but his pitch count was mounting alarmingly.

Tigers who should have been all over the poor Fukui were making heavy weather of anything they tried. Fukudome worked a one out walk and advanced to second on Itoh's single to right. Next was Tsuruoka who this time hit into a double play ending the innings. Kimura singled to lead off Carp's fourth and then stayed on first as Messenger retired the next three batters. No joy there. With Messenger out in Tigers fifth Uemoto worked a walk. This time Imanari hit and didn't bunt and wonders of wonders he put Toritani on third. With runners on first and third one would have thought that Tigers would have made something of the situation but amazingly they messed this one up as well. Toritani messed up his attempted sacrifice fly and popped up to third. Then Gomez flew out to left to end the innings - his batting this game was very, very poor. Messenger was by now out of gas. Being paired with a poor and conventional catcher in that heat had sapped his energy and he gave up a single to Kikuchi. Uemoto fielded but couldn't get the throw away in time. Maru hit a big double into left centre and Kikuchi raced round the bases to reach home safely 5-1 Carp, runner on second. Then Messenger dead balled Eldred - there were a lot of dead balls in this game. This brought a change in pitching with Yamamoto taking over. He struck out Ka'aihue but then gave up a single to right to Tanaka loading the bases. Cue Wada panic but with one out he did need to do something and so he brought on Saiuchi. Saiuchi's task was unenviable with only one out but he did well. He got Kokubo (pinch hitter and replacement third) to hit to short forcing out Maru. Then he struck out Aizawa to end the innings. One didn't see Tigers coming back from that situation - too many passengers in the side. Tigers sixth saw one of those petty acts which the Carp are famous for. Fukui dead balled Murton in revenge for the dead balling of Eldred the innings before - pathetic and not the first time the Carp have indulged in that practice. The next three batters did nothing though and Murton didn't move off first. Carp's sixth saw two batters go down and then Kikuchi singled left. Maru hit to Saiuchi who threw wildly to first missing Gomez entirely and allowing Kikuchi to round the bases and reach home 6-1 Carp, runner on first. Maru then tried to steal second but was thrown out to end the innings.

Tigers seventh saw yet another hit from Imanari but with no runners on and two outs it was more for his average than of any use. Toritani could only ground out to second ending the innings. Futagami took over for Carp's seventh and struck out Eldred and then Ka'aihue. However, Tanaka hit left for a double. Kokubo swung at his first pitch and mistimed it flying out to Gomez in foul ground and ending the innings. With Gomez out Murton doubled right. Fukudome grounded out to first which did take Murton to third but then we had a passenger at the plate and Itoh flew out to centre. Carp's eighth saw a single from Dobayashi with two out but nothing came of it. So to Tigers ninth and the question was would Fukui get his pointless complete game - he already had the win. The first pinch hitter Tagami failed and struck out looking. The next pinch hitter, who should be starting instead of Imanari, Takahiro Arai doubled left. Neither Uemoto or Imanari did anything though and Arai stayed on second. End of game and Carp victory.

Tigers picked up their first losing streak of the month which has been a very good month for them. Carp would have been happy with the victory but Tigers had been inept on the field and this had cost them. The use of Tsuruoka behind the plate had been wasteful and ill thought through by Wada. However, something should be done about the non-performers in the side. Being a Wada favourite should not be a qualification for playing for Tigers.

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