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Still learning

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Still learning
As if proof were needed that Tigers are still a work in progress we saw the slight squandering of all the good progress of the month before. Haraguchi having been snatched suddenly from Ikusei and catapulted into the top team has been having a great time. However, even he needs rest and so the logic of occasionally having a different catcher call occasionally is difficult to resist. Unfortunately it doesn't work if your choice is Okazaki. Somehow Kanemoto and Yano have gotten the idea that Okazaki is more reliable with the relief. The fact that this idea is laughable can be put down to their inexperience. So it was with the third game of the series when Okazaki replaced Haraguchi in the eleventh. Note you replace a batter batting .343 with one batting .189 in a tight game especially after the batter has driven in a run. Moving Haraguchi down to sixth in the lineup was ill-considered enough given his hot streak at fifth. The Seibu series was really lost due to management inexperience and worrying about things that don't matter.

The first game was a wipeout in Seibu's favour. Iwasada was abysmal but once again due to management inexperience was allowed to go on too long. By the time he was pulled in the sixth he had given up 9 runs. Seibu acted more promptly and pulled their pitcher after only 4. He had given up 3 runs at that point and Tigers were actually competitive with the score 4-3. After the sixth the game was over as a competition and Seibu rubbed it in in the eighth with another three runs taking the score up to 12-3. It wasn't that Seibu were good but that the Tigers were truly bad. Akiyama in relief didn't look confident at all and really one has to say that Tigers are clueless about pitching.

Haraguchi got his rest game and Messenger also managed to get a win. It wasn't a particularly dominant performance 122 pitches over 7 innings shows a struggling pitcher paired with a mediocre catcher. One would like to see anyone but Okazaki in the top team. Gomez managed a sacrifice fly and RBI. Other runs came from the bats Fukudome, Takayama and Imanari. Dollis and Fujikawa held firm in relief and Tigers ran out eventual winners 5-1.

The final game of the series was tight. Seibu opened the scoring in the first with a boring run. Akiyama led off with a single and was bunted to second. Then Mejia doubled him home 1-0. Tigers responded immediately with Takayama driving the tying run past Seibu's pitcher who couldn't hold the ball 1-1. In the third Seibu managed a sacrifice fly 2-1 and Tigers had to wait until the sixth when Haraguchi doubled the tying run home. The belief that Okazaki works better with Fujikawa than Haraguchi meant that Okazaki took over catching duties in the ninth. This actually worked but left Tigers exposed with a catcher who is notoriously poor in tight situations. Still Seibu were held in check until the 12th when Okazaki calling to Andoh made a complete mess of things and introduced an intentional walk into the mix. This completely unsettled his pitcher who gave up a single and an RBI. Tigers still had the bottom to rescue the situation but their three batters were all sub.300 men and they meekly capitulated without getting on base. Of course, by then Fukudome had also been replaced and having him still in the lineup might have made a difference. Just like keeping Haraguchi in would also have been a better idea. Winning games is more important than pandering to Fujikawa's ego and to do this Tigers need batters who are hitting.
Comments
Re: Still learning
[ Author: Guest: guest | Posted: Jun 7, 2016 12:31 PM ]

I missed all the details, so was also curious of the disaster of letting Andoh bat in the 11th. Were they out of pinch hitters? Or did they just want to keep Andoh in so he could pitch the 12th? It's not a bad strategy if they are just going to have him bunt, but then he swung away with an awful swing. Not sure if this was the signal from the dugout or if he just did it on his own. I'm assuming it was the former, but was a big mistake.
Re: Still learning
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jun 9, 2016 2:55 PM | HAN Fan ]

No they still had Hague and Nishioka they could have used. Andoh was kept in because the plan was to have him pitch two innings. Bunting with one out is almost always a recipe for disaster but after two failed bunts the signal from the bench is often to swing.
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