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Fukuoka becomes Mudville, Marines to Japan Series

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Fukuoka becomes Mudville, Marines to Japan Series
After the loss yesterday, Hawks fans could probably see this coming. The team insisted on sending a pitcher who hadn't done anything against the Marines this year, using an ill-advised lineup, and making overly-cautious managerial decisions.

There is plenty of blame to go around to explain the 7-0 shellacking that the Marines levied on the Hawks today, completing a collapse that will have many fans asking, "are we truly cursed," as the Marines joyously tossed Nishimura-kantoku three times in the air.

However, there's not a lot you can do when a pitcher of Yoshihisa Naruse's caliber takes the mound for the first and last games of the series. With a pair of complete games, no walks and 15 punch-outs in those 18 innings, Naruse looked much like his counterpart, Toshiya Sugiuchi, did in the 2003 Japan Series.

In short, Sugiuchi was awful today in the biggest game of the season. Unlike Naruse, who turned it around on the Hawks after going 0-4 against them in the regular season, SoftBank's supposed lefty "ace" could not.

Both pitchers were running step-for-step until the fourth inning, when a two-out meltdown sealed the Hawks fate. Satozaki and Nishioka both singled their way on, and Kiyota drew a walk to put the pressure on Sugiuchi to get the final out.

He couldn't.

Just like he couldn't all season against Lotte.

Iguchi was hit with a pitch and Saburo drew a walk of his own to force in two runs, and known playoff performer Imae singled home two more.

That was it. There would be no joy in Yahoo Dome today. Naruse dominated for six strikeouts, no walks, and just four hits with no runner reaching second. As one might have expected, he won the well-deserved Climax Series MVP Award.

This is the third time since 2005 that the Marines have knocked the Hawks out of the playoffs. Said Sahaharu Oh after the game, "The world of competition is not easy. They were able to play their game, we weren't. This might not be the best analogy, but it's like a coin toss."

Indeed the Hawks did not play their game, as evidenced by a number of puzzling decisions by Akiyama and some truly awful offense. I could write another article on this (and I likely will), but what it boils down to was that the Hawks' bats could not perform at all.

The Marines won, the Hawks choked. There's not a lot else that can be said. A familiar refrain used in Boston for 86 years could possibly be heard in Fukuoka today:

"Wait 'til next year."
Comments
Re: Fukuoka becomes Mudville, Marines to Japan Series
[ Author: Guest: matt | Posted: Oct 25, 2010 2:59 PM ]

I covered this series for FN and you're dead on. I was at the game and it was a mix of sad, some people angry at the managerial decisions, but most were really thankful to the team for the season. (Yankee fans they are not.)

They were out pitched, out hit, and gave the Marines too many opportunities with strange line-ups and bullpen decisions. But I think you have to look at the season as somewhat of a success given the management did pretty much nothing to help them improve over 2009.

I hear they're blaming their loss on lack of communication between their pitchers and catchers so they're putting finding a new catcher at the top of their to do list this off season. I call that bs, they need an overhaul of their scouting and talent development or something. If they lose Wada, Tamura, and Kawasaki to FA or postings it will be a grim year next season...
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