Friday, April 24, 2009

04/19 Orix vs Rakuten @ Tokyo Dome: Kishida's Revenge

What’s up everyone? On, April 19th, I went to the final game of the Orix Buffaloes“Home Series” against the Rakuten Eagles at Tokyo Dome. I must say that I felt really bad about not going to see Seibu play at the Seibu Dome this weekend but it turns out that these 2 games were far better than what Seibu had ended up doing as they got swept by Nippon Ham in their series this past weekend (which is now last weekend cause I wrote the blog the day after this game and just got around to posting it now).

The starting pitchers for the day were Darrell Rasner for Rakuten and Mamoru Kishida for Orix (who’s probably my favorite pitcher on the entire Orix pitching staff). Today, it was Orix’s turn to flex their muscles and dominate. Orix got to Rasner early in the game when in the second inning, Tuffy Rhodes hit what would be his first homer of the day to right field to make it 1-0 Orix. Then, after getting Greg Larocca to ground out and giving up a single to Mitsutaka Gotoh, Jose “Mayo” Fernandez came to the plate. Now, last season, Jose played for the Eagles and actually improved his stats from the 2007 season but still, Rakuten decided not to give him a new contract for the 2009 season citing that he committed too many errors on defense. Oh boy, did Rakuten ever regret that as “Mayo” came out with a vengeance today as he went 4 for 4 against his former team. For his first hit of the day, he took a fastball offering from Rasner in the 3rd and promptly made the score 3-0 Orix. Jose also had a timely hit to center in the 4th, a hit to left in the 5th, and a hit to center in the 6th that was misplayed for an error by Rakuten centerfielder Akihisa Makida that allowed him to go for extra bases. Rasner only lasted 3 and 1/3 innings before being chased out of the game and his replacement, Kouki Wantanabe, didn’t fare any better either by promptly getting hammered as well. The highlight of his outing in my view was giving up a 3 run home run to Alex Cabrera which went 140m and landed in the upper deck balcony seats (yes everyone, Alex still has it when it comes to his monster power) and right after that giving up yet another home run to Tuffy Rhodes which went to left center and was his second of the day. It was totally strange as the he day before, Iwakuma totally handcuffed Orix by throwing eight strong innings and even retiring eleven batters in a row but today, the bats came out swinging and Orix got their revenge. But, that is the game of baseball for you as one day you could be on your game, and the next day you could be off it.

Jose "Mayo" Fernandez crossing the plate after his 2 run homer in the bottom of the 3rd.

Mr. Buffaloes crossing the plate after hitting his first homer of the day.

Former New York Yankee Darrell Rasner. This was not one of his best days to put it nicely.

The offense however, was not what impressed me the most about this game though. Not taking anything away from Orix’s bats, this game was pitcher Mamoru Kishida’s moment to shine and boy did he ever. I’ve always thought very highly of Kishida for some strange reason and maybe it’s because every time I’ve seen him pitch, he’s done really well. It’s like Kishida was hell bent on toping Hisashi Iwakuma’s performance the day before and went out with a purpose. Kishida ended up going the distance while pitching the first complete game shutout of his young career. I was really surprised when I saw him come out to throw in the top of the 9th and I was even more surprised that Ohishi-kantoku let him. Kishida only needed 109 pitches to get through 33 batters and scattered 8 hits while striking out 6 and only issuing one free pass.

Orix starter and new "Eagles Killer" Mamoru Kishida. Please Kishida, live up to your new nickname.

Kishida warming up before the game.

Honestly, I’m not that big of a fan of Rakuten or Orix but after these 2 games, but maybe I should try to get to more games of each respective team. It was also pretty neat that the games were the exact opposite of each other as the day before, as each respective team dominated each other. These 2 games were well worth the 4500-yen ticket price for each of the games and I left each game more than satisfied. It’s always nice to see great pitching and also see Tuffy and Alex smash home runs. All in all, a great weekend series at Tokyo Dome and honestly, I can’t say that I’ve been to that many great games at that stadium. But again, both of these games were a blast and well worth the money. So hopefully, I’ll get the chance to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while now and that’s go to a Fighters home game at Tokyo Dome. It's looking up folks.

Also too if I didn’t mention it before, with each game that I report, I’ll be linking game stats for each game so that you can see for yourself how each player did. I’ll post links in English (usually from the NPB Site) and Japanese (usually from one of the team’s sites) as well.



Former Yomiuri Giant and Chiba Lotte Marine Makoto Kosaka.

The final score for the day.

"Hero Interview" with Kishida and Fernandez. I'm really not a big fan of these.

Orix bowing to the fans and thanking them after the game.

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