Saturday, May 2, 2009

05/02 In the middle of nowhere : Saitama Seibu vs. Rakuten in Kumagaya

Sorry folks. Things have been busy lately and I put this post on the back burner and completely forgot about it. I wrote it the day after the game but haven't had time to upload the pics from it until now.

Hello everyone. This is just a little note to everyone that I decided NOT to do my Golden Week baseball schedule as I decided to go to Matsuyama in Shikoku next week. So in order to save money for that, I only did one game during Golden Week this year. Plus, it's also amazing how much you can get done around the house when you don't have to work. And besides too, the last 2 days of Golden Week here were just bad because of the weather so yeah.
*****End Disclaimer*****

Well, it is officially "Golden Week" here in Japan and you all know what that means right? That means I'm off to the stadium and the fun won't stop until I have to go to work again (which is next Thursday btw). So to kick this off, I decided to make a small change in my plans. I originally intended to go to Odawara to see the Shonan SeaRex take on the Yakult Swallows in a 2-gun match up but due to the fact that I booked my plane tickets and hotel for Matsuyama in Shikoku for this upcoming weekend, I decided to stay local. It just so happened that Seibu's 2-gun squad was hosting a game in Kumagaya City, which is in the north central part of Saitama Prefecture where I live and is only an hour away by train. So naturally, this being a "local game", I just had to go as my so-called "gimmick" as a Pro Yakyu fan is to go to these out of the way places to see baseball games.

The stadium itself was a nice little stadium and very spacious too in my opinion. One of the better local stadiums I've been to as the grounds were very clean and the stadium was also kept up as well.

Ironically too, the reported attendance for this game was 2,480 which really surprised me as there didn't look to be that many people there (maybe about 600 in my opinion) so I don't really know where they got this figure from. Or maybe too there were actually 2,480 people there but I just didn't realize it.

But anyways, the starting pitchers for the day were Ryohei Fujiwara for Seibu and Ryuhei Terada for Rakuten. Seibu got to Terada early and they never let up as they cruised to an easy victory. Overall, Terada pitched 5 innings giving up 10 runs (7 earned) while walking 6 and striking out 1. He also needed 131 pitches to get through the 5 innings. I don't know why he was left in so long but maybe, Rakuten's bullpen nedded a rest or maybe Matsui-
kantoku just decided to let Terada get the experience. But whatever the case was, he got rocked and didn't look good either. Plus on top of all that, his control was atrocious as he threw a whole bunch of wild pitches and seemingly couldn't find the strike zone either as he issued six free passes as well. Probably due to this, the game went a little over 3 hours which was probably the longest amount of time I've ever been at a 2-gun game to date.

Rakuten starter Ryuhei Terada

Saitama Seibu starter Ryohei Fujiwara

Saitama Seibu reliever Koji Mitsui. Some of you may remember him from when he tried not once but twice to go to the Majors via the posting system this past off season and was unsuccessful.

Mistui again

The story for Seibu on the other hand was their offense. Every member of the starting lineup reached base at least once and 7 out of nine players that started the game had a hit. It seems like almost every Seibu game I've gone to this season, whether it be an 1-gun or a 2-gun game, Seibu's bats show up and just steamroll the competition. Yutaro Osaki was the star of the game in my opinion as he went 4-5 with and RBI and 2 stolen bases. It's also weird too that this was my first Seibu 2-gun match up but somehow, I felt as if I already knew about most if not all of the players on the team. Is it possible that I indeed am abandoning Yokohama and turning more into a Seibu fan? Probably not, but it is strange to say the least.

Overall, Seibu's 2-
gun squad really impressed me both on offense and defense. It's nice to actually learn about each 2-gun squad and learn who may be playing for the team in the future. I really enjoyed this game and I hope that I can go to a few more this year.

Box Scores



Saitama Seibu warming up before the game

Saitama Seibu first baseman Hiroyuki Ohshima doing his routine before the game.

Saitama Seibu centerfielder Kenta Matsusaka. He hit a 3 run home run in the game.

Saitama Seibu 2nd baseman Takuya Hara at the plate

Haruki Kurose laying down a bunt in the bottom of the 5th inning.

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