Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 Interleague Madness: Yokhama vs. Saitama Seibu @ Seibu Dome 5/22 & 5/23 A.K.A. "When Worlds Collide"

Yokohama first baseman Takahiro Saeki on the ground after committing an error in the 7th inning of Saturday's contest. Seriously, why is Saeki even still in the lineup? And yes, Saeki's 2 run home run in the game STILL doesn't change the fact that he's atrocious on defense. This is kind of what I feel like after I watch a BayStars game nowadays to be honest with you.

Hello all. It's been a little while I know but I've been feeling under the weather for a few weeks and am now just starting to get better. Honestly, I thought I had caught the "新型インフルエンザ" or "New Type Influenza" (Swine Flu as some of you may call it) but it turns out that I may have just had a really bad cold and sore throat that hit due to the season changing. I have like 6 games I need to write up and hopefully all of them will get posted this week so I will most definitely get caught up with things here. But anyways, on to the recap shall we?

On Friday May 22nd and Saturday May 23rd, I went to see the Yokohama BayStars do battle with the Saitama Seibu Lions. Now, these games were important for a number of reasons:

1. I decided that I was going to cheer in the outfield for the BayStars. Prior to that, it had been quite sometime since I actually cheered for the BayStars (the opening series in Nagoya doesn't really count as I was mainly talking with my friends from Kansai in the back and only glancing at the game). But I decided that no matter how bad they would be, that I'd cheer for them the entire game. But, since I remembered that I now have a "Yakyu Blog", I did split my time on Saturday between the right field cheering section and my field level seat to get some great pictures too by the way as you will see in a minute or so.

2. These match ups were between my 2 favorite teams from the Central and Pacific Leagues respectively. Now, it wasn't that hard to make up my mind who I was going to cheer for but it did feel awkward going to the Dome and cheering against the Lions this time around. I would be lying if I didn't say it wasn't. With me it's always the BayStars first and the Lions second whenever they play each other, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

3. I got to see "Tashiro's BayStars" first hand for the first time. Now, I'm sure you are all aware that former manager Akihiko Oya was replaced by former Shonan SeaRex manager Tomio Tashiro before interleague play began last week. Now that I've had some time to dwell on the move, I'd like to state how I feel about it.

I think the move is good but it came a little to late if you ask me. I feel that Ohya should have been let go at the end of last season which would have given Tashiro the chance to choose his own coaching staff and what not (had management decided to promote him at that time). So if Tashiro fails. I'm not going to blame him because he was thrust into this situation. Also, while I've stated that I do feel bad for Ohya, at the same time, I am disappointed at him and the BayStars management also because he failed to own up to his part of of the team's bad start and should have officially stepped down. But instead, he let management put him on "rest" and therefore, he'll probably slip out the back door unnoticed while the team goes in a different direction. I really can't buy into this whole "sabbatical" thing to be quite honest with you and still, there's a chance he could come back if the team improves (albeit a slim one).

Game #1 on Friday was a match up of aces so to speak as the pitching match up was Hideaki Wakui going for the Lions against Daisuke Miura of the BayStars. This was my second time seeing Miura this year and he wasn’t that much better than when I saw him on Opening day to be quite honest with you. But, it didn’t matter how good or bad Miura was because the story for this game was Yokohama’s offense. Now, for a good chunk of this young 2009 season, the BayStars have done NOTHING on offense. They’ve repeatedly failed to drive runners in let alone get on base. So, it came as quite a surprise to me when they hammered Wakui. It was like they were taking out the past month and a half on Wakui and it felt pretty good even though I felt bad for Wakui at the end of the night as well. Almost each starting member of Yokohama’s starting lineup had at least one hit with Shuichi Murata being the lone exception as he struck out 4 times in the contest (seriously, is anyone else getting sick of Murata’s all or nothing uppercut swing because I know I sure am). Also too, Yokohama’s new American slugger, Dan Johnson, hit a triple in the first inning which was really cool and kind of funny seeing him leg out a triple because Johnson is a really big guy I would assume that he hasn’t hit that many triples in his career (2 to be exact). Johnson seems to be finding his groove here in NPB which can only be a good thing and I wish him all the best and hope that he can continue producing for the BayStars.

The Lions too, weren’t that bad either as they scored in consecutive inning in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings. But, it didn’t really matter as Yokohama’s bats couldn’t be stopped. My friends and I agreed that this was the best game for Yokohama this year so far as Tashiro kantoku seems to be getting settled in as the manager of the BayStars. The starting lineup was evidence of this as he had Seiichi Uchikawa batting leadoff. This was the first time in a long time (if ever) that I had seen Uchikawa batting leadoff and surprisingly, it makes sense I think.

Miura picked up the win for Yokohama and Wakui took the loss for Seibu. It was really good to actually cheer for the Stars again as I got many blank looks when I came to the Dome with my Lions bag that had all my cheer towels and whatnot in it. But I assured all my friends that the Stars are still my #1 team in NPB. Stats in English and Japanese can be found below:



Yokohama Ace Daisuke Miura warming up before the game. He's my second favorite Japanese player right after Takuro Ishii.

Miura again. Even if the Stars don't come close to winning anything in the next few years, at least (and I hope) "Bancho" will get to retire in a Yokohama uniform.

But before that, I have to say that I spent Game 2 going back and forth between my field level seat and the outfield. It was my second time sitting in the new field view seats @ Seibu Dome and I’ve got to say that the view was a lot better on the 1st base side as the seats seemed a lot closer to the action than the 3rd base ones did. But anyways, onto Game 2 of the series and here we go…

To put it bluntly, all good things must come to an end as
Yokohama’s momentum from Game 1 didn’t last. Game 2 was the exact opposite of Game 1 as Seibu struck first in terms of scoring and didn’t let up. The starters for the game were Ryan Glynn for Yokohama and Kazuyuki Hoashi for the Lions. Now for Ryan Glynn this season, things haven’t been going so well for him. As it stands now, he’s 2-5 with a 3.99 ERA through 8 games this season. Now granted, not all of this is his fault mainly because of the lack of run support he's gotten in his starts, but performances like this game don't really help him. 8 of Glynn's 9 hits he gave up in the game came in the first 2 innings he pitched plus he gave up 6 runs (5 earned). But, to Yokohama's credit, they did manage to fight back by scoring 2 runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. So, maybe Tashiro kantoku is indeed having an effect on the Stars as I can't even remember when they tried to comeback in a game under Ohya's watch.

Saitama Seibu starter Kazuyuki Hoashi.

Hoashi delivering a pitch.

Yokohama starter Ryan Glynn. I swear that Glynn is going to cause me to short circuit by the end of the season.

An early conference on the mound in the 2nd inning.

Anyways, what really impressed me with Seibu is the performance of starter Kazuyuki Hoashi. To be honest, what's been killing Seibu this year is their pitching (the bullpen mainly in my opinion). Yes, their offense has been streaky at times too, but the pitching worries me more. So, the Lions needed a pitcher to step up and Hoashi did just that. He went out and dominated for six innings and pitching until the 8th while giving up 4 runs and striking out five. Although, he gave up 2 runs a piece in the 7th and 8th innings which makes me question how long he can actually go. But all in all, a great performance by Seibu and a tough loss for the Stars. At least it was better than last year when they got swept by Seibu at the Seibu Dome and had to deal with Kaz Ishii, who is a BayStars killer in my opinion because every time I've seen him face the Stars, he dominated them to the point of humiliation.

As always, the box scores from the game are below and after that, you can view some of the the many photos I took and because these were special games, I've posted many of them.



Guess who?

Yokohama relief pitcher Yuya Ishii.

Yokohama left fielder and WBC star Seiichi Uchikawa. Hard to imagine that only 2 seasons ago, hardly anybody knew about him.

Yokohama relief pitcher Atsushi "Wildman" Kizuka.

Yokohama rookie Hitoshi Fujie. I actually like him a lot and think he's gonna be a great pitcher.

Yokohama second baseman Toshiyuki Kitagawa attempting to tag Hiroyuki Nakajima out at second after Nakajima hit a double to center field.

Yokohama third baseman Shuichi Murata hits a single to right in the top of the 7th.

Yokohama center fielder Tatsuhiko Kinjoh reacts after grounding out to short.

Saitama seibu second baseman Yasuyuki Kataoka.


  1. I find myself cheering for the Lions when they play against my CL team, the Swallows. What came first takes priority :)

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