Friday, August 21, 2009

Pro Yakyu Super Summer Extravaganza Day 6: Lions Classic @ Seibu Dome 08/06/09

Remember Kids, Tomochika Tsuboi says safety first when playing baseball.

Hello once again everyone. The thing about going to many games in a row is that you get tired after going to all of them and really don't want to do anything afterwards. Well, that is the case here and a lot has happened since this game. I've been in Hokkaido for almost a week, I've seen a ton of Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters games and they've won about 3/4 of them, and also too, about half of the team is thought to have contracted "New" Influenza with 5 confirmed cases so far. This is a serious blow to a streaking hot Fighters team and hopefully all the players that are sick can return to the field sometime soon fully recovered and be ready to help the Ham towards the Nippon Series this year. Get well soon guys!

So, for this game, the starting pitchers were Kazuhito Tadano for the Ham and John Wasdin for Seibu. These 2 teams are complete opposites when it comes to pitching in my opinion. Today, we saw another Nippon Ham starter throw no-hit ball through at least 5 innings while another another Seibu starter got hit hard but managed to keep his team in the game. It's my opinion that while Seibu starters don't give up a lot of runs, they do seem to give up a lot of hits which is bad.

Nippon Ham starter Kazuhito Tadano. I just have rotten luck with my picture taking these days I tell you. But yeah, Tadano has been pitching pretty good lately so that is really good for the Ham.

The scoring started in the top of the 3rd when Atsunori Inaba singled to shallow left with one on to give the Ham an early 1-0 lead. They had 3 hits total in the top of the 3rd alone. After that, Tanaka Kensuke added another run via an RBI double to left center with one on in the top of the 4th to make it 2-0 Nippon Ham. And from there went go to the bottom of the 6th were Seibu decided to make a short comeback. After Yasuyuki Kataoka singled to right to start things off, Takumi Kuriyama walked to put runners on first and second for the next batter who was Hiroyuki Nakajima. Nakajima promptly doubled to right to bring both Kataoka and Kuriyama in and tie the game at 2. But, Atsunori Inaba had just about enough of Seibu's comeback attempts and smacked a 2 run home run to right field in the top of the 7th to make it 4-2 Nippon Ham and I thought for sure that it was over. But again, Seibu showed guts and came back in the bottom of the 8th when Yasuyuki Kataoka singled to right to start the inning. He then proceeded to steal second and was brought home by Takumi Kuriyama via a triple to left center to make it 4-3. Okawari-kun (Takeya Nakamura) added another run with a sacrifice fly to left to tie things up at 4 and cap yet another Seibu comeback.

Yasuyuki Kataoka getting ready to steal second in the bottom of the 8th.

Atsunori Inaba crosses the plate after his home run in the top of the 7th. You can tell that Tsuboi is really happy in the back ground.

Tsuboi standing on first in the top of the 7th. It seemed like there was a bug in his face or something as he kept trying to swat at something and avoid it too.

But the thing with Seibu is that they seem to have really lousy pitching this year behind Wakui and Kishi and it showed here. Shinji Takahashi singled to center to start things off in the top of the 9th and was then moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Toshimasa Konta. Then, Eichi Koyano was hit by a pitch and moved over to second on a wild pitch and Yoshio Itoi drew a walk to load the bases for pinch hitter Naoto Inada who promptly doubled to right to drive in two runs and make it 6-4 Nippon Ham. Makoto Kaneko added another run on a single to center which brought the score to 7-4 and that's where it ended up. Yoshinori Tateyama picked up the win in relief for the Ham while Tetsuya Iwasaki was tagged with the loss for Seibu while Hisashi Takeda picked up the save.

All in all, a really disappointing loss for Seibu seeing as they let 2 comeback attempts slip through their fingers due to bad pitching. The offense continues to show guts but is often times silenced and unable to do anything. It looks like injuries have caught up with the Lions and they are falling apart at the seems and as of the writing (09/08/21), Rakuten has taken possession of 3rd place in the Pacific and is on a really hot 5 game winning streak and is a potential threat to knock Seibu of Climax contention for good. Things need to get turned around fast in Tokorozawa if the Lions are going to defend their championship in November this year.

The benches clear in the 9th after Eichi Koyano is hit by a pitch and proceeded to charge the mound.

This is Tomochika Tsuboi. I like to call him "High Socks" because while many can attempt to pull the look off, none can do it quite like Tsuboi can. Don't ask me what it is honestly.

Termell Sledge. He has since fallen victim to the "New Type" Influenza and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Hiram Bocachica warming up in between innings.

Kataoka wondering what the heck his team has been doing as of late.

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