Monday, September 24, 2007

What the Hell's Going On?

Tokyo just swept the Tigers. I don't know how or why it happened, but it did.

My only regret is that I opted not to go to the stadium today because I thought it was going to rain. Instead I went to Dave's house to watch the game on his 150" screen TV (I swear, that TV is huge!) which, to be fair, was a decent compromise because the beer's a lot cheaper. He whupped my ass in some stupid PS3 baseball game that he apparently plays every day to make up for the fact that I depleted half a fridge drawer full of brew.

Here's a quick rundown of the three games:

Game 1:
Tokyo 8 -- 1 Hanshin
W: Greisinger (16-6, 2.73 era)
L: Andou (2-1, 3.75)

Greisinger did the job again. He scattered eight hits over eight innings, and had some solid run support to help keep things cool. He also helped his own cause with a two-run double in the second inning.

Game 2:
Tokyo 9 -- 6 Hanshin
W: Kawashima (4-1, 3.13)
L: Watanabe (1-1, 2.55)

Game 2 bright spots:
Five starters had multi-hit games, and Yuichi led the pack by going 4 for 5!

The relief pitchers allowed no runs off of only four hits through four innings of work. The highlight was definitely Hanada coming in with two men on and no outs and then proceeding to strike out the next three batters that came to the plate.

Game 3:
Tokyo 3 -- 0 Hanshin
W: Ishii (8 -- 10, 4.28) [complete game shutout!]
L: Uezono (6 -- 5, 2.69)

Game 3 bright spots:
It's all Ishii here. Complete game shutout! He only gave up two hits and beaned only one batter (Akahoshi took one for the team...he'll definitely feel that one in the morning). He struck out nine and didn't walk anybody.

The infield defense was pretty solid (especially Miyamoto and Hatakeyama), and both Yuichi and Aoki had multi-hit games.

We showed the kind of baseball that we should have been playing all year. The surprising thing is that the most solid performance during that three game stretch was from Ishii. An even better surprise has been the display of some of the raw talent that has stayed cooped up on the bench all season. Yuichi has been on fire! The kid raised his batting average back up over .400 by hitting 9 for 14. Hatakeyama is also a solid performer who can handle a couple of different positions, and Kawamoto has all but ended Tokyo's search for a new catcher. Add to those names the more established Iihara and Tanaka, and you've got more than half a starting lineup of guys who are 25 or 26 years old. Throw Miyamoto, Ramirez, Aoki, and Guiel into the mix, and you have a team that, teamed with the right coaching, can make a serious run at the playoffs next year.

Mysteriously, pitching is slowly becoming less of an issue. I don't really know how to explain it. Usually the starters begin to burn out in September (understandable when you consider that they throw between 150 and 300 pitches on "off" days), but guys are starting to find their control down the stretch. I think part of it has to do with the fact that most of our starters have spent a considerable stretch of the season on the sidelines, so they're more rested than they would normally be. We're out of playoff contention at this point, but a final month of play above the .500 mark would definitely be a breath of fresh air.

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