November 6th, 2011
Chunichi Dragons 2
Series: Chunichi 4-2 Tokyo
Well, it falls to yours truly to pen the last game report of the season. While I’d rather not be doing so just yet, of course, I must also say I’m not crushed by the outcome. Tokyo made it closer to the prize than they have since their Japan Series win in 2001 and, despite a late-season bobble, fluff, and slide, managed to hold on to the top spot for much of the season, giving us denizens of the Jingu bleachers the fun of being top-dog for a while – a rare treat.
After years of fretting over underachieving teams and boneheaded decisions, we got a chance to do a little less second-guessing and a little more crowing over a pack of untested whippersnappers, roughed-up vets, and prime rib not yet in the right metaphor that managed to eke out wins and ties while being outscored by their opponents and discounted by just about everyone but us and themselves.
I’d like to say that’s the sappiest thing you’ll ever see me write, but I’ll do battle with Kozo at the end of this post.
Ladies, gentlemen, and loyal members of the Tsubamegun-dan. . . the game:
|1||Ueda (LF)||1||Araki (SS)|
|2||Tanaka (2B)||2||Ibata (2B)|
|3||Aoki (CF)||3||Morino (3B)|
|4||Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Blanco (1B)|
|5||Balentien (RF)||5||Wada (LF)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Tanishige (C)|
|7||Aikawa (C)||7||Hirata (RF)|
|8||Morioka (SS)||8||Ohshima (CF)|
|9||Tateyama (P)||9||Yoshimi (P)|
The game went fast at first. The home plate umpire was prepared to call anything that didn’t actually pass outside the righties’ batter’s box a strike, which created a pitcher’s duel, even though neither Tateyama nor Yoshimi looked as hot as they have on other days. Tateyama only gave up three hits; unfortunately, the third was an Ibata home run to far, shallow left following a walk, which made the score at the end of the sixth inning 2-0 Chunichi.
Tateyama looked dejected as he sat down and Oshimoto took over to get the remaining two outs of the sixth and go 1-2-3 in the seventh. Matsuoka did almost as well in the eigth, giving up a walk, but nothing more dangerous.
In the top of the ninth, Kawamoto doubled, Iihara watched a pitch roll right over the center of the plate to strike out, Tanaka also struck out, and Aoki played hero by driving in Kawamoto with a single. All Hatake had to do was hit, or show off some power. He swung hard. . .
Pop fly foul ball for out three and an end to the 2011 season. 2-1 Chunichi, Final.
We’ll have something to say on the Japan Series.
We’ll also get some end-of-season stuff up to round things out.
For now, I think I can speak for Christopher, David, Kozo, and Scott when I thank all of you who have read this far for sticking with us, commenting, commiserating, and, in this unusually successful year, celebrating with us. We were all ready to take in our first Series games in a decade, but it didn’t happen. This is a situation we know exactly how to handle, though: We’ll get ’em next year.