October 22nd, 2008
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 0
Saitama Seibu Lions 9
The Saitama Seibu Lions employed an old-fashioned ass-whuppin’ tonight en route to advancing to the Japan Series versus the winner of the Chunichi-Yomiuri series that is currently locked at 1-1.
The name of the night was Hideaki Wakui (2-0, 0.60) who was perfect through six and two-thirds innings and finished the game having given up only three hits. The 22-year-old righty didn’t walk anyone and recorded six strikeouts in a complete game shutout (104 pitches). Dominating is most likely the term we will be using here.
Wakui’s dominance was supported by another good night from the offense. The team scored nine runs (all of them earned) off of 12 hits. Hokkaido starter, Ryan Glynn (0-2), got yanked after giving up five earned runs from four hits and three walks (he also had one strikeout) in two and two-thirds innings of work. His second stage ERA, and this is not a typo, is 23.82.
Saitama designated hitter, Taketoshi Gotou, led the attack by going 3-3 (plus a walk) with a solo home run, one single and one double that were both of the rbi-genus. He had four rbi’s total, and both Kuriyama and Nakajima chipped in with a pair of rbi’s each.
Kuriyama, the team’s left fielder, actually reached base three times and so did third baseman, Nakamura, and first baseman, Ishii.
And with that, the Saitama Seibu Lions have proven themselves worthy of a trip to the Japan Series. They will have a few days off while the Central League finishes its second stage of the playoffs between the heavily-favored Yomiuri Giants and last year’s Japan Series champion, Chunichi Dragons.
Chunichi took care of Yomiuri in the second stage of last year’s playoffs, but this year’s edition of Japan’s most expensive team is considerably better than last year’s version. At the same time, Chunichi has been playing very well as of late, and they have already leveled the series at one game apiece.
The Pacific League champion, Saitama Seibu Lions, beat the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters by a margin of four games to two.