Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 Seibu Lions Weekly Digest: Asamura hits the first Sayonara of the season


For the first game in Omiya, It would be Wataru Karashima against Kona Takahashi. The Eagles struck first on a base hit by Takero Okajima as the team was able to hang on to that lead the rest of the way from the second inning.

Takahashi would go seven innings with only two runs allows, including another on a fielder's choice. However, he scattered eight hits and only had three strikeouts on the night. The Lions bats would remain dead with a handful of chances having a runners on second base in three different innings.

Karashima went six innings with eight strikeouts and three hits allowed. Frank Herrmann allowed an early hit, but the Lions bats couldn't come through. Yuki Matsui then shut the door in the 9th inning with an easy frame. It would be the third time in 2017 that the Lions have been shutout and second in the last three games.

Eagles 2, Lions 0

Game notes:

-Shogo Noda was called up and Hirotaka Koishi was deactivated as a corresponding move. Noda would pitch the ninth inning striking out one and allowing one hit.

-Hotaka Yamkawa would be used as a pinch hitter as Naoto Watanabe was the DH. He would ground into a double play.

-Sosuke Genda recorded his first error of the season.


Game 2 from Metlife Dome would featured a matchup from the previous week with Shinsaburo Tawata against Takahiro Norimoto. Tawata would concede the first run on leadoff HR to Eigoro Mogi. It looked like another bad outing for Tawata to come, but he only gave up two runs in the first two innings. Carlos Peguero would smash another home run in the second inning for a 3-0 Eagles lead in the 5th.

The Lions answered back in the bottom of the 6th with a sacrifice fly by Asamura. Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura would then hit a no-doubt HR to bring the game within one.

Tawata would go six innings with three earned runs and three strikeouts. Zelous Wheeler would give the Eagles a run back in the top of the 7th with an RBI double off Tatsuya Oishi as Noda gave him inherited runners.

It would take the bottom of the 8th to create a chance. Shotaro Tashiro reached base on an infield single that bounced off the mound and Norimoto's foot. Asamura would get a bloop single to fall just out of Mogi's reach to bring the game within one run again. Mejia would hit one on the button right to Wheeler at 3B, but a short bobble gave him just enough time to beat out a throw and tie the game, scoring Shogo Akiyama from third. The Eagles arguably left Norimoto in too long as he stayed through the 8th inning.

The Lions blew two chances in both the bottom of the 9th and 10th with a runner in scoring position. Kazuhisa Makita would have two scoreless innings in extras while Shota Takekuma took the 12th inning with no fanfare. Needing only one run, the Lions would face Kohei Morihara in the bottom of the 12th knowing they couldn't lose.

Akiyama would get a leadoff single before Sosuke Genda struck out. As a result, he wouldn't ground into a double play after initially showing bunt. Asamura would battle Morihara for multiple pitches until it was full count and he would hit a gapper to plate Akiyama from 1B for the first sayonara win of the 2017 season.

Lions 5, Eagles 4 (12 innings)

Game notes:

-Akiyama and Asamura would have modashos with their third hits coming in the 12th inning.

-Brian Schlitter and Tatsushi Masuda would take the 8th and 9th innings, respectively to keep the game within reach.

-Naoto Watanabe would DH with Hotaka Yamakawa coming in to PH in the 10th inning. Yamkawa would line out with a runner on second.

-Shuta Tonosaki would play LF with Kuriyama still missing. He went 2-5.


In Game 1 against the Fighters, Yusei Kikuchi would face Naoyuki Uwasawa. The Lions bats were on fire from the start as Akiyama smashed an opposite field leadoff home run to begin the game. A sacrifice fly from Okawari-kun would double the lead at 2-0.

Okawari-kun doubled the lead again with a two-run home run in the bottom of the third and put this game away early. Sosuke Genda would also hit an RBI triple in the fifth inning. Asamura would plate him to make it 6-0.

Akiyama hit a second home run in the 6th inning to put icing on the cake and the Lions took advantage of a Fighters error in the outfield for two more runs in the 8th, making the lead insurmountable.

Kikuchi was as productive as the Lions bats were. He would give up a leadoff single to Haruki Nishikawa, but that was the only hit he gave up on the night. Kikuchi took 144 pitches to earn the shutout with only two walks and 12 strikeouts. It would be his first shutout since 2013 and the fourth in his career.

Lions 9, Fighters 0

Game notes:

-Akiyama picked up another modasho in the 8th inning with a single.

-Ernesto Mejia went down after a foul tip hit his knee. He would stay in the game, but leave early.

-Asamura took a pitch to the ribs from Uwasawa, but remained in the game.

-Tonosaki once again started in LF.


Game 2 would feature Ryoma Nogami against Kohei Arihara. The Lions would once again jump out to an early 1-0 lead as Akiyama dropped a bloop single in the third inning.

The fifth inning is where things were broken wide open. Tonosaki would start it with a four pitch walk to get the party started. Ginjiro Sumitani would then plate him on a gapper after Tonosaki advanced on a groundout by Shotaro Tashiro.

Genda plated Sumitani on a single and things would only get worse. A wild pitch on a ball four to Asamura added another. Okawari-kun ripped an RBI single and that ended Arihara's day after 4.1 innings. Mejia would single off Yuya Ishii and then Hotaka Yamakawa erased any doubt once again. This time he would hit a three-run home run to cap off an 8-run 5th inning.

Nogami had all the run support in the world, but he himself had a brilliant outing of seven scoreless innings and five strikeouts, limited the Fighters to only one walk and three hits. Kentaro Fukukura would pitch the final two innings allowing one run, but it was a strong outing by everyone once again for the third straight game.

Lions 9, Fighters 1

Game notes:

-Sosuke Genda had two errors again.

-Yamakawa started at 1B with Mejia as the DH. Kuriyama sat out once again as Tonosaki played LF.


In Game 3, it would be a battle of foreign pitchers with Luis Mendoza against Brian Wolfe. It would once again be the Lions to get an early lead thanks to a leadoff HR by Shogo Akiyama.  Okawari-kun grounded into a double play to pickup a second run.

After scoring a run in the second, the Fighters tied the game in the third with an RBI double from Kensuke Kondo. The game would remain tied until the top of the 5th inning. Akiyama couldn't catch a ball from Haruki Nishikawa and the ball would skid past him. Fumikazu Kimura didn't get to the ball fast enough and it would allow Nishikawa to go to third base. The Fighters would take the lead as Go Matsumoto sneaked a single past Genda as the infield was playing in.

Wolfe would limit the damage with an important double play on Sho Nakata, who returned in his first game from injury. It wasn't his greatest outing, but Wolfe was able to go five innings and give the Lions a chance.

In the bottom of the 6th with Mendoza facing the order for the third time, the Lions responded as Genda picked up a leadoff single by a bunt. Asamura reached base and Mejia plated them both with a double down the left field line. Tonosaki added another with a bloop single making it 5-3.

In the bottom of the 7th, it nearly looked like the Lions would squander a chance with runners on second and no outs. However, with Okawari-kun up against Keisuke Tanimoto, the outcome would be perfect. Okawari-kun hit one off the wall in the gap scoring both runners to make it 7-3. After a walk to Mejia, Shotaro Tashiro would come in to pinch hit and hit his first career home run for three runs into the Fighters Oendan putting the game away.

As a bonus, Shogo Akiyama hit a two-run home run to secure a modasho and a second HR of the game in the 9th.

Lions 12, Fighters 3

Game notes:

-Tonosaki started in LF once again with Yamakawa at 1B and Mejia at DH.

-Noda and Kentaro Fukukura took the late innings in a mop up role.


The Lions are red hot ending the week with a four game win streak. Like anything, it's nice to beat the Fighters after all the struggling they've had against them in the past. The bats were on fire, the pitching was mostly good and there's some life in these guys.

Each week ahead will be tough, but so far, so good. The errors were strange as the one negative, but it nicely gets covered up when the team wins.


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