Sunday, October 1, 2017
2017 Seibu Lions Weekly Digest: Asamura reaches milestone
The Saitama Seibu Lions went 1-2 against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in a shortened week. Despite losing, the magic number to clinch second place in the Pacific League was reduced to 2.
The week began on a Thursday as the Lions went to Fukuoka to see the Softbank Hawks. Yosuke Okamoto would start against Shota Takeda. Hotaka Yamakawa hit a 2-run HR for the opening score of the game in the top of the the first.
Alfredo Despaigne countered with a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd. He would do damage again with a two-run single through the gap to make it 3-2 Hawks in the bottom of the third. An error from Sosuke Genda initially loaded the bases to create the chance.
With Okamoto only lasting 2.2 innings, the Lions bullpen took over as Shogo Noda and Katsunori Hirai took the middle frames. Hirai entered with inherited runners and another Hawks run scored on a wild pitch. Hiroaki Takaya put the game away for good with a three-run HR to make it 7-2.
Takeda went six innings and couldn't get an out in the 7th, where the Lions scored three runs. Timely hits from Hideto Asamura and Tomoya Mori made it closer, but that was it. The Hawks added another run late and took the lone game.
Hawks 8, Lions 5
-Shunta Nakatsuka was taken off the ichi-gun roster.
-Asamura's RBI single was his 1,000th career hit.
-The Lions finished with a 9-16 record against the Hawks. This includes 1-11 in the Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome and one lone loss in Kitakyushu.
The week would shift to Sapporo as Kohei Arihara would go up against Shinsaburo Tawata. Genda struck first with a two-out single in the top of the third inning. However, the Fighters tied it as Genda tried throwing a ball to second base when he needed to let it go, as the runners advanced on an error in the bottom of the 4th.
Taishi Ota broke the tie in the bottom of the 5th with a solo HR. Yamakawa then tied the game immediately with an RBI single in the top of the 6th. The Lions took the lead in the top of the 7th as Yuji Kaneko slapped a go-ahead double.
Tawata had six innings with only two runs allowed, six strikeouts and four hits. He would only walk two batters.
Kazuhisa Makita escaped the 7th, but Brian Schlitter couldn't do the same in the 8th. After giving up a walk to Kensuke Kondo, he would give up consecutive hits and the game was tied. A sacrifice fly gave the Fighters a lead as Arihara was in line for a win.
Hirotoshi Masui shut teh door and the Fighters took the first game.
Fighters 4, Lions 3
-Tomomi Takahashi was added to the roster for the first time since May of 2016. Yosuke Okamoto was taken off the ichi-gun roster.
The final game from Sapporo had Ryoma Nogami acing Naoyuki Uwasawa. There would be no scoring from either team until the 7th inning as Nogami was efficient at striking out many.
With Kuriyama reaching base on an error, Yuji Kaneko would pinch run and add speed on the base paths. Kaneko advanced to third on a single by Tonosaki and scored from a wild pitch. Masatoshi Okada added a timely hit to plate Tonosaki and make it 2-0.
Nogami completed two more shutout innings to make his total eight on the day, allowing only four htis, no walks with seven strikeouts. The Lions put the game away in the top of the 9th, where Tonosaki hit an RBI double off Akihiro Hakumura. A wild pitch and a timely from Okada made it 5-0.
Tomomi Takahashi made his first appearance in more than a year to end the game with a scoreless 9th inning.
Lions 5, Fighters 0
-The Lions finished the 2017 season with a 6-4 season in Sapporo Dome. They were 8-4 counting two road games in Tokyo Dome.
-Okada and Tonosaki earned modashos with the former getting the hero interview.
The last week of the regular season is here. Schlitter's ineffectiveness is still a major concern, but the Lions have options in the bullpen. As long as the Lions clinch second place, we won't be too concerned with the three games left. One win over the Eagles will do it.
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Posted by Christian Gin at 7:03 AM