vendredi 10 septembre 2010

Welcome back Nohmi!

The match ended with a score of 2 - 2, after 12 emotional innings.

Atsushi Nohmi took the plate at Koshien after 130 of absence because of an injury. Hanshin did not win today but Nohmi pitched like a true ace. Last week he did 10 strike outs in 6 innings against Orix's second team 2 de Orix. Today he did 10 strike outs in seven 7 innings against Chunichi's first team.

He looked quite unsettled in the first innings, but he limited the damage and only gave up a run. Chunichi's lead off Araki hit a double from his first pitch, followed by a sacrifice bunt and the timely hit. Visibly Nohmi was distracted by it and lost the control of his pitches, giving a base on balls. The two next batters hit fly balls.

Chunichi's starter, Nelson, began by a base on balls. Hirano's sacrifice bunt was a success like always, but then Toritani and Arai hit grounders. Nohmi seemed to be still queasy in the 2nd inning. His control got a little bit better but he had not done any strike out yet. He managed to not give up more runs.

Nelson's control was also bad. But just like Nohmi, his combination of pitches was good. Both of them throw different breaking balls after showing their straights to the batters. Nelson was the first to get good results: Johjima and Shunsuke Fujikawa were struck out.

Nevermind. In the same inning Nohmi struck out: the 3rd batter Wada, the 4th Morino, and the 5th Blanco. All the clean ups. In the 3rd inning, there were two outs when Hirano hit a single. The next batter was the stolid captain Toritani. Tori hit a double and tied because Hirano rushed to the home.

In the 4th inning, Nohmi was back to his usual self. He struck out his first opponent and the second one hit a grounder. But the usual Nohmi can also get himself in trouble even when everything goes well. And it happened: the 8th batter hit a double that almost was a homerun, and even Nelson the pitcher could hit. The next batter was one of the most dangerous in Chunichi's line-up: their lead off Araki. He sent the ball over the left field. Kanemoto was about to catch it... But the ball hit him on his face. The Dragons took the lead.

Nohmi was the first batter of the 5th inning. He hit a single, against the opinion of the fans that were afraid of a new injury. The Tigers did not score. Nohmi did not discourage, and once again he struck out all his opponents in the 6th inning.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Tigers were in a scoring position. Arai and Brazell were on bases. Kanemoto hit and reached the first base, but we lost Brazell in the middle of this action. Mayumi replaced Kanemoto by a substitute runner. Suddenly the players bustled in Hanshin's dugout. Kanemoto and his teammates looked startled at the first base. Mayumi stood up and called someone. By mistake, Asai had taken the place of Uemoto as pinch runner! Asai rushed to the dugout in the laughter of his teammates while Uemoto was taking place. But the stratagem was useless: Johjima provoked a double play and the inning ended.

In the 7th inning there were two outs and a runner on the second base. At this moment Nohmi had done 115 pitches. The pitching coach Kubo and the infielders gathered mound. Nohmi decided that he still could pitch. Johjima gave an intentional walk to Wada, the 4th batter. Nohmi had already struck the 4th and 5th batters out, but now he is tired. He threw a wild pitch on the 5th batter. Johjima decided to gave another intentional walk, even if this means filling all the bases. And it worked: Nohmi did his 10th strike out.

Watanabe did a good relief until the 9th inning. The score was still 2 to 1. The Tigers were not able to hit because the one in the mound was Asao, Chunichi's best relief pitcher. He does not often throw pitches less fast than 150 km/h.

In the bottom of the 9th, Johjima reached the first base. Mayumi replaced him by Yamato, faster and nimbler. Asao pitched two innings and Ochiai, Chunichi's manager, does not leave anything to chance. That is why he sent Iwase, the best closer of the League, the one that his fans call "the God of Death". Iwase was upset by Yamato being in the first base. Instead of pitching to the batter, Iwase persevered to throw to the first base. Since Yamato always came back on time, Iwase eventually faced the batter. Yamato tried to steal the second base, but was not fast enough. There was only one batter left, and this batter was our rookie Shunsuke Fujikawa.

Before going to the batter's box, the coaches showed Iwase's statistics to him, and he watched him pitching to warm up. Shunsuke had full count: 2 strikes, 3 balls. Shunsuke's bat made contact with Iwase's last pitch. Shunsuke ran as the ball was gaining altitude. He passed the first base, passed the second, and slid head first to third. "Safe!" It was a triple. The rookie hit a triple from teh God of Death. After the rookie, the one who entered in the batter's box was the veteran Hiyama. He only plays in some occasions, always as pinch hitter. And the 41-year-old player drove Shunsuke in. The Tigers won't lose, not when their ace has pitched.

When the 10th inning began, nobody knew that the score will remain unchanged, after three extra innings as intense as the previous ones.

The battery changed: the catcher was Komiyama, the pitcher was of curse Kyuji Fujikawa. Even for Kyuji it was not an easy task, because the Dragons had no intention to lose. Moreover, he usually does not team up with the young Komiyama. Despite of this, the Hanshin's closer kept the score. In the end, he patted Komiyama's head to cheer him.

Hanshin was in scoring position again: bases loaded, one out. But Asai's hit was caught by the first baseman. Brazell quickly dove to the first base... But the umpire called a double play. Brazell refused to let this injustice go by and had an altercation with the umpire. Brazell was expelled from the match. Mayumi did not insist. Now he has to change the positions of the fielders: Asai went to the first base, Shunsuke came back in the center field... Who is going to be the right fielder? Ken Nishimura got out of the bullpen. Kyuji is not going to pitch? But Ken did not went to the mound. Shunsuke put an arm around his shoulders and took him to the outfield. And that is how Hanshin discovered a new right fielder.

Mayumi "enjoyed" switching Hirano and Nishimura's positions. The latter went many times from the right field to the left, and from the left field to the right.

Kyuji had an at-bat in the 11th inning. He did not hit but seemed to be enjoying himself. The 12th inning started soon after that, but Kyuji did not go to the mound. The ball-shaped small car that takes the pitchers from the bullpen to the mound dropped off Fukuhara, leaving the fans skeptical. Actually, Fukuhara's pitching was good yesterday, and today too he kept the situation under control.

Hanshin's last turn to attack came. Hirano and Toritani could not score like in the beginning of the match. Again, only one batter was left. Chunichi's catcher decided to intentionally walk Arai, since the next batter was Nishimura. Indeed, Ken swung at the two first pitches. But he quickly started to see the trajectory of the balls, and let the pitcher throw two balls. At this precise moment Arai decided to steal the second base. Some days before, Arai said: "I'm slower than you think, you know". Obviously he failed and the match ended.

At least they did not lose. The Giants did. Chunichi is still 0.5 games behind Hanshin. Our ace is back. The Tigers were wonderful. You can see the whole game in the youtube channel of this person. The link to the first video is this one.

2 commentaires:

  1. Bonjour! トラマニさん。 I'm Torattyo.
    I was allowed to read your blog. And I became feelings that got excited very much again. Nohmi did a good pitching that exceeded my assumption. He became stouter because of the effort to return from the injury. He is really reliable!!

    Though it was a game in which a lot of things happen, I felt eagerness to confront and desperate efforts to win in all players. In Hanshin Tigers by which the last fragment named Nohmi necessary to win the championship becomes complete, yesterday's union power is very reliable.

    Surely, this game will go down to Hanshin's history. I love Tigers more than before.

    However, I laughed too much yesterday… XD

  2. Torattyo-san, thank you for your comment.

    I'm also very happy to be a Hanshin-fan, and very proud of my favorite player (Nohmi). If they keep playing like yesterday they will be able to win the championship and also the Climax Series!

    This game was really stressful, but I laughed so much too XD