Category Archives: Baseball

Scapegoat time in Tiger Land?

“When you see a team looking around for a scapegoat, that’s a pretty good indication that one will soon be needed.”

Bill James

I’m not certain that Yangervis Solarte is being fitted for the goat horns or not, but the news today that he went 0-for-3 and made an error in his first game on the farm since being deactivated is a bad sign.

The bigger the team is in Japan, the greater the need for a fall guy when things go wrong. As a result, we see it a lot with Japan’s too oldest clubs, the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants — although less with the Giants now that their fascist generalissimo, Tsuneo Watanabe, is fading into the background.

Solarte is 13-for-69 with nine walks and a .406 slugging average, and has been a ball of energy and fun, although not a superior defender at short.

A friend of mine who was spending a year covering the Tigers for the Daily Sports, perhaps the paper that has the most intense Tigers following, told me that in the summer of 2012, a number of the team’s veterans –including legend Tomoaki Kanemoto — were hitting for a low average, but the coaches refused to criticize them to reporters, who badly needed a scapegoat.

According to the reporter, the coaches began giving harsh evaluations of Matt Murton and Craig Brazell in order to satisfy the media pack. This led to streams of annoying questions for Murton who eventually burst out with a sarcastic quip that gave the press what it wanted.

I don’t think the team is looking to turn Solarte into a scapegoat, but stories by the Tigers beat writers this summer suggested that Jefry Marte was the leading candidate until Solarte’s arrival, but that his new teammate is the man whose head is being fitted for horns by reporters.

NPB games of Aug. 21, 2019

Yuki Yangita comes back and the Hawks get smacked. Go figure.

Pacific League

Buffaloes 14, Hawks 4

At Yafuoku Dome, Stefen Romero and Steven Moya reached base a total of nine times and each scored four runs as Orix came from behind on four RBIs from Ryoichi Adachi to beat SoftBank.

Yuki Yanagita, playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury on April 7, singled in his first at-bat and scored on Seiichi Uchikawa’s two-run homer in the first inning. The Hawks, however, managed just one walk against a string of five Orix relievers over the final five innings.

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 3, Marines 1

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Takahiro Norimoto (3-3) allowed a run over 6-2/3 innings to outduel Kazuya Ojima (1-4) in Rakuten’s win over Lotte.

Eigoro Mogi and Jabari Blash homered for the Eagles, while Yuki Matsui reached 30 saves for the fourth time in five seasons.

Game highlights are HERE.

Lions 11, Fighters 6

At MetLife Dome, Nippon Ham made five errors and Takayuki Kato (5-6) allowed five runs in 1-1/3 innings in a one-sided loss to Seibu.

Kotaro Kiymiya’s first career homer as a cleanup hitter was overshadowed by Japan’s premier power hitter, Hotaka Yamakawa, who put the Lions in front in the second inning with his 36th home run and then hit his 37th three innings later.

Game highlights are HERE.

Central League

Giants 5, Dragons 2

At Nagoya Dome, Tomoyuki Sugano () slogged his way through seven innings, scattering eight hits and a walk, while allowing one run in Yomiuri’s win over Chunichi.

Yoshihiro Maru went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs, while Kazuma Okamoto plated him twice with RBI singles, and Alex Guerrero homered in his old home ballpark.

Tigers 3, BayStars 1

At Kyocera Dome, Takumi Akiyama (4-3) struck out five, while allowing a run over five innings, and Hanshin’s bullpen kept DeNA in check with four scoreless innings.

Shun Takayama homered in the third off rookie Taiga Kamichatani (6-5), and Jefry Marte drove in the Tigers two other runs, and the bullpen did the rest. Suguru Iwazaki, Rafael Dolis and Pierce Johnson got the game to the ninth, when Kyuji Fujikawa struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning to record his eighth save.

Game highlights are HERE.

Carp 5, Swallows 4

At Mazda Stadium, Seiya Suzuki homered and drove in three runs as Hiroshima twice overcame two-run deficits to edge Yakult for the second-straight night. Tomohiro Abe opened the eighth with a homer off David Huff (1-4), who faced five batters in the inning but threw just seven pitches.

The Swallows failed to score in the ninth against Shota Nakazaki — who gave a vintage performance. The right-hander saved his ninth game despite loading the bases with one out in a scoreless ninth. It was his first save since May 29.