We had five games on Thursday as two teams completed three-game sweeps that were unusual in one way or another, while one team kind of swept–a tie followed by two wins, and two bounced back from Game 1 losses to take two out of three, including the Fighters in their red-and-black Tsuyoshi Shinjo uniforms.
I’ve also got some thoughts on Chunichi Dragons manager Kazuyoshi’s attempt to model his managing style on that of his mentor, the late great Senichi Hoshino, and why it ain’t working.
Tigers 4, Dragons 1: At Nagoya Dome, where the Hanshin Tigers have a long history of surprising futility, Hanshin swept a road series against Chunichi for the first time in six years, and equaled their 1985 Japan Series championship team by being 10 games over .500 37 games into the season.
New import Johan Mieses crashed Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi‘s party early with a two-out three-run first-inning double. Koji Chikamoto, who sparked the three-run first with a leadoff single, doubled in Seiya Kinami in the second, and lefty Masashi Ito (2-0) didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning.
I’m back from a week’s vacation in the States, and on a holiday Thursday afternoon in Japan, we came within one out of a five-pitcher, two-catcher combined no-hitter and had a three walk-off wins, including two on home runs.
Meanwhile, the BayStars’ slide into the dark side makes me think it’s time we give them a more fitting name. In the old days, before nicknames became brands and became etched in stone, American teams drew inspiration from events and personalities.
An old-fashioned name for DeNA
Take the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their name was ostensibly taken from fans dodging streetcars to get into Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. Before that, the franchise was known for a time in the 19th Century as the “Bridegrooms,” after several players were married and later the Robins, in honor of manager Wilbert “Uncle Robbie” Robinson.
Pittsburgh’s current club, meanwhile, got its nickname from “pirating” a player — signing second baseman Louis Bierbauer in violation of an agreement to not take in players who belonged to other major league clubs before they competed in the Players League in 1890.
Because of its strenuous white washing of the ugly truths surrounding the pitcher it signed that the Dodgers are paying more than $40 million this year not to wear their uniform, and whom 29 other MLB teams declined to sign for MLB’s minimum wage, we should revive that tradition for DeNA.
Any ideas? For the time being, the Whitewashers will do…although I’m open to suggestions. It wouldn’t hurt to come up with fitting nicknames for all 12 teams while we’re at it, but I’ll leave that to you dear readers for now.
Fighters 1, Lions 0: At Seibu Dome, converted reliever Koki Kitayama (1-1) walked two batters over six innings, and Nippon Ham came within an out of a combined no-hitter, but had to settle for a shutout as reliever Seigi Tanaka, the Fighters’ fifth pitcher, surrendered back-to-back two-out singles before locking down the win with his third strikeout and recording his third save.
Wataru Matsumoto (2-2) allowed a run on six hits but no walks over seven innings. He surrendered the lead in the seventh on Chusei Mannami’s fifth home run.