What people are saying
Brandon Laird and situational hitting
During Thursday’s broadcast, the analyst doing the Marines-Eagles game, former catcher Toshihiro Noguchi, relayed Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi’s concern over Brandon Laird’s hitting and the reason the skipper had him batting fifth instead of youngster Koki Yamaguchi, who dropped to sixth.
“Manager Iguchi wants Laird to have a better batting average with runners in scoring position,” Noguchi said. “He’s batting .154 with runners in scoring position but has a good OBP, over .300. Manager Iguchi’s thinking is that by batting Laird fifth, he can drive in runs and take the pressure off Yamaguchi and allow him to flourish a bit.
A .300 OBP is outstanding if you’re a pitcher and not a disaster for a catcher, but it is about what we expect from Laird. He’s a low average guy who can hit home runs and draw some walks. He’s a good teammate and he can play every day at third base. A lot of people can’t say that.
The great debate
The guys on Pro Yakyu News must have really been starved for topics after this Eagles-Marines game. With the news that the Eagles will get Masahiro Tanaka back on Saturday, somebody must have held a gun – or a sword since guns are pretty hard to come by in Japan – to Takagi’s head so he could ask: “Which of these pitchers will the Eagles drop from their rotation or will they go with seven?”
I try not to be mean, but that’s the equivalent of asking if I want chocolate.
You’ve got four good pitchers, Hideaki Wakui (2-0, 1.23 ERA), Takayuki Kishi (2-1, 1.29), Takahiro Norimoto (2-0, 1.86) and rookie Takahisa Hayakawa (2-2, 2.55), and two less-good pitchers who’ve looked really good at times since last year: Ryota Takinaka (1-2, 7.50) and Hayato Yuge (0-0, 10.80).
Kicking the Buffaloes while they’re down
Another topic was the defensive differences between the Hawks and Buffaloes in their series, and that was an issue, but two of the examples were a dropped grounder that didn’t cost Orix, and a wild throw after an infield single that didn’t really cost Orix. There was an error on the play only after second baseman Koji Oshiro did a good job to keep the ball IN the infield.
It’s just another example of the media deciding on an issue and then shaking the tree to see how many examples they can pile together as “evidence.”
When in doubt, ascribe it to practice
The Hawks are good, Yoshiaki Kanemura said, because they practice to be good. This “they practice better” is a more enlightened view than the typical “they’re good because they practice more.”
Catcher, batting 2nd?
Yuhei Nakamura homered for the first time in over a year, and the PYN guys are again going? “A catcher, batting second? He’s hitting .280 in the No. 2 spot.”
But just like analysts cherry pick examples to suit their arguments, a hero is a hero, and Thursday’s consensus was that if he’s hitting and still getting the job done on defense, then “Hey why not.” Kanemura said, “They tell us never bat a catcher second, that his job is to call pitches. That his role and you don’t mess with it. But he’s doing that, and I’m intrigued by this.”