Opinion Piece: Why’d the Tigers Lose?


When the baseball game ends in a loss, another game starts immediately following the last out. Why did we lose? Who fell short? The name of the game is “Find the Scapegoat.” After watching last night’s unfortunate loss to the first place Giants, it was easy to join in the game and look for the culprit.

Let’s look at the culprits:

1) Starting pitcher Atsushi Nohmi: He was the only Tigers pitcher to throw, and he earned a loss for it, so he is an obvious target. We have to mention the disaster of a ninth inning, in which he walked three hitters, gave up a hit to another, threw two wild pitches, and allowed two runners to steal second base. Clearly Nohmi was laboring the entire frame, and did not have enough gas in the tank. Ball after ball was in the dirt, and were it not for solid play by catcher Ryutaro Umeno, there would have been a couple more wild pitches. Nohmi threw well all game until that final inning, when his pitch count was getting high and his control was off. So perhaps the blame falls more accurately on…

2) Manager Yutaka Wada: This is a man who has been notorious for keeping pitchers in games too long all season. He did the same thing to Shintaro Fujinami a couple of starts ago, hoping to get a complete game out of his young ace, instead watching a comfortable lead get down to a single run. On one hand, I think it’s easy to blame the manager for holding on too long. But with a bullpen like the Tigers’, in which every guy has blown a game or two in the past two months, it is hard to have a lot of faith that they would have done any better. Let’s not forget the ninth inning could have ended a lot earlier if it weren’t for…

3) Second base umpire Shimada: With one out in the ninth and Giants speedster Naohiro Suzuki running on a pitch in the dirt by Nohmi, Umeno made a perfect throw to second for what would be the second out and a rally killer. The safe call that ensued was questionable, and eventually resulted in the game winning run for the Giants (two wild pitches later). Many a Tigers fan saw the baserunner as out, but the umpire said otherwise. Of course, none of this would have mattered if not for the anaemic hitting by…

4) The Tigers hitters: Take away the first inning in which they scored two runs on two hits (including Mauro Gomez‘s home run), and you got a grand total of 3 hits the rest of the way. Yes, they also got four men on board via walks and hit batsmen, but that is also part of the problem: they could not produce a single run despite seven base runners over the final eight innings.


I’m going to be bold and say this one falls on the hitters. Even if the first three suspects had done their jobs properly (Nohmi did for 8 of 9 innings), the game still would have been a tie after nine. However, the hitters need to deliver more than five hits and two runs, especially against a formidable opponent.

Unfortunately that one run in the top of the ninth is the difference between the Tigers being just 0.5 behind the first-place Giants and the current reality of being 2.5 down. Either way, the Tigers have been impressive of late and have gained 4.5 games on first since the end of interleague play. Let’s keep it going, Tigers! The only game we want to think about after the final out is guessing who will be named Hero of the Game! GO TIGERS!

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