You’ve already heard it, right? The Tigers have been eliminated from the playoff race. They are winless at home against the Giants this year. The only thing left to cheer for is rookie Shun Takayama breaking club (and league?) records. Still, baseball goes on until the end of September, even for teams out of contention. So here we go…
Game 137 – Sunday 9/18: Game Called Due to Inclement Weather
I was actually supposed to be in attendance at this one. Bob Bavasi contacted me and said he had a spare ticket. It would have been nice to attend a game with him and his tour group. Instead I sat at home because the game got called at 12:10 pm because of morning rain and a forecast for a whole lot more the rest of the day. Guess what. It did not rain the entire afternoon. (This one will be rescheduled but probably not until September 30 at the earliest, as Yomiuri has a very packed schedule the rest of the way, having a ton of makeup games to play besides this one.)
Game 137 – Monday 9/19: The Day All the Youngens Played Quality Ball
Starting with pitcher Yuta Iwasada, the young guys did their job and then some on this day. The rejuvenated lefty now has pitched enough innings on the year to qualify for titles (for the first time in his 3-year career) and mowed down the Giants early and often. Takayama gave him an early lead with a huge blast to center with the bases vacant and two outs in the bottom of the first. Then after Iwasada struck out the side in the second, Yutaro Itayama hit a sharp liner to right center to score one, and Fumiya Hojoh found the gap in left center to bring home two more. Iwasada kept cruising until the top of the seventh, when he gave up a solo blast to Murata. That would be all the Giants could muster, though. Iwasada got out of two consecutive innings with double plays late in the game, and Marcos Mateo shut the door on the Giants in the final frame. The long winless streak at Koshien was over. The first W against the Giants waited until the last series, but fans still celebrated as though the game actually mattered.
Final Score: Tigers 4, Giants 1. Team Record: 58-76-3. WP: Iwasada (8-9) SV: Mateo (18)
Game 138 – Tuesday 9/20: Incoming Typhoon Calls Game Off
A typhoon sweeping through the Kansai region caused another postponement. Because the Giants have played the fewest games in the Central League, they are busy for most of September. These may not end up being played until the first couple of days in October. No schedule has been announced yet.
Regardless, thanks to some rain that never came and a typhoon that brought in a lot of water and wind, we can say that we swept this series against the Giants. Great job, Tigers!