This team simply can’t beat the Carp. But even more than that, they can’t seem to figure out the 2016 CL champ’s ace, Kris Johnson. In his two seasons in NPB, the Tigers have never hung him with a loss. The fate of both teams has already been decided but still, a win against the Carp in their own building to end the season would be nice.
Game 138 – Thursday 9/22: Fujinami Finds Strike Zone, Two Rookies Find Bleachers
Johnson got through the Tigers order on 30 pitches. Nary a hit. Only two balls left the infield. It looked like this one would be a disaster. Fortunately, Shintaro Fujinami walked only one first inning batter and did not give up an early lead – a rare occurrence this season. Fumiya Hojoh started the fourth with a solo shot, and Hiroki Uemoto started the sixth with one of his own. The only tough situation Fujinami faced was in the seventh when runners were on first and third with just one out. He induced two pop fouls to third (both of which were chased down and coraled nicely by Takashi Toritani. When Johnson was replaced in the top of the eighth, he was lined up for his first L against the Tigers. *IF* they could hang on. Shun Takayama made sure the odds of a Tigers win increased by pushing one just over the right field wall, just out of the reach of Seiya Suzuki. Now, could Fujinami hold on? Would they really put him back in for the ninth after he went 132 pitches through 8? Yes and yes. But not without a solo shot to Suzuki in the final frame. Still, now that games don’t matter the Tigers are starting to beat the relaxed teams at the top of the standings.
Final Score: Tigers 4, Carp 1. Team Record: 59-76-3. WP: Fujinami (7-11)