@ Carp – June 23-25 – Outplayed, Outclassed, Embarrassed

While the Carp had a slightly better interleague record than the Tigers, the standings atop the Central were still close heading into this one. Last year at this time, Hanshin opened the post-interleague schedule in Hiroshima with an embarrassing 3-game sweep. Everyone knew that and had revenge in their minds. They did not have it in their pitching arms, or bats, though, and this season’s sweep, while minimized by a rainout, was perhaps even more humiliating than the last.

Game 65 – Friday 6/23. Beaten Early, Often, and Thoroughly

Starting Pitchers: Randy Messenger (7-2) vs. Kris Johnson (1-1)

Bottom 1: The first three guys got hits (the third bringing in a run), the next two guys hit sacrifice flies, and the mood was set for the entire gloomy weekend. Hanshin 0, Hiroshima 3

Top 3: With runners on the corners, Yoshio Itoi hit one into shallow center to get one run back. Hanshin 1, Hiroshima 3

Bottom 3: Seiya Suzuki hit one into right to extend the lead back to three, and Matsuyama hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead a little more. Hanshin 1, Hiroshima 5

Bottom 4: Randy struggled with missing bats all night. His night ended earlier than any start this season. 4 IP, 64 TP, 8 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 5 R

Bottom 5: His replacement on the mound must have taken a few Fukuzawas under the table from the Carp, because he was nice and easy to hit. Recent call-up (and brand newlywed) Akihiro Yanase got just 3 outs, equally the number of home runs he allowed in the inning. Hanshin 1, Hiroshima 13

Top 8: With the bases stuffed and no one out, Fumihito Haraguchi hit a sacrifice fly, followed by a run-scoring grounder by Takashi Toritani. That is all.

Final Score: Hiroshima 13, Hanshin 3. LP: Messenger (7-3). Team Record: 37-28-0

Game 66 – Saturday 6/24. Lots of Hits, Even More Rain

Starting Pitchers: Atsushi Nohmi (2-3) vs. Kazuki Yabuta (6-1)

It was raining right from the get-go, and both teams seemed to be taking advantage of the pitchers’ poor control. This one was 3-5 in favor of the Carp when it got called in the bottom of the 4th. It will be re-played another day, likely in late September.

Game 66, Take 2 – Sunday 6/25. Sadagain: F is for (lack of team) efFort

Starting Pitchers: Yuta Iwasada (3-4) vs. Daichi Ohsera (4-0)

Bottom 1: Suzuki put Hiroshima on the board early. Don’t be surprised – Iwasada has been doing this all year. Hanshin 0, Hiroshima 1

Bottom 4: With two outs, Ohsera gets a ground-rule double, which is followed by an RBI by Tanaka and a two-run blast by Kikuchi. Iwasada finished off the inning but that was all for him. Final line: 4 IP, 90 TP, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 6 K. Hanshin 0, Hiroshima 4

Bottom 8: Replacing Yanase on the roster was Koki Moriya. He faced just two batters, leaving the game without recording an out and hoping Akifumi Takahashi could come in and clean up the mess. He induced a sacrifice fly, then got the next two outs without issue. But who cares. Hanshin’s bats did nothing at all when chances arose (and plenty arose in the game’s first five innings.)

Final Score: Hiroshima 5, Hanshin 0. LP: Iwasada (3-5). Team Record: 37-29-0

Season Series:  6 – 5 

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.