vs. Dragons – October 5 – Koshien Drought Broken

Though the Tigers’ place in the standings is already set, this next-to-last game was still important.

1) The team had not scored at Koshien in 29 innings heading into this series;

2) It was riding a 7-game winless streak at home;

3) This was a great chance to give the young guys more playing time.

What better team to face than the young, inexperienced, rebuilding Chunichi Dragons?

Game 142 – Thursday 10/5. Takeyasu Debuts, Wins in Relief

Starting Pitchers: Takumi Akiyama (12-6, 3.05 ERA) vs. Shinnosuke Ogasawara (5-7, 4.98 ERA)

Both pitchers duked it out through five innings. The game finally got in motion in…

Top 6: Akiyama hit a batter, saw him get gunned down at second on a stolen base attempt, and then walked the guy he had been facing. The next batter hit an RBI double to right center. Akiyama’s night ended here. 6 IP, 76 TP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 R, 5 K. Hanshin 0, Chunichi 1

Bottom 6: With one out and no one on, Yoshio Itoi KABLAMO. Hanshin 1, Chunichi 1

Top 7: Daichi Takeyasu (2015 3rd pick) made his top squad debut, striking out the first batter he faced and inducing two pop flies.

Bottom 7: The hitters came through at last, with Yusuke Ohyama and Kai Ueda stroking back-to-back singles, and Taiga Egoshi taking one for the team to load the bases. Shunsuke hit an interesting ground ball to first with one out, and though he became the second out, the go-ahead run scored in the meantime. Hanshin 2, Chunichi 1

Top 8: Hiroto Saiki (2016 3rd pick) also got his first career top squad mound appearance on this night. Walk. Fly out. Strikeout. Hit. Walk. Fly out. Not the cleanest of innings, but the bagels all count the same. His battery mate was rookie Kenya Nagasaka (2016 7th pick).

Top 9: Rafael Dolis ensured that he will earn the saves crown at season’s end by getting a trifecta of outs: grounder, fly ball, strikeout.

Final Score: Hanshin 2, Chunichi 1. WP: Takeyasu (1-0). SV: Dolis (37). Team Record: 77-61-4

Game 143 – Friday 10/6. And’oh! Rained Out!

Woulda Been Starting Pitchers: Randy Messenger (11-5, 2.46 ERA) vs. Yudai Ohno (7-8, 4.02 ERA)

This was supposed to be the final game of the year for Hanshin, and a retirement game for Yuya Andoh, but the weather would have none of that. The game will be played on October 10, weather permitting, of course.

Season Series:  15 – 9 

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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.