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A Good Start Wasted

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If I told you that Kobayashi Hiroyuki – the starter who was great prior to last year but only went 5-12 with an ERA above 5 in 2008 and is 2-9 with a 4.67 ERA in 2009 and has lost 5 of his last 6 starts – wait, that’s too long of an aside. If I told you that Kobayshi would face the hated Lions in Chiba Marine tonight and throw a complete game, 7-hit, 7-K, 1-run performance – you’d be pretty happy with that, right? I sure would.

Problem is, his counterpart was the Lions’s ace, Wakui. And Wakui was very strong indeed – throwing a complete game, 13-K shutout and a ludicrous 161 pitches to deal Lotte the 1-0 loss in the first game of the mid-week three game set.

Here’s what you need to know about this game: Wakui only allowed Lotte two real scoring chances. The first was when Saburo led off the 4th with a double and the second was when Lotte loaded the bases in the 7th with two outs. Both times Wakui worked himself – and the Lions – out of a jam.

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Hiro only made one awful pitch, the one smacked over the fence by Kuriyama in the third. And even that pitch didn’t clear the fence by much – from my perch in the outfield I didn’t think it was going out, but it just cleared.

Lotte even nailed Ishii in a rundown between third and home to prevent another run from scoring. Satozaki picked off Ginjiro from second when he took a big lead after a seventh inning double. The pitching and defense did it’s part, but really, you don’t win so many games when you don’t score any runs.

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The series rolls on on Thursday, and hopefully Lotte can score a few runs this time – more than the Lions, even!

Spotted in the outfield tonight: “Heiuchi 2010” T-shirts.

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