This is 90% picture post and 10% game talk, though if you added it up by KB it would be more like 99.9% picture post and, well, you get the idea. Much like Friday night’s game this game was over very, very early as Lotte poured on the offense over visiting Yakult in a 20 – 4 rout to seal the two game sweep.
Here’s what you really need to know about this game:
– Lotte starter Yuji Yoshimi pitched great in his first ichi-gun game in a Lotte uniform. He was bought by Lotte from Yokohama two weeks ago – not traded for a player – despite being only 32, left-handed, having a sub 4.50 ERA the past 5 years, a 2-1 K/BB ratio, and 6 K/9. Why has Yokohama been so bad for so long? Hmm. Interestingly, when I heard Lotte acquired Yoshimi I thought “WOW! Kazuki Yoshimi” but hey, so far I like our Yoshimi just fine. For the game, he went 6 innings, giving up only 2 runs on 7 hits with 6 Ks. Nice debut!
– Every Lotte starter got a hit. The last holdout was Saburo – I was ragging on him when he came to bat in the 6th with 2 Ks and a pop to third (and with Lotte holding a 13 – 2 lead at this point). Apparently everyone else must have been giving him a hard time, too – so he promptly jacked a pitch off of Kawashima to deep left for a homer.
– Four Lotte players had 3 RBI – Tsuyoshi, Hayasaka, Ohmatsu, and Imae. Iguchi and Kim Tae Kyun had 2 RBIs each while Saburo and Imae had the other two.
– Even in a massive offensive explosion Tsuyoshi had an AMAZING game. He went 5-5 with a walk, a double, a homer, and an infield hit. He scored 5 runs which has got to be one of the rarer feats I can think of. Think about it – not only must you get on base a minimum of 5 times but the hitters behind you must be productive as well.
– Likewise, Imae came to the plate in the 7th with a single, double, and a triple – only needing a HR to complete the cycle. What does he do? He blasts a deep drive, way back, deep right center…. off the top of the fence. He hustles in for a double with a huge grin on his face. So close! 4-5 with 3 RBI and 8 total bases is still a great game by any standard.
– Yakult manager Takada was seemingly trying to get his young starter, 2009 first round draft pick Masato Nakazawa, killed. Even though it was clear Nakazawa had nothing this day Takada kept him in to get beat up again and again. He ended up giving up 10 runs, 8 earned, and it could have been worse as Lotte had the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the first yet had to settle for a single run (on a DP ball, no less). Is that really the best thing for a young starter’s confidence?
Yakult slapped on some meaningless runs later in the game off an Iihara triple, a Guiel single, and a D’ Antona HR. The 4 runs Yakult racked up late were negated and then some by the 7 runs Lotte scored in the 7th and 8th, though.
There were many great performances but above all it was a great team performance. I follow Yakult somewhat closely and hate to see them get beat up like this – I would of course like for us to beat Yakult but would rather we save the AAA Prime Ass-Kickings for Yomiuri/Seibu/Daiei…
As promised (threatened) – here’s many pictures from this game’s action.