Talk about your unexpected surprises! We’ve been lamenting the lack of quality starters in the Lotte rotation for ages now, and it seems we may have had one in our midst the whole time and not known it. Quality? You want quality? My buddy Takuya Furuya – plucked from ni-gun and the bullpen, making his first career ichi-gun start – utterly and completely dominated Orix in Osaka, decisively grabbing a 7-0 victory in one-hit style.
I haven’t even begun to tell you how awesome this performance was.
WHO IS THIS FURUYA???
My buddy Furuya1! We haven’t seen you around much these days – a touch of unsuccessful relief these past two years after a solid 2010 in the pen. He’s never been an ichi-gun starter, though as of late he has been starting at ni-gun. He’s been very, very good at ni-gun – leading the Eastern League in ERA (at 1.47) and featuring an impressive 9.81 K/9 and stupendous 10/1 K/BB ratio. On top of all this, in May Furuya threw a 10-strikeout no hitter vs ni-gun Yokohama. He’s had a hell of a year.
1 Why is Furuya “My Buddy Furuya,” anyway? I’m not sure of I have told this story on the blog before – probably – but back in 2009 I went to Koshien with my buddy John after watching Lotte at QVC. We managed to randomly take the same Shinkansen as the Lotte pitching staff, and in the same two cars they were riding. Anyway, waiting next to me in the line to board was Furuya. We chatted for a few minutes, so since then he’s been My Buddy Furuya.
I ran into Hiro Kobayashi on the train as well. I was wearing my Lotte hat, he was in between cars fiddling with his phone. I gave him a “‘sup?” (literally, not in Japanese) and he just stared at me in a sort of horrified state. I should mention I was drunk at the time. Good memories.
I would love to tell you about all the jams that Furuya got into tonight and guttily pitched out of. I would love to tell you that with runners in scoring position Furuya threw darts to the perfect position, freezing batters and walking to the dugout with a sly smile on his face.
But I can’t tell you that at all. That’s because Furuya spent basically no time in trouble at all – he was absolutely PERFECT for the first 7 2/3 innings until giving up a walk to Takahashi in the 8th. And he was so-o-o close to a no hitter, going all the way to a 3-2 count to Sakaguchi with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. But on his 134th pitch of the night, Sakaguchi hit a clean triple to right. What a pitching masterpiece!
Furuya’s final line – 9 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 139 pitches, and a complete game shutout. Le wow. He got good support from the defense – a nice catch at the wall by T OGINO and a great sliding catch in foul territory by Kiyota, but this was mostly on Furuya’s back.
Great Pitching Does You No Good With No Run Support
Go ask Karakawa about that one. Fortunately for Furuya, he faced no such worries. In fact, he got all the offense he needed on the very first pitch of the game when Fighting Nemo smashed a fastball from Orix starter Matsuba to center right for a homer. As quick as it gets, a 1-0 Lotte lead.
In the 5th, Our Marines busted the game wide open. Daichi drew a one-out walk, and Satozaki (4-4 with a double and a run scored, more than making up for last night’s mess) pushed him to third with a single. Ishimine grounded to Baldiris at third, Daichi headed home but got caught in a rundown… that Orix couldn’t execute. Daichi in to score, Sato to third, Ishimine to second, and Lotte up 2-0.
We’re not done yet! Nemoto drew a walk to load the bases up, and Matsuba walked Kakunaka to bring in Satozaki and make it a 3-0 game. That was it for Matsuba, Moriwaki-kantoku was going to the pen and bringing out Hirai. But Hirai was fortunately no help at all – Iguchi smashed a 3-2 pitch to the wall for a bases-clearing double! Shortly after, Saburo brought in Iguchi with a double of his own. That’s a 6 run Lotte inning, and a 7-0 Lotte lead. How’s the feeling that your teammates got your back, Furuya?
Of course Our Marines needed to do nothing more but to help Furuya in the field – 7 runs was more than enough to end this game with a win. Gotta love the offensive efficiency tonight – the opposite of last night’s game. 7 runs on 7 hits, no BS.
Lotte faces Orix again in the rubber match – Greisinger is back at ichi-gun and ready to face former Hamu man Yagi. Greisinger will never be able to better Furuya’s masterwork but let’s hope he pitches a great one!