Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week in Review: May 21 - May 27

The Dragons went 3-1-1 this week against Rakuten, Nippon Ham and Softbank, putting their interleague record at 5-2-2.  They continue to stand in first place 2 games ahead of the charging Yomiuri Giants, who are the only team with a better record than Chunichi so far though interleague play.  Here are few notes from this week:
  • Pitching coach Hiroshi Gondo told reporters that Masa Yamamoto will most likely to be taken off of roster after another sub-par start.  Opposing teams have been getting to him of late as they see him for a second time this season.  Hopefully this isn't the end for Masa, I don't think it will be as NPB roster rules aren't as restricting as the MLB's.  If it is he at least made the start of 2012 memorable with a great start to the season and some record-setting nights.  I do hope he continues until the end of the season and then calls it quits on his own terms.
  • Motonobu Tanishige moved into 4th on the list of NPB games played at 2,678.  Very, very impressive for a catcher.  Tanishige is one of my favorite Dragons and at the age of 41 he's still a solid defensive catcher.  Prior to last year's Japan Series, I've always thought of him as a good clutch hitter as well and I love the icy "c'mon man" stare he sometimes gives teammates when they do something dumb in the field.  His longevity and toughness is just amazing, his first season was in 1989 for Taiyo, and he's caught over 100 games in 16 straight seasons including 141 games in both the 2005 and 2006 seasons for Chunichi. He's probably been hit by 1,000s of foul tips and all the other things that take their toll on catchers, yet he keeps coming back for more, the guy is truly an animal.
  • Ryosuke Hirata is still out with a lower back strain, he didn't play in any games this week.
  • I was very impressed with Shinji Tajima's outing on Saturday against the Fighters.  The rookie came into a high pressure situation, bases loaded in a 2-run game, and got Micah Hoffpauir to hit into an inning-ending double play.  Tajima then followed that with a scoreless 8th inning. 
  • Tony Blanco mashed this week: 9 for 16 with 2 HR.

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