The Dragons played their make-up with Yakult on Saturday at Jingu in a bit of a Climax preview. Kawakami had a solid outing, and he Muto, Mise and Iwase combined for the shutout.
Chunichi smoked the BayStars on Sunday 13-2, powered mainly be a 11-run 5th inning. Most of the damage was done against Yokohama's I.C Wang.
In other news:
- The Climax Series is set for October 13-15 at the Nagoya Dome. Fortunately for those in the Pacific Time Zone, the weekend games (13th & 14th) will start at 2 PM Japan Time, so they'll be on at 10 PM here. Hopefully Chunichi can wrap it up in just those two games.
- Sounds like the Dragons are planning to offer contracts for at least 2013 to Tony Blanco, Enyelbert Soto and Jorge Sosa. A no-brainer for all of those guys.
- Reports are saying that Masafumi Hirai, Takashi Ogasawara and Maximo Nelson will not be offered contracts for 2013. Hirai is an older player now and has had a decent career, but hasn't pitched all that well since 2010. Chunichi has plenty of solid relief pitchers and Hirai was unlikely to work his way back up the depth chart. Ogasawara struggled in his opportunity at ichi-gun this year and hasn't pitched much at ichi-gun since 2009. He's a lefty and has some success in the past, I think there is a chance another NPB team will take a look at him. I hate to see Maximo go, but it's understandable with the injuries he's had this year and the uncertainty over when he would be ready to pitch next year. I always liked how he held the ball so loose and kinda let his arm dangle, you could tell he had a whip just by looking at him, even though he was so skinny. I'll also never forget how he tried to enter Japan with live ammo in his bag, and got suspended for several months.
- Ryuya Ogawa made his first-career start last Thursday against Yokohama. He gave up two earned runs over four innings and took the loss, also the first in his career.
- Rakuten kept their playoff hopes alive with a win Saturday against Softbank, pulling to within 2.5 games of the Hawks. The Eagles have eight games left to play so they still a have slim chance. I'd like to see them pull it off.