Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pitching Lineup for Climax

Yakyubaka linked to a Sports Hochi article today which listed Chunichi's likely starters for the upcoming Climax Series to be Kenshin Kawakami, Kenichi Nakata and Soma Yamauchi.  Moving forward without the team's two best starters this year, Kaz Yoshimi and Enyelbert Soto due to injury, is not exactly what the Dragons or their fans were planning on a few weeks ago when looking ahead to this first-round matchup.  Still this group, with a combined 2.64 ERA this year, should still give Chunichi a chance to move on to Round 2.  In comparison, Yakult's team ERA this year was 3.35 and aside from Shohei Tateyama they don't have another starter with an ERA under 3.00.  Unfortunately they do have lefty Kyohei Muranaka who absolutely owned the Dragons the last two times he faced them throwing shutouts both times. 
Chunichi's big pitching advantage is pretty much gone at this point, at least as far as the starters, but it's still close.  The Dragons do probably still have the edge in the bullpen and do have home field advantage, which was a major factor for them in the regular season.  Yakult has the more imposing lineup and Lastings Milledge will probably be back in some capacity.  Everything is pointing to a very competitive series and hopefully Chunichi will survive in the end.

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