Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chunichi Drops First Game of Hiroshima Series, Playoff Chances Near Zero

With last night's 5-3 loss to Hiroshima the Dragons are now 5 1/2 games behind the Carp with seven games left to play.  After failing to make up much ground this past weekend, only one game in the standings, it was already reaching "needing a miracle" territory for the Dragons.  Last night's loss was the next to last nail in the 2013 season coffin. 

Chunichi had Kawakami on the mound for the game and he pitched well, leaving the game with a 3-2 Dragons lead after six.  The Carp took the lead in the top of the 7th with some clutch hitting off of Mise and Asao.  The Hiroshima bullpen held the lead from there.

It would take an all-time collapse now by Hiroshima for the Dragons to make the playoffs and that's not going to happen.  Hiroshima is playing some good ball right now, right when they needed to.  They may even make it to .500 by the end of the season, maybe for the first time all season.  If they do make it into the playoffs, hopefully they will at least knock off Hanshin and Yomiuri in the Climax.  They don't the same talent as those teams, but with good pitching they have a chance, the Dragons have shown that over the past several years.

I'll at least be rooting for Rakuten this year.  They are the Pacific League team I pull for and have a good shot to do some damage.  They're a lot better than the last time they made the playoffs with the 41 year old "zombie corpse" (per the Eagles blog) of Takeshi Yamasaki as one of their main players.  He did hit 39 homers that year though, plus three more in the playoffs.  


Steve Novosel said...

Too bad about this season for you - a lot of guys got old. You've had a nice run the past few years though.

BTW I wish you had more login options - ID/name would be nice. I run the welovemarines.com blog.


MoeyoCD said...

Yeah, they were probably overdue for a bad season.

Can't really complain about the seasons for Wada, Morino, Iwase and Tanishige, but definitely time for a new middle infield.

The Yoshimi, Asao and Luna injuries hurt a lot too. Probably the three best players on the team.

Enjoy the playoffs!

There should be some more login options now

Steve Novosel said...

I've been worried about Chunichi for a few years since management only seems to want to play the older veterans, and not develop any younger players on the ichi-gun team. But losing Yoshimi and Asao especially were just killers this year.

What do you think the lineup will look like next year? Any major changes?

MoeyoCD said...

Probably not a ton of changes, there aren't a lot of stud prospects trying to force their way onto the team. My feeling is more that they haven't drafted position players well more so than they haven't been developed enough. They almost always go for pitching first.

Even if they keep Clark, they will probably bring someone in to challange him. Morino will bounce around the infield, might play a lot at second, he looks useful again now that the ball's been changed. They seemed ready to go with Shuhei Takahashi at short until Luna got hurt, but that makes for a kinda shaky infield defense. Probably Ibata will get time too. Luna will be back at third if he's healthy, he's signed for a couple years.

Hirata seems to have locked down RF, Oshima and Fujii will battle it out for CF. Wada still in LF. Those four will get a bulk of the time in the OF. Takahiro Donoue and Yusuke Matsui may get some time as well.

I'm sure Tanishige will be the catcher, their other catchers are still green. Daisuke Tanaka has been getting time as the backup but he can't hit or stop the ball. I think there's still hope for Masato Matsui and Sugiyama but they are still too young to take over next year.

I'm excited about Takahashi and would like to see more of T. Donoue, but I don't see much more help from the youngsters in the very near future. N. Donoue is versatile in the infield and still only 24, but he's hitting under .200 in over 150 PA's this year.

Still if they can get production from 1B and get their pitching healthy they can be competitive next year.

There isn't ever much of a free agent market in the NPB, do you know of anyone likely to be available this offseason and looking to switch teams?

Steve Novosel said...

I guess the big potential free agents this year are Wakui and German from Seibu, plus Murton. Wolfe is not coming back to Ham - I hope we go for him or other starting pitching.

Other than that, probably just some shuffling of older guys. Someone like Imae could move but I don't see it - he'll never get the sort of deal he has at Lotte.

Matsuzaka might come back from MLB should he get no suitors this offseason, same with Wada, same with K Tanaka and (maybe) Nakajima. Who knows if Munerin's going to have a MLB job, either.

MoeyoCD said...

I'd absolutely love to for Chunichi to get Nakajima or Tanaka, but hadn't really thought about it because there's probably no chance that would happen.

Imae is a nice player, but in a position they've already invested in.

I don't think Chunichi would get into a bidding war for any of the foreign players, that seems to be their policy. They might go after Wakui or Wada, but that wouldn't address their biggest needs.

Do you think Lotte will sign Ramirez? They already have some solid options at DH.