Friday, December 18, 2015

Previewing the projected field - Kanto Dai-ichi (Tokyo)

Well, this iteration of a rare rivalry in Tokyo has gone the way of the boys from Kanto Dai-ichi, having defeated Nishogakushadai Fuzoku 4-3 in a wild finish. Just to let you know how amazing this is, here are the times these two teams have played when the chips are on the line (heck, I didn't even realize it went this far!):

  • 2006 Summer Qualifying - 4th Round - 8-9 after Nishogakushadai Fuzoku scores 6 runs late to overtake.
  • 2007 Summer Qualifying - 3rd Round - 14x-7 (7 inn) - After falling behind 7-1, they score 13 unanswered to call the game early.
  • 2008 Summer Qualifying - Semifinals - 7-2 - Their dominance continues after slowly pulling away to a 4-0 lead, conceding the 2 runs late.
  • 2011 Summer Qualifying - Semifinals - 7x-0 (7 inn) - Nishogakushadai Fuzoku reloads, but the results are the same, scoreless through 4, but Kanto Dai-ichi pulls away afterwards.
  • 2013 Summer Qualifying - Semifinals - 1-8x (8 inn) - This time Nishogakushadai Fuzoku finally exacts their revenge, pulling the same game that Kanto Dai-ichi did in 2008 - take the lead early, extend it, yield a late run, but win early.
  • 2013 Fall Qualifying - Finals - 7x-6 (10 inn) - Oddly the first time they would play in the fall (but not the last). Kanto Dai-ichi tried to slowly inch away like they've done in years past, but Nishogakushadai Fuzoku would have none of it, scoring 4 unanswered to tie the game. But it would be for naught as they would lose in the first frame of extras. Nishogakushadai Fuzoku would get snubbed for Yokohama when they shouldn't have.
  • 2014 Fall Qualifying - Semifinals - 5-6 (11 inn) - This was when finally Nishogakushadai Fuzoku made this a real rivalry, coming back the next year, trading punch-for punch with Kanto Dai-ichi, and this time prevailing in extras. While they would be the runner-up yet again, they would get the invite.
  • 2015 Fall Qualifying - Finals - 4-3 - Kanto Dai-ichi pulls it out late with 2 runs in the 8th and 9th innings against ace Ooe to claim the title and perhaps deny Nishogakushadai Fuzoku a spot at senbatsu.
So in the past 10 years, they have played 8 times out of a possible 20, with Kanto Dai-ichi leading the rivalry 5-3. And amazing yet, the last 6 times they have played in either the semifinals or the finals!

Given the fact that Tokyo is a large prefecture (even when they're both allocated to Higashi Tokyo), this is a pretty high rate of meeting each other. And they fact they're pretty much on the level tells you that this rivalry may continue for a long while.

On the pitching side, they aren't afraid to use a mix of pitchers led by ace Kawai Kaito (河合 海斗), reliever Satou Shouma (佐藤 奨真), and spot reliever LF Takei Taketo (竹井 丈人), the pitchers are of average velocity (low-mid 130s), while Takei can supposedly hit 140. But there is almost no information on the pitchers on the internet, just these videos. Good news is that against Nishogakushadai Fuzoku the two main pitchers, along with first year Ogawa Tatsuki (小川 樹) they struck out 8 while walking 3.

Offensively, from what I've found, it's the other two OF's that seem to lead the hitting. CF Miyamoto Eigo (宮本 瑛己) and RF Motohashi Keito (本橋 慶人) are the extra base hitters on the squad. Sadly, the box scores are not available for their games, so it's hard to say how good they are. And while they lost to Sapporo Dai-ichi, it was Takei that started the game and gave up 3 runs in 3.2IP. This suggests to me they weren't taking this game seriously, perhaps even not minding giving up this game lest Nishogakushadai Fuzoku gets in their way again.

I think they stand a chance, but with so little info (probably because of potential scouting issues), it would be hard to claim them a title chance.

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