Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 3, Game 2 - Kanto Dai-ichi (Tokyo) vs. Touhou (Aichi)

Our next game may highlight a pitcher who may be major league material. Touhou's Fujishima Kento put in yeoman's work, pitching in 14 of their 17 games. Through that he managed to maintain a K rate close to 1/inning. While one could argue that it was against weaker opposition, his rates didn't really dip that much as they progressed nor did he issue free passes.

He gets to face a Kanto Dai-ichi team that seemed to avoid all the potential mines in the Tokyo field having only to face Teikyou (who has really faded to the 3rd tier of above average teams as of late), and their true rival Nishogakushadai Fuzoku. The offense was steady throughout, but the lighter than normal Tokyo schedule plus the loss to Sapporo Dai-ichi basically on home turf is a query.

Kanto Dai-ichi's pitching staff isn't all that great either. As a whole, the team gives up way too many baserunners for their own good, both via hits and the free pass. Touhou's offensive numbers are almost solid 1-9, and 17 games despite weaker competition should mean something if only that they can take care of the teams they should.

When there's a pairing where it seems equal strengths when matched up, I would go with the better pitching staff, which favors Touhou.

Kanto Dai-ichi (Tokyo)
CF Miyamoto Eigo
1B Yoneda Katsuya
3B Yamamuro Yuuki
C Satou Yuusuke
2B Yamakawa Arata
LF Takei Taketo
SS Murase Yuuto
RF Motohashi Keito
P Kawai Kaito

Touhou (Aichi)
LF Suzuki Kouki
SS Hamajima Yoshiaki
RF Matsuyama Masahiko
P Fuijishima Kento
1B Matsumoto Ryuuya
3B Konishi Keiji
C Takagi Shun
2B Suzuki Rio
CF Ishibashi Yuuta


11:20 - First Pitch!

So amongst other pitches I didn't catch, Fujishima has a slider, curve, cut ball, and knuckle curve.

If nothing else, Fujishima will pitch inside to all batters, ball or strike. But while it results in a walk to Yoneda, he strikes out the side:
  • Miyamoto - Knuckle curve?
  • Yamamuro - Fastball down and away
  • Satou - Fastball up and away
Offensively, Touhou looks to get things started right away. Suzuki takes the first pitch from Kawai back up the middle. Hamajima three bunts him to 2nd (just), and a passed ball puts him 90 feet away.

Now, Kawai gets one of the two outs he needs, getting Matsuyama all tied up on a fastball up and in. But he still needed one out, and up stepped Fujishima...

Who promptly lined a ball to left, giving himself a 1-0 lead.

Fujishima continues to show no fear. Goes too far inside to hit Yamakawa. He takes 2nd when Takei waves at a curveball at the catcher's knees. Toss in a wild pitch, and he could be gifting the run back.

And while trying to get strike 3 on the outside corner time and again, instead he walks Murase. He might like the K, but he should really want the double play.

Ugh. That was awful to watch. Motohashi tries the squeeze, instead pops it up, Fujishima gets, and tosses to 1st for the double play.

Things continue to fall flat for Kanto. Konishi grounder to short and somehow Yoneda misses the throw as it goes off his glove and then his head. Thankfully for him while Konishi reaches 3rd, he gets Ishibashi on an outside slider for the 3rd out.

Worse yet, Fujishima is in the groove. Strikes out Kawai on a cut ball moving back on the outside edge, then Miyamoto chases a fastball far away. Yoneda puts the ball in play for just the 2nd time, but grounds out to 3rd. 3 innings, 6 Ks.

While it's all about Fujishima, it's not like Kawai isn't keeping pace. Outside of the 2 base hits in the 1st, he's been just as effective, just without the Ks. If not for the error to lead off the 2nd, he'd have 2 clean innings.

Touhou seems to at least be seeing the ball better in the 4th. And by better, I mean putting the ball in play. The heart of the order at least makes contact, though all three make routine outs.

Kawai is no power pitcher like Fujishima, but he follows the same methodology as Fujishima. Not giving in to a count, moving around the edges (and a little more), and missing in the right places.

Now, he should have been out of the 4th, but when Matsumoto pops up a ball to shallow center, Miyamoto stumbles forcing someone else to make the play, and Takei, Yamakata and Murase are all out of position to make it. So it falls in between all 4 of them for a double. Now, he walks Takagi later, but again that was him not giving into a full count.

But Rio hits a single to right, Touhou tries to push the advantage by sending Matsumoto home, but Motohashi has none of it, throwing a strike home gunning Matsumoto by a country mile.

Fujishima's no-hit bid ends in the 5th when Takei lifts a hanging cut ball to right for a single. But Murase fails to bunt him over, and worse yet Motohashi is called strike 3 on a foul tip when the ball actually hit the dirt beforehand - but Takagi sells the catch. That killed any chance for a rally.

Ishibashi meanwhile turns a fastball inside back around and past a diving Yamamuro for a double. Kouki can't bunt him over, but he can hit the ball the other way to 2nd to advance him nonetheless.

Hamajima with a pop fly to shallow right center. Yamakawa backpedaling... Oh no...

He misplays that popup, it falls in, Ishibashi scores to make it 2-0. The mistake continues to compound as Matsuyama hits a hanging curve to left center making it 3-0. Kanto Dai-ichi continues to shoot itself in the foot as they hit the break. And against Fujishima, that's a steep hill to climb.


Just when #10 Satou Shouma relieved Kawai and Konishi just killed a ball. Takei doesn't even bother as it lands 3/4 up the bottom set of bleachers. 4-0.

Things get no easier for Shouma. An infield hit by Kouki, and then a wide throw by him on a bunt means that Touhou threatens to play add-on. But despite a bunt and an unintentional intentional walk, Shouma does indeed shut it down. Matsumoto skies a ball (and this time the infield fly rule saves them), and Konishi grounds out to end the threat.

Seeing as though Kanto Dai-ichi is going down, Yonezawa-kantoku sends in LF Takei to pitch. PH Ishidzuka (who became Fujishima's 10th K), stays in to play LF.

It goes about as one would expect... Single, walk, single (leadoff runner gunned out at home), single, FC (out at home), single/E7 (2 runs), flyout. 6-0.

Now, for Fujishima, he recorded 1 more K before ceding to his RF Matsuyama to get the final out. Touhou pretty much had their way with the Kanto champions, and moves on to the next round looking in good shape. Fujishima more than likely will find himself drafted if this performance is any indicator.

No comments: