It's 2am, my friends just went home from an evening of playing cards, and I should go to sleep, except... the Japan Series is about to begin! The Tigers put up lefty ace Kei Igawa to start their first game, and the Marines counter with Naoyuki Shimizu, who was sort of weak during the season, but was strong during the playoffs with the Hawks. The Marines' lineup in general looks the same as it has all through the playoffs, except today Seung-Yeop Lee is playing and Koichi Hori is sitting. (I don't really get this move, as Lee is a lefty slugger and Hori hits righty, and the Tigers' pitcher Igawa is a lefty.) The Tigers... my gosh, this looks almost like the exact same lineup of guys who played in the 2003 Japan Series, except Imaoka shifted to third, Fujimoto took over at second, and newbie Toritani is playing short. Oh, and Andy Sheets is the gaijin at first base instead of George Arias. Man, this team is getting old.
Here's the starting lineups:
CF Akahoshi SS Nishioka
SS Toritani 3B Imae
1B Andy Sheets 1B Fukuuuuuura!
LF Kanemoto CF Saburo
3B Imaoka! C Satozaki!
RF Hiyama LF Matt Franco
DH Kataoka RF Benny Agbayani
C Yano DH Seung-Yeop Lee
2B Fujimoto 2B M. Watanabe
P Igawa P Shimizu
Anyway, because I can't actually WATCH the Japan Series aside from frantically reloading the scoreboard web page like David J Corcoran on speed, I'm going to sit here and translate the game while I frequently reload the page. I was going to work on a Bobby Madritsch post but that might have to wait until tomorrow. (Holy crap! 2nd batter up for Chiba, Imae, already hit a solo home run. 1-0 Marines. Woooo!) I feel sort of guilty since two years ago I was rooting for Hanshin in the series -- I even have an Imaoka jersey! But now I just really want Lotte to pull through. They deserve it after being the bottom of the heap for so long.
If anyone else is up and actually knows a net feed where I can WATCH the damn thing, please comment and let me know :)
First inning top: Hanshin (0H 0M)
Akahoshi walks. Toritani strikes out swinging. Andy Sheets gets a hit to left, Akahoshi advances to second. Kanemoto grounds to short for a double play.
First inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Nishioka strikes out swinging. Imae hits a solo home run to left. Fukuura hits a double to left. Saburo grounds out to third. Satozaki strikes out swinging.
Second inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Imaoka flies out to left. Hiyama flies out to left. Kataoka strikes out swinging.
Second inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Franco grounds out to first. Benny hits the ball hard back to the pitcher, infield single to first. Lee strikes out swinging. Watanabe hits into a 5-4 fielder's choice.
Third inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Yano singles to short left field. Fujimoto grounds into a 3-4 fielder's choice. Akahoshi grounds out to first, Fujimoto advances to second. Toritani grounds out to first.
Third inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Nishioka walks. While Imae is at bat, Nishioka is caught trying to steal second. Imae then manages to beat out a bunt single to the pitcher. Fukuura strikes out called. Saburo strikes out swinging.
Fourth inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Gosh, this game is going fast. It started at 2:15am and it's 3:15am now.
Andy Sheets flies out to center. Kanemoto grounds out to second. Imaoka strikes out called.
Fourth inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Satozaki strikes out swinging. Franco grounds out to third. Benny singles to short left field. Seung-Yeop Lee strikes out again GODDAMNIT.
Fifth inning top: Hanshin (1H 1M)
Oh shit. Hiyama singles to center. Kataoka strikes out swinging. Yano singles to right, Hiyama advances to third. Fujimoto hits a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Hiyama. Akahoshi grounds out to second.
Fifth inning bottom: Chiba (1H 4M)
Masato Watanabe singles to left. Nishioka bunts, advancing Watanabe to second, and getting safely to first himself. Imae doubles! He hits the ball hard back to the right field wall, driving in Watanabe; Nishioka advances to third. Fukuura grounds out to short. Saburo doubles to left, driving in Nishioka and Imae! Satozaki flies out to right, Saburo touching up at second and advancing to third. Franco strikes out swinging.
Sixth inning top: Hanshin (1H 4M)
Toritani grounds out to first. Andy Sheets hits a double into the gap in left center field. Kanemoto grounds out to third, advancing Sheets. Imaoka flies out to center.
Sixth inning bottom: Chiba (1H 5M)
Benny flies out to shortstop. Seung-Yeop Lee homers to right! (Woohoo, I was going to be pissed if he struck out again.) Watanabe strikes out swinging. Nishioka flies out to left.
Seventh inning top: Hanshin (1H 5M)
Hiyama strikes out swinging. Kataoka strikes out swinging. Yano flies out to right. Beautiful.
Seventh inning bottom: Chiba (1H 10M)
Kei Igawa leaves the game and Kentaro Hashimoto replaces him. Igawa's line: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 HR. 106 pitches thrown.
Imae singles to right. Fukuura singles to center, advancing Imae to second. Saburo hits a long fly ball to right; Imae advances to third after tagging up. Satozaki, hero of PL Second Stage Game 5, hits a 3-run homer to left! Imae, Fukuura, and Satozaki score. Franco singles to right-center. Otsuka pinch-runs for Franco. And then holy fucking shit, Benny hits a 2-run home run into the left field stands, scoring himself and Otsuka.
At 8:31 Japanese time (4:31am here) they decide to delay the game due to heavy fog. I wonder whether that was the reason the Marines managed to hit up Hashimoto like that.
Okay, it's 5am now, so I'm heading to sleep. I'll translate the rest in the morning. God, I love baseball.
Morning edit: The game was called at that point so there was no rest of the game. It's not like the Tigers expected to come back from a 10-1 deficit anyway, I guess.
Shimizu's line: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 87 pitches thrown. Not bad.
Pictures off Yahoo (links won't work after a few days):
Umpires saying "OMGWTFFOG!"
Imae's first inning home run
Igawa's mood after Saburo's double in the 5th
Real Audio digest of the game. You can see how foggy it gets in the 7th. Crazy.