Saturday, October 21, 2006

Japan Series, Game 1: Semi-liveblogging

(EDIT: Coherent recap here. I'm leaving up the liveblog post just because it's amusing.)

Hi guys!

I don't have a live videofeed of this game. I'm listening to it over the radio (my Chunichi-Dragons-fan friend in Gifu plugged his stereo into the computer and is shoutcasting it).

I'm going to try to liveblog a little, but more likely I will either fall asleep and/or give up than actually accurately make it through the whole game. If anyone knows where I can find a videofeed over the net I'd be overjoyed, but...

Anyway, it's Darvish vs. Kawakami. Takuro Ishii is doing color commentary on the radio. It's cool. Game's about to start... and I *totally* called this lineup.


Hichori LF Araki 2B
Kensuke 2B Ibata SS
Ogasawara 3B Fukudome RF
Seguignol 1B Woods 1B
Inaba RF Morino 3B
Tsuruoka C Inoue LF
Kaneko! SS Tanishige C
Darvish P Kawakami P

---------- ----------
Darvish (12-5, 2.89) Kawakami (17-7, 2.51)

First inning, top: Hichori Morimoto strikes out swinging (go figure). Kensuke Tanaka pulls off a dragbunt up the right side and gets on base, and during Ogasawara's at-bat he STEALS SECOND!! woo! Ogasawara gets up to a full count and then walks. Seguignol... strikes out swinging DOH. Inaba's up, gets up to a full count as well, then grounds to third, where the ball almost hits Kensuke Tanaka in the head, and Morino also almost hits him in the head but tags him out on the force at third. Inning ends at 0-0. Kawakami is up to 24 pitches through one inning. Ouch.

First inning, bottom: Araki flies out to left on a broken bat... and then I can hear the opening strains of DJ OZMA's "アゲ♂アゲ♂EVERY☆騎士" as Ibata comes up, heh heh. Ibata also breaks his bat, grounding out to the pitcher! Darvish seems to be throwing around 145-150km/h, dang. And then Fukudome... HOLY CRAP DARVISH JUST STRUCK HIM OUT ON THREE PITCHES STRAIGHT! WOW! Darvish is up to 10 pitches on a 1-2-3 inning. Still 0-0.

Second inning, top: Uhhh.. if Good Kawakami is there today, now would be a good time for him to make an appearance, as he just hit Shinjo with a pitch. Tsuruoka sac bunts Shinjo to second. Then Kaneko is up and... pops up to second, and Darvish is up to bat! And Darvish strikes out... ah well, that's not entirely unexpected being a PL pitcher. Still 0-0. Kawakami is up to 39 pitches.

Second inning, bottom: Tyrone Woods! TIE-EE-RONE! This is the matchup I'm sure everyone's been waiting for, the little boy against the big hitting monster. And Darvish is just like "ah, screw you, I'm just going to throw 150km/h at you too, ok?" Except uh... he isn't really throwing it anywhere near him, so Mr. Big Scary Tyrone Monster Woods walks on five pitches. Here's Morino, who was saying he was "pretty freaked out" before the game started... and I see "OMGOMGOMGOMG" on AIM, and a second later hear the crowd and the announcer go crazy on the radio as Morino doubles to center and advances Woods to third as well. Yow. Ok, here's Alex Ochoa... who takes a bazillion pitches to finally strike out semi-swinging. They intentionally walk Inoue to load the bases, one out, and here's Tanishige. shige shige tanishige... speaking of shige, I saw what looked like an autobiography by Shigetoshi Hasegawa at Kinokuniya today, heh. .. and.. goddamnit. ok, Tanishige smacks the ball up the middle for a single and Woods and Morino score. 2-0. crap crap. Kawakami comes up raring to bunt, with runners at first and second. ok, he pulled it off. runners at second and third, two out, and here comes Araki... oh god I hope Darvish isn't hurt, pitching coach to the mound after two balls and no strikes. He's throwing low (also, the Dragons' chance music kind of sucks) and then he walks Araki. Bases loaded AGAIN, argh, and here's Ibata. Darvish gets off to an ok start, up 0-2... then falls behind again ugh full count after hitting Tsuruoka in an unfun place. Ugh ugh don't walk him oh THANK GOD, Ibata grounds out to first thank god thank god. Score is now 2-0 Dragons and Darvish is up to 44 pitches, what happened to my first-inning Darvish? I want him back :(

Third inning, top: Yay! Hichori Morimoto hits the first pitch he sees and singles to right to lead off the third... and predictably Kensuke Tanaka bunts him over to second. Ogasawaraaaaaaa... starts off looking like Kawakami's pitching around him but then gets to full count... ah, and then he walks. ok, figures. and here comes SEGUIGNOL AND HE SINGLES TO RIGHT!!!! Hichori scores!!! Now it's 2-1, with runners on first and second. Inaba at bat... and he walks too. BASES LOADED ONE OUT NYAH NYAH NYAH. Okay, Shinjo's up and the batting coach is out and the "chance" music is going in full. And and and and shinjo fouls off a bunch and then hits a sac fly to left! WOO! Ogasawara scores, now it's 2-2!!!! Yay :) Okay, Tsuruoka is up next and after a huge foul to right he lines out to short. Woo. Score is now tied 2-2 and Kawakami is up to 62 pitches through three.

Third inning, bottom: Fukudome comes up and works his way to a full count before a KARABURI SANSHIN!!! Woo. One down, here's Tyrone Woods and... and he singles to left. Morino comes up, and a bunch of low pitches, Morino grounds one back to the mound... Darvish... doesn't... throw to anywhere? uh. well, ok, Alex up with two runners... and he grounds to the mound and this time Darvish actually throws it. good. ok, here's Inoue with two outs, runners on second and third, and uhh... ok, so Inoue singled to left, Woods scored, and then Morino got himself thrown out at the plate on a close play. ack! Score is now 3-2 Dragons, Darvish is up to 63 pitches through three.

Fourth inning, top: I really need to check my laundry. Hmm. Kaneko strikes out. Darvish at bat. Darvish strikes out. Morimoto grounds out to short. Maybe I SHOULD have just checked my laundry. Still 3-2, Kawakami up to 75 pitches.

Fourth inning, bottom: Just went and switched laundry and in the meantime, Tanishige led off the inning by striking out and then KAWAKAMI WALKS? WTF?! Okay, Araki breaks his bat grounding up the first-base line and Darvish fields it, tagging him out, as Kawakami moves to second. and and then Ibata gets hit by a pitch, argh. But fortunately Fukudome hits a high fly to center and Shinjo gets it and whew, three out! Still 3-2. Darvish has now thrown 79 pitches through four.

Fifth inning, top: Kensuke Tanaka strikes out to lead off the fifth. Ogasawara swings so hard on a pitch he turns around and falls over, and flies out to left. Two out, here's Seguignol. Lots of high inside pitches and he eventually strikes out, seventh of the night. 87 pitches for Kawakami through five. I think Good Kawakami finally showed up. Uhoh. Still 3-2.

Fifth inning, bottom: I'm folding laundry as Tyrone Woods strikes out to lead off the inning. Whew. Morino grounds out to second before I notice anything, and then Alex is up to bat, and it's full count, and I think I really overdid it on the fabric softener. Oops. Alex hits the ball back to the mound and blam, inning over. Still 3-2, and 93 pitches for Darvish.

Sixth inning, top: Inaba leads off by hitting a huge fly to center. I guess IceX is right about this playing as a pitcher's park, as Alex catches it. Man, I really hoped Kawakami's evil twin wasn't going to show up and HOLY SHIT SHINJO HITS A DOUBLE OFF THE RIGHT-FIELD WALL!!! ahhh, crap, okay, well, Tsuruoka hits an infield fly to second. Here's Makoto Kaneko... who flies out to left field, stranding Shinjo on second, argh. 105 pitches for Kawakami through six; still 3-2.

Sixth inning, bottom: Apparently whoever wins this game will win the Japan Series, or at least that's what the people on TV think. Inoue grounds to Seguignol, who gets to the bag a split second ahead of him to make the out at first. Tanishige hits Darvish's 102nd pitch of the evening foul on the firstbase side and Seguignol gets that too. Kawakami strikes out, relatively quick inning there. 105 pitches for Darvish through six -- still 3-2 -- and the pitcher slot leading off in the seventh, will they pinch-hit for him or not?

Seventh inning, top: And the answer is, "yes" -- Tomochika Tsuboi comes in to pinch-hit for Darvish, and grounds out to shortstop. Uhh... and so does Hichori Morimoto. And then Kensuke Tanaka watches a bunch of pitches go by and gets called out on strikes. 115 pitches for Kawakami through seven, still 3-2; let me go drag up Darvish's line while I'm sure people at the Nagoya Dome are doing their 7th-inning stretch cheering and whatnot.

Darvish: 6 IP, 5 H, 6 K, 3 ER, 4 BB (one intentional), 1 HBP, 0 HR, 105 pitches.

Seventh inning, bottom: Hisashi Takeda takes the mound for the Fighters -- he's awesome, let's see what he can do with this lineup. Well, the first thing he does is gets Araki to line out to right, Inaba making a running catch. Ibata's up, he hits a long fly foul to right and Inaba crashes into the wall trying to get it and fails. Anyway, Ibata then fouls off about fifty pitches, at which point I type "someone tell ibata to stop fouling off pitches", nanbanjin replies "fly out to shinjo", I reply "k thanks". Hee. Then Fukudome hits a long fly ball to center too and Shinjo gets it and while I can't see it I can totally imagine Shinjo just skipping and bouncing around happily like a big dork, heh. 11 pitches for Hisashi Takeda, still 3-2.

Eighth inning, top: Oh geez, someone PLEASE TELL OGASAWARA NOT TO SLIDE HEADFIRST INTO FIRST BASE THANKS OKAY? Yeah, so he's out by a hair as Ibata guns him down from second base. Seguignol grounds out to Araki at second, and here's Inaba. It's just occurred to me that pessimistically, this is probably about it, as either Kawakami or Iwase is going to finish off the Fighters in the 9th. Bleh. And just as I say that, Inaba gets a single to left, bringing up that Shinjo guy. And.... and there goes the game, as everyone's telling me what a beautiful play it was, with Shinjo grounding towards third, Morino snagging the ball, doing a 180 while throwing towards second, and Ibata gets the ball and redirects to Araki at second who gets the force on Inaba. The Ibata-Inaba romanization confuses most people in the chatroom except me. Kawakami does some sort of happy dance on the mound as he's thrown 131 pitches through eight and is winning 3-2.

Eighth inning, bottom: Even Hisashi Takeda doesn't want to deal with Tyrone Woods and he walks him on a bunch of outside breaking balls. Hidenori comes in to pinch-run for Woods and Morino bunts him over. One out, runner on second.... and ARGH HISASHI CHUCKS THE BALL WILD on a pickoff attempt to second and now we have Hidenori at third and Alex Ochoa hits a double off the left field wall and now it's 4-2 Dragons. Umm... yeah, okay, Hisashi's coming out. Sounds like Hideki Okajima is coming in but I'm not sure.

Takeda's line: 1.1 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 walk, no strikeouts, and one earned run, possibly more.

Ok, Okajima is in. Ex-Fighter Hiroshi Narahara is pinch-running for Alex, and Inoue is at bat, one out, one runner on second... and Inoue walks?!?! Argh. This game is over. It's been over. Bleh. Man, if I were in Japan right now I very well might go tune in to たったひとつの恋, a dorky romance dorama which is on NTV right now. Oh, um, so Tanishige sac bunted, putting runners on second and third, and Kazuyoshi Tatsunami came in to a standing ovation, pinch-hitting for Kawakami. Whoosh. He flies out to Hichori Morimoto. 8 pitches for Okajima.

Kawakami's line: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8 K, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 131 pitches.

Ninth inning, top: Chunichi's closer, Hitoki Iwase, is on the mound; Hidenori takes over in centerfield for Alex Ochoa, and Hiroyuki Watanabe takes over at first base for Tyrone Woods. The inning starts with Jose Macias pinch-hitting for Shinya Tsuruoka. Macias unsurprisingly grounds out to second on an awkward throw by Araki. Mound conference as Kaneko gets ahead on the count and they wonder what's up with Iwase. Kaneko grounds out to first, and with one out left in the game, pinch hitter YUKIO TANAKA is at bat! He's been with the team for 21 years and this is his first Japan Series at-bat ever... so you can hear the entire stadium yelling "ato hitori", with faint strains of the Yukio Tanaka song in the background from the Fighters section.

and Yukio grounds out to shortstop and that's the game.


Iwase's line: one inning, nothing happened, 18 pitches.
Okajima's, since I didn't mention it: .2 innings, 8 pitches, one walk.

Well, it's 5:30am, so I'm going to go summarize this game over on japanesebaseball and then try to sleep before the sun comes up. Tune back in tomorrow night!

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