So the Nippon Ham Fighters ended up winning the Japan series against the Chunichi Dragons, 4-1. My GF was jumping up and down with joy because it will most likely mean a discount in Nippon Ham related food-stuffs. I was happy as well, seeing that one of my favorite players (Ogasawara) was able to celebrate with a victory.
The game also happened to be the final game for Shinjo. Remember him? He used to play for the Mets and Giants, but was never really good enough to be anything more than a bench warmer. In Japan, he's a big star -- not just for what he does as a ballplayer, but because of his image. His number after returning from the Majors weren't awful, but not great either.
3 yr avg
119 Games / 441 AB / 63 R / 118 H / 23 2B / 1 3B / 20 HR / 66 RBI / 66 K / 3 SB / 4 CS / .268 BA / .302 OBP / .462 SLG / .764 OPS
Fernando Seguignol actually played a fairly large part in the Ham Fighers winning the Japan series against the Chunich Dragons. He drilled a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 6th in what ended up being the final game of the series, with the score tied 1-1. He finished the series hitting .294 with 2 homers and 6 ribs over the 5 games series.
Atsunori Inaba also played a fairly large role in the series. He also hit a homerun in game 5, the 4 and final run in the bottom of the 8th. In the 5 game series, he hit .353 with 2 homers and 7 RBI.
On the pitching side of things, Yu Darvish did a pretty good job, starting both the first game of the series (which he lost) and the final game of the series (which he obviously won). He went 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA over 13.1 IP and gave up 13 hits, 8 walks, and struck out 12. He also happens to be 20.
Ex-Toronto Blue Jay Mike Nakamura also provided some help from the pen. Of the 4 wins the Ham Fighters got, 3 were saved by Nakamura. He faced the minimum 9 batters over his 3 innings of work and struck out 2.
Incidentally, Ogasawara only went 3-for-15 over the 5 games, but still did manage to drive in 2 runs, score 4 runs, and walk 5 times.
Over on the Dragons, Woods really struggled during the 5 games series as the Ham Fighter pitchers did a great job in keeping him off the bases. He went 4-15 with 2 runs, 0 rbi, 5 walks, and 7 strikeouts (for the season, Woods hit .309 with 47 homeruns, 144 ribs, and a 1.037 OPS). The Ham Fighters also did a great job neutralizing the number 3 hitter, Kosuke Fukudome, limiting him to 4 hits over 20 ABs, to go along with 1 R, 2 RBI, and 7 strikeouts (he hit 31 homers and drove in 104 RBIs while batting .350 and carrying a 1.091 OPS during the season).
But even more problematic than the offense, was probably the pitching. The starting staff did a fairly decent job over the 5 game stretch, throwing a combined 32 IP, while giving up 25 hits, 12 walks, 20 strikeouts, and 13 runs (earned) for a 3.09 ERA. The bullpen, on the other hand, went a combined 10 IP and surrendered 12 hits, walked 5, struck out 8, and gave up 7 runs (all earned) for a 6.30 ERA.
Murakami pitched a beautiful game 1 going 8 innings while only giving up 2 runs for the win. For the game 2 matchup, the Dragons turned to veteran Masa Yamamoto (11-7, 3.32 ERA) while the Ham Fighters went with rookie Tomoya Yagi (12-8, 2.48 ERA). The game started out in favor of the Dragons. In fact, they were up 2-1 going into the top of the 7th (and it could even be said that the one run the Fighters scored could have been prevented had shortstop Ibata cleanly fielded a grounder) when catcher Motonubu Tanishige fielded a ball chopped in front of home plate and threw wide of first and past first baseman Tyrone Woods. It was a tough play, but it was enough to open the gates for the Ham Fighters. Shinjo followed with a bloop single to put runners on the corners with no out. The next batter struck out, but not before Shinjo was able to take off for second. With runners on second and third with 1 out, Makoto Kaneko hit a single driving in both runners. From there, the Ham Fighters never looked back.