The Yomiuri Giants are sporting one of the best records in the NPB for the month of July. As a team, it appears as though they are finally beginning to mesh. That both Michihiro Ogasawara (.366, 7 HR) and Alex Ramirez (.379, 9 HR) are also going through their best streaks of the season is also no coincidence. Sure, there was the month of May where Ramirez tore the cover off the ball by hitting .414 with 10 homers, but Ogasawara wasn't much of threat hitting only .276 with 3 homeruns. What the two players are finally doing at this point in the season is what many hoped would happen right out of the gate. Unfortunately, for most of the season, Ogasawara has been mired in something of a slump.
JULY (Through July 27th) CENTRAL LEAGUE Yomiuri Giants 15-7 Hanshin Tigers 15-8 Yakult Swallows 11-11-2 Hiroshima Carp 9-13-1 Yokohama Bay Stars 9-14 Chunichi Dragons 8-14-1 PACIFIC LEAGUE Orix Buffaloes 14-7-1 Lotte Marines 14-9 Seibu Lions 12-9 Softbank Hawks 11-10 Ham Fighters 7-13-1 Rakuten Eagles 5-15-2
A career .316 hitter, Ogasawara's average was over .300 for only one day this season (April 3, .304). And after seeing his average dip down to as low as .241 on May 3rd, and a 35th birthday coming up later this year, it wouldn't have been too farfetched to wonder if his skillset was beginning to decline. But with a strong showing this month that has moved his average from .253 to .280, it would seem as though he still has a couple more good years left in him.
If the Giants want to get anywhere this season, they'll need both Ogasawara and Ramirez at the top of their games (they bat 3rd and 4th in the lineup respectively). And as luck would have it, the Giants may actually benefit from Ogasawara having a slow start to his season -- had he been playing at a higher clip, he may have been asked to join the Olympic team in Beijing.
The Giants currently trail the Hanshin Tigers by 9.5 games with 51 more games to play. Of the 51 games remaining, 8 are against the Tigers (5 at Tokyo Dome / 3 at Koshien Stadium).
Remaining Games TEAM REC R H A N Hanshin Tigers 6-8 8 5 3 0 Chunichi Dragons 6-8 7 2 5 0 Yakult Swallows 10-5 9 3 6 0 Hiroshima Carp 4-7 11 3 3 3 Yokohama Bay Stars 10-3 8 3 3 2 R - Remaining Games H - Home Games A - Away Games N - Neutral Ballpark
Here are some other interesting (but potentially useless) stats.
The Giants are undefeated at 6-0 in games when both Ogasawara and Ramirez hit homeruns.
The Giants are 10-2 in games where both Ogasawara and Ramirez had 2 or more hits a peice.
The Giants are 2-3 in games where both Ogasawara and Ramirez are held hitless. In these 5 games, the Giants have only scored 10 runs. Exclude these 5 games and the Giants average roughly 4.1 runs a game.
Of the 98 homeruns the Giants have as a team, 48 have been hit by Ogasawara (19) and Ramirez (29). And of the 369 runs the team has scored, 135 have been driven in by the two.
There have been 42 games where Ogasawara and Ramirez have been held to 1 or fewer hits a peice (exluding games where they were both hitless). In these games, the Giants are 17-24-1.