Yomiuri Giants Koji Uehara 上原浩治 G W L S CG Sho BF IP H HR BB HPB SO WP BK R ER ERA 26 6 5 1 2 0 370 89.2 90 11 16 5 72 0 0 43 38 3.81 Seibu Lions Hideaki Wakui 涌井秀章 G W L S CG Sho BF IP H HR BB HPB SO WP BK R ER ERA 25 10 11 0 5 0 738 173.0 183 16 51 8 122 11 0 80 75 3.90
Big game for both teams. Based on last night's outcome, it would seem that the Lions have more momentum going into game 5 than the Giants do. I'm guessing that there will also be scouts on-hand to watch Koji Uehara, so it'll be doubly important for him to pitch well tonight. (The scouts might actually come away more impressed with Wakui than Uehara.)
Again, the Giants really need to focus on keeping people off the bases for Nakajima (2 homers and 4 RBI) and Nakamura (3 home runs and 7 RBI over the last two games). And the Giants really need Lee to wake up from his slump (0 for his last 6 at bats and 4 strike outs). But he'll be starting tonight's game on the bench -- Ogasawara will shift over to first and Wakiya will play third. Abe will DH and bat in Lee's spot behind Ramirez.
Wakui has been really dominant so far: he's given up 2 runs (1 earned) on 12 hits, 3 walks, and 23 strike outs over his last three post-season starts (23 innings). Based on those numbers, it would seem Wakui will have another solid start tonight.
With Uehara, I'm not really sure what to expect. He's been much better since the Olympics, but I still don't feel all that confident when he's on the mound. I think it'll be fairly easy to tell if he has his stuff working early on.
6:20PM UPDATE: Takuya strikes out for the second out of the inning. Ogasawara up to bat. Uehara is soft-tossing on the side, keeping his shoulder loose. And Ogasawara strikes out to end the inning.
I wonder if it hurts Japanese pitchers any when they go to the Majors and can't soft-toss in foul territory in between innings. I think most pitchers take advantage of it.
6:33PM UPDATE: 3 straight singles and the bases are loaded for Nakamura. This is a big no-no. Uehara seems to have decent movement on his pitches, but unfortunately they all appear to be going right down the middle. I think he isn't quite there on his velocity.
Uehara strikes out Nakamura on a forkball for the first out of the inning. The Lions score on a run on a chopper to second by Ishii. Takuya tried to turn two, but the ball bounced right near the bag and he had to take it himself and then toss to first.
6:37PM UPDATE: It looks like Uehara has a lot of up-and-down movement, but not as much side-to-side movement. Uehara strikes out Goto looking with a fastball on the outside corner. So he gives up 1 run after giving up 3 straight singles. Nice way to work out of a jam. But it could be a long night for Uehara. He needs to settle down and get into a rhythm.
6:42PM UPDATE: Wakui strikes out Ramirez looking. But Abe just drilled a fastball from Wakui over the center field fence to tie the game at 1. BIG home run for Abe and the Giants. Wakui looked like he might end up on cruise control again and a home run like this could help the Giants get things together against Wakui. Kamei flied out to deep left for the second out of the inning. Wakiya followed with a fly ball to left for the third out of the inning.
6:55PM UPDATE: Hosokawa was lifted due to a silly running play at first base (he sort of slid, sort of didn't, was tagged out by Ogasawara and tumbled). Seems he may have injured his right shoulder. Ginjiro is now in the game catching.
Uehara had a decent second inning, retiring the first two batters in order before giving up a single to Akada (every single has been hit to the opposite field). He then retired Kataoka on an infield pop-up.
Sakamoto strikes out for the first out of the third inning.
7:04PM UPDATE: Nakamura is up to bat for the Lions with Nakajima on second (he reached on a bad throw by Sakamoto and went to second because the ball ended up in the camera well). Nakamura just flied out to center for the second out of the inning.
Uehara doesn't seem to be throwing many forkballs. In the first game, I think close to half of the pitches he threw were forkballs. So far tonight, he appears to be throwing a lot more sliders. Could be an indication that his forkball isn't working very well.
Ishii just got himself an RBI single as the Lions re-take the lead, 2-1. Looked like it was off a forkball.
The Giants have two pitchers warming in the pen. Couldn't get their names.
Goto with a single to left, runners on first and second with 2 outs. The one thing about this Seibu lineup is that it's capable for scoring runs in bunches.
7:10PM UPDATE: Sato with a single. Based are now loaded with 2 outs. Pitching coach is heading to the mound.
Yamaguchi and Nishimura are warming in the pen for the Giants.
7:12PM UPDATE: Ginjiro is up to bat. Uehara is missing his spots. 50 pitches over 2.2 innings (16 batters faced). He manages to strike out Ginjiro swinning. Uehara wiggles out of another major jam.
7:20PM UPDATE: Lots of outside pitches for Ogasawara. With that hurting left hand, seems like the best way to pitch him. He pops out to short, but he made Wakui throw a lot of pitches (10 pitches I think).
Ramirez breaks his bat and grounds into a double play to end the inning.
7:30PM UPDATE: Uehara is out of the game. Yamaguchi is now pitching for the Giants. If there were scouts in the stands, they couldn't have been very impressed with this start.
7:40PM UPDATE: Nakajima is being pulled from the game for some reason. Hirao is coming in to play second and Kataoka slides over to short. Nakajima struck out swinging to end the bottom of the 4th. No official word yet on what the problem was.
7:50PM UPDATE: Yamaguchi starts off the bottom of the 5th with a walk to Nakamura.
I shudder to imagine what kind of crazy numbers this Lions' lineup would be putting up if GG Sato and Craig Brazell were healthy (they accounted for 48 homers and 149 RBIs).
Nishimura and Ochi are warming in the pen.
7:56PM UPDATE: Giants are going to the bullpen again. Looks like Nishimura will be relieving Yamaguchi. There are currently two runners on base (walk to start the inning and then a single after retiring to batters) with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th.
8:15PM UPDATE: It doesn't appear as though Hosokawa's and Nakajima's injuries are all that serious. Neither will be going to hospital at this point. And both are just icing their ailments. With an off-day tomorrow, the Lions were probably just playing it safe by taking both players out early. BTW: Nakajima apparently felt a twinge in his left side after striking out in the fourth.
8:31PM UPDATE: Giants just tied the game up at 2 on an RBI single by Abe with Ramirez on second (he hustled to second on a ball hit back up the middle that ricocheted off the second base bag and bounced into center).
Kamei just hit a double off the center field fence. Runners now on second and third with 1 out. Wakui is still on the mound, but there are two pitchers warming in the pen.
8:35PM UPDATE: Wakiya just hit a 2-run triple... The left fielder and center fielder were playing shallow and Wakiya drilled one over and between the two for a triple. Giants now have a 4-2 lead.
Wakui has fallen apart all of a sudden here. He's at 100 pitches after 6.1 innings.
Sakamoto just hit himself an RBI double. Giants now have a 5-2 lead. That'll be it for Wakui. Looks like Onodera will be relieving him. Wakui gave up 5 straight hits (4 extra base hits) after retiring Ogasawara for the first out of the inning.
8:47PM UPDATE: Giants bring Toyoda to pitch the bottom of the 7th. He'll face Nakamura, Ishii, and Goto.
Toyoda retires the side in order. On to the top of the 8th.
8:52PM UPDATE: Mitsui is now pitching for the Lions. He'll face Kimura, Ogasawara, and Ramirez in the top of the 8th.
Ochi is warming in the Giants bullpen.
Ramirez pokes a single through the left side of the infield with 2 out. Kajimae comes in to pinch-run for Ramirez. Abe is now up to bat. He hits one to DEEP right, but it's caught at the track for the third out of the inning.
9:01PM UPDATE: Ochi is in to pitch the bottom of the 8th. He'll face Sato, Ginjiro, and Akada.
Kroon is warming in the pen for the Giants.
Ochi retires Sato on a grounder to third. Ohshima comes in to pinch hit for Ginjiro. Oshima singles up the middle and is erased on a grounder to third by Akada. Runner on first with 2 out and Kataoka up to bat. A grounder to third and the inning is over. On to the top of the 9th.
9:17PM UPDATE: Kamei leads off the 9th with a single. Mitsui is still on the mound for the Lions. Kamei steals second with Wakiya up to bat. Wakiya grounds out and moves Kamei over to third.
The Lions bring in a new pitcher: Taninaka. The Giants also bring in Lee to pinch hit for Sakamoto.
Lee is awarded first... Looks like he was hit in the back foot (left). Tani comes in to pinch hit for Tsuruoka.
9:31PM UPDATE: Tani goes the other way and drives in Kamei at third. Giants extend their lead and now lead 6-2. Runners on first and third with 1 out. Suzuki dives over the plate to bunt the ball to third. The 7th run for the Giants scores. Kimura flies out to end the inning.
9:35PM UPDATE: Kroon should be coming in to pitch the 9th.
9:41PM UPDATE: Kroon just gave up a solo shot to Hirao with 1 out. Giants now lead 7-3. Impressive shot by Hirao -- he drilled a 154km/h fastball up in the zone over the left field fence.
Nakamura strikes out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Kroon recovers the ball and tags Nakamura out himself. Nishimura legs out an infield single with 2 outs.
9:48PM UPDATE: Kroon strikes out Goto to end the inning. The Giants beat the Lions, 7-3.
Tomorrow is an off-day and then the series returns to the Tokyo Dome.
10:07PM UPDATE: Box score from the game is now available.