Super Urugusu (SUPER うるぐす) aired a Katsuya Nomura interview on TV Sunday night. Here are some notes I jotted down:
- Of the three pitchers with double-digit wins (Tanaka, Iwakuma, and Nagai), Nomura feels Nagai has worked the hardest this season.
- Nomura claims Tanaka and Iwakuma have caught the "Iwakuma Bug" -- it apparently kicks in after about a hundred pitches and causes pitchers to want to leave the game.
- Nomura still doesn't think Iwakuma has the mentality to be the ace of the staff. And so he's trying to "teach" Iwakuma how he can take his game to the next step. Nomura did also say that he believed Iwakuma has what it takes to be an anchor in a rotation and lead the pitching staff.
- Nomura raved about Teppei and said he was the only player on the team that really worked hard at his game. His only problem is his low key approach and lack of communication with other players -- although apparently there are quite a few players on the team that keep to themselves. Nomura's advice for Teppei: lighten up and enjoy playing the game.
- Suguru Egawa poses the question, "why is the team doing well when the batting and pitching stats aren't so good?" They post a graphic that shows the Eagles in third for team batting, last in team home runs, and 4th in ERA. Egawa's explanation: Nomura Magic.
Nomura's explanation: data, data, and more data. Do the research, figure out player patterns, and create ways to exploit those patterns.
For example: Tsuyoshi Nishioka (LOT) loves hitting the first pitch he sees and is batting a lofty .432 in those situations. Nomura's recommendation for facing Nishioka? Attack him as if you already have an 0-2 count against him. Don't work the count, don't try to sneak something on the corner... Know your opponents inside out and attack.
- Nomura considers the upcoming three game series against the Seibu Lions that begins on the 25th as being key games for the Eagles. He then says that Wakui worries him the most and still isn't sure if he will throw Iwakuma or Tanaka against him or instead "assume" the loss and go for victories in the other 2 games.
- Nomura says he might break apart the rotation after the 25th with the sole idea of winning. That includes the possibility of making Tanaka the closer (he has already apparently dropped hints about it to him and it seems he's willing).
Nomura used Tanaka as a closer in one game at the end of the second half and he did pretty well, even hit 155km/h on the radar gun as he didn't have to worry about saving his energy.
- And then it's hypothetical time: Hawks and Eagles finish the season in second and third and face off in a best of three -- his thoughts? Nomura says his ideal situation would be to have home field advantage and that would mean having to finish in second, a distinct possibility since the Eagles now only trail the Hawks by 3 games. So his focus right now is on finishing the season in second place.
- Nomura wanted to keep playing until 50, but felt the FO and coaches were applying pressure on him to hurry up and retire, and so he did when he turned 45. Nomura says he wanted to play as long as possible to show players that it's possible to keep playing even when you're "old." He then segues into how managerial careers need to be stretched out in the same way.
- When asked point blank if he would accept an offer to continue managing, he says that he would and that he has absolutely no reason to say no. When asked what keeps him healthy, he says his love for baseball. Nomura - baseball = 0.