The last time Tigers got three home runs in a row was 2003. Before that it was 1985. In those two seasons we won the league…and we did it again today!!
Sports writing is prone to hyperbole, and extracting broad conclusions from single events. In football writing here in the UK, a goalkeeping blunder can make a goalie “rubbish”, even though he may have excelled in training for half a decade, while a 2-1 win or defeat can see a manager branded a “genius” or “naive”, respectively. With this in mind, I’d like to make the tentative suggestion that Hanshin are back in business after a shaky start to August.
While on paper we have only won one game in the last 5, we have importantly stopped the losing streak with an emphatic 10-6 victory today. The 19 hits we managed include 5 home runs, one for Sakurai, Kanoh and Arai respectively, and two for Johjima. In a crushing sixth innings, we got three home runs in a row! Our lead-off hitter, Murton, is back in business, with two hits. Hirano got three. There are still problems, of course. Kubo allowed seven hits in five innings, and Mayumi still seems to deeply undervalue Kanoh. Player of the season for 2009, he has inexplicably been downgraded to number 3 catcher, while his pinch hitting appearances have been far too rare. One can only assume there is some kind of personal problem, for why else would you not give a young, talented catcher the game time he need.
The most important thing, is that not only have we stopped the rot, but Kyojin have not pulled away in the meantime. During our last 5 games, we lost 3 in a row at Nagoya Dome, our bogey-ground. But Kyojin squandered a great opportunity to pull away, losing 3 in a row to the Yakult Swallows.
Tomorrow we take on Yakult, at Osaka Dome- let’s see if we can continue our recovery, and confound the critics who doubt Hanshin’s ability to play during August. There’s no time to celebrate our temporary return to first place- let’s just play our best, and hope that when it comes down to the very end of the season, the four extra games we have over Kyojin leave it in our hands.