Hanshin start season with a win at Koshien

I’m off work sick today, and between my bouts of coughing and sleeping hadn’t even realised it was The Opening Game of the season until I checked! So, precariously balancing my laptop amid  tissues, Lemsip and a cat, I had what will turn out to be the rare pleasure this season of watching a Hanshin game. As I’ve said before, I won’t be able to cover Hanshin in as much detail anymore, as a) life has to move on and b) I work full-time. But I did enjoy this excellent victory, courtesy of some sharp play. Some thoughts below:

  • Tigers rely on their top stars: the Carp had more hits (11 to 10), but we made ours count. I read an article somewhere saying Hirano and Murton could disappoint this season – but these two were instrumental to our good start, as were Arai and Toritani – all regular hitters last season.
  • Shunsuke, Kanemoto regulars? Shunsuke, previously known as Fujikawa Shunsuke, seems to be Mayumi’s choice for starter in the 8th position. But he didn’t do much today – a single late on. I’d prefer to give Asai or Sakurai an extended run, or even Arai Number Two (Arai’s brother). More worrying than the rotating eighth position is Kanemoto, strangely positioned ABOVE Johjima in the batting order. He managed a lucky hit in the sixth to allow Johjima’s gisei fly, and while it’s too early to form any judgements, I wonder how long Aniki will last this term.
  • The Pitching: Nohmi did well on his first outside, but was pitched for slightly too long. I didn’t see the sense in taking Kubota off after only 1 out, and when our new signing Kobayashi faltered in the eighth, I was fearing the worst. However he pulled it together in the end. Again too early to judge, and Kobayashi is great on paper so hopefully will settle in fine. Fujikawa finished off well.

It should also be remembered that today’s win was against Maeda Kenta – Hiroshima’s ace. All in all a good opening game!