9 wins, 25 losses, and 7 draws.
The Giants have lost a lot since their first-place game against Hanshin on September 3. They dropped out of the championship race, and although they decided to advance to the Climax Series (CS), they ended the season with debts. At one point, they were being chased hard by fourth-place Hiroshima, and their chances of maintaining their A-class status were in jeopardy. What was the reason for their sudden stall?
“In the month and a half that began on September 3, there were five games in which we scored only one run. In the month and a half since September 3, there have been five games in which we have scored only one run, and seven games in which we have been held to a complete game. No matter how hard our pitching staff works, we can’t win like this.
The biggest reason for the slump in the batting lineup is probably Sho Nakata, who was traded from Nippon Ham for free on August 20. The Giants acquired Nakata after the incident, even though he had not completed his period of house arrest. Even though the decision was made by manager Tatsunori Hara, who was given full authority, I think he and the people around him were quite unsettled. The Giants didn’t know what to do with the big man who had been called the “general” at Nippon Ham, and Nakata was probably thinking, “Can I really play in a game? Nakata must have been thinking, “Can I really play in a game?
This season, Nakata’s batting average has been in the 10% range since he was with Nippon Ham. On top of that, he’s been in trouble, so there’s no way he can suddenly become active just because he changed his environment. As expected, he was left in charge of the middle of the lineup at the Giants, but he hit a lot of mediocre batters. He completely stopped the flow of the batting line and was bouncing between the first and second team.
Mysterious “demotion” to the 3rd team
It wasn’t just Nakata who was hurting the batting line.
“The slump of Yoshihiro Maru was also a big factor. Last year, he had a .282 batting average and 31 home runs, but this year his batting average is in the mid-20s and he strikes out 120 times, the most on the team. At one point, he was demoted to the second team, putting the brakes on the momentum of his batting line.
In 2006, his on-base percentage was .468, the highest in the league, but since the following year, it has been .388, .375, and this year, it is in the mid-30% range. He is now in his 30s and seems to be at a crossroads as a player.
The Giants don’t have a .300 hitter who has reached the required number of at-bats. The Giants do not have a .300 hitter who has reached the required number of at-bats, and they are in a difficult situation where they have to rely on long balls.
The team’s slump is not only the fault of the players. The team’s stagnation is not only the fault of the players, but also due to an unusual personnel change.
“On October 5, manager Hara made a major shakeup by transferring second baseman Shinnosuke Abe to first baseman operations coach and third baseman Tomohiro Niioka to acting second baseman. As part of this, Coach Ishii was also moved to the third team. It’s not that there was anything wrong with Coach Ishii; it’s just that Manager Hara, who considers the first through third teams to be “one team,” probably wanted to stimulate the team by changing the leadership.
But in general terms, a transfer to the third team is a demotion. Coach Ishii is well-liked by the players, with Maru trusting his guidance since his days in Hiroshima. He gave not only technical but also mental advice, and treated each player with care and kindness. He was a good conduit between the players and the leaders.
Abe, who was promoted to the first team instead, was also a capable coach, but he was the complete opposite of Ishii in his passionate leadership. I think this must have upset the team.
The Giants lost their first championship in three years. The Giants lost the championship for the first time in three years. After making a decision that caused a stir, will manager Hara be able to overcome the obstacles in the CS?
Photo： Kyodo News