The Giants’ Kanno is at a serious crossroads as a pitcher: “Manager Hara is also very critical of him. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Giants’ Kanno is at a serious crossroads as a pitcher: “Manager Hara is also very critical of him.

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Kanno gets hit by a home run against Hanshin on July 25. His pitching has been inconsistent (PHOTO: Kyodo News)

Tomoyuki Sugano (33) of the Giants has not been pitching well. One game he pitches well, and the next game he gives up a lot of runs and gets knocked out.

On July 8 against DeNA, he pitched seven scoreless innings for his second win of the season, his first since June 11.

On July 17 against Yakult, he was knocked out after allowing six runs in one inning. He gave up 6 hits (including 2 homers).

On July 25, against Hanshin, he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits by the middle of the 6th inning, suffering his 3rd loss.

On August 1, against Yakult, he pitched 8 innings allowing one run, but was unable to get support from his team’s batting lineup and suffered his fourth loss.

His defensive batting average was also poor, in the 3-point range. Considering that in his prime (’17) he was 17-5 with an overwhelming 1.59 earned-run average, he is not in his best form. One of the reasons for the slump is the power of his straight ball. Sugano is a pitcher characterized by keeping hitters at bay with a straight ball in the upper 150 km/h range. Recently, however, his straight has been stuck in the upper 140 km/h range and has clearly lost its sharpness.

Nevertheless, the level of expectations for Sugano, who has long supported the Giants pitching staff as their ace, is high. This is a sign of the high expectations. Manager Tatsunori Hara has often made harsh comments about Sugano, and when asked about him in a July 25 game against Hanshin, Hara said, “Ask him. It would be embarrassing if he thought I was satisfied with that result (three runs in six innings).

With the rise of younger players, there is no place for him. ……

Kanno also has his share of bad luck. For the past few years, he has been plagued by back pain and pain in his right elbow, making it difficult for him to pitch the way he wants to.

He has been unable to pitch the way he wants to. “I think a model change is needed from pitching mainly with straight pitches. He has been telling those around him for some time that such a time (a turning point) will eventually come, so he must be aware that he is at a crossroads. I hear that he is trying to increase his ability to attack hitters by throwing all types of pitches evenly. For example, if he has four different types of pitches, he will not rely on any one of them, but rather throw 25% of each.

However, it remains to be seen whether such a model change will be successful. In the Giants’ starting pitching staff, youngsters such as Shoyuki Togo, Iori Yamazaki, and Guy Yokogawa are beginning to emerge. If the slump continues, Sugano may lose his place on the team, no matter how good his track record is. He is in a more difficult position than I had imagined.

The ace, who had 117 wins through last season, is now in his 11th year as a professional. He seems to be at a crossroads as a baseball player, whether he can make another leap forward or not.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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