Yakult Manager Takatsu to Continue Pitching, but “Surprising Winning Percentage” and “Number of Dead Balls” Makes Hanshin and Baseball Fans Fearful | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yakult Manager Takatsu to Continue Pitching, but “Surprising Winning Percentage” and “Number of Dead Balls” Makes Hanshin and Baseball Fans Fearful

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Manager Shingo Takatsu, who used his sinker as a weapon to attack the inside corner of the field during his career

We are a team that won the championship two years in a row.

After the Hanshin-Yakult game on September 3, Hanshin manager Akifu Okada, 65, expressed his anger at Yakult after Yakult outfielder Koji Chikamoto (28) was hit in the right side by the second pitch thrown by Yakult pitcher Hiroki Yamamoto with Hanshin trailing 7-1 at the end of the eighth inning.

If it had been a close game with runners on base, there would have been nothing that could be done, but because it was a dead ball when the game was completely decided, Okada’s anger was understandable,” said a reporter from a sports newspaper.

Okada told reporters, “That’s the kind of team we are,

Okada muttered to reporters, “That’s the kind of team we are, isn’t it?

He even went so far as to directly mention the name of manager Shingo Takatsu (54), revealing his anger.

What kind of team does Okada mean by “that kind of team”? A Hanshin official asked, “What kind of team does Okada mean?

I think he means a team that intentionally hits us. This year, Yakult has given up the most dead balls, 58 (as of September 3), of the 12 teams. In a game on August 13, Ryutaro Umeno, 32, a catcher, was hit by a dead ball near his left wrist, breaking his left ulna and ending his season. I’d like to think it was a coincidence, but…”

he said, expressing his indignation. On the same day, Takatsu said,

I am sorry. Of course, I didn’t mean to hit him, but my ball is a shot, so I went for it.

Speaking of Takatsu, one recalls the game against Yokohama on May 20, when he gave away three dead balls and a brawl broke out.

After the match,

After the match, he commented, “I didn’t hit him on purpose, so to say I’m sorry would be a bit of a slap in the face in the world of competition, but I think it was the result of my aggression.

This was met with fire on social networking sites. He also cited a past incident in which a Yakult player was hit by a pitch and a Yakult coach yelled at him as if to suggest that he would retaliate with a deadly pitch. And on social networking sites, he said

In the ninth inning, it’s not right to attack the inside corner of the plate. It’s not right no matter how you think about it.

If he is sorry, he should apologize directly.

If he is sorry, he should apologize directly.

Despite such criticism, on August 25, the team decided that Takatsu will continue to pitch next season. Acting Yakult CEO and Representative Director Tsuyoshi Kinugasa said, “We are determined to win the championship in Japan in 2021, and we are determined to win the championship in 2021,

We highly value his ability to win the Japan championship in 2021 and back-to-back league titles in 2022, and his trust in him to lead the team to these titles is unshakeable,” said Kinugasa, according to the source.

According to the source, the decision was also based on his ability to nurture young players such as Munetaka Murakami and pitcher Keiji Takahashi. However, there is a point of view that goes something like this.

It is true that in ’21 and ’22 the team won back-to-back league titles for two consecutive years thanks to the growth of Murakami and other young players, but in the four years since Manager Takatsu took over, the team’s record has been 242 wins and 250 losses (as of September 3), less than 50% of the total. Looking at these numbers, a simple evaluation is not possible. Even Yakult fans have their doubts,” said a Yakult team official.

Of course, there are more welcoming voices, but what fans are most concerned about is the number of dead balls, which has even fans wondering if he is intentionally throwing them, and whether he will repeat the mistakes of former manager Mitsuru Manaka (52). This season, Yakult pitchers have given up 58 dead balls, the worst in both leagues.

Manaka won a league championship in his first year as manager in ’15, but he was easily cut in ’16, when the team finished fifth, and in ’17, when it fell to the bottom of the standings. Currently, Yakult is in 5th place (as of September 3). Depending on their performance next year, they will be abandoned by both fans and the team.

In any case, the only way to regain the trust of the fans is to play the remaining games of this season and to perform well next year.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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