From Opening Dash to Plunge – Ticking Time Bomb for Manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami’s Central League Team | FRIDAY DIGITAL

From Opening Dash to Plunge – Ticking Time Bomb for Manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami’s Central League Team

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Manager Tatsunami (center) and other leaders after the loss to DeNA on May 1.

In early April, the media in Nagoya were excited to see the Chunichi Dragons take the lead for the first time in 2,891 days.

This year’s Dragons are different.

Such comments could be heard from the reporters who have been following the Dragons for many years. The way they won a series of low-scoring, close games was reminiscent of the golden era under the Ochiai administration, when they finished in the A class for all eight years, won four league championships, and even won the top prize in Japan. The team’s performance was more than enough to remind us of the resurgence of the mighty dragon, but some of the reporters were skeptical.

Kazuyoshi Tachinami (54), the manager of the team, is not one to sit still, so it will be up to him if he can resist “moving.

The reporters’ fears proved correct, and in just one month the team had eroded its maximum six-game lead and fallen to fourth place with a debt of two games as of May 15.

The key players behind the team’s opening-day dash were Sho Nakata (35), the centerpiece of the reinforcements, and Mikiya Tanaka (23), a second-year college graduate who is making a splash at second base, and above all, the best pitching staff in the league.

Even within the baseball team, there were many who predicted from the February camp that this season was sure to get off to a good start. A source close to the baseball team revealed the background of this expectation.

A source close to the baseball team revealed the background behind the success: “The replacement of players and reassignment of coaches worked well, and we entered the camp with a better atmosphere than we have had in recent years. Everyone, including the backstage staff, was enthusiastic about ‘Let’s do it this year! I felt that everyone, including the backstage staff, had the momentum to ‘go for it this year! This momentum led to the first time in 21 years that we came out on top in the opening round, and we made a dash for the opening day of the season. ……”

However, the momentum did not last long. A Chunichi reporter for a sports newspaper said, “Tachinami’s ‘move’ was not a good one.

Tachinami’s move was the cause. A major turning point was when he broke up the rotation and used ace Yuya Yanagi (30) against Yakult in a five-day game and lost badly. That game affected not only Yanagi but also the operation of the other pitchers. From that point on, the atmosphere changed drastically, with the starters getting hammered in some games. There was the situation of having starting pitchers such as Yudai Ohno (35) and Akihiro Umezu (27) who were coming off breakdowns, but some pitchers left their starting senses open, while others were used as fill-ins, and the consistency disappeared. And the reasons for this have not been made clear.”

This season, the team’s strength has been developed, including the acquisition of Nakata from the Giants

The fact that young players are emerging in a way that has not been seen in recent years is a positive factor. However, the Nakanichi reporter continues, “I also feel some frustration because of this.

Shigeya Hosokawa (25), who had a breakout season last season, has become the mainstay of the team, and Takaya Ishikawa (22) is showing signs of blossoming. Mikiya Tanaka and Yasuhiro Yamamoto (30), who was acquired from the Hanshin team, have been showing off their skills, and second-year player Kaito Muramatsu (23) is starting to show his hitting ability. Muramatsu, in particular, has fallen short of the batting average, but he has not won the trust of the manager, as he has been removed from the starting lineup in games where a left-handed pitcher starts, even though he has been hitting well. The use of Muramatsu and Ishikawa, who have good numbers, should be considered more carefully.

Another baseball team alumnus was also scathing.

In the past two years, there have been many questionable decisions by the manager. However, the criticism was concentrated on the team’s lack of reinforcements, and Tatsunami received sympathetic criticism. The problem was overlooked as one that preceded coaching. However, this season, for the first time since he took over, the team has a squad capable of aiming for Class A, and the manager’s hesitation has become conspicuous. There have already been a number of games in the early stages of the season in which the team seems to have lost because of his leadership. If you set out to play baseball that defends and wins, the center line should be solidified, and the daily order is not acceptable.

What do you think will be the key point in this season’s battle?

What is the key point in this season’s battle? That will be the key point. Until this season, the presence of Kataoka, who was reassigned from the position of manager of the second team, had been a “stabilizing agent” for manager Tachinami. With no other coach able to give his opinion to Mr. Dragons, and with Coach Kataoka taking on this role, each coach was able to concentrate on his own work. Coach Kataoka, a former classmate of Mr. Dragons from PL Gakuen, was putting the brakes on Mr. Tatsunami. If that balance is lost, the team could take an even steeper dive from here. Coach Kataoka is definitely the key man this season.

This is the last year of Tatsunami’s contract. With the support of his allies, can he become the dark horse of the mixed teams and change his reputation as a “lost general” to a “great general”?

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