Five Decisive Failures” by the Yano Hanshin Tigers, who have lost nine straight games to open the season. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Five Decisive Failures” by the Yano Hanshin Tigers, who have lost nine straight games to open the season.

Bottom of the barrel! From a championship contender to the worst record in the Central League with nine consecutive losses in the opening day of the season, the last season of the season began with the worst humiliation in history.

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Director Yano, who is known for his gut-punching, crying, and other emotions of joy, anger, sadness, and joy, has a blank expression on his face during consecutive losses this season, as if he has something to look forward to.

We won’t lose tomorrow! Because there is no game.

What makes Hanshin fans, once called the “hooligans of professional baseball,” so bearish is the team’s record of nine consecutive losses since the start of the season, the worst in the Central League. What is happening to the Yano Hanshin Tigers, who won 77 games last season, the most among the 12 teams (ranked second)? When this magazine conducted an emergency interview with the reporter and other people concerned, “five critical failures” emerged.

Failure #1: Manager Yano Akihiro Yano’s (53) declaration of resignation

The day before the start of camp, he announced that he was stepping down, which had a big impact. A team that is united as one is effective when its leader steps down. Yano Hanshin is different. They were celebrating the manager’s retirement before the season opener, but I think only Yoshio Itoi (42) and Yuki Nishi (31), who organized the event, want Mr. Yano to stay on. It is widely rumored that Ryutaro Umeno (30), who has been treated coldly, did not leave the team by FA because Mr. Yano’s resignation was decided,” said a reporter for a sports newspaper.

If he had not been selected in the draft, Yano said he would have become a gym teacher. He said, “I’m going to win the championship and make my coach a man!” The evening paper’s desk clerk chuckles, “I guess they were hoping for a more athletic atmosphere.

But the evening paper’s desk editor laughed bitterly: “Professionals have to produce results to earn a living. It is the job of the manager to stand on the sidelines and take charge so that the players can show their abilities, but if he declares, ‘I’m quitting after this year,’ before a game, the tension will be broken. The pressure of being the “Hanshin manager” is hard on him, and the parent company is not very open to the opinions of the outsider, Mr. Yano.

Director Yano is said to have told a close associate, “I wish I hadn’t said that ……,” but it was already too late.

Failure #2: Suarez (31) out of the picture

Keiichi Yabu, ace baseball player in the dark ages, said, “I couldn’t have imagined the quagmire we’ve gotten ourselves into.

The hole left by Suarez, the guardian god, was too big. It was fine to bring in new relief pitcher Keller (28), but his arrival in Japan was delayed due to Corona and he was not fully adjusted. I thought I would put him in the 8th inning first and slide set-up man Yu Iwasaki (Suguru) (30) into the 9th inning, but I suddenly used him as a suppressor. And it backfired. Manager Yano is now trying to replace Keller with a youngster named Kyoki Yuasa (22), who has no experience in the first team, but if this fails, I will be …… horrified.

Keller’s curve, which Yano praised as “that thing gives hitters the illusion of hitting,” has a 100 percent batting average, including two homers. Considering Yano’s eye for the ball, closer Yuasa is also a concern.

Failure 3: Neglect of the opening game

All Hanshin officials cited the “seven-run comeback loss in the season opener.

The decision to use manager Yano’s favorite pitcher, Yutkiya Saito (27), in the eighth inning with a five-run lead was a huge misstep. Saito did not have any outstanding performance in the opening game, but he licked the Yakult team, which was Japan’s No. 1 last season, too much. In the opening game, even if there is a big gap, you are sure to go for it with a winning pitching pattern. It was unfortunate that ace pitcher Koyo Aoyagi (28), who was supposed to be the opening pitcher, contracted corona, but Ippei Ogawa (24), who switched to starting in the second game of the opening series this season, and newcomer Takuma Kirishiki (22) in the third game. The team’s leadership in bringing in two players with zero experience for the important three games in a row was not good. I have no choice but to say so,” said sportswriter Yamato Fujimoto.

The Hanshin team has given up the flow of the game by itself.

Failure 4: Firing Sands (34)

The team was unable to win the championship because of poor hitting, but no reinforcements were made for the fielders. The scorers of the Central League teams applauded the decision to cut Sands, who had hit 17 homers in the first half of last season alone,” said a Tiger reporter.

The Tigers’ scorer said, “I think they saw Sands’ poor performance in the second half of the season as a problem, but the reason was his lack of stamina. If they rested them and used them, they could still do well. At least he was better than Rojas Jr. (31). Mr. Yano says he likes Rojas, but he is a player with many holes. Marte (30) also hit 22 shots last season, but he has a lot of breakdowns and won’t be able to fight all year.”

In fact, Marte was out of action for seven games.

Failure #5: Overly Stubborn Usage

Yano’s biased use of players, Yabu fears, has “diminished the team’s strength.

He says, “I feel nothing but discomfort when he calls it ‘one-baseball,’ but doesn’t use some players at all. Take, for example, Shun Takayama (28), a Dora 1 player in 2003. He won the rookie of the year award as a rookie, but we don’t even hear his name mentioned. On the other hand, Kento Itohara (29), who is not hitting at all, is given the No. 5 job. The mood is not getting any better.

This magazine is not the only one who has come up with a breakthrough: asking manager Yano to move up the date of his retirement.

The unusual raising of Yano’s arms during the camp. It was a pleasant surprise. (Yano was pleased with the result, saying, “It was a pleasant surprise.
Keller, a candidate for guardian god, failed to make a save in two consecutive games. He was sent back to the second base, saying, “I can’t get a strikeout with the ball. His defensive average is in the 33-point range.
Aoyagi left the team just before the season opener due to a new type of corona infection. The return of last season’s most winning pitcher is one of the few upsides for the Hanshin team.
Marte, the main gunner, has never worked a whole season due to many lower body injuries. He also left early this season with a broken right leg.

From the April 22, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

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