Before the Giants’ game against Yakult on April 20, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara (64) reported on the first half of the season to owner Juichi Yamaguchi (65, president of Yomiuri Shimbun Group) at the Yomiuri Shimbun’s Tokyo headquarters in Otemachi, Tokyo. The team had lost 3-5 in the same game on the previous day, with Shoyuki Togo (22) starting, and had fallen back to fifth place in the standings. Manager Hara said, “I reported on the current situation. The owner is taking a very kind look at us. We had a good talk, including the good points and the areas where we are lacking.
Okamoto, the main gun, is not doing well…
As of the 24th, they were in fifth place, 13 games behind the leader, Yakult, with a debt of “5”. The turn in debt is a disgrace for the first time in four years, since 2018.
The Giants have been having a difficult season, and they often make a coaching reshuffle around the time of the All-Star break to give them a pick-me-up for the second half of the season,” said a sports newspaper desk clerk.
On July 13, 2017, when Yoshinobu Takahashi was manager, the Giants finished fourth in the first half of the season, and Masaki Saito was named first-team pitching coach. Takao Ohana, the first-team pitching coach, was put in charge of the first-team bullpen, while his successor as second-team manager was named Junzo Uchida, the traveling hitting coach, and Kazuya Tabata, the first-team pitching coach who was in charge of the bullpen, was reassigned to scorer.
Last year, too, five coaches were reassigned, including battery coach Ryoji Aikawa, who was transferred to the third team in May, and pitching coach Tetsuya Yamaguchi, who was moved to the first team (all titles at the time).
The owner’s report is also the place to get approval for coach appointments,” said the aforementioned desk clerk.
A sports newspaper reporter covering the Giants said, “Daisuke Motoki, the head coach and chief offensive coach, was rumored to be responsible for the team’s poor batting, which had resulted in no timely hitting in 72 innings over a full seven-game span since the beginning of July. We have been unable to get our main gun, Kazuma Okamoto, who has fallen into a slump, back on his feet, so his skills are being questioned,” he said.
In fact, the coach was forced into a cold shoulder last year under similar circumstances.
The reporter said , “Last season, Yoshihiro Maru was in a slump from the beginning of spring, and his batting average did not improve at all. Then, in June, Takuro Ishii, who had been the general fielding coach since his days at Hiroshima (now the general fielding coach of the Yokohama DeNA first-team), was removed from hitting instruction and assigned to a full-time defensive base-running position. In October, just before the Climax Series, he was demoted to third base coach. It was later revealed that this was because he had decided to move to DeNA…. It is a common story in the Giants that coaches and scorers are made to take responsibility when the mainstay of the team is in a prolonged slump.
The aforementioned desk clerk says, ” Chief pitching coach Masumi Kuwata, whom manager Hara appealed directly to owner Yamaguchi to reinstate in December of the year before last after a 15-year absence, is also in danger.
The Giants’ pitching staff this season is by far the worst of the 12 teams with 436 runs scored. The team’s 4.09 goals-against average, .263 batting average, and 300 walks allowed are also among the worst among the 12 teams.
A “draft” blowing between Manager Hara and Pitching Coach Kuwata
From July 15 against Hiroshima to July 18 against Yakult, the team hit grand slam homers in four consecutive games, setting a disgraceful professional baseball record. Hara said, “The number of walks and home runs are also a reflection of poor coaching by me and the coaches. The players are working hard. We will guide them well.” He implicitly pointed the finger at Coach Kuwata, who was in charge of the pitching staff, for his lack of coaching ability.
Recently, Kuwata often says, “The manager is in charge of all pitching changes,” suggesting that he is losing his authority over pitching changes. There seems to be a gap between Hara and Kuwata, who had appeared to be having a honeymoon,” said the same desk clerk.
Hara himself was forced to resign in 2003, during the first administration, when the team finished third after winning the Japan championship in its first year in office, even though he had one year left on his three-year contract. Tsuneo Watanabe, then owner of the Yomiuri Group, summed it up as “a personnel change within the Yomiuri Group. The then 45-year-old young leader was devastated by the humiliation. Nineteen years have passed since then, and 64-year-old Hara, who now has full control of the team, has been on the side of “personnel changes.
He was supposed to make personnel moves for this season, which is still languishing in the bottom half of the standings, but in the four days from April 19, a total of 73 people were infected with a new type of coronavirus, the largest cluster in the history of professional baseball. In addition to such mainstays as Okamoto, Maru, Sho Nakata, Tomoyuki Sugano, and others, Coach Motoki and the rest of the leadership were infected across the board. Coach Kuwata, who had only contracted the virus in June, managed to escape the outbreak this time.
Since the virus is spreading even in the second team, “personnel moves are likely to be frozen,” said a baseball team official. However, “It would not be surprising if the coaches who were transferred on an emergency basis to deal with the corona outbreak remain in place even after the situation is resolved. The personnel changes that will be made under the cover of the emergency situation will not leave any room for optimism.
(All results as of July 24)