Brandon Laird is MVP, Fighters win Japan Series【with Review】

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The baseball game of the 2016 Japan series was held from October 22 to 29. The game was playing between the climax series winner of the Central league and the climax series winner of the Pacific league, the Hiroshima Carp and the Hokkaido Nipponham Fighters has played in this year. And they were the first place in the league both. The team of earlier to four wins become the champion in the Japan series.

The first round and the second round was held in the Mazda Stadium, Horoshima. In the first round, the starting pitcher was Kris Johnson of the Carp and Shohei Otani of the Fighters. In the bottom of second inning, the carp got a first score by stealing home. And in the bottom of 3rd inning, Brad Eldred and Ryuhei Matsuyama made a home run from Otani, the Carp took the lead of 3 points. Otani did not fit the mound so couldn’t pitch the usual fastball. Brandon Laird of the Fighters made a home run in the top of 7th inning, but the Carp took 2 points moreover. Finally the Carp beat the Fighters 5 to 1.

In the second round, the starting pitcher was Yusuke Nomura of the Carp and Hirotoshi Masui of the Fighters. In the bottom of second inning, Tetsuya Kokubo made a RBI double from Masui. So the Carp were the first to score. but Ryosuke Kikuchi made an error which directly allows a run to score in the top of 4th inning, the Fighters equalized with the Carp. Kikuchi was a good second baseman, but because the ball has an irregular bounce so he couldn’t catch the ball. In the bottom of 6th inning, Kikuchi singled to left with a runner on second base. Kosuke Tanaka of the runner ran to the home base but he was determined to be out by the good returning ball from the left. However, in the instant replay Tanaka made a fantastic slide to avoid the tag and touched the home base. So the Carp took the lead of 1 point. After that, the Carp has added 3 points and the Carp beat the Fighters 5 to 1. Eldred made a home run again in this game.

The third round and the fifth round was held in the Sapporo Dome, Hokkaido. the starting pitcher was Hiroki Kuroda of the Carp and Kohei Arihara of the Fighters. The Fighters got a first score in the bottom of 1st inning. But Eldred made two run home run from Arihara in the top of 2nd inning, the Carp reversed the game 2 to 1. Eldred hit a home run 3 games in a row, this is the best stats of the Japan Series that was achieved by 4 players in the past. Kuroda had announced his retirement in this season and he had a good pitching in this game. But in the bottom of 6th inning, Kuroda had a cramp in his leg and he was lifted from the mound. So this is the last pitch of Kuroda. The game proceeded as same score of 1-1. In the bottom of 8th inning, Sho Nakata of the Fighters made the RBI double, the Fighters reversed the game 3 to 2. But Tomohiro Abe of the Carp got a RBI single, theCarp equalized with the Fighters in the 9th inning. Finally, Otani of the designated hitter got a walk-off hit from Daichi Osera in the bottom of 10th inning, the Fighters beat the Carp 4 to 3.

In the fourth round, the starting pitcher was Akitake Okada of the Carp and Hirotoshi Takanashi of the Fighters. The Carp got a first score in the top of 4th inning by an error of Kensuke Kondo, Right fielder. His original position is a catcher so he was not familiar with the defensive. In the bottom of 6th inning, Nakata made a home run from Okada, the Fighters equalized with the Carp. After that, Brandon Laird made two run home run in the bottom of 8th inning, the Fighters beat the Carp 3 to 1 finally. The win-loss record between the figters and the carp is fifty-fifty.

In the fifth round, the starting pitcher was Kris Johnson of the Carp and Takayuki Kato of the Fighters. Johnson won this year’s Sawamura Award 3 days ago. In the top of 1st inning, Seiya Suzuki made a RBI single from Kato. So the Carp were the first to score. Then Hideki Kuriyama of the fighters’s manager did a rare strategy. He changed the pithcer from Kato to Luis Mendoza in the top of 2nd inning. This was the early replacement, but Mendiza allowed no runs until 7th inning so the game proceeded as same score of 1-0. In the bottom of 7th inning, Hiromi Oka hit a sacrifice fly, the Fighters equalized with the Carp. In the bottom of 9th inning, the fighters went to bat with the runners on first and second base and 2 outs. Then Oka was hit by a pitched from Shota Nakazaki of the Carp. Because Oka showed an angry gesture and the players of both teams were off the bench, so the ground was startled. After that, Haruki Nishikawa made a game-ending grand slam from Nakazaki, the Fighters beat the Carp 5 to 1. The game-ending grand slam is a second time in the Japan series since 1992, Toru Sugiura of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. The Fighters was a checkmate to victory.

The sixth round was held in the Mazda Stadium. The starting pitcher was Nomura of the Carp and Masui of the Fighters.  In the top of 1st inning, Oka made a RBI single from Nomura. So the Fighters were the first to score. But the Fighters made two error which directly allows a run to score in the bottom of 2nd inning, the Carp reversed the game 2 to 1. But in the top of 4th inning, Kensuke Tanaka made a RBI single from Nomura, the Fighters equalized with the Carp. And Nishikawa made an RBI triple so the Fighters took the lead of 4 to 2. After that Yoshihiro Maru made a home run and Ko Shimozuru made a RBI single, the Carp equalized with the fighters again in the bottom of 6th inning. And in the top of 8th inning, Nakata took a bases-loaded walk from Jay Jackson, the fighters leaded one point. Then Anthony Bass of the pitcher made a RBI single and Laird made a grand slam. So the fighters beat the Carp 10 to 4, and the fighters won the 2016 Japan Series since 2006. The MVP of the series is Brandon Laird. He made 3 home runs in the series, and his stats was 7 RBI.

What is the scene that divided the victory or defeat of this series? It was the bottom 8th inning in the third round. The Carp walked Otani intentionally and the fighters went to bat with with the runners on first and second base and 2 outs. At this time the Carp leaded as one point, so changed the left fielder from Matsuyama to Masato Akamatsu normally. Akamatsu is a platoon player. But Matsuyama continued to defend in this time. Next batter, Nakata’s batted ball flew to left. However Matsuyama couldn’t catch the ball. So the Fighters got two points and win this game. If the Carp had changed the left fielder to Akamatsu, he could catch the ball easily and the Carp would won 3 times in a row. Conversely, the fighters won 4 times in a row from this game and took the championship.

This youtube’s video is the game-ending grand slam by Nishikawa in the fifth round. This Japan Series is the best in recent years.