The friendly games of the Japan national baseball team, officially nicknamed Samurai Japan, was held from November 10 to 13 at the Tokyo Dome. Japan played with Mexico in the first and second game, and played with Netherlands in the third and 4th game. The purpose of this games is the selection of player for 2017 world baseball classic.
In the game 1, the starting pitcher of Japan was Shota Takeda of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Japan got a first score in the bottom of first inning, but after that Mexico took one run after another. In the top of 9th inning, the closer Yasuaki Yamasaki allowed 3 runs. So finnaly Mexico beat Japan 7 to 3. Mexico had 10 hits, but Japan had only 5 hits. Japan was sick all around the team.
In the game 2, the starting pitcher of Japan was Yusuke Nomura of the Hiroshima Carp. Nomura won 16 and became the pitcher with the most wins of the central league in 2016 season, but he allowed 3 runs until the 4th inning. Japan also took 3 runs until 4th inning. Then in the top of 5th inning, Japan was 2 runs ahead of mexico. After that Japan took one run after another, finally Japan beat Mexico 11 to 4. In the Japanese pitching staff, Hirotoshi Masui, Naoki Miyanishi and Ryo Akiyoshi allowed 1 earned run in 5 innings.
In the game 3, the starting pitcher of Japan was Ayumu Ishikawa of the Chiba Lotte Marines. His earned run average was 2.16 in this year and he was an ERA leader of the pacific league. But Ishikawa allowed 3 runs until the 4th inning. In the bottom of 5th inning, Shohei Otani made a home run. Then Hayato sakamoto, Sho Nakata and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo made the clutch hit, Japan reversed Netherlands. But Daichi Osera allowed 3 runs in the top of 9th inning, the game went into extra inning. Finally Shota Ono made a game-ending hit in the bottom of 10th inning, Japan beat Netherlands 9 to 8. Otani participated in the designated hitter, he hit 2 for 5 in the game.
In the game 4, the starting pitcher of Japan was Kenta Ishida of the Yokohama DeNA Baystars. Ishida allowed 4 runs until the 3th inning, and next pitcher Kazuto Taguchi also allowed 4 runs until the 5th inning. Then in the top of 7th inning, Otani hit a big fly ball. His ball hit the gap of the roof and did not come down, so it became a double. After that Ryosuke Kikuchi, Tetsuto Yamada, Tsutsugo and Seiya Suzuki made the clutch hit, Japan equalized with Netherlands 8 to 8. The game went into extra inning 2 games in a row. In the top of 10th inning Suzuki made a grand slam, Japan beat Netherlands again. Japan was 3 wins and 1 lose in the friendly games.
In Japan, many problems were found. The starting pitchers were hit each game, the pitting staff’s earned run average was 6.29. Many players were chosen for the first time as the national team so they were not accustomed to MLB ball. The ball also uses in 2017 World Baseball Classic, Japan will need pitchers with experience.
In the batter, some players had a good condition. But Yamada hit only 1 for 13 in all games. He defended an unfamiliar third base so he also had a bad batting condition. But Nobuhiro Matsuda, he was also the third baseman, hit only 1 for 13 in all games. The third baseman is difficult for human resources, so other players will be necessary.
Based on this result, Let’s forecast the players of Japan national baseball team in 2017 WBC. There are 13 pitchers and 15 fielder.
■Starting Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka（New York Yankees）, Kenta Maeda（Los Angeles Dodgers）, Tomoyuki Sugano, Shohei Ohtani, Takahiro Norimoto, Yusei Kikuchi, Shota Takeda
■Setup pitcher and Reliever: Ryo Akiyoshi, Kasuhisa Makita, Naoki Miyanishi, Keisuke Tanimoto, Takeru Imamura, Koji Uehara（Boston Red Sox）
In the pitting staff, there are many MLB players who experienced in international matches. Otani is a starting pitcher and Kikuchi will be select as a precious left arm pitcher.
■Outfielder: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Akira Nakamura, Shogo Akiyama, Seiya Suzuki, Ichiro Suzuki（Florida Marlins）
■Infielder: Nobuhiro Matsuda, Shuichi Murata, Hayato Sakamoto, Takuya Nakashima, Ryosuke Kikuchi, Tetsuto Yamada, Sho Nakata
■Catcher: Motohiro Shima, Ginjiro Sumitani, Shota Ono
Ichiro is an outfielder of the back up. He can protect the outfield everywhere and will be the spiritual pillar of the team. Murata is a veteran player who can protect the third and first base. And Sumitani experienced the 2013 WBC. By the way, the batting order will be like this;
1. Akiyama 2. Kikuchi 3. Sakamoto 4. Tsutsugo（DH) 5. Nakata 6. Suzuki 7. Matsuda 8. Nakamura 9. Shima
This youtube’s video is the movie of the WBSC Premier12 in 2015. Ohtani played in the game with Korea, he pitched 6 innings with 10 strikeouts.