For the fifth straight week, the Tigers have posted three losses. This time, though, because they only played four games, they finished the week 1-3 and are now sitting at .500 on the year. Interleague play was not kind to the Tigers, who finished tied for last in the interleague standings with a 9-15 record. Fortunately, one of the other low finishers was the Hiroshima Carp. Unfortunately, the team with the top record in interleague play was the Yomiuri Giants, who finished 16-8.
Tuesday’s game against the Fighters featured a blown save by Oh, who has not been his usual reliable self in the past month or so. The blown 3-1 lead looked like it would result in either a loss or draw, but Murton’s 12th-inning double gave the Tigers their lone win this week. On Wednesday night, the Tigers faced a dominant pitcher in Shohei Otani. He allowed just a harmless single through 8 innings, struck out 11, and the Tigers finished with a mere three singles on the night. One resulted in a failed steal attempt, while another was followed by a double play.
So after nine straight scoreless innings on Wednesday, it was painful to see the Tigers repeat the feat the following game. The Rakuten Eagles’ starter, Norimoto, pitched a complete game shut-out as the Tigers lost 4-0 for the second straight night. Messenger struggled at times but was not helped by the defence behind him. There were a few Eagles hits that could have easily been called errors. The series (and interleague) finale was not much better, as the Tigers mustered a mere run. After Gomez’ RBI single, Murton singled and loaded the bases with one out. Unfortunately, Imanari grounded into a double play, ending the threat and the first momentum the Tigers had built up in three games. It was a disappointing week to say the least.
The Giants retained their hold on first place, despite a better week out of the Carp. As mentioned earlier, the Tigers are sitting at .500, and are now only a game ahead of the Chunichi Dragons. Here are the standings as of the end of play on June 22nd:
The Tigers couldn’t be more relieved that the interleague portion of the schedule is over. It has been a miserable month of June to this point, and the upcoming four-day break couldn’t come at a better time. This week features a three-game homestand on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They will host Chunichi, and need to re-extend their lead in the standings against the charging Dragons. Let’s hope the coming week puts an end to their losing ways. A 3-0 week would do wonders for their confidence and their place in the standings. GO TIGERS!