Things seem to be going from bad to worse for the Tigers. After finishing tied for the worst record during interleague play, they really needed a strong 3-game home stand against the fast-approaching Chunichi Dragons. Instead, they went winless, extending their winless streak to six games in the process.
In game 1, Messenger pitched fairly strongly (though not his best outing, it certainly was enough to deserve the win), going 9 innings and allowing just one earned run. (He threw a whopping 145 pitches!) Unfortunately, despite the Tigers taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th, Seung-hwan Oh blew yet another save by giving up a home run to the Dragons’ Luna. The Tigers had a huge chance in the 12th, but with the bases loaded and one out they managed no runs, and the game ended in a tie. Highlights here.
From there, things went downhill this weekend. The offensive (pun intended) drought continued as the Tigers mustered just one run on Saturday. Then on Sunday, Atsushi Nohmi gave up 8 runs in the top of the first inning (mind you, just four of them were earned) and the Tigers only managed two runs as they conceded yet another game to the Dragons. It was a short week, but here are the results once more.
The entire division gained ground on the Tigers this week. In fact, as you can see, they have dropped yet another place in the standings. It might just be a temporary lull but they now sit outside the playoff picture for the first time this season. Here are the standings:
Call me a homer, but I really believe this is just a mid-season slump. Hopefully Nishioka will get more comfortable after just recently coming back from several months off. The addition of reliever Yoshinori Tateyama might help the struggling bullpen as well. Either way, there is no better time for them to get hot. This week features a three-game home series against the Swallows (with the first game being played in Kurashiki) and a three-game road series against the Bay Stars (with the first game taking place in Shizuoka). If they cannot win a bunch this week, it only gets tougher the week after. It’s time to get back on the winning side of .500! GO TIGERS!