Law of Averages Catches Up to Masahiro Tanaka
With a chance to clinch the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ first Japan Series title in their history, Masahiro Tanaka lost for the first time this season. Tanaka went 24-0 during the regular season and had won his only start in the Climax (playoffs) Series and his first Japan Series start in Game 2. He’d also saved a game in the regular season and the clinching game in the second round of the Climax Series.
Today Tanaka threw a complete game but lost 4-2 to the Yomiuri Giants. All the runs allowed were earned, with Tanaka giving up 12 hits in all. Rakuten was leading 2-0 through four innings, but Jose Lopez‘s three-run homer in the top of the 5th ultimately decided the game. With the championship on the line, Tanaka threw a whopping 160 pitches in his complete game effort.
That’s why they play the games — no matter how dominating a pitcher or team looks going into a game, anything can happen once the teams actually take the field.
Meanwhile, this year’s Japan Series is turning into a classic. It’s now knotted at three games a piece, with Game 7 to be played tomorrow at the Golden Eagles’ Kleenex Miyagi Stadium in Sendei. Of the six games played so far, only one (the Golden Eagles’ 5-1 win in Game 3) has been decided by more than two runs.