Saibi’s Tomohiro Anraku was on the mound again for the quarterfinal clash with Kenritsu Gifu Shogyo and he stayed there for the entire nine innings again (video can be found here).
While it’s almost certain that a lot of people will bitch and moan at the coach for letting him in the game again, rising his pitch total to 529 since Tueday last week, I think it is also important to look at what he has done over those three games. Which is give his team the chance to advance to where they are now. The semifinal of the tournament. He threw those 232 pitches in 13 innings against Kouryou mainly because the team needed him to stay in the game.
Granted, the game against Seiseikou was decided after the top of the 8th inning, so the coach might have given him some rest for remaining two innings, but since we haven’t seen what the relievers can do for Saibi one has to believe they might be a little suspect. At least the coach seems to think so.
And so against Gifusho in the quarterfinal Saibi was trailing 2-3 until the bottom of the 8th. This is a close game and I can see why the coach of Saibi didn’t want to give up any more runs. He had a reliever warming up during the top of the 8th inning just in case, but with the offense exploding in the bottom of the 8th I guess he thought he had to rely on his ace to bring the game home.
As for Anraku himself, he didn’t look like the workload bothered him at all during the early innings. Two of his strikeouts came in the first inning and they looked pretty easy. His fastball was hovering around 140 km/h-144 km/h, occasionally reaching 145 km/h or 146 km/h and reaching back for a little extra in the 9th (e.g. 151 km/h). And his breaking pitches looked pretty sharp most of the time.
He might be on the mound again tomorrow in the semifinal against a terrific team from Kochi, who have been cruising through the tournament so far. And, if he makes it through that game to the final, the day after tomorrow will be his next day to pitch. Which would then lift him into Matsuzaka territory.
(Did I mention he was 4 for 9 at the plate coming into this game? He didn’t get a hit in this game though…)