2011 Japan Series

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2011 Japan Series
2011 JS logo.gif
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (4) Koji Akiyama 88–46–10, .657, GA: 17.5
Chunichi Dragons (3) Hiromitsu Ochiai 75–59–10, .560, GA: 2.5
Dates: November 12–20
MVP: Hiroki Kokubo (Hawks)
Television: In Japan:
TV Nishinippon and Fuji TV (Game 1)
TV Tokyo (Games 2, 5)
Tokai TV and Fuji TV (Games 3)
TBS (Games 4, 7)
KBC and TV Asahi (Game 6)
TV announcers: Nobuo Yoshida(Fuji TV), Tomoki Uekusa (TV Tokyo), Atsushi Moriwaki (Tokai TV), Hiroyuki Takada (CBC), Takao Nakayama (TV Asahi), Masahiro Hayashi (TBS)
 < 2010 Japan Series 2012 > 

The 2011 Japan Series was the 62nd edition of Nippon Professional Baseball's championship series. The best-of-seven playoff matched the Chunichi Dragons and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, the respective champions of the Central League's and the Pacific League's Climax Series (postseason). The Series began on Saturday, November 12, 2011 and was a rematch of the 1999 Japan Series, which the Hawks won, four games to one.

The Hawks won the series in seven games, claiming their fifth Japan Series crown.

Climax Series[edit]

  First stage     Final stage     Japan Series
                           
  Central League     C1  Chunichi Dragons 4  
  C2  Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2     C2  Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2    
  C3  Yomiuri Giants 1         C1  Chunichi Dragons 3
      P1  Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 4
  Pacific League     P1  Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 4    
  P2  Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 0     P3  Saitama Seibu Lions 0  
  P3  Saitama Seibu Lions 2  

Summary[edit]

PL Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (4) vs. CL Chunichi Dragons (3)

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 November 12 Chunichi Dragons – 2, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 1 Fukuoka Dome 3:31 34,457[1]
2 November 13 Chunichi Dragons – 2, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 1 Fukuoka Dome 3:44 34,758[2] 
3 November 15 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 4, Chunichi Dragons – 2 Nagoya Dome 3:22 38,041[3] 
4 November 16 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 2, Chunichi Dragons – 1 Nagoya Dome 3:40 38,041[4] 
5 November 17 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 5, Chunichi Dragons – 0 Nagoya Dome 3:49 38,051[5] 
6 November 19 Chunichi Dragons – 2, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 1 Fukuoka Dome 3:07 34,927[6] 
7 November 20 Chunichi Dragons – 0, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 3 Fukuoka Dome 3:30 34,737[7]

Road to the Series[edit]

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks[edit]

After not having won a playoff series since 2003 when they won the Japan Series that year, the Hawks finally broke through against the Saitama Seibu Lions. Earning a first-round bye and a one-game advantage in the Pacific League Climax Series Final Stage, the Hawks completed the sweep of the Lions to earn their spot in the Japan Series.

During the regular season, the Hawks were the best team in the league record-wise at 88-46-10. They scored the second-most runs in the league (550) and allowed the fewest (351), while also stealing the most bases and leading the league in team batting average (.267). Leading the team offensively was new acquisition Seiichi Uchikawa, who led the entire league in batting average at .338. He was helped by two longtime Hawks mainstays at the top of the lineup, Munenori Kawasaki and Yuichi Honda, who stole 91 bases between them. Providing the power was Nobuhiro Matsuda, who finally had a breakout season with 25 home runs and 83 runs batted in, both team highs.

In a pitching-heavy year for NPB, the Hawks had a three-headed monster that finished 3-4-5 in ERA. Tsuyoshi Wada (16-5, 1.51), Toshiya Sugiuchi (8-7, 1.91) and D. J. Houlton (19-6, 2.19) anchored the Hawks rotation, and Houlton had the most wins by a foreigner since Gene Bacque. The bullpen featured another breakout star in Masahiko Morifuku, who led the team in holds with 34 and had a 1.13 ERA to go along with it. Closing duties were split between regular closer Takahiro Mahara and another stellar foreigner, Brian Falkenborg, who each had 19 saves.

Chunichi Dragons[edit]

Chunichi also won the Central League with the best record at 75-59-10, defeating the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4-2 in the Central League Climax Series. The Dragons had been to the Japan Series the previous season but fell to the Chiba Lotte Marines in seven games. This was Chunichi's third Japan Series appearance in the last five years, winning in 2007 against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and falling the previous season to the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Returning largely the same team as the previous season, the Dragons showcased an excellent pitching staff that covered up for a league-worst offense that only batted .228 as a team. The offensive leaders were Tony Blanco, who hit 16 home runs during the season while batting .248. Masahiro Araki led the team in batting average at .263 and also stolen bases with 18.

The pitching staff was led by a stellar foreigner of their own in Maximo Nelson, who may have had a losing record at 10-14 with a 2.52 ERA, but was the only pitcher on the staff who threw 200 innings. Veteran Kazuki Yoshimi offset this with an 18-3 record and a 1.63 ERA, and Taiwanese lefty Chen Wei-Yin added eight wins of his own.

The bullpen was the real star though, as it had four relievers who posted ERA's under 2.00. Takuya Asao led the pack with a nigh-unhittable 0.41 ERA and a 7-2 record while also leading the league in holds with 45 and also getting 10 saves. Masato Kobayashi also was dominant with a 0.87 ERA and 18 holds in 58 innings, and Yoshihiro Suzuki added 12 holds of his own while also post a 1.08 ERA. The anchor in the bullpen was longtime closer Hitoki Iwase, who saved 37 games during the season.

Game summaries[edit]

Game 1[edit]

Saturday, November 12, 2011 13:00 at Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Chunichi 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 4 1
SoftBank 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
Starting pitchers:
CHU: Chen Wei-Yin (0-0)
SFT: Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0)
WP: Takuya Asao (1-0)   LP: Takahiro Mahara (0-1)   Sv: Hitoki Iwase (1)
Home runs:
CHU: Kazuhiro Wada (1), Masaaki Koike (1)
SFT: None
Attendance: 34,457

Game 2[edit]

Sunday, November 13, 2011 18:16 at Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Chunichi 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 7 0
SoftBank 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 8 0
Starting pitchers:
CHU: Yuji Yoshimi (0-0)
SFT: Toshiya Sugiuchi (0-0)
WP: Masafumi Hirai (1-0)   LP: Takahiro Mahara (0-2)   Sv: Hitoki Iwase (2)
Attendance: 34,758

Game 3[edit]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 18:11 at Nagoya Dome in Nagoya
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
SoftBank 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 4 12 1
Chunichi 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 4 1
Starting pitchers:
SFT: Tadashi Settsu (0-0)
CHU: Maximo Nelson (0-0)
WP: Tadashi Settsu (1-0)   LP: Maximo Nelson (0-1)   Sv: Brian Falkenborg (1)
Home runs:
SFT: Hitoshi Tamura (1), Toru Hosokawa (1)
CHU: None
Attendance: 38,041

Game 4[edit]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 18:35 at Nagoya Dome in Nagoya
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
SoftBank 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
Chunichi 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Starting pitchers:
SFT: D. J. Houlton (0-0)
CHU: Yudai Kawai (0-0)
WP: D. J. Houlton (1-0)   LP: Yudai Kawai (0-1)   Sv: Brian Falkenborg (2)
Attendance: 38,041

Game 5[edit]

Thursday, November 17, 2011 18:15 at Nagoya Dome in Nagoya
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
SoftBank 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 5 10 0
Chunichi 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Starting pitchers:
SFT: Hiroki Yamada (0-0)
CHU: Chen Wei-Yin (0-0)
WP: Hiroki Yamada (1-0)   LP: Chen Wei-Yin (0-1)
Attendance: 38,051

Game 6[edit]

Saturday, November 19, 2011 18:17 at Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chunichi 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
SoftBank 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Starting pitchers:
CHU: Yuji Yoshimi (0-0)
SFT: Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0)
WP: Kazuki Yoshimi (1-0)   LP: Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1)   Sv: Takuya Asao (1)
Attendance: 34,927

Game 7[edit]

Sunday, November 20, 2011 18:33 at Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chunichi 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
SoftBank 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 X 3 8 0
Starting pitchers:
CHU: Daisuke Yamai (0-0)
SFT: Toshiya Sugiuchi (0-0)
WP: Toshiya Sugiuchi (1-0)   LP: Daisuke Yamai (0-1)   Sv: Tadashi Settsu (1)
Attendance: 34,737

References[edit]