April 8th, 2009
Chunichi Dragons 7
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 10
Streak: Won 2 Last 5: WWLWW
Ishikawa got the win tonight, but he showed once again that he is vulnerable to the occasional bad inning. Tonight it happened twice.
For the second night in a row, the Dragons got off to a hot start. Three runners crossed home plate and the Swallows were again playing catch-up from the get-go. However, consecutive hits by Aoki, Guiel and Iihara resulted in two runs for the home team in the bottom of that inning. 3-2 Chunichi.
The Swallows strung three more hits together in the bottom of the second with Aikawa, Ishikawa and Fukuchi working together to tie the game up. 3-3.
The game was pretty uneventful until the bottom of the fifth when the wheels fell completely off for Chunichi.
Tokyo started the inning with six consecutive hits, and by the end of the inning had amassed six runs. Fukuchi, K. Kawashima, Aoki, Guiel, Iihara, Miyamoto and Takeuchi all had an rbi in that inning. The only batter who didn’t reach base was Ishikawa. 9-3 Tokyo.
Chunichi managed to keep things close by scoring four more runs by the end of the game. They got three in the sixth to bookend Ishikawa’s start with three-run innings, and a final run in the seventh off of Morino’s third double of the evening. 9-7 Tokyo.
Guiel closed the scoring in the bottom of the eighth with his second solo homer in as many evenings. 10-7 Tokyo.
Matsuoka, Hagiwara, Igarashi and Lim also made mound appearances. Lim (0.00 ERA) got his second save of the season in his fourth appearance.
Ishikawa (9.90) threw 88 pitches in his six innings of work to even his record at 1-1. He gave up six earned runs off of nine hits (two home runs) and struck out three.
On offense the Swallows again outhit their opponents. Guiel (3 rbi’s) and Iihara both reached base three times. Fukuchi, K. Kawashima, Aoki, Miyamoto, Takeuchi and Aikawa all got on base twice.
1. Fukuchi (1B)
2. K. Kawashima (SS)
3. Aoki (CF)
4. Guiel (RF)
5. Iihara (LF)
6. Miyamoto (3B)
7. Tanaka (2B)
8. Aikawa (C)
9. Ishikawa (P)
Not quite sure why D’Antona didn’t start this game. Hopefully the cool weather hasn’t caused him to pull a hamstring or anything. Hay fever, maybe?
Tanaka got yanked early again tonight. Takeuchi was called in to take Tanaka’s place in the middle of that gargantuan rally that took place in the fifth. Again, not quite sure why that has happened two nights in a row. Tanaka hasn’t been putting up career numbers or anything, but maybe he’d be able to get into a groove if Takada quit asking him to bunt all the time.
Either way, the competition (in the form of Morioka and Takeuchi) can only be a good thing in the long run. If that’s the reason why Takada keeps sitting him early, then I would have to admit that it might be a good ploy. There are several guys on the bench right now (Takeuchi, Iihara, Morioka, Noguchi, Hatakeyama, Kawabata, Kajimoto, and Yuuichi) who deserve a little playing time.
However, it is weird to see Beavis getting the foreign slugger treatment. If anyone knows why this is happening, please chime in.
Keizo Kawashima, apart from hitting two home runs already this season, hasn’t been much of a factor at the plate. He’s hitting .174 and his OBP is .286. Is the Hokkaido connection safeguarding his slot in the lineup (whereas Tanaka seems to be on a short leash)? Fukuchi is also off to a slow start (.192/.276/.231).