4/19/09 – Hiroshima (Home)

April 19th, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8

Streak: Won 4    Last 5: LWWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

The first two innings of this contest were a bit uneventful. Hiroshima’s Shinoda squared off against Tokyo’s Ryo Kawashima in the final game of this series which Tokyo led 2-0.

Tokyo finally got something going in the bottom of the third when Aikawa and Ryo Kawashima had successive hits to put men on first and second. Fukuchi grounded out to short, but was able to get Aikawa  over to third while reaching first safely.With two out and runners on the corners, Keizo Kawashima hit a bases clearing double into the gap in left-center to make it 2-0 Tokyo.

In the fourth, Iihara hit a solo shot to make it 3-0.

Then in the fifth, Fukuchi hit a two out triple that set the table nicely for Keizo Kawashima. Keizo proceeded to drill one over the fence in left to make it 5-0 Tokyo. He has now equaled his home run tally for all of last season with long ball number four. Kawashima has developed some serious pop all of a sudden.

The other Kawashima, Ryo that is, displayed some great defense today. He made no less than three difficult plays on the mound to record crucial outs.

Amaya got one back for Hiroshima in the fifth with a solo homer that just missed the right field foul pole to make it 5-1 Tokyo.

Ishihara then followed that up with a two out solo shot to left that made it 5-2.

Tokyo was able to extend its lead in the bottom of the sixth after D’Antona started things off with a single to right. He was promptly replaced with a pinch runner, Noguchi, who promptly ended up on third via a hit-and-run made possible by Iihara.  Noguchi scored on a Miyamoto single, and Iihara did the same when Takeuchi (pinch hitting for Tanaka) singled to center. 7-2 Tokyo.

Run number eight came in the seventh when an Aoki sac fly brought Fukuchi home from third. 8-2 Tokyo.

And that was the final scoreline. Tokyo took the third game of the series and completed its first (and hopefully not last) sweep of the 2009 season.

Only two starters failed to get a hit today. Norichika Aoki struck out three times in addition to the sac fly mentioned earlier. Also, Tanaka was hitless in two at-bats before being pulled in the sixth in favor of the in-form Takeuchi.

Otherwise, the hits were frequent and often strung together in run-producing combinations.

Keizo Kawashima went three for four and was a double from hitting for the cycle. That’s right, he hit another home run tonight bringing his season tally to four (four rbi’s today). That is, incidentally, the same number of home runs that he hit all of last season. Players reaching base twice were Fukuchi (triple, double), D’Antona, Iihara (including his first home run of the season; 1 rbi), and Takeuchi (1 rbi).

Ryo Kawashima (2-1) pitched six decent innings and gave up two runs off of four hits. The two runs were care of a pair of solo homers surrendered in the sixth. He had six Ks, three walks and a single wild pitch while seeing his ERA sink a little to 4.86.

Ricky Barrett (0.00) pitched a perfect seventh and was forced to throw only eight pitches. Hagiwara (1.59) followed that up with two innings of relief that didn’t involve any base runners. Game over.

Shinoda (1-1; 2.57) took the loss for the Carp.

The Swallows will put their four game winning streak on the line against the first place Yomiuri Giants in a series that features three games in three different stadiums down south. This should be a good reality check for the birds.

Notes:

While twittering from the stadium I found out that there’s a limit on how many tweets you are allowed per hour. I was banned/blocked (temporarily) after the first out in the 9th.

The Swallows were able to put guys in scoring position with alarming regularity. This was one of those games where guys weren’t missing pitches and fast legs led to several extra-base hits. It basically looked kind of easy today. There were a couple of moments when I could have sworn I was watching the Saitama Lions play.

There was no bunting today, but I remember seeing at least three hit-and-runs. We kept getting away with it (despite some very close calls) until the last one where it turned into a double play when Morioka struck out swinging and Hatakeyama got thrown out at second by about eight strides.

The Swallows out-hit the Carp to the tune of 14-4.

The post-game hero interview featured Keizo and Ryo Kawashima. The announcer was very pleased to be able to say that it was a “Double Kawashima” interview.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Rob

    Keizo is on fire!

    I guessed the reason for using Iihara instead of Guiel against Utsumi was the numbers – Iihara hit Utsumi hard last year. But that went out the window last night. Iihara hit .143 against Shinoda last year, but got the start instead of Guiel against the left-handed pitcher, so Takada must be going for the lefty-righty matchup rather than playing the numbers. And it worked very well.

    Four in a row!

  • ultradodgy

    Rob – you may have answered my question – so Guiel was a healthy scratch last night? Haven’t seen any mention of injuries; just hoping he’ll be back in the lineup soon.

  • Shane Taber

    So is Ricky Barrett still playing as a relief pitcher or is he in the regular pitching rotation yet? What’s the chance that he might be pitching in Nagoya next month when the Swallows take on the Chunichi Dragons? What’s the easiest way to find that out? I ask as I will be visiting Kansai (Nara) and would like to see him play if possible – his dad and I were friends in high school in Northern California way back when. Thanks.

  • http://www.transpacificradio.com David Watkins

    Hi Shane

    He is currently being used as a middle reliever, and has pitched 3 innings in his 2 appearances so far this season.

    As he hasn’t given a run up yet I would expect to see him more and more out of the bullpen as the season progresses, though there’s a fair amount of competition in this year’s ‘pen.

    I imagine he could well end up being given a shot as a starter, but when that would be is anyone’s guess. Even if he did become a starter the manager is far from regular in his rotation of pitchers anyway.

    So trying to predict one of his appearances is somewhat of a lottery. Unless that is you want to stump up for tickets for the whole series which means your chances of a Ricky-sighting would be maximised.

    Other than that, there’s no real way to guarantee getting to watch him in action I’m afraid.

  • http://street-level.mcvmcv.net dan

    I was at the game, my first at Jingu, and I really enjoyed it.

    I have a question – according to this page it looks like there are *no* home day games, is that really the case??

  • http://www.transpacificradio.com David Watkins

    Glad you enjoyed the game Dan.

    After a quick glance through my game schedule I can see only two day games at Jingu this year:

    June 21st vs Seibu and July 12th vs Yokohama, both 14:00 starts.

    The reason for this paucity is that the Swallows do not own Jingu, and have to share the stadium with the Tokyo Big 6 University League teams. Their games are day games at so Swallows games are pretty much all in the evening. Plus it’s not all that uncommon for University games to run over, and thus 20,000 odd people are kept outside the park (and indeed lined up down the street) to wait for the game to finish and the couple of thousand/few hundred people watching the Uni game to get out of the stadium.

    Ridiculous I know, but it goes with the territory for the Swallows.

  • http://street-level.mcvmcv.net dan

    Hi David, thanks for the information. That is indeed a bit sad… but I guess it should be hot enough in summer that a (theoretical) 6pm start is welcome.

    Still, I’m putting those two dates on my calendar!

  • http://www.transpacificradio.com David Watkins

    No problem.

    As it goes, I’m not too much of a fan of day games anyway. As you say, in the summer it’s too hot (having been to a Jingu summer day game in the past I can tell you it’s hellish) and plus I’ve always preferred watching sports under floodlights. I’m not sure why, I guess I just think it heightens the atmosphere a touch.

    So the main problem I have is not the lack of day games but more the fact that a University game can delay/take precedence over the playing of a pro baseball game.

    The rarity of the day games do make them a nice change though, so they’ll be in my calender too!

  • http://www.transpacificradio.com/ Garrett DeOrio

    Dan, nothing against Japanese Baseball (we dig it), but you’ll get better info on the Swallows’ schedule, results, and league standings on our Game Results page.

  • http://street-level.mcvmcv.net dan

    I checked that first, but now realize that in my hastiness I missed the part where it says “all games start at 6pm unless otherwise noted” :P