April 7th, 2009
Chunichi Dragons 4
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3
Streak: Lost 1 Last ?: LWWL
At Tokyo’s first home game of the 2009 season, there were fireworks and new dance routines. There were old friends and the beer prince (who is also an old friend). There was old-school hitting (Miyamoto) and new (D’Antona). But unfortunately there was also Takada.
Tokyo began this first game of a series versus the league-leading Chunichi Dragons by singling in a run in both the second and fourth innings. D’Antona, who went 4-5 (including two doubles), started things off both times, and both times Miyamoto brought him home. 2-0 Tokyo.
Fujii tied things up in the fifth with a two-run homer off Tokyo starter, Tateyama, but Tokyo took the lead again in the bottom of that inning when Aoki scored on a Guiel single to left. 3-2 Tokyo.
After that point, Takada’s inaction started to become an issue. Some would argue that Tateyama should have been relieved after the fifth inning with a one-run lead. Others would say that it was OK to leave him in. However, Tateyama did give up the tying run in the sixth, but it’s hard not to call that 20/20 hindsight.
But it’s even harder not to call Takada’s next decision stupid. With one out and Tanaka on second base in the bottom of the sixth (and Igarashi good and warm in the bullpen), Takada let Tateyama take his at-bat. So…two outs. I’ll give you three guesses whether or not Tanaka ever made it home… 3-3.
Tokyo wasn’t able to bring anyone else around over the next couple of innings, and then all of a sudden it was the top of the ninth.
To be fair, Tateyama did well. He pitched eight full innings and didn’t give up any more runs after the sixth.
But Takada managed to damage Tokyo’s chances yet again. With Wada on second and one out, Fujii again came to the plate. He’s leading the league in home runs right now and seems to be seeing the ball very well. He’s also the guy who hit that two-run, game tying dinger earlier in the game. Incidentally, following Fujii in Chunichi’s lineup is Oda, the Dragons second-string catcher who doesn’t have a hit yet this season. With first base open and a weak hitter on deck, it seemed like a logical time to walk the opposing team’s hottest hitter. Indeed, Ken was saying it before Fujii even entered the batter’s box, and Sugimoto-san was screaming the same thing from the picnic area behind us.
Single to shallow left. Wada scored. 4-3 Chunichi. And that’s how it ended. Oshimoto took the loss.
Tateyama (2.25 ERA) threw 122 pitches in eight innings of work. He gave up three runs (two earned) off of only four hits, and he had four K’s against two walks and a single beaning. Definitely a promising first start of the season for him.
D’Antona led the way on offense, but Aoki reached base three times and Guiel, Miyamoto and Tanaka reached base twice each. The Swallows outhit the Dragons 11-6.
TAKADA COUNT: 1
[This is a new stat that goes into effect as of today to help keep track of how many games the manager, Takada, plays a direct role (either through action or inaction) in throwing away.]