July 18th, 2009
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 8
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: LLWWL
OK. The good news first: D’Antona is on fire right now. The bad news: this one really fell apart at the end.
Yoshinori started for the birds as they tried to extend their two game winning streak against the down-on-their-luck fish from Hiroshima.
Despite giving up only one run, Yoshinori lasted less than six innings due to problems with his throwing hand. He’s seriously got the most tender right hand in the entire baseball world. He should probably just wear a glove on his throwing hand for the time being.
He gave up only four hits and a single earned run off of 64 pitches, two K’s and a single walk. He didn’t factor in the decision, but his ERA sank to 3.44.
On offense, all four of Tokyo’s rbi’s were provided by number four, Jamie D’Antona. He hit his third homer in the last two games (his 17th) to make it 1-0, and then he had a two-run double in the fourth to make it 3-1 Swallows. His numbers on the night were 3-4 with 4 rbi’s.
Just like last night, D’Antona hit cleanup. The lineup, save for Yoshinori, did not change from last night’s assignments.
After Hiroshima tied it up in the eighth, D’Antona again provided run support in the top of the ninth with a single that brought Aoki around to score. 4-3 birds.
But then it all came undone.
Hagiwara (3.04) finished out the sixth for Yoshinori without giving up any more runs, but Matsuoka gave up two, and then Igarashi gave up five! That’s right, Igarashi gave up five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game away for Hiroshima.
Going back to Matsuoka’s seventh, he saw sevenn batters, threw 24 pitches, and gave up four hits before he could sit back down. His ERA jumped to 2.86.
And in the eighth, Igarashi gave up five earned runs off of four hits. He helped things along with two walks, and his ERA rocketed to 2.97.
This is just a simple case of fatigue. After years of laughing at other teams, especially Hanshin, for overplaying its relievers, Tokyo is now guilty of the same stupidity.
Today was Matsuoka’s 32nd appearance of the season, and Igarashi was in for the 37th time thus far. They’re both right up there with the league leaders in terms of appearances, and that’s bad news as far as any post-season bid is concerned.
If Takada plays either of them again tomorrow, then it will be an automatic point for him, win or lose. He would have gotten one last Wednesday versus Yomirui if it hadn’t been the sheer craziness of Tokyo’s offense that day. It’s impressive how often the Swallows have won in spite of Takada so far this season.
Aoki, Fukuchi, and Kawashima all got on base twice tonight, but the real story was again D’Antona. Over the last two games he has gone 7-8 with seven rbi’s and three home runs.
Game three of the series is tomorrow night at Mazda Stadium, and both teams are in desperate need of a series win at this point.
Tokyo is still in third place, 1.5 games behind Chunichi in second and six games behind first-place Yomiuri.
Yomiuri’s magic number is now at 49.