11/5/11 – CL Climax Series Second Stage – Tokyo vs Chunichi (Game 4)

November 5th, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 1

Chunichi Dragons 5

Series: Chunichi 3-2 Tokyo

(Nagoya Dome)

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W: Kawai L: Akagawa

The Swallows’ thin starting “rotation” was finally exposed tonight as Akagawa was forced to start on 4 days rest. The Dragons countered with lefty Yudai Kawai.

 Tokyo Chunichi
1(SS) Yamada1(SS) Araki
2(LF) Ueda2(2B) Ibata
3(CF) Aoki3(3B) Morino
4(1B) Hatakeyama4(1B) Blanco
5(RF) Balentien5(LF) Wada
6(3B) Miyamoto6(C) Tanishige
7(C) Aikawa7(RF) Hirata
8(2B) Morioka8(CF) Oshima
9(P) Akagawa9(P) Kawai

The Swallows elected to continue starting rookie Yamada at shortstop batting leadoff. The rookie has been solid on defense and had been managing to get some solid contact on pitches despite not actually getting a hit. Unfortunately Yamada ended up being the both the goat and lone bright spot for the Swallows in this game.

Things started off badly with an Araki single. The Swallows got their first out via an Ibata bunt to advance Araki to second. Things were starting to look up as Morino grounded a ball to short on the first pitch. Yamada fielded the ball cleanly but double clutched on the throw. He still would have had plenty of time to get the ball to first after the hesitation, but his throw was off and forced Hatake off the bag. The result of the play was 1 out with men on the corners, rather than 2 outs and a man on third. Akagawa faced Blanco and seemed to have some trouble locating his pitches despite getting Blanco to swing through a couple of sub-par fastballs. Despite getting Blanco to a 2-2 count, Akagawa ended up giving up a single to right which scored Araki from third. 1-0 Dragons Next up was Wada, who despite getting ahead 3-0, managed to foul out to third. The inning should have been over, but instead Akagawa had to face Tanishige. Akagawa also started off Tanishige’s at bat with 3 straight balls. Unfortunately, unlike Wada, Tanishige stayed patient and walked 2 pitches later to load the bases. Hirata was up with 2 out and the bases load, Akagawa managed to get ahead 2-1 in the count but a few fouls and a couple of balls brought the count full after 7 pitches. HIarata finally got a pitch he liked and launched it deep into right field to clear the bases and put himself on second. 4-0 Dragons Oshima followed with an infield single, and Akagawa finally got out of the inning with a strike out of the pitcher.

Akagawa did not look good on 4 days rest.

Kawai got Swallows after Swallows to ground out and seemed to be in top form tonight. Meanwhile Akagawa looked shaky despite not giving up any more runs. The Swallows got on the board in the third inning. Morioka got on first on a 1 out misplay by Araki at short, and Akagawa bunted him over to second for the 2nd out of the inning. Yamada got solid contact on a high outside pitch by Kawai and got it into right for a double to score Morioka. 4-1 Dragons

The Swallows lone bright spot?

That was as close as the Swallows got the rest of the night. Akagawa left the mound for a pinch hitter after 4 innings pitched. Tetsuya Yamamoto, the freshest arm in the Swallows’ pen, was the next up for the Swallows. Yamamoto would give up a solo home run to Blanco to start the fifth, and would give up 2 more runners before getting the final out in the fifth. 5-1 Dragons

While the Swallows got some runners in subsequent innings, including back-to-back lead off singles to start the eighth off Asao, it never felt that the Birds had a chance to get back into the game. The Swallows now find themselves 1 loss away from elimination, and must win 2 in a row to advance to the Japan Series. The Swallows’ pitching situation is nebulous, Data Stadium is predicting a Tateyama start, while the Dragons are likely to start Enyelbert Soto.

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he’s not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • No

    2 quick corrections. Akagawa went on 4 days rest and the home run was by Blanco.

    • Kozo

      FIXED

  • No

    What’s up with Yoshinori anyway? When we go up against the Hawks, is there any chance he’ll be available?

  • Anonymous

    I was at Nagoya Dome for this one, gutted with the start.  And from where I was sitting I was pretty disappointed with what looked like a lack of effort on the part of Balentien to get to that deep hit in the 1st.  Not saying he should have caught it, but I am saying that he should have got a lot closer than that.  He should have been busting a gut to get to it. 

    Another comment is that it was seriously feisty in the stadium.  2 big brawls broke out (1 under the stands in left and the other right there in the stands themselves) and the Nagoya Dome “security” are a fucking joke.  The one under the belly of the stands, some goady Dragons fans (you know the type, drunk, orange hair, tinted glasses indoors, baggy pants with loads of shiny kanji everywhere – basically look like your average Tigers fans) were giving us shit after we were all out, and when I went downstairs to grab another beer, 6 or 7 of them had this one poor Swallows fan pinned up against a railing and the “security” (cannot write it without quotation marks) were basically just watching.  It was a “Japanese fight” though (no punches, just holding tightly to each others clothes while staring angrily at each other and ging face to face) and needless to say that when a big gaijin waded in to the middle and started shoving back, I was soon able to get the poor lad away.  6 on 1 though – knobheads.

    That said, my experiences with Dragons fans on the whole was good and 2 years ago in Nagoya there was no trouble that I saw.

    Bad game, but it was tense and the Swallows fans were great.  Good fun.

    • I had the same reaction to Balentien’s effort on that play. He had his back turned like it was going to hit the wall, but then the ball landed right at the foot of it. 

      The only explanation that I can come up with is that it was so noisy in there that the fielders couldn’t hear each other and both Aoki and Balentien pulled up so that there wouldn’t be a massive collision.

      However, if noise wasn’t an issue, then I’d argue that Balentien might have had a shot at catching Hirata’s drive into the gap if he’d run harder and not given up on it at the end.

      • Anonymous

        That’s what I thought, it just looked like he didn’t try hard enough and I was pretty disgusted with that.  Again, don’t now if he “should” have caught it, but I’m sure it was possible…  Ah well, hope he realizes that too.  He’s made some good diving catches recently too….