November 5th, 2011
Chunichi Dragons 5
Series: Chunichi 3-2 Tokyo
|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.
|1||(SS) Yamada||1||(SS) Araki|
|2||(LF) Ueda||2||(2B) Ibata|
|3||(CF) Aoki||3||(3B) Morino|
|4||(1B) Hatakeyama||4||(1B) Blanco|
|5||(RF) Balentien||5||(LF) Wada|
|6||(3B) Miyamoto||6||(C) Tanishige|
|7||(C) Aikawa||7||(RF) Hirata|
|8||(2B) Morioka||8||(CF) Oshima|
|9||(P) Akagawa||9||(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.
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
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.