04/17/12 Hanshin (Away)

April 17th, 2012

Tokyo Swallows  0

Hanshin Tigers  4

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: LLWWL

(Hotto Motto Field Kobe)

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W: Messenger (2-0/2.84) L: Roman (0-3/3.64)

After two good wins against the Carp this last weekend, Tokyo returned to the kind of baseball that saw them lose last week’s series against the Baystars. The impotent bat kind.

 Tokyo Hanshin
1Ueda (CF)1Hirano (2B)
2Tanaka (2B)2Shibata (CF)
3Milledge (RF)3Toritani (SS)
4Hatakeyama (1B)4Arai (3B)
5Kawabata (SS)5Brazell (1B)
6Miyamoto (3B)6Murton (RF)
7Balentien (RF)7Kanemoto (LF)
8Nakamura (C)8Komiyama (C)
9Roman (P)9Messenger (P)

In fairness to those faltering Swallows bats, Hanshin starter Messenger pitched a blinder, throwing a 100 pitch complete game shutout, allowing just the 4 hits while striking out 9.

In contrast, Tokyo starter Roman wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t that great either, allowing 2 runs off 6 hits over his 6 innings of work, issuing 3 walks with just the 1 K. He tended to get behind early in counts as he struggled to find the zone, but he did well to keep the score down considering. Apparently this was the first time in his career he has started a game on just four days rest, and his next start will possibly be on the same rest too.

It should surprise no one that Hanshin took the lead in the 4th off the bat of a certain Craig Brazell. After Arai had led off the inning with a single to left, Brazell slashed at a pitch over the outside of the plate, not making the best of contacts, but given his strength, that contact was enough to sneak the ball over the fence in left (and just out of the reach of a fence jumping Milledge) for 2-0 Hanshin. It was his fourth homer in just the three games against the Swallows this year.

This is becoming far too much of a familiar sight

The remaining two Tigers runs came in the 7th, with Hidaka on the mound in relief for the Swallows. Hirano got his third hit of the evening to get the inning going, before Shibata bunted him along for out number one. Toritani walked to put two men on, and then Arai hit a weak grounder to second. The problem with that was that Tanaka couldn’t come up with the ball, eventually spilling it, which meant an “E” being displayed on the scoreboard and, more importantly, Hanshin had the bases loaded with just the one red light lit.

It was Brazell up to the plate next, and to his credit Hidaka struck him out swinging for out number two. And so it was down to the ginger JESUS CHRIST IS MY KING of the Hanshin foreign contingent to deliver, and WITH THE POWER OF THE SWEET LORD TO MAKE HIM WHOLE he snuck one up the middle WHAT A JOY TO LIVE FOR HIM to bring home two runs. Arai was ran down between second and third to end the inning with the score at 4-0 Hanshin.

Tokyo’s only threats of the evening came in the 2nd: Kawabata with a  one-out double (he would be stranded there), and in the 8th: singles for Balentien and the pinch-hitting Yuhei put two on with one out for Ihara, who hit one back to Messenger for a 1-4-3 inning ending double play.

4-0 Hanshin Final.

Notes

  • The Tigers took just over two and a half hours to halt their losing streak at two while stopping a Swallows win streak of the same length. They also lead the season series 2-0 with the 1 tie.
  • Aside from Hiroyasu’s in the 7th, the other Tokyo error was charged to Hatakeyama in the 1st, as he failed to come up with Roman’s pick-off throw to first, allowing Hirano to reach second.
  • Balentien was responsible for half of Tokyo’s hits as he went 2 for 2 with a walk. His line now reads .333/.480/.513, the first of those numbers being a team high, and the last two CL highs.
  • Former Hanshin man Abe pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th.
  • If you remove Saturday’s rather freakish 10-1 win over Hiroshima from the equation, Tokyo have mustered just the 1 run in their last 31 innings of baseball.
  • The two teams will head to Koshien for tomorrow’s game, with Tateyama due on the mound for the Swallows against the Tigers’ Kubo.
About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen Messenger sporting that kind of command. Both sides of the plate. Maybe being forced to dictate his way through a game with a green catcher is just what he needs. Hopefully Johjima finds his way back to 100% sooner rather than later.

  • WWJD? WTFWJFDG?!

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