May 19th, 2012
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3
Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: DLWLL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
After a busy week of two polar opposite games against the iPhone Hawks, Tokyo played host to the B’s.
|W: Katsuki L:Masubuchi S: Ming-chen|
Tonight started out well for both starting pitchers, with Roman getting the edge over Kisanuki in the second.
|1||Moriyama (C)||1||Tanaka (2B)|
|2||Nonaka (LF)||2||Morioka (SS)|
|3||Ohbiki (SS)||3||Milledge (LF)|
|4||Lee D. H. (1B)||4||Balentien (RF)|
|5||Baltierez (3B)||5||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|6||Adachi (2B)||6||Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Kawabata (RF)||7||Yuhei (CF)|
|8||Suzuki (C)||8||Aikawa (C)|
|9||Kisanuki (P)||9||Roman (P)|
After a quiet first inning, the Swallows made their presence felt in the bottom of the second inning. Hatakeyama lead off the inning with a single. However, he was quickly forced out at second when Miyamoto hit a grounder to second. Miyamoto was safe at first on the play. Yuhei followed that with a hit to left field. Up walked Aikawa. With Roman in the on deck circle, Kisanuki was looking to get Aikawa out and then face his counterpart to end the inning. Well, he succeeded at the first task by getting Aikawa to fly out to shallow center. However, Roman made him pay. He hit a nice line drive to left center to easily score Miyamoto from second. Tanaka would hit yet another ball out of the infield to load the bases for the Swallows. But the inning and the early threat would end when Morioka went down on strikes. 1 – 0 Tokyo
The next 5 inning went rather quietly as both starting pitchers settled down. Roman was helped out by a couple of double plays in the 3rd and 4th innings. While Kisanuki was helped out by some poor swinging choices by the Swallows.
In the top of the 8th, the B’s finally crossed home plate. Gotoh was the first batter to face Roman. He started the inning off with a double to left to excite the fans in the left field bleachers. He was bunted over to 3rd by Kawabata. In what turned out to be a smart call, Kitagawa came to bat in place of Suzuki. Kitagawa was able to knock the ball to center to easily score Gotoh from third. Akada was up next but the best he could do was ground out to Miyamoto to end the inning. 1 – 1
Roman was obviously upset as he walked back to the dugout. However, this is a team game and his teammates bailed him out in the bottom half of the 8th. Milledge started off the inning with a single to left. Balentien hit a ball up the middle that bounced off the pitchers glove and was picked up by the second baseman, Gotoh. Gotoh was able to get “Coco” out at first for the first out of the inning. “Boo” was up next. In a swing reminiscent of 2011, “Boo” hit a long fly ball off the left field wall. This easily scored Milledge and “Boo” made it to 2nd base with ease. That would be as far as “Boo” would go as he was replaced on the bases with Noguchi. In the end it didn’t matter as the next two batters were easy outs for Gotoh. 2 – 1 Tokyo
With the fans bouncing around the stadium, Barnette came in to pitch for the first time in a week. After disposing of T-Okada, Nakano snuck a single off of Barnette. Ohbiki then went down on strikes for the second out of the inning. Up walked the Korean giant, Lee D. H. After battling to a full count, Lee placed the ball in pretty much the same place that three Hawks did on Thursday evening, 12 rows past the left field fence. Yamasaki followed that with a fly out to Tanaka. 3 -2 Orix
But fear not my faithful readers. In a show of unity (team slogan), Barnette would be saved from his blown save.
Aikawa started off the bottom of the ninth with a sharp liner down the first base line. He was replaced on the bases by Hiyane. With Miwa batting in the pitchers spot, he bunted Hiyane over to 2nd. Tanaka would then strike out for the second out of the inning. After seeing enough of Morioka at the plate, Ogawa replaced him with Fujimoto. In what turned out to be a fortuitous decision, Fujimoto spanked the ball down the third base line for a stand-up, RBI double. Milledge would then draw a walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Up walked Coco. If this was May 2011, the game would normally have ended at this point. But the season has not gone according to plan for Coco. After battling Kishida for a few pitches, Coco eventually flew out to right-center to end the inning.
Guess what folks? That meant free baseball!!
Oshimoto took the mound for the Birds to start the 10th. After giving up a hit to Gotoh, Kawabata then laid down a bunt. Gotoh advanced to 2nd and Kawabata was thrown out at first. After a Saitoh flu-out, Nakamura hit a soft liner to right. Coco the sent a laser to first nearly throwing Nakamura out at first and ending the threat. However, both runners were safe on the corners. Arakane ended the inning by grounding out.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Birds went down in order.
That meant we move to the 11th and final inning of the game.
Hidaka took the hill for the final inning of the game. He induced the first two batters to fly out to Miwa in right. Then he threw the Balentien special, the unintentional intentional walk to Lee. That was the end of the night for Hidaka. In trotted “snoochi boochie” Masubuchi. Yamasaki hit a soft grounder to short but beat the throw from Araki. Up next was Gotoh. He was walked to load the bases. (Sidebar: WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY?WHY? You should be challenging the f-in hitters not gifting them a free pass.)
Kawabata was 2 for 4 at that point. Who cares if he is a rookie. He was swinging the bat well and you wanted to face him with the bases loaded. Not good. And of course we then experienced Murphy’s Law as Kawabata hits a bases clearing double. Then Saitoh goes down on strikes.
6 – 3 Rental car Buffaloes
In came Ming-chen to close out the game for the R.C.B. With all of the big bats out of the line-up, the Birds did not stand much of a chance. They did get a runner on base but that was not much of a scare.
6 – 3 Orix (Final)
- This is the second game in a row that the Swallows had the bases loaded on numerous occasions and got nothing to show for it. On Thursday, it happened 3 times. Tonight, twice. That my friends is why we lost. Let’s all thank Morioka for striking out twice with the bases loaded tonight.
- Roman pitched 8 strong innings tonight, but still got a no decision for his efforts.
- Barnette gave up his first two runs of the season.
- We need to be more aggressive on the base paths.
- Coco needs to stop trying to hit golf shots when he is batting. It worked for a bit in the past but not anymore
- Same two teams go at it tomorrow night; first pitch is scheduled for 6 pm
- The Buffaloes will send out Nishi; while the Swallows will have Tateyama on the hill
- With another loss this evening, the Swallows are only a game in front of their Tokyo rivals.