May 12, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 1
Streak: 1 tie Last 5: LLLWD
(Akita Komachi Stadium)
Tonight saw Tokyo’s two teams travel North to Akita for the first of a two-game set. This would be the last weekend either team faced a Central League opponent for over a month as inter-league play commences this week. As such, the Birds wanted to continue on the winning track and keep up with the Dragons in the win column.
Tonight, in the great wet North, the Birds drew with their Tokyo rival. Roman kept the over-priced bats in check for 6 innings, while Utsumi did the same for 5 innings.
|1||Tanaka (2B)||1||Chono (CF)|
|2||Morioka (SS)||2||Fujimura (2B)|
|3||Milledge (CF)||3||Sakamoto (SS)|
|4||Balentien (RF)||4||Murata (3B)|
|5||Iihara (LF)||5||Abe (C)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Takahashi (RF)|
|7||Hatakeyama (1B)||7||Bowker (1B)|
|8||Nakamura (C)||8||Inzen (LF)|
|9||Roman (P)||9||Utsumi (P)|
Tonight started off slow for both sides. Giants made a little noise in the 1st and 3rd inning but could not get a runner past second base. The Birds could only muster one runner through the first three innings and a “I’m scared to pitch to him” unintentional intentional walk of Balentien in the 4th inning.
We jump to the bottom of the 6th inning. Roman started things off with a hit to right field. Tanaka followed his lead by hitting another single to right. The sac bunt responsibilities then fell to Morioka. Morioka, running with a piano on his back, was able to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd. After that, Milledge hit an infield single to third. Now, with the bases loaded, Coco stepped to the plate. He obviously had aspirations of clearing the bases because he did nothing but swing for the fences. He went down on three pitches for the second out of the inning. Iihara ended the threat with a soft liner to Sakamoto.
In the top of the 7th Chono hit a liner over the outstretched glove of Milledge in center. He stopped at 2nd base for an easy stand-up double. He was promptly bunted over to third by Fujimura. This brought a meeting of the minds at the mound as Sakamoto was up to bat. The sleazy bastard decided to bunt down the first base line. This easily scored Chono from third and “the tool at short” (Sakamoto) was thrown out by Roman at 1st. Roman then walked Murata on four pitches and his evening was over. Hidaka came in and induced Abe to fly-out to the warning track in left and end the inning. 0 – 1 Giants
After the Swallows fans put their umbrellas to use during the 7th inning stretch, the Birds looked to answer right back. Miyamoto started things off with a sharp single to left. Hatekayama grounded to “the tool at short” but the best the Giants could do was force out Miyamoto at 2nd. The hard hitting Nakamura was up next and promptly hit a sharp liner past “the tool at short”. With runners on 1st and 2nd and only one out, the pitcher was due up. Ogawa decided to bring in Aikawa to hit. He fouled out to Bowker near first base. This meant the top of the order was up. Tanaka strolled to the plate and was looking for the hero prize. After a few cuts and a few more waggles, Tanaka watched Utsumi throw two balls in the dirt while working the count full. After fouling off a pitch, Tanaka then walked to load the bases. This time Morioka couldn’t bunt. Instead, he swung away and nearly took Utsumi’s head off with a liner up the middle. This scored Noguchi (running for “Boo”) from third to tie the game. Everyone was safe and the bases were still loaded for Milledge. After nearly clearing the bases with a liner down the first base line that was ruled foul, Milledge grounded to Murata who quickly stepped on third for the force out. 1 -1
Kyuko was on the mound for the 8th. He got the first two batters out and was replaced by Oshimoto. Oshimoto made quick work of Kajimae to end the inning.
The Birds went down in order in the bottom half of the 8th.
Oshimoto came out for the ninth inning and struck out Kamei and Chono. He ended the inning by getting Fujimura to fly out to center.
The Giants brought in Mathieson to pitch the bottom of the ninth. All he did was strike out the side.
And that meant it was time for extra inning baseball. However, the rain was kicking about again and this made for a wet finish.
“the tool at short” was the first batter that Barnette had to deal with. Unfortunately, “the tool at short” won out and hit a single to left. Up next was the cleanup hitter, Murata. As he is on such a great streak at the moment, Hara decided to have Murata bunt over “the tool at short”. However, Murata was unable to do that simple task and ended up striking out. One out. Next up was the catcher, Abe. At this point, he was 3 for 4 on the night. He would reach base again on a very questionable ball four. This called for a meeting of the minds at the mound. After confirming dinner plans, the players returned to their respective positions. As the rain picked up, the waste of a uniform Takahashi eked his way to the batters box. After questioning the conditions and visibility, Takahashi flew out to left. Two down and one to go. After getting a new resin bag, Barnette struck out Bowker for the final out of the inning. And because they performed so well tonight, Bowker slammed his bat and helmet to the ground. After getting that out of his system, he calmly picked them up and went back to the dugout.
Yamaguchi was the new pitcher for the Giants in the bottom of the 10th.
Tanaka reached base when “the tool at short” couldn’t handle the grounder. Miwa then replaced Tanaka at first. Up came Morioka. Guess what he tried to do? That’s right folks. He TRIED to bunt but only succeeded at striking out. Up walked Milledge. After the second strike from Yamaguchi, Miwa stole second. Lastings eventually grounded out to “the tool at short” for the second out. As the clock struck 9:30, up walked Coco. That meant we were looking at the final batter(s). After a long at bat, Coco eventually walked. This put runners at 1st and 3rd and two out. This brought the end to Yamaguchi’s evening and the Giants played musical chairs in the outfield. Nishimura was the new pitcher for the Giants. His opponent for the evening was Fukuichi, who was batting in place of Iihara. Fukuichi didn’t put up much of a fight as he grounded out to second to end the game.
1 – 1 Final
Random thoughts (Notes):
- I hate listening to the dumba** announcers on the Fuji network. I thought they were suppose to be the Swallows broadcasters and thus somewhat knowledgeable?
- After tonight’s tie, the Birds are a half game behind the nagging Nagoya Dragons.
- Hara still looks stupid, even though he attempts to look smart(er) by putting on glasses.
- Coco is awesome but he needs to be smarter at the plate.
- Sakamoto or Utsumi: Who is a bigger tool? If you can’t tell, my vote is for Sakamoto.
- Remember, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!!
- And the pitching duel for Mother’s Day will be Tateyama for the Birds and Sawamura for the Giants. Should be a good one. Let’s hope the weather stays dry.