May 28th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 1
(Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium)
|W: Mima (3-1; 3.78 ERA) L: Masubuchi (1-1; 3.52 ERA)|
Okay ladies and gentlemen, let’s take stock of the last few games shall we? Are you ready? Then let’s begin. Count along with me:
Yes, if my counting skills are not too rusty, I make that nine. Nine losses on the trot. Not. Pretty.
Tohoku Order Tokyo
Hijirisawa (CF) 1 Milledge (CF)
Ginji (2B) 2 Tanaka (2B)
Takasu (3B) 3 Yuichi (LF)
Garcia (1B) 4 Hatakeyama (1B)
Nakamura (LF) 5 Ihara (RF)
Terrero (RF) 6 Miyamoto (3B)
Masuda (SS) 7 Morioka (SS)
Oyama (C) 8 Aikawa (C)
Mima (P) 9 Masubuchi (P)
The big news in today’s lineup was that, as a reward for batting .037 (27-1) during the course of the previous eight losses, Balentien was benched. This was, I believe, the first game this season which he has not started. This meant Milledge was moved to leadoff with for better or for worse, Yuichi, Hatake and Ihara filling the 3-5 clean-up slots.
Masabuchi made his first start of the year to plug a hole in the rotation, and for the first four innings of this he was decent. Things started ominously in the 1st as he walked the first man he faced on five pitches, but he wouldn’t allow another man on through until the 5th.
And so to that inning we go, which saw Garcia lead off the with a chopper up the middle to register the Eagles’ first hit of the contest. A strikeout and a walk put men on first and second for Masuda, who hit a double to the corner in left to make it 1-0 Tohoku and put two men in scoring positions.
Masubuchi left another pitch up in the zone for Oyama, who snuck one by Morioka and into the outfield which scored two to make it 3-0 Tohoku.
He would play no further part, and would ultimately be tagged with the loss for his 5IP / 3H / 5K / 2BB / 3ER outing.
The 6th saw Kyuko come into the game to try and stabilise things, but an infield single, a bunt, a steal (of third) and a walk put men on the corners with one out. Araki then deemed he’d seen enough, calling for Onodera from the bullpen. And the ex-Seibu hack let things spiral out of control as he gave up a RBI single to Garcia (4-0) before Nakamura hit one off the foul pole in left for a three run shot (after video review, it was initially called fair) to make it 7-0. Two of the runs would be charged to Kyuko while Onodera had two of his own.
After Onodera was left in to get out of the inning, Yamamoto (7th) and Matsui (8th and 9th) allowed no further hits over the rest of the game.
Same old story. Five hits which delivered little:
- Ihara (who has hit .333 / 15-5 over the last eight) led off the 2nd with a single to centre. He was soon back on the bench as Miyamoto (who has hit .111 / 27-3 over the prior eight) hit into a double play to kill the tiny amount of momentum stone dead.
- In the 5th, after falling three runs behind in the top of the inning, Miyamoto got on base via a error at short before Morioka singled to centre. But consecutive flyouts from Aikawa (batting .333 / 21-7 over the previous eight) and Fujimoto (in for Masubuchi) stranded the two men.
- Hatake led off the 7th with a single, but no-one else could get on that inning.
- In the 8th, a two-out solo shot to left from Milledge (6th of the year) scored the Swallows’ solitary run to make it 7-1.
- And finally in the 9th, Hatakeyama got his second single of the game with one out on the board. Ihara then struck out swinging before a pinch hitting Balentien swung at the first pitch he saw to fly out to shot and end the game with a 7-1 Tohoku Final.
- 10,509 hardy souls were present at Jingu to witness loss number nine, two of which I know have been present for all nine. Poor fuckers. The last time Tokyo lost nine on the spin was during inter league 2010 under Shigeru Takada. After which Takada resigned/was pushed and Tokyo were then transformed under the helm of Ogawa. Don’t expect such drama this season, as Ogawa has built up quite a reserve of goodwill points in the bank, whereas Takada was terminally overdrawn.
- This is the 7th straight game that the Swallows have been held to one or fewer runs. The team record for such a streak is eight games, which dates back to October 1970.
- I believe the record all-time inter league losing streak is eleven games. Which if things go with form could be equalled on Thursday night in game two against the visiting Hokkaido Fighters.
- Can anyone see any light at the end of the tunnel……….?