May 6th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 0
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WLWWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
This is the same pitching duel that we saw early last week in the rain in Hiroshima, Tokyo’s Shohei Tateyama taking on Hiroshima’s Kenta Maeda.
|W: Maeda (4-2, 1.44 ERA) L: Tateyama (3-1, 2.29 ERA)|
It was Maeda’s first game of 2012 pitching at Jingu Stadium, and if his bad luck from 2011 had continued at Jingu, then that would’ve been good news for the Swallows. In his two starts last season, he pitched a total of 14.2 innings and lost both decisions while surrendering five earned runs. 2010 was the opposite for Maeda as he earned two wins from his two starts in the stadium that Tsubakuro built, giving up just one earned run over 17 exceptional innings.
One week ago, however, the birds wore him down and made him swallow an uncharacteristic four earned runs through just six innings of work. Before today’s game, Tateyama was 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA, and Maeda was 3-2 with a 1.67 ERA.
But with just a half-game lead on Chunichi in the standings, the Swallows would need to sustain and build on the momentum and positive energy that they’ve created so far.
That didn’t happen because, as one might expect, this game basically came down to pitching.
|Tanaka (2B)||1||Kimura (SS)|
|Fukuchi (CF)||2||Higashide (2B)|
|Milledge (LF)||3||Maru (CF)|
|Balentien (RF)||4||Stavinoha (LF)|
|Kawabata (SS)||5||Matsuyama (1B)|
|Miyamoto (3B)||6||Amaya (RF)|
|Hatakeyama (1B)||7||Dohbayashi (3B)|
|Nakamura (C)||8||Kura (C)|
|Tateyama (P)||9||Maeda (P)|
To summarize the proceedings, Hiroshima’s pitching was excellent. Tokyo’s? Not so much.
In other words, Tokyo got to see the 2010 version of Kenta Maeda.
Tateyama had a wobbly day on the mound and allowed droves of base-runners throughout the evening. He allowed three base runners in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, and was perhaps fortunate to only give up three earned runs.
Hiroshima’s starter, Maeda, got things started in the fifth inning with a single, and then a sac bunt and a double later, and the Carp had opened the scoring for the first time in this series at Jingu.
The sixth was when the real damage was done though. Amaya singled and then Dohbayashi walked to start things off. Out number one came thanks to a sac bunt which moved the two runners over and brought Maeda to the plate again. He ended up smacking a 2-2 forkball down the left field line for a double which cleared the bases and put the game even further out of reach.
And that’s when Tateyama finally got the hook. Hidaka came in and took care of the next five batters without incident.
Unfortunately, Maeda was just as effective on the mound as he was at the plate. He scattered just three hits through seven innings of work while mixing in seven strikeouts, a walk, and a beanball. The only time that the Swallows threatened to score was in the seventh when they loaded the bases with two outs, but pinch-hitter, Fujimoto, grounded out to short to end Tokyo’s best chance.
Down by three, the Swallows inserted Koki Watanabe for his third appearance of the year in the ninth (Abe pitched a perfect eighth). And it was one to forget as he saw a total of eight batters and gave up four hits (one homer), a walk, a wild pitch, and three earned runs on his way to helping Hiroshima double its lead.
Enjoy your time in Toda, Mr. Watanabe.
Tateyama took the loss for the good guys. He pitched 5.1 innings (96 NP), and gave up ten hits and three earned runs. He also issued three walks, struck out three, and beaned one batter. His record is now 3-1, and his ERA jumped to 2.29 through six starts this season.
Hidaka (13 appearances) and Abe (four appearances) are still sporting perfect ERAs.
Just three hits. Nobody was able to get anything going against Maeda today.
15,885 tickets were allegedly sold to this game. It was a major departure from the crowds of the two previous days. It rained quite a bit during the afternoon, but the skies were crystal clear once the game started.
Miyamoto reached the 2,000 hit milestone on Friday, but he 0-8 (one walk) since that historic moment.
The Swallows are still in first place because the Dragons lost to Yokohama once again.
The Swallows are on the road for the rest of this week. They will bounce around to a few different stadiums while playing the Dragons, and then they host an abbreviated series in Akita against Yomiuri on Saturday and Sunday.
The next Swallows home games will be on May 16th (Wed) and 17th (Thurs) when the Fukuoka Hawks are in town to help kick off the five week interleague schedule.