Sorry for the delay, Swallowers. It’s my fault. There are no excuses here at Tsubamegun.
Something for you to read while planning a trip to New Orleans.
Swallows of the Week
This one was never really going to be much of a contest, what with the wicked week that Coco put up and all. But 31 voters thought long and hard and chose the most worthy from the following four players:
Wladimir Balentien (RF)
Masanori Ishikawa (P)
Orlando Roman (P)
Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)
Congratulations, Coco, the first Tokyo player to ever earn SOW honors twice in the same season! You definitely earned it. I must say that you surprised the piss out of us several times during week six, and we love you for it.
Now just sit back and let them walk you for a couple of weeks.
Like the week before, the Swallows played five games during week six. However, things didn’t work out quite as well for your Tokyo Swallows.
The first three games were all over the midlands map in and around Nagoya as the birds took on the Dragons in a three-game set. Tokyo wasn’t able to win a game until the series finally arrived back at Nagoya Dome. Game three saw the birds exorcise some of the their demons by winning a game against the Dragons in Nagoya, but they still lost the series 1-2.
Then it was off to the miserably wet and cold embrace of the enduring Akita Prefecture winter for a two-game series against the “visiting” Gomiuri Giants.
Tokyo played to an annoying 1-1 draw in the first game before losing the second game 5-1.
But despite Tokyo’s 1-3-1 record, there were still some individual bright spots.
Katsuki Akagawa (P) – The only pitcher to record a win, Akagawa pitched seven innings at Nagoya Dome on Thursday and threw 98 pitches while issuing only a single walk. He scattered six hits while striking out three and allowing one earned run in the sixth inning.
Shinya Miyamoto (3B) – A week after joining the Meikyukai, Shinya had his nose to the grindstone last week. Despite not starting on Wednesday, he was 6-14 at the plate in four games at third base.
Ryosuke Morioka (SS) – Given some playing time following Kawabata’s injury, Morioka started four games last week and was 3-14 at the plate with a double and two RBI.
You know what to do:
As reported here in the last update, Takeuchi (IF) was removed from the top team on May 6th. It turns out that he has a right wrist injury that he needs to rehab.
On the seventh, Koki Watanabe (P) was also dropped to the farm after his four hit, three run performance on Sunday at Jingu.
On the eighth, Kentaro Kyuko (P) and Takahiro Araki (IF) were promoted from the topfarm team.
On the tenth, Kyohei Muranaka (P) and Shingo Kawabata (SS) were demoted. Kawabata is injured, and Muranaka is struggling.
On the 12th, both Aikawa (C) and Yuhei (OF) were brought back up to the top squad. Aikawa is coming off of a toe injury, and Yuhei has rejoined the struggle to find a viable and durable option in center field.
On the 15th, it was announced that Hitoshi Yamamoto (P) will have TJ surgery on his throwing arm (right) and is out for the rest of the season. Yamamoto made 12 appearances and pitched 55 innings for the Swallows last season. He finished the year with a 4.25 ERA.
That left the following 28 players on the top team roster:
Ishikawa, Masubuchi, Tateyama, Barnette, Hidaka, Akagawa, Roman, Abe, Oshimoto, Hirai, Kyuko
Aikawa, Fukukawa, Nakamura
Miyamoto, Tanaka, Fujimoto, Hatakeyama, Noguchi, Miwa, Morioka, Araki
Hiyane, Fukuchi, Balentien, Iihara, Yuhei, Milledge
In case you haven’t heard, Shohei Tateyama (P) and Wladimir Balentien (P) were March-April monthly MVPs for the Central League, and it’s the first time since 1997 that Tokyo has had a player win the pitcher and position player categories in the same month!
Sponsored by Nihon Seimei, it was the second time that both players had won the award.
Tateyama last won monthly MVP honors in August of 2010. This time around, he was 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA through 34 innings of work.
Balentien won May honors last year, and he finished the first month-and-a-bit of 2012 with a .308 average and 16 RBI on 24-78 hitting.
The last Tokyo duo to bring home top Central League honors in the same month were batterymates Atsuya Furuta (C) and Kazuhisa Ishii (P) in September 12 years ago.
Nice work, gents! Now if we could just hold on to first place.
From the Farm
The mini birds had an even worse week despite spending the whole time at home. Tokyo started the week off by dropping and drawing a game versus the visiting mini Giants before seeing game three get rained out up in Toda.
They then dropped three straight afternoon games to the mini Chiba Marines.
There’s not a whole lot to report that will excite anyone that is a regular in these parts. Onodera (P) continues to be effective, and Tetsuto Yamada (IF) is hitting well in the leadoff position. Other than that, Yoshinori’s little brother is the the next most exciting thing going on down there. And no, Yoshinori hasn’t made an appearance recently. Think they’ll eventually think about taking his face off of all the walls in Gaienmae soon?
The Week Ahead
It’s interleague time, folks! Tokyo hosts Fukuoka on Wednesday and Thursday after an extra day off, and then Orix comes to town for a weekend series at Jingu. All games start at 6PM. This is the time of year, of course, when we finally have a reason to root for Pacific League teams. May they beat everyone but us. Badly.
OK, that’s it for this week. Please excuse me while I find some inspiration to do what’s right.