Things are not great right now, Swallowers.
Here’s something for you to read while finding an alternate use for your bat.
Swallow of the Week
Possibly due to how late I got the last snapshot up on the site, not too many people had a chance to vote. Only 14 folks submitted a vote, so I’m not even going to bother to create a table for it. Instead, you’ll just have to trust me that Shinya Miyamoto won the vote. Miyamoto, who didn’t receive a SOW nomination the week that he joined the almighty Meikyukai, won the weekly vote by garnering 64% (9 votes) of those cast.
So congratulations to you, Mr. Miyamoto. And again, many kudos to you for your steady play over the years which has earned you membership in the Meikyukai!
Last week was the shortest we’ve seen so far this year. Interleague started, and the birds hosted two shortened series at Jingu Stadium. The first, on Wednesday and Thursday, was against 2011 Japan Series champs, Fukuoka. Saturday and Sunday’s games were against the Orix Buffaloes, the only team in the Pacific League that doesn’t have a regional name fronting its moniker.
After a raucous start, the week turned out to be inordinately forgettable.
Here are the game reports in case you missed them:
But despite the 1-3 record for the week, there were still some standout performances for you to consider.
Ryoji Aikawa (C) – Aikawa made it back into the lineup on a full-time basis last week, and he was absolutely magic at the plate. 7-13 with four RBI and two walks for a .538/.600/.615 line from four games. With Nakamura as a backup, you’ve gotta like how things have worked out for Tokyo at the number two position.
Lastings Milledge (LF-CF) – Milledge was 5-18 at the plate with two home runs last week. He chipped in with 5 RBI and a walk during a week when the Swallows scored nearly three times as many runs in the first game as they did in the following three games combined. Milledge also saw some more time in center field this week as the Swallows continue to struggle to find an everyday replacement for Norichika Aoki. He continues to be an intense and intimidating presence on defense, and his slash line at the plate last week looked thusly: .278/.316/.611.
Orlando Roman (P) – Roman had a hell of a start on the 19th and very nearly won the game. He threw 110 pitches through eight full innings of work and allowed only four hits and one earned run. He also struck out four while only walking one. Oh, and he was also 2-3 at the plate with an RBI. Arguably his best start as a Tokyo Swallow.
Cast your vote below!
On the 18th, pitchers Hirai and Abe were dropped to the farm team, and they were replaced by relievers Onodera and Yamamoto the following day. You knew that Onodera was going to find his way up to the top team sooner or later given his rock solid performance on the farm since the start of the season.
On the 21st, Araki (IF) and outfielders Yuhei and Hiyane were also dropped leaving three available spots on the top team roster. Those three spots were filled on the 22nd by starting pitcher Shichijo, middle infielder Yamada, and timeless outfielder Yuichi.
Here’s what the 28 man roster looked like before the game against Chiba scheduled for Tuesday:
Ishikawa, Yamamoto, Masubuchi, Tateyama, Kyuko, Onodera, Barnette, Shichijo, Hidaka, Akagawa, Roman, Oshimoto
Aikawa, Nakamura, Fukukawa
Miyamoto, Tanaka, Fujimoto, Yamada, Hatakeyama, Noguchi, Miwa, Morioka
Fukuchi, Balentien, Iihara, Yuichi, Milledge
From the Farm
The mini-birds have continued their suckiness from last week. In the four games that they actually played (two rain outs), the Swallows lost three and drew one.
But much like the dark cloud that is the top team at the moment, the farm team has a silver lining hemmed up inside it. And its surname is Sato.
Unfortunately, or perhaps comically, its given name is not Yoshinori. It just so happens to be the chosen one’s kid brother, Takanori, who is still on an ikusei contract. He started all four games in the outfield and was 8-17 at the plate with three RBI and 11 total bases.
Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot of interest going on at the minor league level for the Swallows. Lim continues to look very mediocre, and nobody else is truly begging for a call-up at the plate.
So the spark the club needs is hopefully already included in the top team. Somewhere.
Around the Central League
The Giants are kicking ass. They are allowing only one or two runs per game. They haven’t lost since Golden Week. That is all you need to know. Anyone who needs a “Giant Hater” t-shirt, please comment below. I’ll put an order in for a new batch.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday’s game got rained out, and we already got trounced last night in Chiba, but there are five games in a row coming up that we will hopefully win one or two of.
Tuesday’s rain game will be replayed tonight in Chiba, and then the Swallows play two games in Saitama (6PM on Friday and 2PM on Saturday). On Sunday and Monday, the birds host consecutive 6PM games against the Tohoku Eagles at Jingu.
See you there.
The team still boasts a positive run differential, but we’re now only three games above .500 with a fourth-best team ERA of 2.69.
Aoki has been getting more frequent starts in Milwaukee, and he’s not been disappointing at the plate or on defense. In fact, here’s a video to show you that he’s doing us proud:
That’s it for today. Please excuse me while I prepare for a very important anniversary.