Welcome back, Swallowers. Things are still not well, much like last week.
But here’s something for you to read while attempting to assign blame.
Swallows of the Week
Ryoji Aikawa (C), Lastings Milledge (OF), and Orlando Roman (P) were the three top performers from week eight, and 21 people took the time to vote in last week’s poll. Here’s how the numbers played out:
In a photo-finish, Roman pipped Aikawa by a single vote–the thinnest margin yet witnessed in SOW voting, and Roman’s first ever win.
The birds lost all six games they played last week which brings their current run to nine straight. Now that’s swallowing for you. Regardless, there were a couple of bright spots as far as individual play goes. Here’s what we found:
Yasushi Iihara (OF) – A perennial top team bench-warmer, Iihara started four games last week and was arguably the team’s steadiest presence at the plate. He had a team-high six hits in 17 official at-bats, and accounted for half of the team’s RBI tally with two. He also added a walk.
Lastings Milledge (OF) – We’re getting used to seeing this guy’s name on this list. Lastings is now routinely manning center field and is one of only three Tokyo players to start every game so far this season (the other two are Tanaka and Hatakeyama). He was 4-20 at the plate with two RBI, including Tokyo’s only homer of the week on Monday, and also chipped in with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B) – Beavis still hasn’t really found his way at the plate, but he was a relatively respectable 5-21 (including a double) at the plate and solid as ever on defense. He also drew two walks.
Tetsuya Yamamoto (P) – Promoted to the top team on the 18th, Yamamoto made his first appearance of the year in Chiba on Wednesday. He gave up a run on two hits over one inning of work, but he didn’t allow another run in his three subsequent appearances last week. He pitched another inning on Thursday, two on Sunday, and finally another scoreless inning on Monday. That’s five innings in his first week, and he notched six strikeouts against three hits, two walks, and one HBP.
Please select the most worthy below:
After his spot start, Shichijo was dropped on the 25th in favor of fringe reliever, Kosuke Matsui. And on the 29th, after nine consecutive losses, the team announced that Kyuko (P), Onodera (P), Yamada (IF), and Balentien (RF) had been dropped to the farm team leaving just 24 players on the top team roster.
Ishikawa, Yamamoto, Masubuchi, Tateyama, Barnette, Matsui, Hidaka, Akagawa, Roman, Oshimoto
Aikawa, Fukukawa, Nakamura
Miyamoto, Tanaka, Fujimoto, Hatakeyama, Noguchi, Miwa, Morioka
Fukuchi, Iihara, Yuichi, Milledge
*24 out of 28 spots filled
Look for several promotions tomorrow before the game with Hokkaido.
From the Farm
OK, Yoshinori is out indefinitely with a busted knee. Apparently it happened all the way back in March. Bad news, but the team has kind of gotten used to not depending on him for anything other than increased ticket sales a few times a year.
Otherwise, the team picked up its play a little bit last week. They were 2-1 against the visiting BayStars.
By the way, are we supposed to capitalize the first ‘s’ in BayStars? They don’t on the team uniform, and I tend not to on this site because the company that owns the team can’t seem to be consistent on that point. Whatever.
Anyway, bright spots included Kawabata, Lim, Aso (third year infielder), and starting pitcher Fernandes who has a 2-1 record in six starts with a 1.41 ERA. Look for Kawabata and Lim to reappear on the top team tomorrow.
Around the Central League
Everyone is playing better than us.
The Week Ahead
Hokkaido is in town Wednesday and Thursday (6PM start both nights) for a two-game series that must have them licking their northern chops. The Fighters are 6-3-1 since the beginning of the interleague schedule, and Tokyo’s revolving door of players bouncing between the farm and top teams makes the chances of a home victory look pretty damned bleak.
As a diversion from the pain, Miyamoto will be officially honored for his entrance into the Meikyukai tomorrow as former teammate Inaba looks on.
After that the team heads to Fukuoka on Saturday (6PM start) and Sunday (2PM) for some fun against a team that is only 3-6-1 during the span of games that has seen your Swallows go 1-9.
Aoki continues to make his presence felt for the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s starting regularly now and hitting .310/.375/.471. He also seems to be forcing a lot of errors in the infield to get on more than his OBP reveals. Perhaps a new stat is in order?
That’s it for this week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take my leave.