June 29th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 7
Streak: Won 3 Last 5: LDWWW
Tonight was the first of a 6 game home stand against the two Kansai CL teams. The Tigers were the first of the two teams to venture to Jingu.
|W: Yamamoto (1-1); L: Fukuhara (0-1); S: Barnette (19)|
Pretty much both sides used up all of their players in this one. If you didn’t take part in the festivities, then you must have really pissed off your manager. As it turned out the Birds outclawed the Tigers to get the victory late.
|1||Milledge (CF)||1||Murton (RF)|
|2||Tanaka (2B)||2||Hirano (2B)|
|3||Kawabata (SS)||3||Toritani (SS)|
|4||Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Arai T. (1B)|
|5||Balentien (RF)||5||Sekimoto (3B)|
|6||Miyamoto (3B)||6||Arai R. (LF)|
|7||Miyade (LF)||7||Yamato (CF)|
|8||Nakamura (C)||8||Fujii (C)|
|9||Akagawa (P)||9||Noumi (P)|
|RP||Fernandes, Shouda, Oshimoto, |
Hitaka, Yamamoto, Barnette
|RP||Tsutsui, Kubota, Kato,
Tonight’s game did not get off to a promising start. The Tigers started to tear apart Akagawa limb by limb in the second inning. Oh, sorry. That was the discovery channel not Fuji Sports. What I mean to say is Akagawa’s arm took the night off and never really was effective. He pitched 3 innings and was on the hook for 5 of the 6 Hanshin runs. Here is a brief run down on the Hanshin scoring plays:
Walks+Walks+ Walks+ “timely” hitting = runs. 4-0 Hanshin
Solo HR from
Fujii Arai R. = 5-0 Hanshin
So, after spotting the Tigers 5 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Akagawa was replaced by Fernandes to start the 4th. After a bit of a shaky start, Fernandes was able to get through the inning unscathed. In the bottom half of the 4th, the Birds got back into it.
After a Tanaka ground out, Kawabata smacked a single to center. For some unexplainable reason, Noumi felt he would rather pitch against Coco than Boo. So, he walked Boo on 5 pitches. That set up a showdown with Coco. They battled to a full-count before Coco had seen enough and launched the ball about 18 rows deep in left field. 5-3 Hanshin
The Tigers would get one back in the top of the 5th when Arai (Ryouta) walked and scored on a double by Turtle (Fujii) 6-3 Hanshin
Nakamura got the Birds back to within 2 runs when he hit a shot into the left field bleachers to cut the lead to 6-4 Hanshin
The score would stay that way until the 7th. Continuing with the wacky and weird evening, Miyade hit a solo floater that barely cleared the left field fence to bring the Swallows within one run. 6-5 Hanshin.
Of course the Birds were gaining confidence while the Hanshin pitchers were pretty much melting away. After Miyade’s HR, Nakamura hit a shot back up the middle. Hirano was able to get to it but had no play. Fukuchi then hit a single to right to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Kubota than came in for the Tigers to face Milledge. Lastings made quick work of Kubota and hit a liner to right to knock in Nakamura from 2nd and tie the game. 6-6
The Birds would take the lead in the bottom of the 8th. After Hatakeyama made the first out, Coco walked. He was replaced on the bases by Hiyane. Again, the weird and wacky reared its ugly head, but in the nicest way possible for the Birds. With Miyamoto at the plate, Hiyane stole second on the third pitch. A pitch that was received by Fujii and instantly turned into a slimy glob of goo. I exaggerate, of course, but Fujii bobbled and dropped the ball and was unable to make an attempt to throw out Hiyane. A few pitches later, Miyamoto walked but again Fujii was unable to coral the ball cleanly and Hiyane snuck in to third ahead of the throw. So, now the Swallows have runners on the corners and only one out. With the game tied, the Tigers obviously did not want to concede a run. So, they brought the infield in. This proved to be a poor choice by Wada (more on that in a minute). Fujimoto was called in to pitch hit. After a few “aggressive” cuts, Fujimoto eventually hit a shot off of Hirano’s glove and the ball bounced all the way to Murton. Hiyane easily scored from third and the Birds finally had the lead. 7 – 6 Tokyo
Barnette would come in to close out the ninth for his 19th save of the season.
Let me revisit that decision by Wada. As happy as I am to see it being made, it was a stupid call to make. Here is why: there is already one out. You have father time, Miyamoto, sitting on 1st. He is not quite as agile and fleet of foot as he once was. So, play the infield at their regular spots. Play for a grounder and turn two. If Hirano was in his regular position, then he probably would have field the grounder clean and turned two. Alas, Wada has been inhaling some of the wacky tabaky and sees and thinks things a wee bit differently. I don’t think he will be sitting at the helm of Tiger-dom for an extended period if he keeps making these moronic decisions. At the other end of the spectrum, Ogawa seems to be making all the right moves recently. THANK GOD!!!!!
I love seeing shots like this:
Tomorrow will see the same two foes go at it. First pitch is at 2 pm. The scheduled starters are Roman for Tokyo and Akiyama for Hanshin.