Tokyo Swallows Snapshot: July 9, 2012

Something for you to read while sorting out your statistical support.

Tokyo just ended a rain-shortened week that started nicely and ended with a whimper. Some of that whimper is likely attributable to the fact that Milledge was forced to sit out most of the Hiroshima series last weekend.

But before we get into that, let’s move on to the SOW voting.

Swallow of the Week

Week 14

The poll was jam-packed with five solid performers last week. It was definitely one of the tougher decisions so far this season.

In case you missed it, or can’t recall, here are the five nominees (copied from the previous Snapshot):

Wladimir Balentien (RF) — Coco got pitched around like crazy last week (eight walks, yo), but he was 6-13 when he saw something tempting to swing at. He had two more homers this week, seven RBI, and one HBP. Balentien hit safely in all five games last week and has hit two homers each week for three weeks straight.

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B) — After last week’s dismal output (1-18 at the plate), Fludge came back in a big way. He was 8-19 at the plate this past week with three doubles (all on Wednesday!) and five RBI. Slash line: .421/.500/.579. Hatakeyama posted three multi-hit games last week including a 4-4 performance on Wednesday.

Ryo Hidaka (P) — The bullpen’s best southpaw appeared in all five games last week and is now in second place in the Central League with 34 appearances (Yomiuri’s Yamaguchi is first with 35 and Barnette is tied for fifth with 32). He threw 57 pitches over 4.1 innings, allowed one run (earned) off of three hits and two walks, struck out three, and earned two hold points along the way.

Shingo Kawabata (SS) — Tokyo’s shortstop seems to be re-finding his groove lately, and he had a good week at the plate for the Swallows. He had the second most hits on the team last week with a 9-22 tally that was good enough for 11 total bases and vitals that read thusly: .409/.435/.500. Kawabata had four two-hit games last week, and he’s in currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak.

Lastings Milledge (LF/CF) — Milledge had a team-high 10 hits last week while going 10-23 at the plate. Two of his 10 hits were doubles, and he added three RBI and two walks. He also had an amazing diving grab in center field to help keep Hanshin off the board late in the game on Friday night. Slash line: .435/.480/.522. Milledge posted three multi-hit games last week, including three-hit games on Wednesday and Sunday. He hit safely in all five games last week and is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak.

Those are some crazy numbers. Here’s how the community (27 participants) voted.

PlayerVotes%
Lastings Milledge (LF/CF)1763
Ryo Hidaka (P)519
Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)311
Wladimir Balentien (RF)27
Shingo Kawabata (SS)00

Congratulations to Milledge on his third win in the community SOW voting! He was huge last week, and he was equally large in the two games at Jingu

Kawabata clubs his first homer of 2012. If he stays healthy, look for many more during the second half of the season.

against Chunichi last Wednesday and Thursday.  We’re looking forward to seeing you in the lineup again tomorrow evening at Jingu.

Week 15

The Swallows were 2-2 last week. Two games were rained out (Friday’s game actually got under way, but was quickly abandoned).

A refresher:

July 4th vs Chunichi (Jingu) — 12-4 W
July 5th vs Chunichi (Jingu) — 12-3 W
July 7th at Hiroshima (Mazda) — 4-9 L
July 8th at Hiroshima (Mazda) — 0-2 L

And here are your SOW candidates from those four games:

Wladimir Balentien (RF) — Balentien had another big week at the plate. He was 7-15 with four homers, two doubles, two walks, and 10 RBI. Eight of those RBI came during his massive three  homer evening on Wednesday when the Swallows blew out the Dragons at home. Line: .467/.529/1.400 with 21 total bases.

Shingo Kawabata (SS) — Kawabata didn’t get a single vote last week, but he’s obviously doing well because he made the cut yet again. Tokyo’s shortstop was 7-17 at the plate and continued making solid contact. He hit his first homer of the season on Thursday, and he had four RBI and three two-hit games in a row. Line: .412/.412/.588 with 10 total bases.

Lastings Milledge (LF) — Thrilledge’s week was shortened by a bizarre and thoroughly unwarranted ejection on Saturday, but he still put up huge numbers in the two games he played last week. Those two games alone kept him in the running for SOW honors. He was 6-17 at the plate with two homers (both on Thursday) and four RBI. He also had a double on Wednesday. Line: .500/.500/1.083 with 13 total bases.

Shohei Tateyama (P) — Tateyama put together the best all-around start by a Tokyo pitcher last week. He gave up just two runs (both earned) through seven innings of work while scattering seven hits and two walks. He was able to wiggle his way out of trouble a couple of times while mixing in four strikeouts and reasonable control at times. It was his first win at Jingu in what seemed like forever, and his record is now 6-5 with a 2.70 ERA.

Make your selection below:

Honorable mention:

Jun Matsui (CF) — Matsui was one of the only Tokyo players to hit safely in all four games last week. He was 7-16 at the plate, but finished just a hair behind Kawabata in slugging and RBI.
Masanori Ishikawa (P) — Ishikawa gave up four runs in his start on Wednesday, but he had two hits and pitched eight full innings (121 NP).

Dishonorable mention:

none

Milledge Ejection and Suspension

Here’s what happened:

I think we all agree it’s amazing that Milledge was that restrained throughout the whole ordeal.  Shirai, the young home plate ump responsible for the ejection, will likely get a little extra heat when the Swallows file an official complaint.

At any rate, Milledge was suspended by the team, however unjustly, and was unavailable on Sunday when the birds struggled to get anything going against Hiroshima’s newest boy-wonder, Nomura.

Keep your head up, Lastings. Go ahead and take it out on Yokohama and Hanshin this week.

Roster Updates

There were no roster changes last week.

This is what the roster currently looks like:

Pitchers
Muranaka, Ishikawa, Yamamoto, Masubuchi, Tateyama, Barnette, Hidaka, Akagawa, Roman, Shoda, Oshimoto, Fernandes

Catchers
Aikawa, Kawamoto, Nakamura

Infielders
Kawabata, Miyamoto, Tanaka, Fujimoto, Hatakeyama, Miwa, Morioka

Outfielders
Hiyane, Fukuchi, Balentien, Miyade, Jun Matsui, Milledge

*28 of 28 spots filled.

From the Farm

The mini-birds lost two out of the three games they hosted last week when the Tohoku mini-Eagles were in town. The good news? Shichijo pitched eight innings on Tuesday even though he gave up seven runs (four earned), and Yagi threw seven innings of one run ball on Wednesday while earning the win. Interestingly, Hirai started the game on Thursday and lasted five full innings (76 NP) while allowing only one run from four hits (solo homer).

Around the Central League

The first place Giants were 4-1 last week. After a rain-game on Tuesday, they split the remaining two games against the Baystars in Yokohama before returning home to the dome and a sweep of the visiting Hanshin Tigers. Their 42-25-6 record puts them two games ahead of the Dragons with a .627 winning percentage and a +74 run differential.

The second place Dragons were 3-2 last week. They started the week by getting throttled by your Tokyo Swallows by an aggregate score of 24-7, before turning things around in Nagoya with a sweep of the visiting Baystars. Their 39-26-10 record puts them two games behind the Giants and five games ahead of the Tokyo Swallows. They lost first baseman Tony Blanco to a hand injury (HBP) this week, so their only real claim to fame at the moment is the fact that center fielder, Oshima, leads the league in triples (4), stolen bases (16), and HBP (8). The Dragons currently have a +9 run differential.

The third place Swallows were 2-2 last week. They started out by destroying the Dragons at Jingu on Wednesday and Thursday before losing a pair at Hiroshima on Saturday and Sunday. Their 35-32-4 record is good enough for third, five games behind the Dragons and three ahead of the Carp. The Swallows were able to turn the team’s -6 run differential from last week into a +4 heading into the three-game Yokohama series which takes place at Jingu starting Tuesday.

The fourth place Carp were 4-0 last week. They swept a short series against Hanshin in Matsuyama before taking advantage of a Milledge-less Tokyo Swallows team on Saturday and Sunday. Their 32-35-6 record puts them in fourth, three games behind the Swallows and three games ahead of the faltering Tigers. The team’s run differential is currently at -18.

The fifth place Tigers were 0-5 last week. They were swept by the Carp (two-game series in Matsuyama) and Giants (Tokyo Dome) and outscored 14-23 in the process. The team’s 29-38-8 record is good enough for a .433 winning percentage and a -14 run differential. The Tigers are currently three games behind the Carp and 6.5 games ahead of the Baystars.

The sixth place Baystars were 1-4 last week. They split a pair of games against the Giants at Yokohama Stadium before getting wrecked by the Dragons down in Nagoya. The team’s 22-44-5 record is still worst in NPB. They have a -65 run differential at the moment and may hit -100 some time in late August if something doesn’t change.

The Week Ahead

There are six games scheduled this week:

7/10 vs Yokohama (at Jingu) – 6PM
7/11 vs Yokohama (at Jingu) – 6PM
7/12 vs Yokohama (at Jingu) – 6PM
7/13 at Hanshin (at Koshien) – 6PM
7/14 at Hanshin (at Koshien) – 6PM
7/15 at Hanshin (at Koshien) – 6PM

Thanks for joining us for this week’s edition of the Snapshot, all you Swallowers.

Now pardon me, but I’m afraid that I need to get my ass back in class.

Drink up.

Milledge made it hail in the left field bleachers on Wednesday.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini

  • Kozo

    > At any rate, Milledge was suspended by the team…

    The 100,000 JPY fine and one game suspension were issued by the NPB commissioner’s office. It would be sort of weird for the team to suspend him while simultaneously filing a grievance on his behalf.

    • http://tokyoswallows.com/ David Watkins

      I’ve got to say I’ve been really pleased with both the response/comments from Ogawa and the front office over this issue.

      Good to see straight-up common sense prevail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryo-Uchida/1486756389 Ryo Uchida

    “Dishonorable mention” for me has got to be Masubuchi. The dude is quickly becoming one of my least favorite players on the team (next to Noguchi, that is). Hopefully the team will finally realize that this guy is not fit as a starter…..

  • FLR

    This non-HD station GAORA appears to show Hanshin home games, but two games will be delayed broadcasts. That’s ok for me on Friday but on Sunday it would be nice to see the game live. Is it live elsewhere like on BS1? 
    http://www.gaora.co.jp/baseball/1531900 

    Not a big fan of the murky 1980s feel of not watching in HD, but that’s the fault of my cable company (Itscom).

    p.s. That umpire was a piece of work. He would call strikes sounding like a wounded piglet. I missed the beginning of the game and figured that Milledge was injured.

  • http://tokyoswallows.com/ David Watkins

    Hanshin home games are split between “Gaora” and “Sky A sports +”. So the Friday and Sunday games will be shown live, but they’ll be on the latter channel, not Gaora.

    Both channels have HD variants also.