July 8th, 2012
Hiroshima Carp 2
Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: WWWLL
(Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima)
Tsubamegun’s Scott Cavanaugh got his Tanabata wish, but a Milledge-less Swallows lineup was confounded by a strong outing from Hiroshima’s rookie, Nomura, and the birds suffered an abbreviated sweep down south.
|W: Nomura (6-3; 1.52 ERA) L: Muranaka (4-3; 4.05 ERA) S: Mickolio (1-3; 10 S; 2.73 ERA)|
And here’s what the starting lineup looks like without Milledge in it. First time this season. Not good.
|Kazuki Fukuchi (LF)||1||Soichiro Amaya (LF)|
|Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)||2||Masato Akamatsu (CF)|
|Shingo Kawabata (SS)||3||Eishin Soyogi (SS)|
|Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)||4||Takahiro Iwamoto (1B)|
|Wladimir Balentien (RF)||5||Shota Dobayashi (3B)|
|Shinya Miyamoto (3B)||6||Jun Hirose (RF)|
|Jun Matsui (CF)||7||Ryosuke Kikuchi (2B)|
|Ryoji Aikawa (C)||8||Yoshiyuki Ishihara (C)|
|Kyohei Muranaka (P)||9||Yusuke Nomura (P)|
Tokyo’s crappy starting pitching continued in the bottom of the first as Muranaka struggled with his control. Amaya led off with a single past a diving Hatakeyama, and he was bunted safely over to second by Akamatsu. Amaya then advanced to third on Soyogi’s 4-3 groundout and found his way home on Muranaka’s ensuing horridly wild pitch.
The Tokyo offense never got going in this contest as the most that the team ever threatened was in the second inning when Balentien drew a walk and made it as far as second base on Matsui’s one-out single.
Muranaka was lucky to last as long as he did, giving up two runs through 6.1 innings. It was a deceptively effective start if left at that, but looks a bit less
savory when you factor in the eight hits (half of which were for extra bases), two walks, and one HBP.
Muranaka was occasionally lacking in control to the extent that Aikawa, at one point, appeared to be positioning himself according to where he thought the lefty might miss. It’s probably safe to assume that if he hadn’t been facing one of the Central League’s weaker offenses, then his ERA wouldn’t have gotten off so lightly.
Leadoff batter and Hiroshima left fielder, Amaya, was 4-4 against Tokyo’s starter with five total bases and one run. The home team’s second run of the afternoon arrived thanks to an Iwamoto double, and an RBI triple care of Hirose in the bottom of the sixth.
I guess we’ll just say that Muranaka is still a start or two away from regaining his control after a brief stint on the farm team and in the bullpen earlier this season.
But in the end it was Nomura who won the day. The 23 year old pitched seven scoreless innings on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk. His record improved to 6-3 while his ERA dipped to an enviable 1.52 through 14 starts. If he keeps it up, he’s virtually a lock for Central League ROY honors.
Muranaka was saddled with the loss and saw his record sink to 4-3 with a 4.05 ERA through 13 appearances (starting and relief).
Kawabata (2-3) was the only Tokyo hitter to reach base twice.
Hiroshima had three rookies starting again tonight. Two of them (Dobayashi and Nomura) are pretty damned good.
Today’s game was the first time this month that Tokyo didn’t score at least four runs. The last time was a 3-3 tie against Yomiuri at Tokyo Dome on June 24th.
Today’s game was the first time this month that Tokyo didn’t hit at least one homer. The last time that the team went homer-less was June 27th in Okinawa against the Baystars.
The team’s 35-32-4 record has them in third place in the CL. Five games behind the Dragons and three games ahead of the Carp.
Kawabata now officially leads the team in average (.295), triples (2), and average with runners in scoring position (.339).
Chunichi first baseman, Tony Blanco, who is currently second to Balentien in the CL home run race (Balentien – 24; Blanco 16), suffered a fracture in his hand after he was hit by a pitch today.
The umpire (Yanagita) had a hard time defining the inside and outside edges of the zone. Both teams suffered.