9/28/12 – Hanshin (Home)

September 28th, 2012

Hanshin Tigers 3

Tokyo Swallows 6

Streak: Won 1     Last 5: LWWLW

(Jingu Stadium)

Before getting into the wonderful details of this delightful come-from-behind win over the hapless Tigers, I’d like to take a moment to thoroughly castigate those in the crowd that applauded Kanemoto’s pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning.

The Swallows have yet to secure their position in the postseason, and yet with three outs to go and Barnette protecting a lead, a large number of Swallows “fans” raucously applauded Kanemoto’s last-gasp insertion into the contest.

I can’t remember the last time I was this furious at a baseball game.

Sorry. No. The incessant Tak-bunting over the last few nights has me about ready to start questioning my allegiance to Ogawa-kantoku.

But I digress.

On second thought, no I don’t.

Let me calmly and objectively remind everyone that anything that excites or pleases Tigers fans is cause for concern. Seriously. They’re some of the biggest reprobates on the planet, and when Swallows fans are in lockstep with them, the human race is surely about to be pooped upon.

Distaste for all things Yomiuri notwithstanding.

So if you happened to be one of those Swallows “fans” who cheered when Kanemoto’s name was announced over the PA, and your cheering wasn’t in some way ironic or otherwise disrespectful, please be sure to never access this website again. Ever.

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But anyway, the Swallows won, and in very satisfactory fashion.

 

HanshinLineupTokyo
Uemoto (2B)1Yuhei (CF)
Yamato (CF)2Tanaka (2B)
Toritani (SS)3Balentien (RF)
Arai (3B)4Hatakeyama (1B)
Murton (LF)5Kawabata (SS)
Nohara (1B)6Miyamoto (3B)
Ito (RF)7Iihara (LF)
Fujii (C)8Aikawa (C)
Iwata (P)9Ishikawa (P)

Ishikawa put up another lackluster performance as he was eminently hittable throughout his start. The first inning was particularly disastrous. Ishikawa allowed hits to each of the first four batters he faced, and five in total.

That was good enough for a three-run deficit.

He did end up sitting the Tigers down in order in the second, but that was the only time he had a 1-2-3 inning. Ishikawa surrendered 13 hits over an out shy of six innings, and was perhaps fortunate that his ERA didn’t take a bigger kicking.

His teammates did keep him in the game, however. In the bottom of the second, back-to-back singles by Hatakeyama and Kawabata were followed by yet another Miyamoto sac bunt and then an Iihara strikeout.

But with two outs on the board, Aikawa poked one up the middle to plate both runners.

3-2 Hanshin

And it looked for a while like the game might end at that score as the birds were doing lots of things, Tak-bunting and faulty baserunning to name but a couple, to prolong Iwata’s evening on the mound.

But the good guys finally pulled level in the seventh when Aikawa singled again and Hanshin golden-boy, Ito, bottled his throw from right thus allowing Kawabata to slide safely home after rounding third.

3-3

And the Swallows would put the game away in the bottom of the next frame. Iwata was yanked after giving up a single to Yuhei who was then Tak-bunted over to second which brought Balentien to the plate for the Swallows.

And thankfully Balentien did what Balentien often does. He put the birds in charge with one swing of his bat.

Home run number 30 of the season to right.

5-3 Tokyo

And Tokyo added an insurance before the end of the inning thanks to some suspect defense over near third base.

6-3 Final

But perhaps the best moment of the game, and possibly even the entire season, was when Kanemoto was brought in to pinch hit at the start of the ninth inning.

With way too many adoring fans cheering him on, almost like it was his retirement game, Barnette pulled the carpet out from under the moment with a beautiful four-pitch walk.

And thus ended Kanemoto’s illustrious career of sticking it to us here at Jingu. He was promptly replaced by a pinch runner, and we shall never have to watch him swing the bat here again.

Mr. Barnette, we salute you.

Pitching

Ishikawa didn’t factor into the final decision, but his ERA moved slightly to 3.77 and whether or not he’ll get a start in Nagoya could possibly come down to how well he pitches in his next and final start of the regular season.

Oshimoto (3.55 ERA) pitched out the end of the sixth after Ishikawa got the hook, and he took care of the seventh as well. Hidaka (3.17) pitched a perfect eighth, and despite a couple of base runners, Barnette (1.87) earned his 31st save of the season while keeping Hanshin off the scoreboard for a final frame.

Hitting

Hatakeyama and Kawabata had three hits each and Aikawa chipped in with two clutch hits which totaled three RBI. Notably, the Swallows did not draw a single walk during this game.

Tokyo’s next game is tomorrow at 6PM against the second place Chunichi Dragons. If the Swallows win the game, then they will effectively punch their ticket to the playoffs.

And if the typhoon doesn’t wreck Tokyo, there may also be a 6PM game on Sunday against the visiting first place Yomiuri Giants.

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

  • Christopher

    Christopher
    Your comments on the reception for Kanemoto do not do you credit. Whatever Kanemoto’s allegences his contribution to Japanese baseball cannot be discounted and it was this that was generously acknowledged by the Jingu crowd for his final appearance at Tokyo. Sometimes one has to rise above temporary rivalries and acknowledge the special contribution a player has made to the sport. I am sure you, as a Swallows fan, would appreciate such a reception at Koshien for Miyamoto when he retires.

    • NotHisRetirementGame

      Thanks for your insight.