October 6th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 2
Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WLWWL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
The stretch of tune up games continued tonight in Jingu as the Swallows faced the Carp. Earlier in the day news hit that Ryuji Miyade would be hanging up his cleats at the conclusion of this season. Like Fukuchi earlier in the week, Miyade declined a formal retirement ceremony and there was some question as to how he would feature in tonight’s game.
|W: Imai (4-8) L: Oshimoto (4-1)|
|1||Tomohiro Abe (2B)||1||Yuhei (Takai) (CF)|
|2||Ryosuke Kikuchi (SS)||2||Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)|
|3||Yoshihiro Maru (RF)||3||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|4||Brad Eldred (1B)||4||Wladimir Balentien (RF)|
|5||Soichiro Amaya (LF)||5||Shingo Kawabata (SS)|
|6||Shota Dobayashi (3B)||6||Shinya Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Masato Akamatsu (CF)||7||Kazuki Fukuchi (LF)|
|8||Yoshitaka Isomura (C)||8||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|9||Keisuke Imai (P)||9||Orlando Roman (P)|
Roman came into tonight’s game looking to cap off his first regular season in NPB with his 10th win. Abe got on base via a infield single that might have gone for more bases, as Hatake’s hurried throw to Roman got past the Puerto Rican. Although Abe didn’t take second on the mis-play (and thus preventing the scorer from having the opportunity to charge anyone with an error), he got a free pass to second as Nakamura let an outside ball get past him for a passed ball. Kikuchi bunted Abe over to third, and Maru battled Roman for 7 pitches before launching a fly ball deep enough to right for a sac fly. 1-0 Carp
The game then became a quick pitcher’s duel as both offenses struggled to get things going.The Carp got another run in the sixth on a somewhat bizzare play. Things started with Abe, who had singled and stolen a base, on second base with one out. Kikuchi hit a ball up the middle and Abe rounded third going for home. Yuhei fielded the ball cleanly but threw the ball in an awkward spot in front of the mound that lead to a high bounce that prevented Nakamura from fielding the ball at home. Roman, who was covering behind home plate did his job by fielding the ball. Unfortunately, Roman fired a hurried throw to first trying to catch Kikuchi over-running first. The ball was wide and went straight into right field giving Kikuchi a free base, and Roman an error. 2-0 Carp No more runs scored but it was not a reassuring play.
The Swallows finally got on the board in the bottom of the inning. Hatakeyama and Balentien started off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Kawabata got walked on four pitches to load the bases. Miyamoto came up to bat and hit a grounder that made Abe work just enough to settle for a fielder’s choice rather than a double play to trade just 1 out for a run. 1-0 Swallows Takeuchi, who had entered the game earlier in the inning on defense, hit one up the middle to score Coco and tie the game 2-2 All The Swallows continued to put on the pressure as Nakamura blooped a single to left to load the bases for the #9 batter.
It is at this point the Swallows decide to end Roman’s night and bring in a pinch hitter, a fairly common baseball move. What was somewhat surprising was the Swallows’ choice of pinch hitter. Although Miyade got a very positive reaction from the crowd, sending him out in this situation was curious move numbers/baseball-wise. Miyade has actually has a very respectable season in limited at bats as a right-handed pinch hitter, called on to face lefty pitchers. His .303 average this season comes from the fact that he’s gone 15-for-43 with 3 walks against lefties this year. However, Imai is a righty. Miyade had only gone 1-for-9 with 3 strikeouts in very limited at bats against righties this season. While it was somewhat admirable for the Swallows to give Miyade a big stage to make an impact, he came out swinging and ultimately struck out swinging bringing his season total to 1-for-10 with 3 strikeouts against right-handers. Yuhei, who also has strikeout issues against right-handers followed in the veteran’s shoes and struck out swinging to end the inning.
Oshimoto came in for Roman, and while he did manage to get 3 strikeouts in the inning he also gave up a homer to Dobayashi on his first pitch to give the Carp the lead back. 3-2 Carp
Neither team threatened in the eighth, and the Swallows elected to hand the ball to Masubuchi in the ninth. In what felt like deja-vu, Masubuchi gave up a solo homer to Dobayashi on his first pitch give the Carp an even bigger lead. 4-2 Carp Masubuchi got the next three outs with little problem, but the rain that the forecasts had been threatening finally started to come down during the innings change. The pitcher warmed up for the bottom of the ninth and the stadium was filled with Fujimoto’s at bat music, the pinch hitter never made it to the batter’s box and the game was called after a 20 minute rain delay.
The Swallows will wrap up their regular season at Jingu against the Carp. The Birds will face probable CL Rookie of the Year, Yusuke Nomura who will be looking to break his 6 game winless streak and earn his 10th win of the year. The Swallows will counter with Yuki Shichijo who will most likely be making his final meaningful start of 2012.
- Tanaka was silently subbed out after the fourth inning for Miwa. Tanaka did run the bases in the previous half inning, but there is no indication that he got injured. We hope that this was a planned substitution to give Miwa some action at second, and that no news is good news.
- Fukuchi got to show his legs again tonight as he lead off the third by legging out an infield single and stealing second soon after.
- Roman’s final line was 6 innings pitched on just 75 pitches, 5 hits allowed, 1 walk conceded, and 5 strikeouts. He gave up 2 runs but only 1 was earned.
- Kawabata went 1-for-3 with a walk to put his average at .298. His average rose as high as .299 during tonight’s game. Don’t be surprised if he gets pulled mid-game if he manages to hit the .300 mark tomorrow night.
- The Giants won big again tonight depriving Nishimura a save opportunity. Thus, Barnette is now guaranteed a piece of the CL saves title. If he gets a save in tomorrow’s game, he will have sole possession of the crown. If not, he will share the title with Iwase, and possibly Nishimura.