10/14/12 – CL Climax Series First Stage – Tokyo @ Chunichi (Game 2)

October 14th, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 1

Chunichi Dragons 0

Series: Chunichi 1-1 Tokyo

(Nagoya Dome)

Six innings of shutout pitching by Tateyama, another Balentien longball, plus two innings of perfect relief from Tony led to a crucial victory in a win-or-go-home game down in Nagoya.

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Tokyo000100000150
Chunichi000000000051
W: Tateyama (1-0; 0.00 ERA)
L: Yamauchi (0-1; 1.80 ERA)
S: Barnette (1S; 0.00 ERA)

And with the two teams combining for a total of 10 hits, there’s not a whole lot to analyze here.

TokyoOrderChunichi
Milledge (LF)1Ohshima (CF)
Ueda (CF)2Araki (2B)
Miyamoto (3B)3Morino (3B)
Balentien (RF)4Blanco (1B)
Kawabata (SS)5Wada (LF)
Hatakeyama (1B)6Ibata (SS)
Tanaka (2B)7T. Donoue (RF)
Aikawa (C)8Tanishige (C)
Tateyama (P)9Yamauchi (P)

Tokyo had one hit in each of the first three innings, but they were not able to capitalize on any of the chances that they created.

The game was decided in the fourth with Balentien starting things off for the visitors.

Wladimir plopped a low 1-2 heater just above the blue wall in left to give Tateyama a lead that he and the bullpen would not relinquish.

1-0 Final.

Balentien is responsible for the only two runs that Tokyo has scored in this series. Unlike yesterday, his home run made the difference today.

That’s not to say that it was smooth sailing for Tateyama throughout his six innings of work. Protecting the small lead that Balentien had given him, Tateyama loaded the bases (partly due to an intentional walk) before finally striking Tanishige out to end the threat.

But to be honest, the only Chunichi bat that was really an issue was Ohshima. He was 4-4 today, yet another performance that hearkens back to his rookie year when he was clearly Japan’s best candidate for Mr. October. Fortunately for the Swallows, all four of his hits were singles, and he never once crossed home  plate.

Only one other Chunichi batter, Ibata, hit safely for the home team.

And now the series is tied.

The Swallows will stay in Nagoya for another night after winning the right to fight again tomorrow evening.

First pitch is at 6PM, and we can probably expect Muranaka to take the mound for the birds.

Pitching:

Tateyama threw 99 pitches through six innings of four-hit baseball. He struck out three and issued four walks along the way, but he ended up getting the win after his relief corps kept the blue koala dragons off the board for a combined three innings.

Oshimoto recorded the first two outs of the seventh before Akagawa threw two pitches in order to allow the Swallows to take another turn at offense.

Crucially, Barnette pitched two perfect innings of relief thanks to three ground-outs and three pop flies.

Hitting:

Balentien ripped his second homer in as many days, and he should be able to expect a lot more outside garbage tomorrow. Hopefully he remains patient at the plate. This afternoon’s homer wasn’t nearly as enormous as yesterday’s, but it was far more influential as far as the outcome is concerned.

After his homer, Balentien drew a walk in both of his remaining trips to the plate.

No other Swallows batter reached base more than once in this contest.

Notes:

Tanaka and Kawabata are hitless through the first two games of this series, and Milledge, Miyamoto, and Hatakeyama all have one hit each (.143 batting average through two games).

The only player hitting more consistently that Balentien, if not as impressively, is Aikawa. He had another hit today to add to his two from yesterday.

Tomorrow is another must-win situation for the Swallows. A tie will be the same as a loss as far as qualification for the second stage of the playoffs is concerned.

Call me crazy, but the strike zone was a bit fat on the outside of the plate this evening (particularly against right-handed batters). Agreed?

33,852 tickets were sold for this game.

The game lasted three hours and 26 minutes.

In the Pacific League, the second place Lions punched back against the defending Japan Series Champs with an 8-0 drubbing at Seibu Dome that sent that series to a similarly decisive game three tomorrow evening as well. The winner of that series will travel to Hokkaido for a “best of seven” series against the pennant-winning Fighters.

The winner of tomorrow’s game between the Swallows and the Giants will, of course, travel to the hole that is the Tokyo Dome to take on the unbathed, uncouth, and unbelievably ugly 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