April 18th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 3
Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: LLWLL
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
To say that the Swallows are slumping right now would be an understatement. The Swallows lost their fourth series in a row in a game which would’ve been funny if we weren’t Swallows fans. Luckily for Swallows fans, it seems that the rest of the Central League, save the Giants, seem to be suffering from consistency issues and the hole we’re in right now is not a deep one.
|1||Yohei Oshima (CF)||1||Lastings Milledge (LF)|
|2||Hirokazu Ibata (SS)||2||Keizo Kawashima (SS)|
|3||Hector Luna (3B)||3||Shinichi Takeuchi (CF)|
|4||Kazuhiro Wada (LF)||4||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|5||Matt Clark (1B)||5||Wladimir Balentien (RF)|
|6||Yosuke Matsui (RF)||6||Shinya Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Motonobu Tanishige (C)||7||Ryosuke Morioka (2B)|
|8||Masahiro Araki (2B)||8||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|9||Daniel Cabrera (P)||9||Katsuki Akagawa (P)|
|W: Cabrera (3-0) L: Akagawa (0-3)
S: Iwase (4)
The early going was a pitchers’ duel between Cabrera and Akagawa. The Swallows got their first hit in the fourth with a leadoff single by Takeuchi. Hatakeyama followed with a towering double off the center field wall that barely missed being a homerun, but managed to score Takeuchi. 1-0 Swallows Balentien followed with a single up the middle for back-to-back-to-back hits for the Birds. However, Shiroishi decided to test Oshima’s arm from shallow center with the legs of Kazuhiro “100 kilos of man” Hatakeyama. The result was a predictable easy out at home plate, and no more offensive momentum.
Akagawa kept the Dragons off the board until the sixth. The inning started with an Oshima single and a Ibata sac-bunt. Akagawa managed to get the Central league’s hottest batter, Hector Luna to strikeout. Unfortunately, the focus that allowed Akagawa to strikeout Luna didn’t last, and Wada took the lead for the Dragons with one swing of the bat. 2-1 Dragons
More runs score against the Swallows in the seventh. Akagawa allowed a single to Matsui and a double to Tanishige to concede an additional run. Tanishige made it to third on a comical relay throw by Morioka that looked like the second baseman just spiked the ball to the ground. But the bulk of the damage came off a Morino pinch-hit 2 run homer off of Shichijo. 5-1 Dragons
The Swallows managed to get back a couple of runs on a lucky pinch hit blooper by Iwamura that fell just fair between third and right. 5-3 Dragons
But the Dragons got an insurance run in the top of the ninth with a walk and back-to-back errors by Hiroyasu. 6-3 Swallows
Not fun to watch…
- The Swallows now are in sole possession of sixth place in the Central league. They are 2 games behind the second place Hanshin Tigers whom they play this weekend.
- Lasting Milledge came into the game in the midst of his worst slump since arriving in Japan. Milledge had recorded 18 straight plate appearances without a hit prior to tonight’s game. His previous record was 13 straight plate appearances without a hit. Milledge stretched his record to 20 plate appearances before getting a soft infield single in the fifth.
- The Swallows lost despite outhitting the Dragons 9-6. The biggest difference can be seen in the number of extra base hits. The Dragons got 2 homeruns and a double versus the Swallows’ lone double.
- The hits did raise the Swallows’ team batting average from .207 to .212 which is still the lowest team batting average in NPB. Among qualified batters, the highest Swallows hitter for average is Hatakeyama with his .209 batting average. In fact, Milledge and Kawashima are the only other qualified batters on the Swallows.
- Prior to the game Barnette, Yuhei, and Hirai were taken off the active roster all citing various injuries. Barnette was apparently diagnosed with a pulled right oblique, and Yuhei apparently injured himself on a catch at the wall in yesterday’s game and Hirai complained of pain in his right shoulder. No timetable for return was given for any of the players, and the question of who the Swallows will hand the ball to close games is still in the air.
- Masubuchi, 2011 draftee Masato Furuno, and 2010 draftee Nariaki Kawasaki were called up today. Masubuchi entered the game in the ninth and gave up a walk and an unearned run.
- Masaya Emura made his NPB debut tonight pitching a perfect eighth inning for the Swallows.
- Iwase’s save tonight was the 350th save of his career.