April 25th, 2013
Tokyo Swallows 8
Streak: Won 2 Last 5: LLLWW
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
The Swallows win back-to-back for the first time since April 3rd in a rollercoaster game that was not good for the heart. The game clocked in at five hours and two minutes, and went for 12 innings. Rather than spell out a comprehensive narrative, I will be presenting a list of good things and bad things from the game in roughly chronological order.
|W:Kyuko (1-0) L: Kikuchihara (0-1)
|1||Masato Akamatsu (CF)||1||Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)|
|2||Ryosuke Kikuchi (SS)||2||Ryosuke Morioka (SS)|
|3||Yoshihiro Maru (RF)||3||Lastings Milledge (LF)|
|4||Jun Hirose (RF)||4||Wladimir Balentien (RF)|
|5||Kenta Kurihara (1B)||5||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|6||Shota Dobayashi (3B)||6||Shinya Miyamoto (3B)|
|7||Tetsuya Kokubo (2B)||7||Shinichi Takeuchi (CF)|
|8||Yoshiyuki Ishihara (C)||8||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|9||Kan Otake (P)||9||Katsuki Akagawa (P)|
GOOD: The Swallows drew first blood in the the second inning when Takeuchi singled with men in scoring position to score two runs. 2-0 Swallows
GOOD: Akagawa pitched well for the first 5 innings, with any mistakes being erased by double plays.
BAD: Akagawa did concede a run off of a walk and double in the fourth inning. 2-1 Swallows But that wasn’t too bad because…
GOOD: The Swallows get the run back in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back singles by Balentien and Hatake, and a misplayed bunt from Miyamoto loaded the bases with no outs. The run scored on a shallow sac fly to left field by Takeuchi, but Balentien got to home before the throw. 3-1 Swallows
REALLY BAD: Akagawa lost it in the sixth inning. He started the inning by conceding back-to-back singles, followed by an RBI double to Kikuchi that tied the game. 3-3 All He struck out Maru but hit Hirose to put two men on. A Kurihara fly to center advanced Kikuchi, but with 2 outs and the bottom of the order coming up it felt like Akagawa might have regained control. Unfortunately the feeling was short-lived as back-to-back hits up the middle by Dobayashi and Kokubo scored one run each, and ended Akagawa’s night. Takeuchi made a valiant diving-catch attempt on Dobayashi’s single, but the ball popped out of Takeuchi’s glove, rather than become the third out. 5-3 Carp
GOOD: Ishiyama managed to stem the flow and got Ishihara to strikeout to end the inning.
GOOD: The Swallows managed to load the bases with 2 out in the bottom of the inning.
BAD: The bases were loaded via a Nakata pitch that hit Nakamura on his right wrist, taking him out of the game.
GOOD: Reports from after the game indicated that Nakagawa suffered a bruise with no bone damage. He will be held out of tomorrow’s game but he will not need to be taken off the active roster.
BAD: With the bases loaded and two out, Iwamura came in to pinch hit but could only strikeout swinging.
GOOD: Roman started his first day in the bullpen with a perfect seventh inning.
REALLY GOOD: In the bottom of the seventh inning, Imamura lost control after getting one out. He issued back-to-back walks to Morioka and Milledge on just 9 pitches. Balentien took the first pitch he saw and launched it straight into the center field stands for a monster homerun. 6-5 Swallows
BAD: Imamura regained some control and retired the next two batters on swinging strikeouts.
BAD: Roman lost his groove and loaded the bases with two hits and a walk while getting 2 outs.
GOOD: Emura finished the inning without conceding a run by inducing a foul fly to left field.
GOOD: A Takeuchi double and a Masahiro Tanaka bunt to start the bottom of the eighth inning gave the Swallows a one-out man-on-third chance.
BAD: Kawsahima and Hiroyasu Tanaka were unable to capitalize.
BAD: Newly minted closer, Tetsuya Yamamoto started the ninth with a single and double to Abe and Nakahigashi, respectively. After, a fly out to shallow right the team elected to intentionally walk Maru to face Hirose. With the bases loaded, Yamamoto walked Hirose on 5 pitches to score the tying run. 6-6 All
GOOD: Yamoto finally started to throw strikes and got back-to-back strikeouts to end the ninth inning.
GOOD: After two quick outs, Balentien got a deep double off the left field wall in the bottom of the ninth. Hatake followed with an intentional walk.
BAD: The Carp gamble payed off as Miyamoto grounded out to third.
GOOD: Furuno (who comes out to PJ & Duncan’s Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble BTW) pitched a relatively strong tenth inning, as he conceded just one hit that he cleaned up.
BAD: The Swallows went down in order in the bottom of the tenth.
REALLY BAD: Furuno came out for another inning of work and conceded a solo home run to Maru. 7-6 Carp
GOOD: Furuno got out of the inning without further damage.
WEIRD: The center field jumbotron inexplicably began to malfunction in the bottom of the eleventh, refusing to clear data on the bottom of the screen. Because the bottom of the screen needs to be black in order to be part of the batter’s eye, the game was delayed while they turn off the scoreboard. The scorreboard was turned off for the rest of the game after what seemed like an eternity.
GOOD: The Swallows rallied and got into a 2 out bases-loaded situation for Miyamoto. Miyamoto tied the game with a single up the middle to tie the game. 7-7 All
REALLY BAD: With 2 outs and the bases still loaded, Ueda hit a sharp grounder that forced the first baseman to make a diving stop far from the bag. Rather than giving himself a chance to be safe, Ueda dived for the first base bag and was called out on a close but clear play.
GOOD: Oba and Kyuko combine for a relatively painless twelfth inning in which Oba gives up a walk and nothing else.
REALLY FUCKING GOOD: Masahiko Tanaka started the bottom of the twelfth inning with his first hit as a Swallow. Kawashima moved him over with a bunt. Iihara drew a walk, and Kawasaki got his first NPB hit with a single that loaded the bases. Miwa lined the first pitch he saw over the second baseman’s head but in front of the center fielder for a single. Tanaka scored from third to win the game. 8-7 Swallows Sayonara FINAL
AMUSING: Miwa was mobbed as he rounded first. The was first greeted by a jumping kick by Miyamoto, followed by a throng of veterans throwing talcum powder and water at him. (EDIT: Chris worked hard to immortalize this moment in an animated GIF.)
NEUTRAL FACT: 24 of the 25 players on the gameday roster made it onto the field tonight. Only Yagi did not play in tonight’s game.