Apr 28th 2013, vs Yomiuri

April 28th, 2013

Yomiuri Giants 1

Tokyo Swallows 2

Streak: Won 5 Last 5: WWWWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo went into this contest looking for its first sweep of the 2013 campaign, and hoping to seal the deal for the home team was lefty Ryousuke Yagi.

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W: Roman (1-1; 5.02 ERA)
L: Mathieson (0-1; 2.61)
S: Yamamoto (4S; 1.54)

And he did remarkably well in his fifth start of the season although he wasn’t fortunate enough to figure into the final decision.

YomiuriOrderTokyo
Chono (RF)1H. Tanaka (2B)
Hashimoto (CF)2Kawashima (SS)
Sakamoto (SS)3Milledge (LF)
Lopez (1B)4Balentien (RF)
Yano (CF)5Hatakeyama (1B)
Murata (3B)6Miyamoto (3B)
Terauchi (2B)7Kawasaki (CF)
Katoh (C)8M. Tanaka (C)
Utsumi (P)9Yagi (P)

Before we get started on the particulars of this game, however, Tsubamegun are obliged to bring you a public service announcement that is sponsored by everyone’s good friend, Common Sense.

If you happen to still be part of the brainwashed masses that self-identify as so-called “Yomiuri fans”, make sure that you know which section of outfield unreserved seats you should be sitting in. For those of you that haven’t figured this out yet, we regret to inform you that you should sit on the same side of the outfield that your team’s dugout is lined up on.

If you don’t know what a dugout is, then ask one of the ushers or the Google machine in your pocket. We feel the need to remind you of this simple rule because you’re just going to get yourself, or the “friends” that let you sit with them, in trouble if you commit such a faux pas on a less family-friendly day (which is almost every day after Golden Week).

Coco has made it very enjoyable to be a Swallows fan this week.

Coco has made it very enjoyable to be a Swallows fan this week.

Hopefully this is the last time that this issue needs to be raised. Muppets.

Anyway, this game was awesome.

It took a while for things to get interesting, but in the end the good guys prevailed once again.

Boy oh boy, what a difference a Bowker makes, you know?

Yagi started well and only allowed three men on base through the first five innings (all outfield singles). Unfortunately, Utsumi was largely able to keep stride as he only allowed four hits and a pair of first inning walks during the same period of time.

Yomiuri very nearly went ahead in the top of the sixth thanks to three consecutive two-out singles, but fortunately the third one ended up plopping in front of Milledge in left, and he nailed Hashimoto at the plate to keep the score level at zero all.

There were actually a number a good defensive plays by the Swallows in this game. Milledge and Kawasaki each came up with a highlight reel-worthy catch in the outfield, and Kawashima had two leaping grabs at short to help keep Yomiuri off the board early.

But the bad guys struck first this time.

Yano led off the top of the seventh with a single, and he made his way home on Katoh’s double just over Coco’s head in right two outs later.

1-0 Yomiuri.

Despite a weak showing in the bottom of that frame, Tokyo led off the bottom of the eighth with the business part of its lineup against Yomiuri setup guy, Scott Mathieson. After a nine-pitch battle, Milledge singled for the second time today, and then you know who stepped into the batter’s box.

Yup. Coco ripped the first pitch he saw into the right field stands.

Sound familiar?

It wasn't easy, but Yamamoto and the Swallows found another way to win.

It wasn’t easy, but Yamamoto and the Swallows found another way to win.

And that was all she wrote. Yamamoto battled his way to a fourth save in the top of the ninth. He allowed two base runners, the first of which was on third with two outs, but Wakiya flew out to left to end the threat and the game.

2-1 Final.

And can you believe it? Your Tokyo Swallows swept the league-leading Yomiuri Giants in front of three large crowds.

Yagi threw 104 pitches over his seven innings of work, and he gave up one earned run from eight hits and three K’s. He didn’t factor into the decision, but his ERA sank to 2.59.

Roman ended up with the ‘W’ thanks to his 14-pitch effort in the top of the eighth. His ERA eased to 5.02.

Yamamoto made his 12th appearance so far this season, and he came out of it with his fourth save and an adjusted ERA of 1.54.

On offense, Milledge was again the only Swallow with a multi-hit game. He also walked in his first at-bat to help give his OBP a nice kick in the ass.

Balentien was the only other good guy to reach base twice (BB, HR). Tonite’s dinger was his fifth of the season.

The Swallows next take their five game winning streak to Yokohama for a three game set starting tomorrow (April 29th). All three games start at 2PM.

Game Notes

  • Tonite’s game lasted three hours and ten minutes.
  • 32,582 folks had tickets to the game (although it felt like a lot more than that where we were sitting).
  • Of Yomiuri’s 10 hits, only one was for extra bases (Katoh 2B in 7th).
  • Tokyo’s five game winning streak is their longest of the season so far.
  • Tokyo are now in sole possession of third place in the Central League, 2.5 games behind second place Hanshin and six games behind Yomiuri.
  • The team batting average has slowly risen to .211–which is still not impressive, but a bit better than it was a week ago.
  • The team ERA has slowly shrunk to 3.35.
  • Tokyo now has a non-losing record against two of its Central League rivals, Yomiuri (3-3) and Hiroshima (4-1).
  • Balentien now leads the team in RBI (17) despite playing in only 14 games so far this season.
These two have been spending a lot of time together recently. Not that we're complaining.

These two have been spending a lot of time together recently. Not that we’re complaining.

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

  • TokyoGarMan

    Thanks for another great write-up Christopher! We were at all three games, and every night was awesome. Friday felt like a hard earned win, Saturday was sweet, but last night was pure euphoria! We had Jingu “first-timers” in our gang all three nights, so we were able to make 5 new Swallow converts! My advice to the Youmiuri fans is to wake up and realize that it’s a lot more fun being a Swallows fan and watching games at Jingu! Happy Golden Week!

  • Hokkaido chocolate

    First miwa, now coco. I can only conclude that swinging at the first pitch is the key to winning games.

  • Christopher

    “If you happen to still be part of the brainwashed masses that self-identify as so-called “Yomiuri fans”, make sure that you know which section of outfield unreserved seats you should be sitting in. For those of you that haven’t figured this out yet, we regret to inform you that you should sit on the same side of the outfield that your team’s dugout is lined up on.”

    Still having trouble filling the ground with Swallows fans then?

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