Monday Bullets is a feature in which Tsubamegun writers (mostly Kozo) gather random news, thoughts, images, movies, etc. during the week and publish them for off day consumption.
Rain has conspired to push this week’s Monday Bullets (which probably should be renamed to Off-day Bullets) to Thursday. The slow annual slog called Interleague has ended and the Swallows came out meh.
- The Swallows ended the Interleague with a 10-12-2 record, their best record since they went 10-12-2 in 2011. The last time the Swallows had a winning record in Interleague was in 2009 when they went 15-9.
- The team ended up in ninth place, their best finish since the 2011 season. The Swallows finished above, and thus gained games on, the Tigers and the Carp who finished last with 9-15 records.
- The Swallows got a CL team best 124 runs during IL, but gave up an NPB worst 5.06 ERA during IL. Individually Yamada finished with an NPB-best .378 BA during IL, his 37 total hits were tied with Dae-ho Lee and Akira Namamura of the Hawks for tops in during IL. Yuhei finished with 20 RBIs tied with a bunch of batters for second in the IL RBI race.
- The Swallows restart CL play largely where they started, in fifth place with a bit of a lead over the BayStars and within striking distance of the fourth place Dragons.
- Orlando Roman had his elbow surgery last week. He posted some post-op pictures on his Twitter account (@oryec34). The second photo is possibly not for the queasy.
- Still no word on Coco Balentien’s return although most recent reports indicate that he won’t be back too soon. One particular article (J) by Tokyo Sports caught my attention. The article states that Balentien want to seek treatment in the States but the Swallows are denying his request. The reason stated is that the team wants to avoid another Milledge situation. The article quotes an unnamed team source that says some in the organization question the severity of Milledge’s injury after seeing social media posts of him bowling. The staff member implies that since both players have contracts that are secure through 2016 it’s only natural that they’d want to take it a bit easy and not rush anything.
- Since Chris Carpenter returned to the fold I noticed he was hitting 153-155 km/h on the Jingu gun. When he first arrived I noticed despite being billed as a fastball guy he never hit above 148 km/h on the gun. I wasn’t diligently tracking his pitches so this might not be something new, but it was new to me. Since his return he hasn’t allowed a run in his 4 appearances, the longest score-less run for him this season. The five walks in five innings of work is a bit concerning, but the post-farm Carpenter looks a lot better so far.
- Since the last bullets Tony Barnette has returned to action. He and Takeuchi were re-called for Sanada and Kawasaki. Kawasaki ended up getting called up on Saturday, and traveled down to Kagoshima with the team, but was removed on Wednesday without ever seeing any game action. Furuno was also sent down in favor of Emura on Saturday.
- With the imminent return of six game weeks it’s not entirely clear how our rotation shapes up. Ishikawa, Narveson, and Yagi seem locked into rotation spots. It’s unclear who might fill the other 2-3 spots. Ishiyama’s long relief appearance on Monday seems to signal a potential try as a starter. Matsuoka and Akagawa look to be the only other potential starters currently on the roster. I expect the team to make some moves to promote some starters.
- If you thought that the Swallows’ new mascot was ridiculous when he was first revealed in images, you won’t believe how ridiculous he is in real life. The additional details that were revealed at Sunday’s game has me convinced that this character was conceived by stoners. First of all, the new mascot carries an oversized Yakult bottle on his back. Secondly, his name was revealed to be Tolkuya, which is essentially Yakult spelled backwards in Japanese. (Employee #1: You know what would be awesome, man… YAKULT BACKWARDS. Employee #2: Woah, you just blew my mind.) Thirdly, Tolkuya’s backstory is that he’s a Mexican luchadore, but he doesn’t display any of the acrobatics of his predecessor. Instead, he just shadow boxes alone on the field and twirls an oversized umbrella. Japan has a legion of weird mascots, but this one is weird even by Japanese standards.
- I rarely look at what other teams are doing promotion-wise, but this one caught my eye. The BayStars are teaming up with BEAMS to create some fashionable t-shirts and stuff. That’s not particularly interesting, but they’re also creating a line of 5 ANTI t-shirts each in the styled of a CL team. I’ve never wanted BayStars merch, but the Anti-Giants shirt looks pretty good.