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.
The Swallows limp into the 4 day All Star break. As per Tsubamegun policy we’re not going to cover the All Star games, so this will be the last thing we’re posting until Monday’s game at Jingu. If you haven’t listened to our July podcast yet, I encourage you to listen to it. I’ll be expanding on some points we made in the podcast.
- The Swallows sport a 3-10-0 record so far in July. The Swallows have nine games left in the month and need to come out of the All Star break swinging if they want to end the month with a .500+ record.
- Whatever gains we made in terms of pitching in May-June have been lost so far in July. The Swallows pitching have a 5.32 ERA so far in July. The team had a 4.45 ERA in May and a 4.41 ERA in July.
- The starters sport a 6.01 ERA to the relievers’ 4.26 ERA. According to NulData’s run support metrics, the July Swallows’ offense are not supporting their starters the way they have done earlier in the season.
- The Swallows have a 32-47-2 record so far this season. After 81 games last season, we had a 32-48-1 record. This year’s team feels better than last year’s team but the results so far look surprisingly similar.
- Totally random stat of the day, for those wondering what the hell Yoshiyuki Noguchi is doing on the top team. Noguchi’s batting averages, against RHPs .000 (o-for-12), against LHPs .440 (11-for-25), and against the Giants .500 (6-for-12).
- We briefly touched on Cuban players in our podcast. In case we’re the only Japanese baseball news source, you may not have heard that the Cuban government is now allowing Cuban players to sign and play in NPB. This allows Cuban players to play in Japan without having to defect. This development opened up a new talent pool for Japanese baseball, and one that doesn’t directly compete with MLB interests. This new arrangement has already brought Frederich Cepeda to the Giants, Yulieski Gourriel to the BayStars, and most recently Alfredo Despaigne to the Marines. Basically prime Cuban players are all the rage right now and the Swallows apparently sent a scout to Cuba a few weeks ago. However, I doubt the Swallows will be signing anyone mid-season. The Swallows tend to put lots of money on a few import players every season, usually just the minimum four players. Right now the Swallows have six import players and I suspect they don’t have the budget to add a premium Cuban mid-season. Balentien and MIlledge are signed through next year, but the team may look to replace Barnette, Carpenter, Narveson, or Roman with a Cuban next season. But I wouldn’t count on getting any Cuban help this season.
- Lots of roster moves happened since the last edition of the Bullets. The trio of Iwahashi, Yagi, and Yamamoto, were demoted in favor of Kyuko, Ogawa, and Oshimoto last Saturday. Balentien was called up the next day and replaced Miwa on the active roster. Oshimoto’s stay with the top team was short-lived as he and Muranaka were demoted on Monday for Kiya and Nishida. Ishikawa was deactivated after his start on Monday. No injury news associated with this demotion and it’s probably just the Swallows cheating Ishikawa out of some service time because of the All Star break. Tokuyama was called up on Wednesday, and Narveson was deactivated today after he failed to make his scheduled start yesterday.
- Narveson’s injury (neck pains) has been reported as non-serious and is being attributed to sleeping on his neck wrong.
- In other injury news, Hatake was supposedly ready to play in ni-gun games this past weekend but he did not make any ni-gun appearances. No update on his status.
- In the podcast we mentioned the upcoming launch of a Tsubakuro shop near the Jingu batting cages. I took a picture of the storefront on the way to Sunday’s game. The store replaces a bunch of vending machines including a beer vending machine.