Jun 16th 2016, vs. Fukuoka

June 16th, 2016

Fukuoka Hawks 12TS Logo 150x transparent

Tokyo Swallows 3

Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: LLWLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

If you were wondering how the Swallows could get any worse, the answer seems to be, just add water! As the Swallows followed up with a lethargic start with an even uglier sequence of baseball after extended rain delays. Any illusions that the Swallows could match up with the Hawks, conjured over the last two games, were quickly and violently crushed in this game.

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W: Higashihama (5-0)
L: Ogawa (3-3)

 Hawks Swallows
1Kenta Imamiya (SS)1Keiiji Ohbiki (SS)
2Ryuma Kidokoro (RF)2Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)
3Yuki Yanagita (CF)3Shingo Kawabata (3B)
4Seiichi Uchikawa (1B)4Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
5Nobuhiro Matsuda (3B)5Wladimir Balentien (LF)
6Akira Nakamura (LF)6Yuhei (Takai) (RF)
7Shinya Tsuruoka (C)7Takahiro Imanami (1B)
8Taisei Makihara (2B)8Yuhei Nakamura (C)
9Nao Higashihama (P)9Yasuhiro Ogawa (P)

Ogawa started tonight’s game hoping to build on his quality start against the Marines. The Hawks, however, are not the Marines and the beatdown started quickly. Ogawa allowed back-to-back one out singles to Kidokoro and Yanagita to put men on the corners. Yanagita padded his stats by stealing second, but that wasn’t necessary as Hopper Matsuda launched a 3-1 pitch into the left field stands. 3-0 Hawks

The Hawks got another run in the second. Makihara got a one out single and advanced on a sac bunt. After Ogawa allowed him to take third on a wild pitch, Makihara came home on an Imamiya single. 4-0 Hawks

At around this point rain started to fall and it seemed that the Swallows best chance was to stall the game so the game would get called before it hit five innings. The Hawks were clearly trying to pick up the pace to get to five innings so they could get their W. The Swallows happily obliged by getting sawed off by Higashihama. Meanwhile, the Hawks couldn’t help themselves as they tacked on another run against Ogawa in the fourth with a Makihara hit, Higashihama bunt, and an Imamiya double. 6-0 Hawks

The Swallows finally got a run in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back doubles by Balentien and Yuhei. 6-1 Hawks

Ogawa managed to pitch through five innings before the Swallows handed the ball off to, 2014 first round draft pick Takeshita to make his first team debut. Every time I have watched Takeshita pitch whether it be on the farm or in spring training, he has always struggled to throw strikes and hit where the catcher sets up. He looked so bad, I was willing to bet he might never start for the top team. But these are desperate times for the Swallows pitching corps and the team was looking for Takeshita to buck expectations, unfortunately, he lived up to my expectations. Takeshita walked the first two batters he saw before the Hawks gifted him a out with a sac bunt. Then the game got delayed with a rain stoppage. After a reltively short delay, Takeshita issued walk number three to Higashihama to load the bases, but he managed to get the next two batters out to escape from his debut inning unscathed.

After the Swallows fell 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth the game underwent an extended rain delay that lasted almost half an hour. Unfortunately the rain let up and the Swallows were forced to expose their pitchers to the Hawks’ offense for more innings. To Takeshita’s credit he actually managed to get the heart of the Hawks’ order to go down 1-2-3 after the rain delay. He didn’t fare quite as well in the eighth against the bottom of the Hawks’ order. Takeshita lead off the inning with a walk to Nakamura, and he gave up a homer to Tsuruoka after falling behind 2-1. 8-1 Hawks After two quick outs, Takeshita repeated the cycle by walking Imamiya and allowing a homer to Kidokoro. 10-1 Hawks

Nakazawa got the last out of the inning, but his turn would come in the ninth. Nakazawa would allow two more runs on a single, hit batter, double and ground out. 12-1 Hawks

The Hawks finally changed pitchers in the ninth and the Swallows proved that their offense is good enough to get runs off of the Hawks’ mop up pitcher. Yamada walked to start the inning and Balentien followed with a hit to put men on first and second. After Yuhei struck out, the Swallows got a run on an Imanami double. 12-2 Hawks The Swallows got their last run of the night when Iihara grounded out to third. 12-3 Hawks FINAL

Notes

  • The Swallows lost their sixth consecutive series including all five Interleague series so far.
  • The Swallows became the first NPB team to 40 losses, and their 11 games under .500 is the lowest they’ve gone all season.
  • The Swallows will close out the Interleague schedule with a three game homestand against the Seibu Lions. Yamanaka will start tomorrow’s game against Kishi.
  • The Swallows have gone 3-2 in the first game of each Interleague series. They have gone 1-9 in the rest of the games.
  • If Yamada homers against the Lions, he will have gotten a homer against every other team in NPB this season. The Lions’ Ernesto Meija will be looking to accomplish the same feat with a homer against the Swallows.

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About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.