Jul 6th 2016, @ Yokohama

July 6th, 2016

TS Logo 150x transparentTokyo Swallows 7

Yokohama Baystars 8

Streak: Lost 2    Last 5: WWWLL

(Yokohama Stadium)

 123456789RHE
Tokyo0302000027131
Yokohama01000304X8112
W: Tanaka ( 1-0 ; 1.09 ERA )
L: Lueke ( 4-3 ; 2.54 )
S: Yamasaki ( 19 S ; 2.22 )

A solid 5.1 inning performance from Shohei Tateyama on his return was ultimately wasted in a disastrous 8th inning, which saw a Yamada error followed-up by a Josh Lueke meltdown swing the game in the BayStars favour late in Yokohama.

 Tokyo Yokohama
1Nishiura (SS)1Kuwahara (CF)
2Sakaguchi (CF)2Elian (3B)
3Kawabata (3B)3Miyazaki (2B)
4Yamada (2B)4Tsutsugoh (LF)
5Balentien (LF)5Lopez (1B)
6Yuhei (RF)6Kuramoto (SS)
7Nishida (1B)7Kajitani (RF)
8Nakamura (C)8Tobashira (C)
9Tateyama (P)9Sunada (P)

Tateyama was making his third start of the year, and his first since April 13th, after which he underwent his 342nd elbow surgery. In those first two starts he went five innings both times, giving up six and five earned runs respectively. So hopes were set to realistic coming into tonight’s “comeback”, but as it turned out, there’s life in the old Shohei yet.

160706 Tateyama

Tateyama’s fastball was regularly hitting 147km/h, and even as high as 149km/h on at least one occasion. While still somewhat laboured overall, he looked a lot more like the Tateyama of old tonight than he has looked at any time since his return last year. And that ladies and gentlemen, is something to be very thankful for.

He got ample run support too against Yokohama starter Sunada. In the top of the 2nd, an error at third from Elian allowed Nishida to reach base, and a Nakamura single put two on for Tateyama to bunt the runners along. After Nishiura hit a liner to short for out number two, a Sakaguchi single made it 1-0 Tokyo, before a Kawabata double added two more for 3-0.

In the bottom of the frame, a Kajitani single and steal, was followed by a double from Tobashira and the ‘Stars were on the board. 3-1.

The Swallows lead was then stretched further in the 4th. A Nishiura single and walks for both Sakaguchi and Yamada loaded the bases for Coco, who hit one off the wall in right which brought home two runs with Yamada easily out at home trying to score the third, 5-1.

Tateyama meanwhile was perfect in both the 3rd and 4th frames, before allowing a single and double in the 5th, the double from Elian coming off a fastball left up and over the plate, which was lucky not to have made it over the fence in right instead of coming off the top of it.

He would not be so lucky in the 6th, as Lopez dispatched another mistake pitch, this time a cutter, over the fence in left for 5-2. That was all for Tateyama, who left the game with one out on the board and no men on. So then, a three run lead for the bullpen to cradle to bring home Shohei’s first win of 2016. If only it were that simple. If only.

First up was Kyuko who stunk things up in immediate relief of Shohei, getting a grand total of zero outs, giving up double and two singles to make it 5-3, leaving the game with men on the corners for Hirai to try to clean up. And though he allowed a sacfly which made it 5-4, Hirai did get out of the inning with an albeit slender lead intact.

Hirata then pitched a scoreless 7th before it was Leuke-time in the 8th. Things got off to an ominous start, as an innocuous grounder from Kuramoto was juggled twice by Yamada, before he fired off a wild throw to first which missed Nishida, allowing the runner to reach second on the error.

*JOSHDOWN INITIATED*

A walk, an out on a bunt attempt (excellently charged-down by Nishida, who then threw to third for the out of Kajitani), and walk then loaded the bases for Kuwahara. He hit a chopper to third, with Kawabata making the throw for the force at home, and the bases were loaded once more, this time for Elian. With the count full and with Lueke’s control not there all inning, in order to avoid the go-ahead walk Josh threw one right down the pipe for Elian, and the ball sailed off into the right field stands for the second 8th inning grand slam Lueke has given up this year. 8-5 Yokohama.

*JOSHDOWN COMPLETE*

Just for good measure, Lueke then hit Miyazaki and was pulled for Perez who got the final out of the inning.

With all seemingly lost, the Swallows bats attempted an improbable comeback in the top of the 9th against closer Yamasaki. A walk, and a Nishida double off the wall in right put two men in scoring position for Nakamura, who benefited by another error at third from Elian which narrowed it to 8-6. An Ueda sacfly then made it 8-7 with Hiroyasu Tanaka coming up to try and keep the seemingly impossible in the realms of possibility, but alas he weakly struck out swinging and we had ourselves a “well at least Shohei wasn’t tagged with a loss?” 8-7 Yokohama Final.

Game Notage

  • Tateyama’s final line: 5.1 IP / 83 NP / 6 H / 5 K / 1 BB / 2 ER. Encouraging stuff, and though we’ve been here many many times before, boy could we use a few more of these lines from Shohei this year.
  • Despite the JOSHDOWN and it’s four run aftermath, thanks to the Yamada error, (somehow) none of those runs were earned. He did take the loss however, but his ERA remains at 2.54.
  • Nishida has some pop. He went 3 for 5, all doubles, two of which hit the outfield wall. He’s now hitting .316 and has a .561 slugging %. To be frank, even if/when Hatake returns, I’d like to continue seeing a fair bit of Nishida at first. Plus he can field better than our wobbly friend.
  • Yamada went 1 for 4 with a walk and that ultimately costly error. He remains one home run shy of 100 for his career.
  • Tomorrow evening will see Tokyo attempt to salvage something from a disappointing series, with Muranaka getting another start against Yokohama’s Kubo.
About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto