7/28/08 – Hanshin (Home)

July 28th, 2008

Sanshin TigersHanshin Tigers 3

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Streak: Won 1. Last 5: LLLLW

(Jingu Stadium)

From July 11th to the 22nd, Tokyo went 8-2-1. Then they dropped four straight.

For whatever reason, we can’t seem to handle our biggest rival, Yomiuri, or our neighbors, Yokohama (yes, the same Yokohama that is at the bottom of the table).

The Tigers, however, we can hang with.

I’m not saying that we blow them out of the water or anything, but let it not be forgotten that they have a good team down there in Nishinomiya. Solid hitting, fantastic pitching, and an unrivaled ability to win close games. Basically, they should be destroying us just like they destroy all the other teams in the league.

Well, for whatever reason, Tokyo is the only team in the Central league that Hanshin has a losing record against. Tonight’s game was a weird one, but Tokyo came up with the run support when it was needed, and the relief locked the game down.

This one started poorly.

Hanshin put two runs on the board in the first. Tokyo starter, Muranaka, walked three batters during that inning, and Kanemoto and Toritani both had rbi’s. Tokyo responded feebly in the bottom half of that inning, but the bottom of the second was a little different. Hatakeyama drew a walk and then was bunted over to second, as usual, by Tanaka (what a waste). Iihara, who has been playing very well as of late, tripled off the wall in right. 2-1 Hanshin.

Kawashima then drew a walk and Fukukawa then followed that up with a single to shallow right. Iihara scored from third. All square.

Then, with runners on first and third, Muranaka drilled one to deep center field that was caught on the warning track and allowed Kawashima to score easily. 3-2 Tokyo.

Hanshin got one back in the fourth, but Tokyo responded again in the sixth when Miyamoto was able to score on a Tanaka grounder to second. 4-3 Tokyo.

From there on out Hanshin only got one more man on base. Hanshin starter, Uezono (4-0, 3.14), took the no-decision as he was pulled after only two innings. Watanabe came in for one inning (his 43rd appearance), then he was followed by Abe for two innings and Kubota pitched two innings in his league-leading 51st mound appearance!

Kubota (5-3, 2.69) took the loss for his effort.

Muranaka (6-9, 4.01) picked up the win even though he had some control issues. He gave up three runs off of seven hits in six innings of work, but those numbers are tempered considerably when viewed next to his two K’s, five walks and two wild pitches.

Matsuoka (4-2, 1.62) and Oshimoto (4-2-1, 1.76) both picked up hold points while pitching scoreless sixth and seventh innings, respectively, and Lim (1-4-25, 2.17) got his 25th save of the season when he struck out the side on 15 pitches in the ninth.

The Swallows play Hanshin again tomorrow night at Jingu. First pitch is at 6pm.

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