September 13th, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8
Yomiuri Giants 9
Streak: Lost 5 Last 5: LLLLL
A bunch of close-scoring games recently, and Tokyo just keeps finding itself on the losing end of the stick. This game was no different.
Tokyo did a lot of things right this afternoon. But then they also did a lot of things wrong. More often than not, the right and wrong happened in the same inning with the latter nullifying the former.
Take the top of the ninth inning, for example. Yomiuri up 9-8 with Kroon on the mound. What is Kroon good at doing? Throwing hard. What happens if you don’t swing? The count quickly tilts in the batters favor. Many people know this. And it seemed like someone had clued our hitters in as well.
Kroon walked the first two batters he faced, Tanaka and Kawashima, on nine pitches, and then gave Fukukawa a free trip to first promptly thereafter. He was getting flustered, and Tokyo was doing a good job of just letting him screw himself into the ground.
Don’t swing. Simple.
Bases loaded, no outs. Kroon sweating buckets.
So what happens next? Our veterans start swinging. Yuuichi grounds out. Fukuchi strikes out. Miyamoto grounds out. Game over.
After being so patient and allowing an opposing pitcher to nearly give us the game (like we did for Hanshin a couple times earlier this week), guys who should know better go out and let Kroon out of an enormous jam so that he can do a little fist-pumping toward the heavens.
Tokyo starter Ryo Kawashima had another rocky outing. Five innings, eight earned runs off of nine hits (three solo home runs included), two walks and two K’s. His ERA took a beating and now sits at 4.89 while his record remained at 6-6. Igarashi took the loss, his first of the season, when he gave up the go ahead run on a solo home run in the bottom of the eigth.
Bright spots included Hatakeyama who went 3-4 and drew one walk. Fukuchi had home runs in both the fifth (solo shot) and sixth (three runs scored) innings, and Tanaka hit a solo homer in the sixth as well (2-3, reached base four times). Kawamoto, our second string catcher, had another decent night at the plate with an RBI sac fly in the second, an rbi double in the fourth, and what looked like a very painful beaning in the sixth (he left the game.)
But back to the negative, Iihara managed to get out on the first pitch he saw three times during the game. I appreciate agressiveness at the plate as much as the next guy, but some of our players definitely need to learn how to take a pitch (and not just on a 3-0 count.)
Tokyo has now lost five in a row and will try to avoid back-to-back sweeps tomorrow when they play game three of the series at Tokyo Dome.