September 14th, 2008
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2
Yomiuri Giants 3
Streak: Lost 6 Last 5: LLLLL
OK, so we may just be up against a team that, on paper anyway, is finally playing the way it’s supposed to. I’m not saying that they’re all that good, but we’ve lost six games in a row. So excuse me for searching. But the six games that we’ve lost have been against the cream of the crop in the Central League. Boo, but hey. What are you going to do?
Yoshinori pitched this one, and he did well. He gave up only three runs through six innings, and that’s good enough for top three on the team as of late. Seven K’s, four walks, and one beaned batter (that must have hurt.) Only four hits. That’s respectable. But he took the loss, so now he’s 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA (mostly due to his first appearance.)
On offense Aoki went 2-4. That was about it, and Yomiuri didn’t have a whole lot to write home about either. But that’s still six losses in a row, and it’s not fun from where we’ve been sitting.
I guess that the crappiest thing is that the Giants didn’t really do anything on offense past the third inning. However, to be fair, Yoshinorihimself batted in our first run in the fifth off of a sac fly to deep left.
Otherwise we were only really enthused by Kawahima’s solo shot in the top of the seventh (his fourth of the season). Facing Takahashi on one of his good days, the offense was a bit boxed in. Aoki went two for four, but he didn’t bring anyone around to score. Oh well.
From here on out, it’s a question of whether or not we can keep it together with our pitching. We’ve been following, or perhaps forced into (I’m not entirely sure), a Hanshin manner of overusing our clutch relief pitchers. They’re tired. The offense is doing alright, but we’re on the edge in terms of closing games out. It has not workd against the better teams in the Central recently, so the bats are going to have to provide the cushion from here on out.
If that happens, then we’ll win all the games necessary to embarrass Chunichi and make them pay better attention to their farm team next year (yes, I grant that that’s a pretty easy prognostication to make). However, it’s even more likely that we’ll end up in fifth with an, “Oh, this was Takada’s first year” left to justify it.
In case anyone cares, Tokyo is now five games behind third place Chunichi. And, yes, that gap is mostly due to the games of the past fortnight. There are still plenty of games left to play, mostly due to an unpredictably soggy summer, and Tokyo is going to need to make the most of it. Otherwise, Marty Brown is going to find himself with a new contract.
Although, to be fair, he deserves it.