9/19/08 – Yokohama (Home)

September 19th, 2008

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yokohama BayStars 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Streak: Won 2  Last 5:LLLWW
(Jingu Stadium)

I made my way to the stadium nice an slowly. Typhoon #13 is headed this way, so I didn’t want to show up too early, grab my ticket, and find everyone hustling out of the building five minutes later. It’s happened before.

But the game got going under a light drizzle. Yokohama’s amazing Uchikawa (2-2, .379 batting average) knocked Fujita around for the first run of the game off of Tokyo starter, Douglass. Kind of a typical start if you you’re used to watching Swallows games.

Tokyo responded with a run in the bottom of the inning with Hatakeyama, as he is prone to doing, bringing Aoki around to make it one all. Tokyo grabbed another run off of Yokohama’s ancient Kudo in the third with a bit of help from shortstop, Ishikawa, who bobbled a hard liner from Miyamoto with the bases loaded. 2-1 Tokyo.

Then Murata roped one to left-center to bring Uchikawa home in the top of the fourth. 2-2. That’s around the time when the rain started to pick up a bit. Douglass managed to get out of the inning without any further damage being inflicted.

And then things finally started to go Tokyo’s way. With a little bit of help from Yoshimura in right field, Tokyo came up with four runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Kudo started to complain about the mound about halfway through the inning. It wasn’t really raining at that point, and his whining might have put a disadvantageous idea in the umps’ little heads. Tokyo promptly started scoring just after the grounds crew came out to touch up the mound, and the game was called shortly thereafter (after it really started raining).

Actually, one more inning was played before a rain delay was called. The 12 of us that showed up for the game spent the next 25 minutes dancing and singing the rallying songs of players of yore: Petagine, Ramirez and Shiroishi, to name a few. The game was eventually called after five innings due to ame. Douglass (2-1, 3.21) took the win in his fifth appearance of the season.

We were also relieved to hear that Aoki has finally changed his intro song. After months of that apocalyptic thing he had going, he went back to Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s Numb/Encore.

And Takada kept the lineup that he used in the team’s last win versus Hiroshima. Aoki led off, and the pitcher once again had a better night at the plate than the catcher.

With Hiroshima taking sole possession of third place in the Central, Tokyo is still five games out of the playoff picture.

Can it be done? Absolutely, but it’s not going to be easy. With five of the six central league teams still in the playoff hunt (poor Yokohama), it’s bound to be a dogfight from here on out. Only three of our last 19 games are against the Baystars. Complicating matters is the fact that Hanshin and Yomiuri have first and second place sewn up, so Hiroshima, Chunichi and Tokyo are all gunning for Climax Series slot number three.

Hanshin and Yomiuri will soon switch into cruise-control, so we should be able to snag a couple lazy games off of them, but nine of the next nineteen games are against Hiroshima and Chunichi. We have our work cut out for us.

Glass is half full: if the starting pitching comes together a little bit, and the back end of our order comes together like Chunichi’s did during the stretch run last year, we have a very good shot.

Glass is half empty: we haven’t shown the killer instinct recently. If we don’t find a new source of inspiration, we’re screwed.

Game two of the Yokohama series, typhoon permitting, is tomorrow night at 6:20 PM at Jingu.

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

  • That “apocalyptic thing” Aoki had going on most of this season was the opening strains of “O Fortuna!” from Carl Orff” Carmina Burana. Aside from the music itself being awesome, I thought it was fitting – if you’re going to be vain enough to have personalized entrance music for each and every batter, might as well go whole hog and make it big.

    If the idea is to pump the batter up, I just don’t see how bubble gum does that. (Not that I’m saying Linkin Parl are necessarily bubble gum, but. . .)