3/29/09 — Saitama (away)

March 29th, 2009

Saitama Seibu Lions logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Saitama Seibu Lions 9

Streak: Lost 1       Last 5: WWWWL

(Seibu Dome)

Saitama scored six runs off of seven hits in the bottom of the third to build a lead that they would not relinquish. Tokyo starter Hye-cheon Lee would leave the game after that inning having given up seven runs (all earned).

Saitama had Nakajima and Kataoka, fresh off of WBC duty, back in the lineup today, and they both hit well. Nakajima went 2-4 with a home run, and Kataoka went 3-4 on the afternoon.

While Aoki was not in the lineup again today, Chang-yong Lim and Yasuhiro Ichiba, the latter acquired in the Miyade trade earlier this month, made appearances in the closing stages of this game. Ichiba worked a scoreless seventh and Lim retired all three batters he faced in the eighth.

Replacing Lee on the mound in the fourth inning was Hagiwara. He gave up a hit but got out of the inning unscathed.

Takai worked the fifth, and he had another rough outing. He gave up a two-run blast to Akada and saw hit pre-season ERA get reinforced at 10.61.

Maruyama pitched the sixth and gave up a hit but no runs crossed home plate.

On offense, Takeuchi had a three-run homer in the third while going 1-5 at the plate.

Fukuchi reached base three times (2B, BB, 1B), and Keizo Kawashima got on base four times (1B, BB, 1B, 2B). He punctuated his afternoon with a two-run double in the eighth that helped make the final scoreline somewhat respectable for Tokyo.

Tokyo’s spring training schedule may have ended on a sour note, but the team’s pre-season record was 12-7-1. It’s not an accurate gauge of things to come, but one can always hope.

The regular season (click here for the schedule) begins for the Tokyo Swallows at Kyocera Dome (April 3-5) where they will be hosted by 2008 Climax Series qualifying Hanshin Tigers. The Swallows’ first home series is April 7-9 when the 2007 NPB Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons are in town.

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

  • flick

    Wow, Hanshin is going to open two official goods shops, right around the corner from Jingu.

    Their reason, “Because two-thirds of the fans that show up at Yakult-Hanshin games are Hanshin fans”.

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with the article, but I just wanted to vent after seeing this news, and didn’t know where to write it. Feel free to remove or move this…

  • Christopher

    This unfortunately is the truth. Hanshin fans consider Jingu their second home and the Swallows side is always full of Tigers fans. A sound business move.

    On a totally unrelated matter what do you Swallows people think about Ichiba coming to join you?

  • Yeah flick, that is disgusting.

    Even more disgusting is that the Yakult organisation are content to let this kind of thing happen. The fact that on non-game days near Jingu, the only place to buy Swallows goods are from a shelving unit in one of a handful of local convenience stores. Those shelving units are the “team shop”. For the City of Tokyo (and thus Japan).

    Let other teams grow their own fanbases, which will benefit Yakult too as more fans come through the gates to watch them at Jingu on away days. So in that case, why bother to invest money in growing the Swallows fanbase? In fact, Hanshin (and Giants) fans spend more money so any increase in “home” fans will only leave less room for the more lucrative visiting fan. That’s the thinking of the Yakult organisation. And it sucks. The big one.

  • On a totally unrelated matter what do you Swallows people think about Ichiba coming to join you?

    Good move for us I think. Miyade has had plenty of chances in the past few years to stake his claim and he’s always come up short.

    So from his perspective it’s a fresh start and he may see more playing time in Sendai. From our perspective Ichiba was once a highly sought after prospect and our pitching coaching team are top grade, so I think if anyone will be able to convert that potential to something more tangible it’s Araki and co.

    In other words, I think we got the better half of the deal and it’s a good bit of business.

  • I agree that we did well in the Ichiba-Miyade trade. I would love to know who instigated that one. I’m half hoping it was Takada because I am in desperate need of a reason to believe in him.

  • Secretly, it was me. I was trying to come up with a way to make sure I was never actually going to come sit with you guys for a game, so I sacrificed Miyade. 🙂

    Anyway, I totally agree about the WTF on getting Swallows goods any time except game days. I mean, the only place I knew to get them was the Tokyo Dome shop, and they’re always notorious for understocking, or well, for only stocking Aoki goods, pretty much.

  • Regular, acrylic replica TYS caps were apparently sold out from early August last year through mid-March this year. None on the single endcap at Mini-Stop (aka the biggest and best TYS merchandise shop), none at To-Do at the Tokyo Dome. None to be found. You still cannot get a fitted cap anywhere but the website, and even that was available only to fan club members until mid-season last year.

    What can you get? A replica cap with blinking lights all around the logo.

    Last year, the Swallows went from indifference towards their fans to malice. Sadly, my greatest baseball dream for the season, again, is that the Swallows will be sold.

  • What can you get? A replica cap with blinking lights all around the logo.

    They also had the camo cap. Didn’t see many of those in the stands either.

  • Christopher

    Try the Jingu batting centre – that seemed to have a good sel\ection. But as an observer I would say the Swallows rate as clueless when it comes to merchandising. It`s not surprising to me that the Tigers marketing machine has stolen a march on them in their own backyard.

  • Christopher,
    Nobody is going to disagree with you there. I think we all agree that the merchandising is half-assed and almost entirely an afterthought.

    That’s why we got so excited about Grand Slam‘s t-shirts that were sold last year near the fan club ticket window at Jingu. Finally, a company that cares!

    Speaking of Grand Slam, we haven’t heard from John in a while. John, are you out there?

  • Rob

    Hey, as long as I can get my Hello Kitty Swallows towel, I’m a happy camper. I didn’t get last year’s until the very last home game (at one of the sales tables under the seats), so I’ll try to be quicker about it this year. Of course, I guess it’s saying something that they still had them as of the last game last year….

  • N26

    After games, there used to be a stand right outside of the stadium behind home plate, main entrance where they sold Yakult goods, and T SHirts which I could not find anywhere else. I bought myself a Furuta TShirt there once when he was aplying manager. ON the back it said in Japanese. Daida Ore. ????A pinch hitter is me.

  • N26, that sounds like Grand Slam’s stuff. I got my “Real Men Play Outdoors” shirt there.