4/11/09 Yokohama (Away)

April 11th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Yokohama BayStars 0

Streak: Won 1  Last 5: LWWLW
(Yokohama Stadium)

After last night’s 9-1 drubbing at the hands of the previously winless club from Yokohama, I was seriously considering asking for a refund for the new Swallows hat that cost me 4,000 yen on Thursday night, should the birds come up with two losses in a row at the hands of the Baystars.

Luckily, the hat gets to stick around. If you got to the ballpark late and missed the top half of the first inning of this one, you missed all the scoring and had only the weather and the beer girls to admire.

On a glorious afternoon for baseball in Yokohama, Tokyo started off the top of the first by seeing Fukuchi and Kawashima get on base together with hits for the first time this season. Then, with two outs, Aaron Guiel delivered an RBI double to bring Fukuchi home. With Kawashima on third and Guiel on second, Shinya Miyamoto brought both men home with a single. Tanaka struck out to end the inning. 3-0 Tokyo.

And that was it for the scoring.

Offensively, Miyamoto ended up going 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and, on defense, was the key man in the three double plays that ended hapless Yokohama’s first three innings on offense.  Fukuchi went 3 for 5 and Kawashima and Aoki each went 2 for 5. Yokohama only managed six hits, with each coming from a different player.

And that brings us to the pitching. Tokyo starter and Game Hero Ichiba looked shaky at first, but did just enough for his first win for Yakult, going five innings and allowing only four hits. He made four consecutive outs with strikeouts, and even managed to single to center in the fourth. Although he had some trouble with control, Yokohama never seriously threatened to score.

After getting a hit to lead off the seventh, Yokohama saw nine straight men go down to Tokyo’s relief corps. Lim put Yokohama down in order in the ninth, striking out pinch hitter Matsumoto to end things (on a dropped third strike – sigh.)

Tomorrow afternoon is the rubber match of the series in Yokohama at 2pm. Hopefully the weekend can end on a high note before Yomiuri comes to visit next week.

  • I think Ichiba’s numbers for this game paint a false picture. He let two men on in each of the first three innings but got out of jail each time as Yokohama hit into double plays to get him out of each inning.

    He did get better as the game went on, but I think if he’d been facing any other batting lineup in the CL he would have been punished.

    He also hit three batters, and control is definitely an issue.

    But regardless he got his first win for Tokyo since coming from Rakuten, and hopefully this will give him confidence to improve from here on in.

    Also, I thought it interesting that Ichiba took Miyade’s uniform number, no.43.

    The bullpen were great today, Oshimoto, Mastuoka, Igarashi and Lim are a formidable quartet that’s for sure.

  • Congrats to Ichiba on getting his first win in a Tokyo uniform, but I agree with Dave that he might not have come away with the win had he faced any of the other teams in the Central.

    I know you’re not supposed to include HBPs, but if you count them as walks (which they basically are) then his WHIP for this game was 1.8, and the scary thing is that that’s better than what he tallied in 2008 (2.27). Hopefully this game was a good confidence builder for him, and he’ll keep progressing as the season rolls on.

    His best year in recent memory was 2006 when his ERA was 4.37 and he had a 1.46 WHIP (193 and 2/3’s innings pitched). You could chalk some of that up to the lack of quality on the team that he played for at the time, but as Rakuten improved Ichiba actually got worse.

    To counteract some of the negativity of this comment, I would like to state for the record that I think Takada was wise to test-drive Ichiba against the Stars. If there’s one thing that Mr. Ta has done well through the first three series of the season it’s giving guys a chance.

    Hopefully Ichiba will pay dividends on the faith that has been shown in him. We at Tsubamegun are definitely rooting for him!