4/15/09 – Yomiuri (Home)

April 15th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yomiuri Giants 6

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 2  Last 5: WLWLL

(Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo left a bunch of guys on base tonight and weren’t able to apply pressure in the later innings of the game. So the inaugural edition of the annual Tokyo derby, unlike last year, ended up being taken quite easily by the visiting Yomiuri Giants.

Masao Kida, in his second start of the season, gave up five earned runs through six innings off of seven hits, five walks and a single plunked batter. That’s a one game WHIP of over 2.0 (if you count the one beaning, which I usually do), so it’s pretty easy to understand why five runs crossed the plate. His record now stands at 1-1 and his ERA is 6.55.

The Swallows got to face former teammate Seth Greisinger (2-1, 4.86) who had a pretty good night by

Tokyo starter, Masao Kida, struggled with his control on Wednesday.

Tokyo starter, Masao Kida, struggled with his control on Wednesday.

comparison. He surrendered only two runs from the ten hits that were scattered throughout his seven innings on the mound.

This was the third game in a row that Fukuchi started the game three for three. His average is now .356 and he carries a steadier glove than any of the alternatives in left field.

K. Kawashima, Miyamoto and Aikawa reached base twice each while Aoki and Guiel drove in the two runs that Tokyo was able to salvage.

Jamie D’Antona again failed to reach base. He is 0-12 in his last three games.

Ricky Barrett (or “Licky” according to the fan guide book that you get when signing up for the fan club!) made his first regular season appearance today and made it through both the 7th and 8th innings without giving up a run (he got the Giants to hit into double plays to end both innings).

Following Barrett (0.00) was Hagiwara (2.46) who gave up Yomiuri’s sixth run in the top of the ninth.

The final game of the series is tomorrow night starting at six o’clock. The crowd this evening was kind of weak, so there’s no need to panic that tickets won’t be available. It actually kind of seemed like there were more Tokyo supporters there tonight than Yomiuri fans. With rain possibly coming into the mix tomorrow, you should be able to waltz up just before game time and have little trouble finding a seat.

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

  • Rob

    There are probably more important issues, but what’s up with Aoki in the field? He hasn’t been very sharp at all so far in terms of throws and cutting off grounders. Two bad throws to home last night (one hit the mound, so that’s probably the cut-off man’s fault). He’s still awesome, but he’s off a bit compared with the standard he usually sets. A little burnout from WBC?

  • Rob,
    I’ve been seeing the exact same things.

    It’s almost like he’s trying to avoid getting injured. He’s not charging very hard on balls hit in front of him, and I saw a hit last week, and another one yesterday, that he probably could have gotten to but decided to play safe. Last year he probably would have caught both of those.

    He also pulled up very softly on a slide into second so as not to disrupt a double-play that was being turned. I thought the idea was to make it difficult for the other team to make the throw to first…? I’m not saying that he should have taken the guy out, but he could have at least forced him off balance a little bit. Instead, Aoki’s slide into second started way too early and he never actually reached the bag.

    Again, maybe he was trying to avoid getting injured. I don’t know.

    But the bottom line, Rob, is that you’re right. Whatever the reason may be, Aoki is not the same guy in the field that we’ve grown accustomed to. Hopefully that will change gradually as the season progresses.

  • I’m not saying that he should have taken the guy out. . .

    I would. That’s precisely what he should do. It doesn’t have to be vicious, but a slide into any base should be aggressive, esp. when a double play is being turned. Isn’t that one point, more than anything else, what made Wally Yonamine (in)famous?

  • D’Antona actually pulled the same kind of slide in last night’s game. Is Takada telling people to do this, or is everyone simply protecting themselves?

  • Didn’t you see the game on Sunday?
    Aoki was hit by a pitch, and it turned out that his right shoulder was almost out of joint.

  • Ah, so he’s probably trying to avoid any contact with the ground or other people at the moment.

    Thanks for the info, Tomnish!

  • Rob

    Thanks Tomnish! That explains the contact/sliding stuff, but I have been a little surprised with his fielding in general so far. Even before the HBP he seemed a little less aggressive than usual. That’s not like him. I hope it’s not some other injury or something like that.

  • Chris, Rob, I’m glad I could be of some help.

    As for Aoki’s condition before the HBP, he took a day off right after he returned from WBC because of a pain in the muscles under his right shoulder blade(an old wound) and a fever of 39 degrees centigrade.
    Also, they say he took some time to adjust to the Japanese pitchers’ balls, which are slower than those of non-Japanese pitchers.

    I guess he has never been in good condition so far.

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