5/22/09 – Hokkaido (Away)

May 22nd, 2009

Yakult Cap

 

Tokyo Yakult Swallows  3

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters  2

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WWWLW

(Sapporo Dome)

In what was initially thought to be a Darvish-Tateyama faceoff, Swallows fans were a bit relieved to hear that former Tokyo southpaw, Shugo Fujii, would be taking the mound instead.

Not that Fujii (3-2; 4.50) isn’t a decent pitcher. Not at all. But he doesn’t compare very flatteringly against Darvish. Well, then again, the same can be said for the vast majority of pitchers on the planet.

Guess we’ll be seeing him tomorrow then.

Tateyama had himself a decent outing today. If it weren’t for that walk that was soon followed by an Inaba (yes, another guy who used to wear a Tokyo uniform) blast into the bleachers in right, he would have probably stayed in through eight innings. As it turned out, he surrendered two runs off of three hits while striking out three, walking two, and beaning one. His ERA now stands at 1.74, and his record improved to 5-0.

Igarashi (2.08) got a hold point for his work in the eighth, and Lim (0.00) picked up his 14th save of the season after striking out all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth.

Here’s what the lineup looked like tonight:

Iihara brought the winning run around from second with this single in the sixth.

Iihara brought the winning run around from second with this single in the sixth.

1. Keizo Kawashima (SS)
2. Noguchi (LF)
3. Aoki (CF)
4. Hatakeyama (1B)
5. Iihara (RF)
6. Miyamoto (3B)
7. D’Antona (DH)
8. Aikawa (C)
9. Tanaka (2B)

On offense, Kawashima went two for three with  two doubles and got on base a third time by way of a beaning. Unfortunately, Takada had Noguchi bunt after both of Kawashima’s doubles (no outs, man on second in both situations), and wouldn’t you know it, no runs scored either time.

Aoki went one for two with an rbi sac-fly and a walk. Tanaka went two for three.?D’Antona and Guiel were hitless in this game.

All three of Tokyo’s runs came in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Aoki’s sac-fly made it 2-1 Hokkaido, and then with the bases loaded for the second time in the inning and two outs, Iihara hit a single to center that scored two. 3-2 Tokyo.

And that’s how the game ended. The Swallows have now won 10 out of the 14 games that they’ve played this month, and it will take serious contributions from several players to overcome Darvish tomorrow evening. Should be a good game.

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

  • Very encouraging result. The hot-hitting Fighters were outhit 9 to 3.

    Tateyama doesn’t have the glamour/profile of a Tanaka or a Darvish, but he’s every bit as important to his team as those other “aces”.

  • And more. With no regular hitting consistently over .300 and without a run machine like Hokkaido’s Tateyama’s role on Tokyo might be even more key than that of the celebs. He also, incidentally, has the best RIP of any Tokyo starter at the moment.

  • It looks like today’s (Saturday) matchup will see Darvish on the mound for the Fighters against Tokyo’s Yuki.

  • Another pitching change today. It is Darvish for Hokkaido, but Ricky Barrett will start for Tokyo.

    It’s his first start of the year and is somewhat of a surprise decision.

    He hasn’t looked that convincing so far out of the bullpen, but hopefully he can do well tonight.