5/23/09 – Hokkaido (Away)

May 23rd, 2009

Yakult Cap


Tokyo Yakult Swallows  0

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 3 

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWLWL

(Sapporo Dome)

Two days after being shutout on two hits by Rakuten ace Tanaka, Yakult got to try their hand against another of Japan’s top-tier starters, Yu Darvish.

But unlike against Tanaka, Tokyo managed to rack up eight hits off Darvish and put men on base every inning, but just couldn’t get into a groove and bring anyone home as they stranded ten during the course of the game.

Tokyo’s starters looked like this:

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

Ricky Barrett was the surprise starter for the Swallows. After just five appearances from the bullpen this year (with an ERA of 4.154) Ricky faced a big test against the hot-hitting Fighters.

And in the end, he came up a little short, with all of the damage done in a messy second inning. An inning which saw nine men come to the plate for the Fighters as Ricky gave up three hits, walked two and hit one to give up three runs to make it 3-0 Hokkaido.

Ricky looked visibly stressed in the inning, as it looked like he felt like he was been squeezed by the home plate umpire. Many close pitches weren’t being called in his favour and Barrett got riled, but he managed to get out of the inning stranding three runners in the process.

Ricky ended up being tagged for three runs in his four innings of work, giving up five hits, walking four and striking out just the one. He also took the loss, his first of the year as his ERA edged up to 5.400.

Oshimoto (5th and 6th), Kida (7th) and Kamada (8th) restricted the Fighters to just one hit through the rest of the game but the Tokyo bats just couldn’t solve Darvish.

Guiel was the standout with the bat, going 3 for 4 against Darvish including two doubles. But he was left stranded each time.

The game was also notable as young prospect Sho Nakata made his pro-debut for the Fighters, and he also got his first hit and scored his first run in the three-run 2nd inning.

So, that’s four Interleague games done and Tokyo have had to face two of the top three Pacific League starters already, and they have a record of 2 wins and 2 losses so far.

Yakult now have to travel back to Tokyo for a two game home series against the unbeaten (in IL play)  Softbank Hawks starting tomorrow evening. 


About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • Zunlin

    Day by day i’m a bit prouder of team of this year. We outhit the fighters hitting machine even today against Darvish (not so devastating this time). We DESERVE the 2nd place.

    Only one suggestion to Mr.Takada: when D’Antona gets 3 strikeouts, (I admit, i’m still not convinced about him), it’s not his day, so please give a chance to someone else (Hakateyama?).

    But Mr.D’Antona was again at the plate in the 9th inning and then the obvious result: Strikeout no.4…

  • Ah yes, I forgot to mention the 4-strikeout evening for D’Antona……

  • It’s so hard to pull D’Antona. The temptation of possibly being able to watch him run the bases – the most entertaining spectacle in baseball in a while – is almost irresistible.

  • Rob

    I think Barrett was the only left-handed reliever with the ichi-gun, so there’s no lefty help this evening? Hmmm….

  • Rob

    Or Lee Hye-Cheon could appear in a cloud of smoke! Ta-daa!

  • Or Lee Hye-Cheon could appear in a cloud of smoke! Ta-daa!

    There’s so much movement between the ichi and ni-gun that it does seem like that at times.