6/02/09 – Saitama (Away)

June 2nd, 2009

Saitama Seibu Lions logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Saitama Seibu Lions 7

Streak: Lost 1       Last 5: WWLWL

(Seibu Dome)

Masanori Ishikawa’s worst outing of the season, combined with some wasteful Swallows hitting lead to a spanking at the hands of the current Japan Series Champions on Tuesday evening.

The Tokyo lineup saw Hatakeyama retain his place at first, with Aikawa returning behind the plate after a games rest.

Things started promisingly enough for Tokyo, with the birds taking the lead in the top of the 1st off Seibu starter John Wasdin. Leadoff singles from Keizo and Fukuchi put men on the corners for Aoki. The centrefielder hit a grounder to second, Seibu made the out at second base and Keizo scored to make it 1-0 Tokyo. Consecutive flyouts to centre from D’Antona and Guiel then ended the inning.

And one more run would follow in the 2nd. Hatakeyama hit a leadoff triple and was brought home with a sacfly from next man up Miyamoto for 2-0 Tokyo.

But the Lions would get themselves right back in it in the bottom of the 3rd. A leadoff single was later followed by a timely Kataoka double to make it  2-1. Next man up Kuriyama then hit a two-run homer to right, into the Tokyo fans and Seibu had themselves a 3-2 lead.

And things got worse in the 5th. A single, a strikeout, a single and a fielders choice from Miyamoto loaded the bases with one out. Up stepped chubby-boy Nakamura who hit one deep to right for a grandslam homer, his 18th dinger of the year, that made it 7-2 Seibu.

Ishikawa lasted one more inning, finishing with seven earned runs in his six innings off nine hits (including the two home runs) with three strikeouts and no walks. He would be tagged with the loss to take his record to 6 and 3 with his ERA jumping up to 3.682.

Tokyo’s best chance to get back into the game came in the 7th. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. In came Takeuchi, pinch hitting for Aikawa, but he could only hit a shallow flyball for out number one. That was it for Wasdin with Nogami called from the bullpen to face Keizo Kawashima. But the shortstop could only hit into a double play and Tokyo had wasted a golden opportunity to get back into the game.

Yakult did add a run from a Aoki solo homer (his 4th of the season) in the 8th but it was scant consolation as Seibu closed out the game for a 7-3 Final.

Yakult outhit the Lions 10-9 but couldn’t get the big hit to spark things off. Whereas the Lions had showed their quality, hitting where it mattered as all of their runs came in just two innings. Everyone in the Tokyo lineup, aside from Takaka and Aikawa, all got a hit in the game. Hatakeyama (.343) and Miyamoto (.301) both had two hits apiece.

Tokyo return to Seibu Dome tomorrow evening, looking to avoid their second mini-sweep of the interleague schedule.

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

    That “Gran Salami” killed us!

    My feeling is that Ishikawa is losing his confidence, game after game. I hope to be wrong!

    I should check the stats, but my feeling is that we often outhit the opposite team, but rarely we take advantage of this.

  • I should check the stats, but my feeling is that we often outhit the opposite team, but rarely we take advantage of this.

    I have the feeling that that’s often the case too. Even when getting beaten, we’re still knocking out the hits (OK, except for vs Rakuten’s Tanaka). Which means I’m not getting too disheartened about many of this year’s losses, at least we’re creating chances if not always putting them away.

    Perhaps it’s all the automatic “man on base with no outs” bunting and all the steal attempts that are killing a lot of big innings before they’ve even started. Takada, I’m looking at YOU!!!

  • As has been noted many times before, Takada has recently started using the sac bunt much more liberally. It hearkens back to 2008 when we were very adept at squandering chances.

    Check games during the month of May, and you will see several games where three sac bunts were called by Takada.

    The amazing (and at the same time, heartbreaking) thing is that this year we’re winning a lot of those games.

    Imagine the possibilities if our manager stopped giving so many outs away…

  • He’s not going to stop giving those chances away, though. No chance in hell he’s going to spontaneously grow a brain or suddenly pay attention to games. No matter what happens this season, my 2010 wish list is going to be topped by the same item that topped 2009’s:
    1. Fire the manager and GM immediately.

  • Does the team even have a GM?

  • Good question. They put a name on paper in the press guides, but that may well be a fiction. The team is actually run by a precocious guinea pig.

  • flick

    The Swallows have made some pretty nifty moves concerning players since Takada’s arrival though.

    Getting Fukuchi in return for Kazuhisa’s FA, trading for Oshimoto and Keizo for Fujii, getting Lim, the growth of Hatake and Takeuchi and other nigun players, Yoshinori, acquring Aikawa via FA, re-signing Guiel for cheap this year, the Ichiba trade, getting Noguchi…even getting dudes like Hagiwara was a plus for us.

    I guess some of these were do to the fact that the Furuta era ended and may have been inevitable, no matter who were to be here, and I have no idea how much Takada was involved in any of these (in Japan though, the manager is a lot more involved in player movement than the MLB it seems), but player movement-wise, we seem to be heading in the right direction. I think Nippon Ham during his tenure as the GM, made some good moves as well, I think.

    However as a manager, I agree with everything that has been said, and his decisions have been frustrating at times.

  • The Swallows have made some pretty nifty moves concerning players since Takada’s arrival though.

    That is very true flick. If that was Takada’s doing, maybe he is more suited to a GM role rather than a day to day manager.

    And at the moment we’re still in 2nd place so he must be doing something right eh? Unless the team is doing well in spite of all his shtick.