6/28/09 – Yomiuri (Away)

June 28th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Yomiuri Giants 7

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWLWL

(Tokyo Dome)

Just like Tateyama but to a greater extent, Masanori Ishikawa was coming into the Giants series in not the best of form. He had pitched four times so far in June, with a 1 and 1 record with two no-decisons, and a rather alarming ERA of 6.12 for the month. He would need to improve drastically if he was to escape Tokyo Dome unscathed.

But he couldn’t and he didn’t, as the Yomiuri bats teed off on him as they eased to victory on Sunday afternoon. Ishikawa gave up six runs off ten hits in his six inning of work. He struck out three and walked one as he was tagged with the loss to take his record for the year to 7 and 3 with his ERA rising to 4.253.

And he didn’t get any run support whatsoever as Giants starter Utsumi pitched a complete game, giving up just one run off a mere four hits as he struck out ten to dominate the Tokyo bats.

After the Giants had taken a two-run lead in the 1st, the Swallows did have a couple of chances to score in the 4th and 5th innings (with three of their four hits coming in those innings), but they couldn’t manage to bring anyone home. The Giants then made sure of things with four runs in the 6th, three coming off a homer from the red-hot Seung-Yeop Lee, who hit dingers in all three games of the series.

Yakult’s sole run came from an Aikawa solo homer (his fourth of the year) in the top of the 8th inning.

Other points of note on a day when Yomiuri went three games clear at the top of the CL, was the return of Oshimoto in relief. He pitched the 7th and gave up the seventh Giants run off two hits.

The Swallows now get a day off before travelling to Matsumoto to play the cellar-dwelling BayStars on Tuesday. Yokohama currently have a 4 and 1 record against Tokyo this year, the only team against which they have a winning record. This needs to change if Yakult are to maintain their push for an A-Class finish (or better.)

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

  • flick

    What’s up with Ishikawa’s slow-ball? I don’t think I have ever seen him pitch so many in one game.

    Man, Sakamoto has been batting .552 against Yakult. Bastard!

    • I noticed that too flick. He kept pitching that slow curve that clocked in at around the mid 80s (kmph).

      Lee’s first hit of the game came off it (the first pitch he saw). You could see him bracing himself for something faster, then realising it was the slow curve he just readjusted and waited before smacking it for a single to right. Easy.

      Ishikawa did throw the same pitch (albeit a slightly faster version) for a strike for Lee’s second at bat which was some brave pitch-calling from Aikawa.

      You are right, he did throw a hell of a lot of them. Maybe it was due to a lack of confidence in his other stuff, and that first inning can’t have helped in that regard.

      Yep, Sakamoto is becoming a real pain in the ass. Words can’t express how annoying I find him, as good as he may be…….bastard indeed!

      They really need to get over their Tokyo Dome complex if they’ve any chance of overtaking Yomiuri. And their home form against the Giants too as that hasn’t been all that either.

      Tokyo have now lost the last 11 series against Yomiuri.

  • flick

    Wow the last 11. I guess that goes back to last years opener, where they swept the Giants.
    What did you think about Aoki’s performance this past series? I thought he was out of his slump…. sad…
    Aikawa’s HR yesterday was awesome in that it had “FU Giants” written all over it. Too little, too late, but still it put a smile on my face.

    • Aoki certainly had one to forget, especially with that misplay in the field in the 1st on Sunday that allowed Ogasawara to triple and Sakamoto to score the first run.

      When he’s hot, the team usually fires too as shown by the IL run in. Maybe he’s just another of the Swallows who can’t get it together against the Giants?

      Well hopefully he’ll get it going again from tonight.

      And Aikawa’s solo shot was the sole ray of light as it stopped Utsumi from getting his complete game shut-out. He seems to have discovered how to hit for a bit of power recently too, and long may that continue.

      In fact I attribute a sizeable chunk of the Swallows rejuvenation down to Aikawa. Since Furuta a huge hole had opened in the lineup, and we couldn’t find a catcher with a good baseball brain behind the plate AND one that could hit over .250.

      Aikawa seems to be that man. I’m a big fan.

  • Rob

    Okay, okay, I can deal with one of three. I would rather TYS had swept That Other Team, but the only series with Them that matters will be at the end of the year, the series that will bring That Team’s season to an end. Heh!

    So let’s focus on, um, beating Yokohama? And the rest of the CL.