7/19/09 – Hiroshima (Away)

July 19th, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 1

Streak: Won 1     Last 5: LWWLW

The day after the Tokyo bullpen had been given a bloody nose in a late come from behind beating from Hiroshima, Masanori Ishikawa went deep into the game to give those tired arms a rest.

Despite a shaky start, Ishikawa pitched an excellent 8 innings, giving up just one run off six hits, striking out three and walking none. The wee-one took the victory to put his record at 8 and 5 with his ERA shrinking to 3.85.

Ishikawa gave up the lead in the bottom of the 1st, a solo homer from Phillips with two outs on the board making it 1-0 Hiroshima. He then gave up back to back singles to put men on the corners as it looked like it may become one of those nights for the little man. But he got catcher Aizawa to ground out and the inning was over with the Carp lead at just one.

Tokyo got right back in the mix in the 3rd against Carp starter Komatsu. Ishikawa  hit a one-out single to second that second-baseman Higashide couldn’t quite come up with, putting the pitcher on at first. Aoki then hit a line-drive to centre and there were two men on. Next man up Hiroyasu Tanaka then hit one to left that would end up a double, Ishikawa scored easily from second, but Aoki made the turn at third ignoring the stop sign from third-base coach Dobashi. He was just beaten to the plate by the ball and despite a tough collision with Aizawa, the catcher held on for out number two. It was 1-1 but the potential go-ahead run was sitting in the dugout and there was an extra red light on the board.

But Fukuchi then saved Aoki’s ass by knocking a single to right that scored Tanaka and put Tokyo ahead 2-1.

Ishikawa gave up two one-out singles in the bottom of the 3rd, but Kurihara and McLain couldn’t bring anyone home and the Carp chance was gone.

That would be pretty much their final chance of the game as Ishikawa then took over as he gave up just one hit between the 4th and 8th innings.

Yakult’s third run came in the top of the 6th, a two-out double from Guiel was followed by a timely Miyamoto single and it was 3-1 Tokyo.

As Ishikawa went so deep into the game, Takada was able to bypass the struggling Matsuoka and Igarashi and go straight to Lim (0.24) for the 9th. And despite giving up a leadoff single to Kurihara, a McLain flyout and a double play from Aizawa meant it was game over at 3-1 Final. Lim also had himself his 21st save of the year.

So Tokyo took the series, and with Chunichi continuing to roll on and the Giants losing their series against the Tigers it was an important series win.

The man of the last two games, Jamie D’Antona (.282) had a 0 for 3 game with a walk. Aoki (.253) had one of his sporadic wake-up games going 3 for 5.

From the shiny new Mazda Zoom-Zoom stadium the Swallows (and I) head to the not so new and shiny Koshien for three games against the Tigers starting tomorrow evening (though I will be only at Tuesday’s game).

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

  • Nice work, Ishikawa!

    In order to keep the pressure off of the bullpen, we need many more seven inning (plus) starts from our rotation, and more run generation from our lineup.

    For starters, it might be helpful if our catcher stopped hitting into double plays.

    Furthermore, protecting a two-run lead isn’t something you want to leave to our backup middle inning relievers (although I wouldn’t mind seeing future starters Muranaka and Katoh getting some time in that capacity), so as always–something’s gotta give.

    It doesn’t help that Takada puts Matsuoka, Igarashi, and Lim in even when we have a five run lead (a la last Wednesday’s rout of Yomiuri), but he’s not solely to blame. Just mostly.

    Hopefully Ishikawa can replicate these results against a lineup with a bit more depth.

    • It doesn’t help that Takada puts Matsuoka, Igarashi, and Lim in even when we have a five run lead (a la last Wednesday’s rout of Yomiuri), but he’s not solely to blame. Just mostly.

      Key point.

  • flick

    Good game by Ishikawa. I think it’s been like a month since he last won.
    I am really worried about our reliever’s condition. Especially Igarashi. I went to the Yokohama game last week, where him and Lim (yikes!) were both scored on (and they friggin lost, gyaku-ten), but Igarashi really looks dismal out there these days.

    Hey so how is Zoom Zoom? I am planning on visiting there in September, with the Swallows. Are visitor seating limited to those way up there?? Will I get smothered by some people in red, if I get infield seating (of course by third base)? Were tickets hard to get?

    • Zoom Zoom is a beautiful stadium. I posted a few observations on Saturday’s report (7/18).

      Yes the visitors seats are limited to way up there. And while the view up there is restricted, I kind of liked the uniqueness of the visitors section. It’s directly opposite the Hiroshima “performance area” so it felt like there was some friendly competition between the two sections. Plus everyone in the stadium can see the away fans up there in their “pen”, and so when the Swallows scored and the umbrellas came out you did kind of feel like you were “performing” to the rest of the stadium.

      The rest of the stadium is pretty much 100% Hiroshima, and I think they do encourage all visiting fans to go in their own area (and likewise discourage Hiroshima fans from sitting in the visitors section) though if you’re not too vocal in your support you should be fine.

      Tickets for weekend games seem to sell out everywhere in the stadium except for the visitors section (for Swallows games at least). I got my tickets for Sunday way in advance, and was seated towards the back of the section with most of the hardcore Swallows fans. For Saturday’s game we got the tickets from a Lawsons near Hiroshima station a couple of hours before game time and were sitting toward the front of the section, which seemed to be where all the last minute tickets were located. The view was better there but it was a lot quieter.

      When I go again I’ll probably do a game in the visitors section and then one elsewhere to sample a better view. From my walks around the stadium concourse, it seems pretty much all the seats have an excellent view of the action.

      All in all, highly recommended. Love the city, and while the old stadium had it’s character, the new one is in a different class. Oh, and great atmosphere too. The people of Hiroshima sure like to represent their team and city.

      • flick

        Thank you David for your reply.
        I think if I go there I will do the same as you, and sit in the visitor’s section for a game, and then try infield seating in another game. And I will make sure to get tickets early. Again thanks a lot for the reply.

      • My pleasure flick.

  • David Watkins

    This was Ishikawa’s first win since June 14th, when he was at the helm for the record breaking 14-10 victory over the Orix Buffaloes.