7/22/09 — Hanshin (Away)

July 22nd, 2009

Sanshin TigersTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Hanshin Tigers 0

Streak: Won 3     Last 5:  WLWWW

(Koshien)

After yesterday’s rainout, two thirds of Tsubamegun were in attendance at the tiny, heavily-guarded visitor’s section in Koshien Stadium for an attempt at taking the series from the fifth place Tigers.

In case you’re wondering, this third of Tsubamegun is not at all bitter that he was left in Tokyo. Far from it. He’s actually relieved that he didn’t have to deal with all the crap that his fellow Tokyo fans reported from Kansai.

Tateyama gets his 11th win of the season on a complete game shutout.

Tokyo’s starting lineup:

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

Tokyo got off to a quick start in this one when Aoki led off with a single and was bunted over to second by Tanaka. With two outs, D’Antona came through with an rbi single to center that set the tone for the early innings. Aoki scored making it 1-0 Tokyo and getting the rare run that can be at least partly attributed to the bunt. However, when you play for one run, the most you usually get is one run. And in tune with that nugget of wisdom, Guiel struck out to end the threat.

Tokyo grabbed two more runs in the top of the third. Things started badly for Hanshin when Tanaka got on base care of an error, and then Fukuchi followed with a base hit to left. With two on, D’Antona again had a clutch hit with a single to center. 2-0 Swallows.

After Guiel got tossed for arguing his second strikeout of the game, Miyamoto then came through with a one out rbi single to left that put the visitors up 3-0. Hanshin starter, Iwata, hit the showers after the end of the fourth.

Tokyo’s fourth run came in the top of the fifth with two outs. Iihara replaced Guiel in the lineup and promptly crushed one over the wall in center to make it 4-0 Tokyo. It was his second home run this season.

Tateyama didn’t exactly keep Hanshin’s runners from reaching base, but he got some good defensive help during the first five innings.

He allowed eight hits and 10 total base runners during that span (for a five-inning RIP of 2.0–yikes!), but he seemed to be able to throw the right pitch when he needed to, and he got Hanshin to ground into three double plays. Tateyama threw only 70 pitches during those first five frames despite all the runners prancing about on base.

Meanwhile, Garrett and Dave were sitting in the bleachers in left fuming because they weren’t allowed to do the wave (apparently it’s banned at Koshien). They claim that they were pissed off about the Guiel ejection, but they were actually seething because they were rendered waveless. Well, that and the matter-of-fact racism displayed by the home fans.

D’Antona struck again in the top of the seventh after Fukuchi had found his way on base with one out. ThisD'Antona had three rbi singles today. time D’Antona singled to right (his third rbi single of the game) to make it 5-0 birds.

And that was it in terms of run production. D’Antona and Miyamoto had three hits each. Notably, all three of D’Antona’s hits were rbi singles. Fukuchi also had a multi-hit game with two.

After allowing two runners again in the sixth, Tateyama got through the seventh without allowing a single man on base, the first time he was able to accomplish that feat in this game.

Tateyama went into the bottom of the eigth having thrown 94 pitches and allowed 12 base runners. But the Tigers still had a big ‘ole bagel up there on the board, and with the meat of the Hanshin lineup about to make plate appearances, this appeared to be the make-or-break inning for Shouhei.

An eight-pitch battle versus right-fielder, Katsuragi, ended in a fly ball to center. Kanemoto then kindly flew out to left on only three pitches. Brazell also took a hack at the third pitch he saw which resulted in a routine grounder to Kawashima at short.

Despite all the base runners, Tateyama did a good job of keeping his pitches down in the zone which meant that most of the outs recorded were via groundout. Until the eighth inning, no outs were recorded in the outfield (save for a long foul ball in the seventh); there were 12 groundouts accounting for 15 of the outs recorded up to that point.

In the eighth and ninth innings, Hanshin batters started getting under pitches a little bit more.  Two of the outs in the eighth were fly balls, and another two in the ninth.

In the end, however, it was all Tateyama (11-2, 3.01), all the time. Number 25 threw a 125-pitch, complete game shutout to help lead the Swallows to a series win over the Tigers and their (at times) friendly, but openly-racist fans (Garrett and Dave got bit of it. Brazell got more).

And apparently Hanshin fans enjoy beating each other up just like their Jingu-based yellow and pink-clad brethren.

Garrett reported several Hanshin vs. Hanshin fights in the left field bleachers after the game. Apparently there was some projectile-action directed at the small contingent of heavily-guarded Tokyo fans after Hanshin lost, but I’ll let Watkins and DeOrio elaborate on that point after they (most likely) get stabbed on their way out of the stadium (like English football, the away fans were held in the stadium after the game concluded until most of the home fans had left to prevent the away frans from being attacked).

And now the team has a five-day break as the All-Star game takes place in Sapporo and Hokkaido. The second half of the season kicks off with a six game home stand for the birds. July 28th-30th see Tokyo take on the Hiroshima Carp, and the 31st-2nd will be a three game series versus the second place Chunichi Dragons.

The Tokyo Swallows finished the first half of the season with a 46-33 record (.582 winning percentage) which is good enough for third place in the Central, two games behind the Chunichi Dragons and 4.5 games behind first place Yomiuri.

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

  • Christopher Pellegrini

    Yomiuri’s pennant-clinching (“magic”) number is now down to 43. Tokyo’s is 52.

    But more importantly, did you guys make it out of there OK?

    • I escaped with nothing but a sore head to show for the evening, due to far too many beers consumed while laughing at just how easy the victory was.

      Wonderful evening. I’ll elaborate later.

  • Christopher

    Is Tateyama really that good? He gave up 11 hits and had 14 runners on and I would suggest that he was very lucky to win that game. Don’t worry about the abuse it’s nothing to what the Tigers management gets. You guys didn’t wear Swallows shirts did you?

    • David Watkins

      An 11-2/3.00 record for the year would suggest that he is a pretty good pitcher.

      Yes, he gave up 11 hits but that was over the distance. So I would say lucky to win the game? No. Lucky to shutout the Tigers? Quite probably.

      Yes we did wear our Swallows gear, and my Tateyama jersey got quite a range of responses after the game, all part of the fun. A very entertaining evening.

  • Christopher

    I’m not suggesting he isn’t a good pitcher – he quite clearly is but his ability to put runners on in that particular game indicated that it wasn’t one of his best (and we are looking at a hit count which would normally yield between 5 and 7 runs over nine innings). In fact in many ways it was a repeat of his July 3rd outing but without the RBIs. Even an eleven game winner can have one or two lucky outings. It’s always nice to be able to ride your luck as it helps your confidence no end and makes you want to try harder. It’s definitely a lucky win for him but should help him get better and I dread the next outing against us (that one should be really difficult).

  • If you read the post, you’ll notice that I pointed out exactly what you’re talking about. This obviously wasn’t one of his more commanding performances so far this season, so as David said he was lucky to get the shutout.

    Lucky to get the win? Lucky… Well, if the game was against Yomiuri or Chunichi, you might have a point.