8/15/09 — Chunichi (Away)

August 15th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Chunichi Dragons 2

Streak: Lost 4    Last 5: WLLLL

(Nagoya Dome)

The birds have been outscored 25-3 in their last two games.

The good news is that we didn’t get spanked again this time.

Yuuki walks in a run.

Mercifully, Tokyo was in with a shout for the duration, but in the end the Swallows just couldn’t come up with the fire-power needed to give themselves a shot. This is an annoying new problem for the birds.

To be fair, the Swallows ran into another good starting pitcher. Ogasawara went just an out shy of eight innings and gave up only one earned run off of seven hits. Our hitters weren’t able to hit anything off of Asao and Iwase in the eighth and ninth innings.

Here’s Tokyo’s starting lineup:

1. Fukuchi (LF)
2. Tanaka (2B)
3. Aoki (CF)
4. Hatakeyama (3B)
5. Iihara (RF)
6. Noguchi (1B)
7. Aikawa (C)
8. Kawashima (SS)
9. Yuuki (P)

Yuuki (3-3, 3.64) had another passable outing and made it through six innings (which definitely constitutes progress). He was responsible for both of the runs that the Dragons scored, and the majority of the damage was self-inflicted.

While giving up only three hits, he walked an additional five. He also struck out six, but the five walks are something to worry about. In fact, the Dragons first run of the game came on a bases loaded walk in the second. Their second run was on an Ibata solo home run in the fifth.

If he had managed his control a bit better, then the game might have turned out differently.

Matsuoka (2.80) and Igarashi (2.64) pitched the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, and no runs crossed home plate during those two innings.

On offense, Fukuchi, Hatakeyama, and Kawashima had two hits each. Aoki had only one hit, but it was a solo home run in the eighth which accounted for Tokyo’s only run of the game. It was Aoki’s 10th home run of the season. He hit only 14 last year, so he’s well on track to beat that.

Even though the game was close, the birds have now lost four in a row, and the tailspin continues. Yuuki’s start would have been excellent had it not been for all those walks. It will be interesting to see if he can correct that in the future. The one positive note is that he is continually improving and forging longer outings. Hopefully we’ll see him go seven innings before the second week of September.

Having lost the series to Chunichi, the Swallows will attempt to salvage some pride tomorrow evening when game three takes place at Nagoya Dome.

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