8/25/09 – Hiroshima (Away)

August 25th, 2009

Hiroshima Carp logoTokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 1

Streak: Won 1     Last : LWLLW

(Mazda Stadium)

What a shitty month it’s been for the Swallows, yet to win a series in August. Frigidly cold in the hottest of months, I’m glad I’ve been out of the country for most of it. One team they haven’t lost a series to yet however is the Hiroshima Carp, simply because they’ve yet to play them since the end of July (though the Carp are on a two game winning streak against them….).

Tonight saw the two team’s respective aces face off against each other, with Lewis taking the mound for the Carp and Tateyama seeking his (league leading) 14th win of an excellent season. This was ominous for Tokyo though, due to the fact that Lewis tends to own the Swallows’ bats, coming into the game with a 2-0/1.89 record in his three starts against the birds this season.

Tokyo received a boost of their own with the return of veteran infielder Shinya Miyamoto who was back from injury playing his first game since August 14th. Shinya is now the only regular on the Tokyo team batting northwards of .300, and with D’Antona still out with an injury of his own, the importance of Miyamoto’s return cannot be understated.

Today’s lineups:

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

And it was Miyamoto who sparked the offense into life as Tokyo took a 2nd inning lead. Guiel worked a walk before Miyamoto smacked the second pitch he saw to right for a double, with Guiel advancing to third. Tanaka hit a grounder to short that was good enough to allow Guiel to score from third and Shinya to advance to take his place, 1-0 Tokyo. Aikawa then stepped to the plate, hitting a bobbling grounder that took a freak bounce over the head of Carp second baseman Higashide and another run scored for 2-0 Tokyo.

Win number 14 bitches!An excellent sliding catch by Guiel, running toward the outfield wall was the third out of a hitless inning for Tateyama, before Tokyo extended their lead in the top of the 3rd. Keizo hit a leadoff double and in true Takada-stylee was bunted to third by Fukuchi. Aoki then grounded out to third but it was good enough to score the pint-sized shortstop and Tokyo had themselves a 3-0 lead.

And the lead would become four in the 4th. Guiel got hit to occupy first to leadoff the inning. Miyamoto then hit a flyball to centre, with Hiroshima centre fielder Suenaga trying to take the catch on the run, but he couldn’t come up with it, spilling it badly (for an error) and allowing the far from speedy Guiel to score from first for 4-0 Tokyo.

After allowing just one his over the first three innings, Yakult’s defence let their starter down in the bottom of the 4th. With two outs on the board, Fukuchi misjudged a Kurihara flyball deep to left, lining up to catch it in foul territory while the ball landed just fair. The Hiroshima first baseman then made it home from second, as Hatakeyama let a McClain grounder pass through him for an error for 4-1. Hatakeyama (.256) was replaced at first base by Takeuchi in the bottom of the 5th. He was 0 for 3 with two stikeouts to that point.

Tateyama allowed two hits in the 5th, but he escaped a two-out men on the corners jam unscathed.

The lead was restored to four runs in the 6th, with a lot of help from the Carp infield. Guiel struck out for out number one before Miyamoto reached first on an error from veteran shortstop Takuro Ishii. But the helping hand didn’t end there. Noguchi replaced Shinya on first, and instantly tried to steal second on the first pitch of Tanaka’s at-bat. Catcher Ishihara threw to second, but neither Ishii or Higashide were covering the base, allowing the ball to reach the outfield and Noguchi to reach third. Takaka eventually walked on five pitches before Aikawa poked one through the infield to left and it was 5-1 Tokyo. That was Aikawa’s second RBI of the evening.

Tateyama then escaped another men on the corners jam in the bottom of the 6th, before pitching a hitless 7th. Matsuoka (2.64) then worked a hitless 8th with a walk and we were on to the bottom of the 9th.

Despite giving up four runs in his last two innings of work, and despite looking in dire need of a rest, Takada saw fit to put closer Lim on the mound with a four run lead in this game. And his poor form continued as he looked shaky to say the least, giving up two hits to put men on the corners with two outs on the board. He managed to get the final strikeout and it was 5-1 Final.

As he didn’t give up a run in the end, I’ll hold off adding to the Takada count but it’s the toss of a coin for me really. Surely with a four run lead and with plenty of men left in the bullpen, those men can get three outs between them to give Lim a rest? Surely? No? Sorry, I forgot to switch my brain to it’s “Takada-logic” setting.

Tateyama took the win to put his record at 14-3/3.20 for the year. He gave up six hits with four Ks and two walks in his seven innings of work.

Miyamoto went 1 for 3 on his return to the team, but he did induce two costly errors from the Carp fielders, and his is now at .309. Welcome back Shinya! Aikawa (.247) went 3 for 4 with his 2 RBIs as he seems to be entering an upward part of his sine-wave-esque form curve.

The two teams return to the Zoooooom-Zooooooom tomorrow evening, with the Swallows having two chances to take their first series of this shittiest of months.

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

    Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the return of Shinija and the Aikawa nice day at bat has make the difference.
    We need both of them to add runs on the score.
    And waiting for D’Antona,of course…