8/6/09 — Yokohama (Away)

August 6th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Yokohama BayStars 4

Streak: Lost 2  Last 5: WLWLL

(Hiratsuka Stadium)

Today was another Muranaka start (with Yoneno behind the plate). It seems like we use the Baystars series as a chance to give people game time.

Muranaka's control suffers because his head nearly explodes on every pitch.

And to Muranaka’s (6.20) credit, he only gave up one run in his five innings of work today. It took him 109 pitches to get through five innings, but it wasn’t all bad. In fact, if you saw the jam he worked himself into in the fourth–bases loaded and no outs–you’d be just as pleasantly surprised as I am that he only gave up the one run (sacrifice foul ball to left).

Muranaka was actually pitching no-hitter up until the fourth. Notice that I didn’t say “perfect” in the preceding sentence. He walked two in the first and one in the second but got out of both innings unscathed.

The fourth inning was when Ishikawa’s deep fly ball to the corner in left brought Murata home from third. 1-0 Yokohama.

Aoki triples to left.The Swallows would pull even in the sixth after the smoke from the fireworks finally cleared out a little bit (maybe shoot those things off from a little farther away next year…?). An on-fire Aoki led off with a triple for his third hit of the game (cf. yesterday’s game), and then a Tanaka sac fly to right brought him home to tie things up at 1-1.

One of the highlights of the game was watching Yokohama starter, Glynn, get all riled up about a couple of pitches that were not called correctly from his vantage point. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a pitcher swear at a home plate umpire like that (not in the guy’s face, but using lots of colorful language from the mound). Back home he might have gotten himself tossed, and it took two mound visits by the infielders (the second chaperoned by the pitching coach) to calm him down. He made it out of the inning, but he definitely was a bit beside himself there for a while. D’Antona (who I think actually stole second during the tail end of the hissy fit–or maybe it was a balk?) and Guiel did pretty good Tokyoite impressions and pretended not to notice.

Glynn was all smiles though when Oshimoto’s (1-3, 3.00) first pitch, a colossal meatball mistake, went nowhere near where Yoneno wanted it but right exactly where Murata likes it. 2-1 Yokohama.

Oshimoto earned himself the loss on that pitch.

Then Matsuoka (2.98) came in to make his 37th appearance of the season. His 37th appearance already! How tired is that guy?! Two runs later the Swallows were down 4-1.

The eighth inning was interesting. After Katoh walked the first two guys he faced, putting Aoki and Tanaka on base, he finally got an out when he struck out Fukuchi (four K’s in a single game. Yikes!). At which point the alarmingly intense Kizuka from two nights ago was brought on to pitch. He was gone after only three pitches because D’Antona hit him for an rbi single. 4-2 Baystars.

On comes Kudoh in a wheelchair. He gets Guiel to ground out, but Tanaka scores to make it 4-3.

Off comes Kudoh. And I actually think that he was almost as surprised as I was. The man is normally so good at hiding his confusion/befudlement…

Sanada comes on to face Miyamoto and gets him to ground out to first to end the inning. Four pitchers, two earned runs, still ahead by a run. That inning took forever.

Lee (3.48) pitched a scoreless eighth before Yamaguchi came in to finish things up for Yokohama. He got the save by retiring all three hitters he faced, two of them by strikeout.

So the Swallows lost another series to the Baystars. We seem to be treating these games like exhibition contests. Only the Baystars players seem to really be into it.

Aoki went 3-3 with a walk and D’Antona had a 3-4 night while adding an rbi. He swings at a lot of outside sliders that are about four inches too far away for him to reach, but I’m beginning to think that he does that on purpose so that the pitcher throws more of them.

Quick observation: the umpire in tonights game kept allowing himself to be obstructed by the position of the catcher. For example, if the catcher shifted outside at the last second, the umpire would often find himself pushed in right behind the batters elbow. I don’t think the catchers in tonights games were experienced enough to utilize that to their advantage like Furuta would have back in his day, but there were several pitches when I thought that the umpire’s view of the pitch was almost as bad as mine.

Glynn (5.31) had one of his better outings of the season, despite the crankiness, to pick up his third win against ten losses. He recorded eight strikeouts while walking none. The one earned run was the only thing that hurt his stats as he gave up seven hits in seven innings.

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

  • flick

    More than most folks here, I respect small-baseball, but things are getting out of hand, when Kawabata is brought in to pinch-hit in the ninth inning with two outs, in a one-point game.
    What happened to Hatake, Takeuchi, and other dudes that can bat the distance?
    Granted Hatake is a righty, could this tally in as a Takada count?

    • Flick,
      Ah, I had totally forgotten Kawabata coming in to pinch hit in that situation. I think I was kind of expecting to lose this game from the very start, and that may have kept me from seeing the personnel decisions as foolish.

      You’re right though. That was pretty dumb.

  • Does anyone second the motion to raise the TAKADA COUNT for this game?

  • jody headlee

    Congratulations Jamie. This grandmother won’t meet you for a drink but I sure am glad, No. 1 grandson, that you are so happy in Japan and extend my thanks to them. I should have known baseball was your bag when you batted that beachball all the way across the GiantWay store’s entrance display at three years old. Instead I was just grateful you didn’t break anything.