9/11/09 — Chunichi (Away)

September 11th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Chunichi Dragons 3

Streak: Lost 6    Last 5: LLLLL

(Nagoya Dome)

The reeling Tokyo Swallows traveled to Nagoya to take on the slightly uninspiring (recently) Dragons after dropping three in a row against the Carp. To sweeten the deal a little (for Tokyo), Ochiai gave old guy Yamamoto his fourth start of the season. It didn’t matter.

Tokyo’s starting lineup:

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

Tokyo stranded two runners in the first, and then Wada hit a bases-loaded sac fly in the bottom of that inning to start the scoring and make it 1-0 Chunichi.

The next time the Swallows got a runner on base was in the top of the fourth when Yamamoto’s (a southpaw) delivery stayed up in the zone a little too long and Guiel roped it into the corner in right for a two-out double. However, the inning would come to a close when Miyamoto’s bat broke on contact and he grounded out.

The bottom of the fifth was a little bit ugly for the Swallows. Ibata and Araki had back to back singles with Ibata ending up on third before all was said and done. Morino then hit a pop fly to shallow left-center that Aoki rifled homeward. Kawashima cut it off and sent it home, but Ibata was safe even though Aikawa blocked him in front of the plate. 2-0 Dragons.

With two outs, Yuki pitched around Wada to get to the hitless (0-25 up to that point) Inoue, but it didn’t work. Inoue had a broken-bat, rbi single to left to make it 3-0 Chunichi.

That was the second time in as many innings that Yuki pitched around the man at the plate in order to get to a weaker hitter.

In the top of the sixth, Kawashima hit a one-out home run to left center off of a Yamamoto fastball that wasn’t really all that fast to put the score at 3-1 Chunichi.

It was Kawashima’s 11th homer of the season, and hopefully just the first bit of good work he’ll do to redeem himself after losing that game against Yomiuri last week.

Matsui (5.40) came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh and gave up one hit but got out of the inning on 10 pitches.

Kida (5.48) pitched the eighth for Tokyo, and he got out of the inning with three straight ground balls to Miyamoto at third base.

The Swallows last chance, the top of the ninth, didn’t go very well for the birds with Iwase on the mound looking to earn his 38th save of the year.

After Aoki and D’Antona led off with no out singles, Guiel popped out in foul territory and Miyamoto broke his second bat of the game for out number two. Tanaka then flew out to right to end the game. 3-1 Final.

The Swallows hit a whole bunch of fly balls in this game with 14 of their 27 outs being recorded in that fashion. Hidenori did a very good job in center field of tracking stuff down, but just as often the ball was unluckily hit right to the fielder.

One through five in the lineup reached base at least once, and Aoki (BB and a single), D’Antona (two singles), and Guiel (double and a BB) all reached twice. Six through eight, however, didn’t do any damage to help out. Miyamoto, as I mentioned earlier, was unlucky to break two bats though.

Yuki threw 120 pitches in his six innings of work, and while he didn’t have a particularly bad game, he wasn’t exactly dominating either. He gave up three earned runs off of five hits while striking out five and walking six. Two of those walks were intentional, but the remaining four show that he didn’t have his best control this evening. His record worsened to 3-5 while his ERA fattened a little to 3.69.

That’s six losses in a row for the Swallows. The circus continues tomorrow afternoon (3 PM) 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

  • With the Tigers win this evening over the Yokohama Baystars, look for Tokyo to be in fourth place by the end of the weekend.

    Hanshin is currently only a half of a game behind the hapless Swallows.

  • Rob

    Unexpected love for Hidenori – thanks. He’s is the best defensive OF in the CL. (I don’t watch the PL enough to say how he ranks against them.) Shame he can’t do much at the plate….

    So Ochiai throws Yamamoto and we roll over. Now we’re at the low point in our rotation, where my grandmother could start. Or Ochiai could let her pitch for the Drags and the way our offense, oh, I’ll just shut up now….

  • Swallows have now lost 12 straight series, a franchise first. The free fall continues.

  • I watched this one on TV… but because I was rooting for Masa Yamamoto to get the win… his career 205th, and at least one win in 22 consecutive seasons. Half of the Yakult rotation isn’t even 22 years old, right? 🙂

    Aikawa totally blocked Ibata at the plate, I was kind of curious why that play worked out the way it did.

    I swear Ochiai just hates Hidenori or something.