9/25/09 — Yokohama (Home)

September 25th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yokohama BayStars 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5


Streak: Won 3  Last 5: LLWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

For the third time in as many games a Tokyo starter lasted all nine innings, and the birds were able to continue their mini-revival (third win in a row) versus the 6th-place BayStars.

Tateyama's first victory since 8/25.

Tokyo’s starting lineup:

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

This one didn’t look very promising from the start. Tateyama found himself in a one out, runners on the corners situation before the game was even five minutes old. That led to a Murata rbi-groundout and a quick 1-0 Yokohama advantage.

After that first inning, Tateyama was able to get through the next two without allowing another runner. In the fourth, however, he ran into trouble again when Uchikawa’s leadoff walk eventually resulted in a run care of Yoshimura’s single to left. 2-0 Yokohama.

After stranding two free runners in the bottom of the first, the birds weren’t able to get anyone else on base until the bottom of the fourth. Facing a two run deficit, Miyamoto and Aoki started things off with back-to-back singles Aoki gets plugged once again.before Hatakeyama took a temporary break from hitting soft pop-flies to bunt the two runners over. Guiel came through nicely with his team-leading 25th double of the season, and both Miyamoto and Aoki motored home to tie things up at 2-2.

After surviving a bit of a rally in the BayStars’ fifth, Tateyama helped out by hitting a leadoff single to left. Tanaka’s one-out home run (fourth of the year) brought Tateyama around as well, and it was suddenly 4-2 Tokyo.

Tateyama’s perfect sixth was followed by another Tokyo run, the last of the game. Yoshimoto, batting for Noguchi, reached second on a hit past third base. He would then score on Aikawa’s only hit of the game, a single  to center. 5-2 birds.

Tateyama would end up finishing the final three innings while allowing only two more hits, and he had what was arguably his best start of the last month. It took him 121 pitches to get through the nine innings, and he gave up just the two runs off of eight hits. The nine strikeouts and one walk attest to the assertion that he was better than he’s been in a while. The win was his 15th of the year, and his ERA dropped sliightly to 3.60.

Observations:

  • Three Tokyo batters (Iihara, Aoki, and Aikawa) got plunked in this game.
  • The birds collected all eight of its hits and and five of  its runs in the middle three innings of this game.
  • The birds bunted five times in this game. Two of them were care of Tateyama. The Swallows bunted twice in the eighth inning. The first was a ‘tak’ bunt, and the second a regular sac bunt. With a free runner gained by a Guiel leadoff walk, Takada had Yoshimoto bunt (even though he had doubled in his previous at-bat and is still hitting .400). Aikawa followed with a HBP, and then Tateyama was also asked  to bunt. Iihara struck out for out number three. Two runners were left on base. Luckily we were already ahead by three runs.
  • Aoki’s batting average is now at .291, and there’s a decent chance  that he’ll be over .300 by the end of the season. Even though batting averages are not a complete depiction of a player’s offensive production, the man took a lot of heat for having an average in the .250’s earlier in the year. He has led the team in OBP for almost the entire season, and his four occasions on base tonight pushed that number up to .388 (good enough for second in the league behind Chunichi’s Ibata).
  • Aoki has now drawn 68 walks this season. That puts him at third in the league behind Hanshin’s Kanemoto (86) and Chunichi’s Morino (70).
  • It’s been 13 years since the last time three Tokyo starters threw complete game wins in consecutive games.

Game two of the series is tomorrow evening at 6 PM.

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