9/27/09 — Yokohama (Home)

September 27th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yokohama BayStars 1

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3


Streak: Won 5  Last 5: WWWWW

The Tokyo Swallows maintained their slim half-game lead over the Hanshin Tigers with another complete game victory by the team’s starter, Masanori Ishikawa.

The Tigers absolutely embarrassed Chunichi’s Yamamoto on their way to winning that series two to one.

The Swallows, believe it or not, swept Yokohama. If anyone’s counting, that’s the first time they’ve swept a team since they took the Buffs, Marines, and Lions in three consecutive two-game series from June 13-21.

The last time they swept a Central League opponent, coincidentally, was back on May 15-17 when the Swallows put in three solid games versus the Hanshin Tigers.

The series starting tomorrow should be quite an interesting one.

Ishikawa didn't need any help this time.

Tokyo’s lineup:

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

After a very hairy start to this game, Ishikawa settled down and ended up throwing a gem.

The first inning saw three hits that resulted in a Yokohama run. It wasn’t pretty. Ishikawa was quickly down 1-0. He was, perhaps, lucky not to be in a larger hole than that.

But he buckled down, and he started to get quick outs. Ishikawa didn’t give up another run after the first inning.

The first Tokyo run occurred in the third. Miura was very effective through the first two innings, and things quickly headed in the other direction when he gave up an Ishikawa single to center with one out. Fukuchi followed with a single of his own, and with two outs, Yuichi brought Ishikawa home with a single to right. All tied at 1-1.

The rest of the scoring took place in the sixth inning. Yuichi again reached first base, but this timeAoki comes through with the game winner. it was care of an error (which was a damn hard ball to come up with, by the way). Next man up, Aoki, took a Miura delivery high and long to the bleachers in right. 3-1 Tokyo.

And that’s basically how it ended.With Lim warming up in the bullpen, Takada made the wise decision to let Ishikawa try and finish what he started. With his pitch count up in the 120’s, Ishikawa allowed two base runners, but he eventually got Takeyama to fly out to first to end the game.

And that was the fourth complete game victory in the last five contests for the hapless forgotten team from Tokyo. And that, my friends, is why they’re winning.

Ishikawa won his 11th game of the season, and he threw 133 official pitches in this contest. The seven hits translated into only that one run in the first inning. He struck out five while walking one. His ERA improved to 3.66.

Observations:

  • The Swallows were outhit 7-4 in this game.
  • Only Aoki and Guiel reached base twice today. Aoki came through with the game-winning homer in the sixth (his 14th), and Guiel drew a pair of walks.
  • Ishikawa had three great at-bats. He singled in his first plate appearance, and he really made Miura work for the next two outs. Ishikawa worked the count full by fouling off several pitches in his second at-bat, and he nearly hit safely in his third time up.

A monumentally large series versus the Hanshin Tigers begins tomorrow at Jingu Stadium. Get there early if you’re planning to attend. The game starts at 6 PM. The Swallows will attempt to extend their five game winning streak against a team that can actually hit. If the starting pitching continues to hold up, then they should be in with a very good shot.

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

  • The turnaround in the starting pitching this last week has been pretty immense.

    Let’s hope they can maintain it against the Tigers.

  • flick

    The pitching was awesome and Aoki is the man, but Fukuchi hauling his ass off to make it to first base in that crucial third inning made my day.

    Hopefully young Takagi will be as effective today as he was in Hiroshima.