9/6/09 – Yomiuri (Away)

September 6th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Yomiuri Giants 4

Streak: Lost 2   Last 5: LWDLL

(Tokyo Dome)

Well if Friday was a travesty of justice, and yesterday a feeble blowout, then today was simple wastefulness. Tokyo outhit the Giants 8 to 6 and had a few good chances to score more runs but as has been their problem during this last month, they just couldn’t get enough men home. Oh, and they gifted two runs to their esteemed opposition too, just for good measure.

Tonight’s lineup was the same as last, with Ihara continuing in place of Guiel. Yoshinori took the mound to start for the birds, looking for an improvement on the last time he faced Yomiuri, when he gave up six runs in five innings for his seventh loss of the year.

And he didn’t get off the the best of starts as he walked the first man he faced, Sakamoto, who would eventually score on a Ramirez groundout for 1-0 Yomiuri.

But Tokyo came roaring back in it in the top of the 2nd against Yomiuri’s ugliest starter Takahashi.  Ihara lead off with a single before something exceedingly strange happened: Takada didn’t call for next man up Miyamoto to bunt, instead allowing him to swing away. And do you know what? It paid dividends as he hit the ball along the leftfield foul line into the corner for a double to put two men in scoring positions with none out. Keizo then hit a groundout to first but the runners moved along, with Ihara scoring to tie things up at 1-1. Aikawa then hit one of his own to the the leftfield corner for another double and the Swallows found themselves up, 2-1 Tokyo. Yoshinori grounded out to second to put Aikawa at third with two outs, but Fukuchi could only strikeout swinging to end the inning.

In the botom of the same inning, Yoshinori started to lose his control, walking pig-boy Abe, allowing a Wakiya double and then walking Sakamoto to load the bases with two outs. Next, facing pint-sized annoyance Matsumoto, he worked the count full after initially falling behind. Then,  with the sixth pitch of the at-bat, he got him to hit a grounder to short, which should have lead to the inning being over, right? Wrong. Keizo saw the ball late as it came through the legs of the running Wakiya, but he fielded the ball and threw it to first. Only he threw it about a metre or so above the jumping D’Antona as it ended up in the crowd for a ground-rule double. Two runs scored and it was 3-2 Yomiuri.

Yoshinori then struck out Ramirez, Kamei and Abe in order in the bottom of the 3rd before being replaced by Takagi for the 4th. I believe it was due to more blister troubles on his right hand. Yoshinori finished his three innings having given up three runs (one earned) off three hits, striking out four and walking three.

Takagi (1.64) worked a hitless 4th and 5th, before giving up a run via yet another a pig-boy Abe solo homer in the 6th, 4-2 Yomiuri.

In the top of the 7th Yomiuri reliever Ochi took the mound. A Miyamoto HBP, a Keizo strikout, an Aikawa single and a pinch-hit groundout from Yuichi put men on second and third with two outs. But again Fukuchi was wasteful and flew out to centre to end the inning and strand the runners.

Yosikawa (0.00) worked a hitless bottom of the 7th before Tokyo had another chance to score in the top of the 8th. Aoki singled and made it to second on a D’Antona groundout before Ihara came to the plate with two outs on the board. He could only strikeout looking against reliver Yamaguchi and another man was stranded.

In the bottom of the 8th, Lee (3.30) somehow managed to keep his 0.00 ERA against the Giants this year intact, dispite loading the bases with two outs. Fortunately for him Tani grounded out to end the inning.

And so to the 9th and Kroon. After two groundouts, an Aikawa single and a walk for Hatakeyama put two men on for Fukuchi. But the outfielder could only groundout and the game was over.

Yoshinori took the loss for his three decent innings, and his record now stands at 5-8/3.23.

Tokyo now get a day off before another huge series against Hiroshima at Jingu from Tuesday.

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

  • Apparently Guiel missed this game through having a cold/fever.

    This loss also takes the Swallows to below .500 for the first time in a loooong time. I have grave doubts at their ability to get back above it.

  • flick

    I am getting tired of Yoshinori and his blisters.
    Does this happen often, where a pitcher is bothered for an entire season because of a blister?

    • flick

      So Yoshinori is again off the first team roster.

      Like this article says, it’s the forth time this season he’s been sent down because of his blister.

      Man, I love this kid, but can someone please get him some vaseline??

      • Indeed.

        Or some rubber gloves. Or bionic hands.

        Anything that will keep him in the rotation because my lord do we need him.

  • Jingu Bleacher Bum

    As for blisters on pitchers hands, when I started pitching for my local baseball team, my blisters kept coming back again and again until I learned not to groom the areas around my fingers, and just let the fingers toughen up from the caluses.

    Yakult has 8 games left against Yokohama, whom they couldn’t buy a win against, so I’m starting to have my doubts as well. The only good thing going for the Swallows is that the majority of their remaining games are against Hanshin and Hiroshima, so their destiny is pretty much in their own hands now.

  • Well, I guess at least we’re in a playoff race for a change. Should be an exciting last month or so, though the fact that it still is ours to lose (and that we look hell-bent on losing it) makes me anxious as hell!

    Oh, and welcome JBB. Nice to see you’ve made it over to these here parts!