10/7/09 – Yokohama (Home)

October 7th, 2009

Tokyo Yakult Swallows cap

Yokohama BayStars 4

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: LWLWW

(Jingu Stadium)

Aaron Guiel. Aaron Guiel. Aaron Guiel!!

Guiel provided the pop at the plate tonight.

Tokyo’s Lineup:

1. Fukuchi (LF)
2. Kajimoto (2B)
3. Miyamoto (3B)
4. Aoki (CF)
5. Guiel (RF)
6. Yuichi (1B)
7. Kawamoto (C)
8. Onizaki (SS)
9. Yuki (P)

The Bay Stars compiled seven hits in the first three innings (resulting in three runs) to quickly chase Yuki from the game. Saeki came through with the rbi’s in both occasions as the visitors went up 3-0.

Yokohama starter, Fujie (6.51), actually had a no-hitter through four complete innings as things started to look a little bit bleak for the birds.

The Swallows, in desperate need of another win, finally started to get to Fujie in the fifth. After watching reliever, Hashimoto (1.35), throw two perfect innings, Yuichi and Kawamoto got things rolling with back-to-back singles. Onizaki’s “tak” bunt ended up getting Yuichi thrown out at third, so with one out there were still runners left on first and second.

Hatakeyama came in to pinch hit for Hashimoto, and he came through with  another single that loaded the bases for Fukuchi.

Last season Fukuchi hit .400 in bases loaded situations (15 chances), and he came up big again tonight with a double to the wall in right-center. Both Kawamoto and Onizaki scored to put the birds back in the game. 3-2 Yokohama.

Kajimoto and Miyamoto grounded out to strand the runners on second and third, but the momentum had swung back in Tokyo’s direction. In the sixth, Guiel (25th of the year) hit a one out solo home run to right to tie the game up at 3-3.

Meanwhile, Oshimoto (2.71) quietly worked a scoreless sixth and seventh innings for the Swallows, Guiel hits the game winner in the eighth.and Igarashi (3.19) got through the eighth on only five pitches. The three consecutive grounders to second were comical in that Hashimoto had induced the same result in the fourth.

Guiel would end up giving Igarashi the win (he’s now 3-2 with three saves) when he homered to right (his 26th) with Aoki on first (single) to give the birds the lead after eight innings. 5-3 Swallows.

Lim (2.11) was somewhat unlucky to give up a run while trying to get the save in the ninth, but such has been his luck as of late. Murata’s sliced blooper behind first base land just barely fair and the power-hitter was able to motor to second easily as the ball spun foul. Saeki then moved him over to third on a grounder to second, and he scored on a fielder’s choice at short. 5-4 Swallows.

Ishikawa finally struck out to end the game and keep Tokyo within a half of a game of the third place Hanshin Tigers. The save was Lim’s 27th of the year.

Observations:

  • The birds now have two monumentally large games against the Tigers tomorrow and Friday.
  • They are the last two games of the season for the Tigers and both of them are at Jingu. Hanshin can secure the third playoff spot by winning both of them.
  • The birds have four more games left to play. In addition to the two games coming up versus Hanshin, they have games at Jingu versus Chunichi on Sunday and Yomiuri on Monday.
  • The Tokyo Swallows must win three of their last four games in order to advance to the playoffs. If the birds take both of the Hanshin games, then they can lose the two games versus Yomiuri and Chunichi and still advance. If they split the mini-series with Hanshin, then they will need to win both of their remaining games.
  • Considering that all four of those games are against the top three teams in the league, it would appear that the odds are definitely against them. The one thing that Tokyo has in its favor is home field advantage.
  • With a typhoon threatening, team officials made the bold decision to go ahead with the game. It turned out to be the right decision as nothing more than a light drizzle harassed the few on-lookers.
  • The official attendance at the game tonight is 7,408. That is a straight-up lie (unless they counted everyone within one kilometer of the stadium in that tally).
  • Guiel hit his 25th and 26th home runs in this game. He was the difference. His three rbi’s earned him “hero” honors at the end.
  • Yuichi also had a multi-hit game (2-4, two singles).
  • The Swallows won their final seven games against the Bay Stars to finish the season at 11-13 against their stubborn neighbors from the south.
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

  • Mac

    I am SO glad I went to this game. I turned up at the stadium a couple of minutes after it started after I ran back to the office to get my sack of gear. It was awesome knowing you were watching a game in a four hour chance respite either side of two typhoons!

    You’re spot on – I counted the attendance closer to 7 people than 7000. Maybe they generously counted all pre-sold tickets, and anyone who said the word Jingu last night?

  • flick

    Wouldn’t winning the two games against Hanshin, secure third place for the Swallows as well? Even if they lose the last two, I think they will still be up 0.5 games ahead of the Tigers.

  • Flick,
    You are correct.
    If the Swallows win tomorrow’s game as well, then they’ll be through to the first round of the Climax Series.

    If they lose tomorrow, then they will have to take both of their remaining games in order to advance.

  • flick

    Thanks for clearing that up.
    I am totally looking forward to a complete game by Katsuo-kun tomorrow, and seeing the yellow-people infesting Jingu by the thousands go home in distress.