10/8/09 — Hanshin (Home)

October 8th, 2009

Hanshin Tigers 0

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 3      Last 5:  WLWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

The birds rode a complete game shutout by starter Tateyama to their third win in a row and reclaimed third place in the Central League in the process.

Tokyo’s starting nine:

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. Tateyama (P)

The story of this game was Tateyama. He allowed no more than a single runner in any given inning, and he threw 121 pitches on his way to claiming his 16th win of the season. He scattered five hits and beaned one while walking none and striking out five. His ERA dropped slightly to 3.39, and he effectively kept the team’s chances of reaching the post-season alive.

The Swallows opened the scoring in the third when Miyamoto (one out double) scored from second on an Arai throwing error to first (Aoki made it all the way to third on the play). Aoki then got thrown out trying to sneak home on a Guiel fielder’s choice to first, but Guiel motored around to score on Yuichi’s two out double to right. Unfortunately, like Aoki, Yuichi was a little too aggressive on that play and he was thrown out easily trying to stretch his double into a triple. Either way, the birds found themselves up 2-0.

Two more runs scored in the sixth when Aoki’s no out single to left was followed by a two out Kawamoto home run (his third) in the same direction. 4-0 Tokyo.

The Swallows scored one more run in the seventh when Miyamoto’s one out grounder to short plated Fukuchi from third. 5-0 Tokyo.

And that was it. Tateyama pitched a very good game, and the patchwork lineup came through with some decent hits at the right times.

Lim was warming up for a while before the start of the ninth inning, but his services were never needed as Tateyama made rather quick work of the final frame.

Observations:

  • The birds can seal their Climax Series birth with a win tomorrow night over the Tigers. If they don’t win that game, then they will need to win both of their remaining games (Sunday vs Chunichi; Monday vs Yomiuri).
  • Fukuchi gets behind in the count like it’s his job.
  • Kajimoto looks like he’s going to fall over every time he has to track down a high pop fly behind first base. He had two chances today: Guiel called him off the ball the first time, and he did indeed fall over the second time.
  • Now that Takada has indicated that he will be returning next season even if the Swallows don’t make it to the playoffs, I guess there’s nothing left for us to do but reinvest ourselves emotionally in these final three games.
  • Kawamoto’s jack in the sixth was pretty sweet, but I still miss Aikawa.
  • Hanshin starter, Ando, got the hook after only four innings and 77 pitches. Ando did give up two unearned runs, but his successors, Kubo and Kanemura, gave up three earned runs in only three innings.
  • Tokyo outhit Hanshin 8-5.
  • Tokyo lead the season series versus Hanshin 14-9.
  • Tokyo have a slim half-game advantage over Hanshin.
  • Onizaki looks to be the real deal (both with the bat and the glove). Keizo Kawashima must be having a rough time getting to sleep right now.
  • Hanshin starter Ando has faced the Swallows three times since the 28th of September. He lost two of those contests and got a no decision in the other.
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

  • Eddy

    Nice, loved the 5th run. Small ball beauty. ????

  • flick

    Thank you Kawamoto! I now feel slightly bad about dissing you so much the last couple of weeks.

  • Apparently the team was not briefed (after the Miyamoto incident) on the futility of head-first slides into first because Aoki executed one (successfully) at the beginning of the game.

    Which got us wondering: is the first base ump more likely to give close plays to the runner when he dives? Some kind of optical illusion or something?

    As for Kawamoto, hopefully he can reach base a couple of times tomorrow as well.

  • Fan

    Why isn’t D’antona playing?

    • Fan,
      He’s only being used as a pinch-hitter right now. He had one at-bat tonight in that capacity. I believe, although I cannot personally confirm, that his leg injury is still uncomfortable enough that it is best for him to stay off of it. I have yet to hear a different reason for his not starting.

  • Mac

    I spent ¥15,000 on caps last night, and we won this crucial game. My bank balance is hoping that I don’t need to do that every game!

    • If you could do the same tonight, just to be sure, that’d be great!

      • Mac

        The sad reality is that I am actually very tempted to do so, although I’m not sure if they have four caps which I don’t have.

        Hmmm, maybe I actually need to buy the same caps. This is tougher than I thought!

  • When will Miyamoto retire? Keizo can take over at 3B then and Onizaki can continue at SS. No problem!

    (Actually, Keizo was an OF most of the time with the Fighters, and switched to infield because we simply had too many damn outfielders, IIRC.)

    I have to admit I am really still totally wishing the Swallows can overtake the Tigers for the Climax Series. Not because I expect them to actually win, but then because we might actually have a chance in hell of actually getting tickets to the games…

    • Mac

      D – surely someone of your calibre naturally prefers us to the H@n$hin? I hate to think you are just using us so you can your game tally into the 120s 😉

      • Well, she has been spotted in the past in Jingu’s leftfield stands wearing a Hanshin shirt and singing along to Rokko Oroshi so I dunno……. 😉

      • Stephen Brierley

        Can you tell me where I find who is starting tonight please ?

      • Oh, the time I was there cheering for Hanshin was simply that there were no Pacific League games on my birthday, and so a Hanshin fan friend bought us tickets to that game, in reserved infield seats on the 3rd base side. The other Swallows-Tigers games I’ve gone to, I have always been on the Swallows side. Like last week. Just ask Pellegrini.

        I think I prefer the Swallows to basically any CL team except the Dragons, just because I have a much longer history with Chunichi, even though I’ve become a lot more apathetic in recent years about them. Which means that yes, on Sunday I will probably be there in left field wearing my Tatsunami t-shirt and all, for my last chance ever to sing his ouenka, but on Monday I will certainly be there in right field wearing my ???????????????? t-shirt and singing a good hearty round of Kutabare Yomiuri, don’t worry.

        (Of course, in reality, the CL is the “lesser” league as far as I am concerned 🙂 )

      • Can you tell me where I find who is starting tonight please ?

        Tonight’s starters are Ishikawa for Tokyo, and Iwata for Hanshin.

      • Deanna. I know that, was just teasing.

        I think that shows that you are absolutely a PL fan, as I don’t think a fan of any of the CL teams (who are not Hanshin of course) could don a Hanshin shirt and cheer for the Tigers.

        Will see you on Monday.

      • Mac

        Speaking of ??????????????? T-shirts – I need one.
        D got hers off one of you guys I think. Where did you get them from?

        Man, if I had one I would wear it everywhere. It is a more convenient way of letting people know I f-king hate the Giants than constantly singing Kutabare Yomiuri wherever I see the Orange and Black cr@p.

        Can anyone tell that we are all pumped for the game tonight?!

      • Mac.

        Chris brought a load so (if he’s got any left) he should be able to sort you out.

        I’ll leave him to respond later.

      • Mac

        Thanks David (and Christopher) – that would be absolutely legendary and I would be forever in your debt.

  • Tonight is going to be a huge one……….cannot wait.

    The last time we won against Hanshin at Jingu they came back to beat us easily the next two games. But that time the next game saw Yoshinori on the mound.

    This time it’ll be Ishikawa.

    Bring it on!

  • Mac

    Spot on David.

    Apologies for the spam, but this is the only forum where I can vent my excitement.

    Last night’s tension is nothing compared to how crucial today’s game is. I have no idea how the Dragons or Kutabare would treat those game should we need to play them to win, but I see tonight as being the best shot – our destiny is in our hands!

    Stupid work – clearly nothing is going to get done today!

    • Comment away sir, the more the merrier!

      Yep, I haven’t felt as much anticipation for a game for a good few years.

      Tonight represents absolutely our best chance.

      (plus it’ll mean being able to relax and enjoy those last two games if we win tonight.)

  • flick

    That headslide by Aoki was quite disturbing.
    I remember during the Olympics last year, Ichiro said something in the lines of “If I ever see Munerin and Norichika headsliding to first again, I will never talk to them again”, in jest of his two kohai pals, who dove into first base during the games.
    Ichiro is known to extremely hate this rather useless tactic.

    Anyways, can’t wait for the game tonight (which sadly because of work I cannot see live).

    • Mac

      Sorry to hear you won’t be there flick.

      I think headsliding probably has the same ‘value’ as bunting, which makes me think Takada is encouraging it!

  • Kutabare Yomiuri

    Mr. Pelligrini, I 100% agree that diving into first is a great big boner. It’s been proven to actually slow the runner down. I think that umpires often also will opt to call the runner out in situations that would have been exactly as close, due to the fact that it is little more than a stab at the intelligence of that umpire, whether or not there is in fact a-lack-there-of. Not only does it also risk injury, but if there is a bad throw the need for the runner to pop back up and get running decreases the chance to easily get into second on what should otherwise be routine.

    Mac, spend whatever/do whatever you must if it will help us win tonight. The more yen we all donate to jingu could possibly go to spending money on a better bullpen for next season, among other things. They need the the financial support.

    Deana, God willing, Miyamoto will never retire. I think he should wait till he has a season where he bats only around the 220/230 mark. Even at that point he would still be batting higher than half the team. I’d rather trade Keizo and anyone else we can to improve our pitching, especially the bullpen in order to keep onizaki.

    Questions: Dantona is not producing as a ph. I haven’t seen him do hardly anything but strike out. I hope that if it is due to injury takada tries putting him in earlier in the game instead of clutch situations. I think his average has dropped nearly ten points since this started.

    Also why are Hiroyasu and Iihara getting benched so much? What gives?

    Going to the game tonight, and cannot remember a time when I was more pumped. I wanna see some hanshin fans cry.

    • With D’Antona it is (I believe) still his thigh injury that is keeping him from starting. I agree with you about him not being an effective PH. He strikes me as the kind of guy that needs playing time to get into a groove (but which player isn’t I guess) as he illustrated so well with his stellar pre-injury month after a slowish start to his Tokyo career.

      Hiroyasu and Ihara are both out injured at the moment, but before that they were indeed being dicked around by Takada. With Ihara it’s probably been due to there not being a natural slot free in the field for him, so he tends to be used sporadically. He was tried at third last year (with disastrous results), but now he’s a OF only guy, so if he makes the team it’s at the expense of one of Fukuchi, Aoki or Guiel. Hence he’s not a regular.

      Tanaka was treated like Takada’s bitch for a lot of the season, with the “boss” yanking him from games if he didn’t produce. Rumor is that there’s a pretty huge personal issue between the two of them. I even heard that Takada was looking to trade him at one point (absolute heresay mind you).

      Going to the game tonight, and cannot remember a time when I was more pumped. I wanna see some hanshin fans cry.

      Couldn’t agree more. I’ll see you there.

      • Christopher

        You’re unlikely to get your wish. If we lose then there is a good chance that Mayumi will be dumped. This would be worth the defeat.

    • Mac

      Tears would be good. My intense hatred of the Hanshin intensified when Kanemoto hit a homer into the oendan and smashed the nose of the poor fan sitting three rows behind me (I think this was the second game of the ’07 season, but they all meld into one after a while).

      Speaking of Jamie, has anyone got a load of the D’Antona T-shirt you can order from the stall that sells the merchandise by the fan club gate? I love the slogan they have on it “By my home run, I make the people of the stadium happy”. Which is accurate, as my happiness is 100% correlated to the number of runs we score!

  • Christopher

    Presumably the fan was one of the stupider members of the Oendan – most people know better than to try and head a baseball. One hopes they don’t allow the person to breed. That would be too much.

    • Mac

      LOL! I’m cracking up at my desk now and remind of the sequence in the Simpsons where Mr. Burns is laughing continuously across varies scenes, then stops, wipes a tear from his eye and says “What was I laughing about? Oh yes, that crippled Irishman”.

  • Stephen Brierley

    Thank you David

  • Mac

    So, when is everyone getting there/where will they be?

    • Mac,
      Sorry to get involved so late in this discussion. I am the keeper of the shirts. What size do you need?

      • Bryan Crowe

        Chris,

        Sorry to jump on the bandwagon, i need one of those shirts for my wife (love her). it would make a great present for coming home roaring drunk after last nights EPIC game

      • Bryan Crowe

        This might have already been posted, aplogies if so.

        I would love one of those t-shirts also, any chance you can help me out Chris??

        Cheers