4/1/10 – Chunichi (Home)

April 1st, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 5

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWWWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo couldn’t manage to extend their winning streak to five as they fell to their first loss since opening day. And like opening day Ishikawa was at the helm for the Swallows, and just as against the Giants he proved far to easy to hit, taking the loss to put his record at 0-2 with his ERA now at 6.23. Like Tateyama the evening before, Masanori gave up 5 runs (7 innings, 12 hits, 3 K, 4 walks and 1 HBP). But unlike yesterday the Chunichi pitchers, all 7 of them, were able to keep the Tokyo bats quiet and thus Ishikawa didn’t get a whole lot of run support, just like opening day.

He did get an early lead though, with solo homers from Fukuchi and Aoki in the 1st off Chunichi starter Valdez to make it 2-0 Tokyo. The Dragons pitcher was making his NPB debut, and despite the rocky first he would only allow 3 more hits in his 5 innings of work the Swallows wouln’t score another run all game.

Ishikawa on the other hand, actually did pretty well early on, giving up just one hit (in the 2nd) over the first 3 innings, but it was in the 4th that things started to unravel. He was possibly fortunate to give up just the two runs off four hits, the first two of which were doubles, along with a HBP.

In the 6th, Oyama hit a grounder to 3rd which was fielded by Miyamoto who threw to D’Antona at 1st. The ball beat the man to the bag by a good foot, but the runner was inexplicably called safe at first. And just as these things tend to go, that runner was brought home with a two-run Koike home run to put the Dragons ahead 4-2.

The final Chunichi run came in the 7th via a Tony Blanco solo homer, and with the massed ranks of  the Dragons bullpen limiting Tokyo to just two more hits during the last 4 innings, the score would finish at 5-2 Dragons.

The poor form of Ishikawa is certainly worrying, and all the more puzzling considering the excellent pre-season he had. Hopefully he can snap out of it against not such fearsome opposition in his next start.

Tokyo’s batting lineup, again unchanged from the last 4 games, were outhit 14-8. After the 1st inning, they didn’t manage more than one hit in an inning, and only Aoki managed more than one hit in the game, though everyone bar Miyamoto and (surprise) Aikawa did manage to get on base via their bat at some point.

The Swallows welcome the Yokohama Baystars to Jingu for a three game series from tomorrow evening. Hopefully we can make lighter work of them this year than last, a year in which the 51-93 Baystars had a winning 13-11 record against the Swallows. But given that the 2010 Yokohama team looks a rather better outfit than that of last year, I won’t hold my breath.

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