4/14/10 – Hiroshima (Away)

April 14th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 6

Streak: Lost 4   Last 5: WLLLL

(Mazda Stadium)

Nursing a three game losing streak, the Tokyo Swallows looked to reverse their recent slide against a starting pitcher whose ERA heading into this game was above nine.

The first step towards righting the ship, apparently, was to jumble the batting order:

1. Aoki CF

Ishikawa is somehow now 0-4.

2. Tanaka 2B
3. Iihara LF
4. Guiel RF
5. Miyamoto 3B
6. D’Antona 1B
7. Fujimoto  SS
8. Nakamura C
9. Ishikawa P

Youngster Nakamura got the start tonite behind the plate, and he did quite well for himself with the bat.

He actually drove in Tokyo’s first run in the bottom of the second with Fujimoto and D’Antona on second and third, respectively. His single to center brought D’Antona home, and Aoki’s one out single to left plated Fujimoto two batters later. A third run found its way around under the power of Tanaka’s double. 3-0 Tokyo.

Ishikawa was able to keep the Hiroshima bats at bay through the first three innings, but Fujimoto’s fielding error at short in the fourth inning allowed a runner that was soon brought home by Soyogi’s home run. 3-2 Swallows.

Huber came up with a pinch-hit solo home run to lead off the sixth to tie things up, and things got worse after that. Soyogi’s one out single was followed by a fielding error in left that, combined with the walk and single that came next, allowed another two to cross home plate. 5-3 Carp.

Hiroshima added another run in the eighth after Tanaka was tagged with an error behind first base. It wasn’t an error, the wind blew that ball way over towards the line on it’s decent, but the result was the same. The batter was safe at second, and he found his way home a batter later, when Kurihara sliced one over the drawn-in Aoki’s head in center. 6-3 Hiroshima.

And that’s how this one would end. Ishikawa took the loss, his league-leading fourth, after giving up five runs (only two earned) off of four hits (two homers) in five and a third innings.

Our future Furuta shows up the veterans.

Fujimoto and Nakamura had two hits each, and Aoki pitched in by getting beaned twice.

Masubuchi pitched another on and two-thirds scoreless innings while Matsuoka gave up one unearned run in the eighth during his single frame of relief.

The birds have now dropped four in a row and have a winning percentage below .500–both firsts for 2010.

Yay.

Random notes:

Nakamura started his pro career on the right foot. His first hit today was the first of his pro career, and he managed to notch an rbi at the same time.

Is it me, or does D’Antona stand too far away from the plate? He can’t even reach those outside sliders that he routinely chases while protecting with two strikes. Of course, my angle isn’t very good, so…thoughts?

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

  • I'm all for mixing up the lineup during a slump, but I just can't agree with batting Aoki leadoff, and putting Guiel in the 4 slot against a lefty. I think I would've gone Tanaka-Iihara-Aoki-D'Antona-Miyamoto-Guiel-Fujimoto-Nakamura-Ishihara. Maybe flip Fujimoto and Nakamura to breakup the consecutive lefties, but then again Nakamura's still young and unproven. The Aoki moved paid-off somewhat since the bottom of our order hit fairly well today. I still think his bat and potential power are wasted protecting the pitchers slot. But Guiel against the lefty definitely doesn't scare the opposition into giving Iihara pitches to hit.

    • I'm going to disagree there. I'm of the school that says always put your best hitter first. The batting order is only guaranteed to go in order in the first inning; after that, the batter in the number 1 slot is going to see the most at-bats, so you want that person to be your best hitter.

      • Harris

        I'm traveling to Tokyo 4/24-5/2. Could you let me know how I can get tickets for the Swallows 4/27 or 4/28? How can I find the time of the games? Thank you.

        • Harris,
          Tickets are really easy to come by. You can buy them at the stadium on the day of the game–you can get tickets to any part of the stadium even after the game has begun.

          That means that you can just walk up to the stadium and buy tickets, without fear of the game being sold out, on the spot.

          If you would like to be more proactive than that, please follow the instructions here.

          Both games start at 6pm. Hope to see you there!

          • Harris

            Thank you for your help. I'm also glad to see that the stadium was renovated. Do the screens on the side still have the batting averages and home run counts?

          • No. The one great feature of the Jingu scoreboard has been replaced by adverts.