4/3/10 – Yokohama (Home)

April 3rd, 2010

Yokohama Baystars 12

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 13

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: WWLWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

What a journey this game turned out to be.

After a solid performance in his first start of the year at Tokyo Dome, Yoshinori proved to be infinitely hittable during this afternoon’s contest. Case in point: after striking out Yokohama’s leadoff man, Ishikawa, in the top of the first inning, the young fireballer proceeded to give up five consecutive singles and three earned runs.

Two more would follow in the second inning off of three more hits.

But even after eight hits and five earned runs, Yoshinori still found himself protecting a three run lead.

That’s because Yokohama’s starter, second year player Fujie, sucked even harder. He was somehow able to give up two three-run homers in the first inning, the first to Aoki and the second to Aikawa. Tanaka added another RBI with an RBI single to right.

And then Aoki hit another home run in the second inning. 8-5 Tokyo.

But Yoshinori’s control would continue to suffer in the third, and with Masubuchi warming up in the bullpen, Tokyo’s starter would immediately allow two base hits to set the table for Yokohama’s catcher, Hashimoto. Hashimoto proceeded to smack one of the advertising screen behind the wall in center. Equal levels of suckiness from both pitchers. All tied, 8-8.

And that would be it for Yoshinori.

Enter Masubuchi with no outs and nobody on in the third.

Masubuchi held his own through three innings, not giving up a run, and then Matsuoka, Yoshikawa, and Hashimoto all made appearances that resulted in at least one earned run each.

But then let’s talk about offense again for a moment.

Fujimoto led off the fifth with his third hit of the game, but then Aikawa and Hatakeyama put two outs on the board to make things look instantaneously bleak. But Fukuchi came through with a huge rbi double to left that he was able to stretch into a stand-up triple due to an outfield flub. Iihara then had a pinch hit infield single that allowed Fukuchi to score and make it 10-8 Tokyo.

But the roller-coaster would continue. Yokohama would score three more runs in the seventh. The first was care of a solo home run by Castillo (who went 5-5 with 3 rbi’s by the way!), and Yokohama’s final run of the game came in the eighth off of a Castillo single. 12-10 Yokohama.

Right fielder Aaron Guiel would answer in the bottom of the eighth with a solo shot to right to make it 12-11 Yokohama, and that would summon the moment of truth.

Hashimoto allowed one runner to reach base, but eventually got out of the top of the ninth unscathed. And that set the stage for the heroics.

Aikawa led things off by drawing a crucial walk off of Yokohama closer, Yamaguchi. Rookie Araki followed with his second strikeout in as many at-bats, and left fielder, Fukuchi, flied out to center to put two outs on the board.

Up steps Kawamoto. One of our many mediocre catchers. Pinch hitting for pitcher Hashimoto in this case.

Boom.

Two-run homer to left. Game over.

Swallows win, 13-12.

Ho. Lee. Crap.

Hashimoto (3.86) grabbed the win, his first, while working the eighth and ninth innings. Both Masubuchi and Matsuoka snagged hold points.

Aoki was the outstanding offensive player of the game going 4-5 with four RBIs.

Guiel also had a good afternoon going 2-3 with two walks.

The Tokyo Swallows, believe it or not, have now won all three of the series that they’ve played so far this season.

Weird.

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

  • And the birds are off to another fast start. Are we witnessing the foundation being built for another midsummer crash? Or are we going to see some real stamina and staying power this season?

    It goes without saying that it probably all comes down to injuries and pitching.

  • Pellegrini, you sure you want Yoshinori to last longer than he used to? Maybe his beauty was in his ephemeral nature, like the cherry blossom.

    “Ho. Lee. Crap.”

    There's a player with this name somewhere. If he's a pitcher, we ought to sign him post haste.

    I, for one, shall remain solidly pessimistic about the Birds' prospects, so as not to jinx anything.

    Anyone else notice that, two days in a row, every CL game was decided by one run? There has to be some kind of superstition we can start peddling surrounding that.