5/13/10 – Orix (Home)

May 13th, 2010

Orix Buffaloes 9

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 2   Last 5: LLWLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Given the paucity of runs generated by the Swallows offence of late, the main way for the birds to stand a chance of winning games is for their pitching to be watertight. Tonight was not one of those nights.

  1. Fukuchi (LF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Aoki (CF)
  4. D’Antona (1B)
  5. Guiel (RF)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Fujimoto (SS)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Barnette (P)

Tony Barnette started and got behind early, giving up a run off two hits, with veteran slugger Alex Cabrera batting in the first of what would be 7 RBIs, 1-0 Orix.

Tokyo’s only runs of the game then followed in the 3rd off Buffaloes starter Komatsu. Aaron Guiel reached base due to a Cabrera error at first, and he showed good hustle to reach home via a Miyamoto double for 1-1. Fujimoto then brought home the second run for 2-1 Tokyo. And that was as good as it got.

Two runs off three hits followed in the top of the 3rd, the second of which coming off a bases loaded HBP for 3-2 Orix.

Takada had evidently seen enough of Barnette for the evening and called for Ryo Kawashima from the bullpen. Ryo worked scoreless 4th and 5th innings despite letting two men on each inning. Then it was time for two innings from Masubuchi, whose two walks and two allowed hits in the 6th allowed Orix to move ahead 5-2. Amazingly, those were Masubuchi’s first earned runs of 2010 (in his 13th appearance).

And the Buffalloes added the exclamation point to proceedings in the 8th as Yoshikawa took the mound. A Fujimoto dropped flyball error, two walks, a groundout (with the out made at home) set the table for Alex Cabrera, who hit a grandslam homer that snuck over the fence in right to make it 9-2 Orix. I’d like to detail the spirited Swallows late inning fightback that followed, but if you’re reading this site then you likely know how things go, 9-2 Orix Final.

Tony Barnette took the loss and his record now stands at 2-3/5.06.

TV coverage of tonight’s game showed several shots of fans leaving Jingu after Cabrera’s homer interspersed with shots of Takada’s blinking mug . I’ve never seen them focus on that before and it’s clear the pressure on Takada is mounting. Though after the front office recently expressed their faith in their man, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a change. One thing is clear though, and that’s that the team are in trouble and it’s difficult to see anything improving anytime soon. Chances are on the whole just not being created with any kind of regularity, and the pitching staff is just not so good that it can restrict the opposition to 2 or 3 runs every evening to keep Tokyo in games. Oh, and did I mention the manager is an imbecile?

TAKADA COUNT: 4. This cannot go on for much longer. Can it? Please tell me it can’t……..

The shambles will likely continue on Saturday as the Softbank Hawks visit Jingu for two games. They must be licking their lips.

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

  • Even Miyamoto is showing signs of how down the mood on the team is. It was evident tonite that confidence and belief in the cause are somewhere near rock-bottom right now. You can see it in most players' body language.

    The non-Japanese sluggers are the scapegoats at the moment, but nobody is performing at the level that they have shown they are capable of. That includes Aoki. That includes Tanaka and Fukuchi. That includes some of our more reliable pitchers.

    And we can blame the players all we want, but it's not that simple. These guys spend the majority of their waking hours together. They're a family. We don't get to see how depressed the atmosphere can be from day to day–during practices and team meetings. This family is dysfunctional right now. That type of negative energy can easily keep people from playing to their potential.

    Things are not working well right now, and they're probably not destined to change drastically. Something big needs to happen–an adjustment needs to be made.

    Takada needs to see the writing on the wall and resign before he is forced to leave. A decent manager could lead this team to second place in the Central. With some exquisite luck, Takada can hope for yet another .500 (give or take five games) season.

    He surely heard the calls for his head when he left the stadium today. Incidentally, this evening was the first time that I have seen Japanese fans give someone the finger. And they were all directed at the manager as he was ushered out of the stadium by a throng of cameras and Jingu personnel.

    Get out now, Mr. Takada. Your meager legacy depends on it.