6/27/10 – Hanshin (Home)

June 27th, 2010

Hanshin Tigers 4

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 8

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: WLLWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo won a series against a Central League team for the first time since the beginning of April (4/2-4/4 versus Yokohama).

Today’s lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Iihara RF
4. D’Antona 1B
5. Whitesell LF
6. Aikawa C
7. Miyamoto 3B
8. Onizaki SS
9. Yoshinori P

Yoshinori had one of his normal, crappy outings on the mound and did not deserve the win today. However, there may be a method to his recurring mediocrity–walking batters is definitely preferable to extra base hits.

But honestly, his inability to locate his pitches is infuriating. How many more seasons are we going to have to deal with this?

The Swallows started the scoring in the bottom of the second with Fossum on the mound for Hanshin. D’Antona fouled off five pitches before parking the 10th pitch of his at-bat, a 3-2 slider, in the reserved seats in left. 1-0 Tokyo.

It was D’Antona’s 11th home run of 2010. And D’Antona added another RBI in the third with a sac fly to right that brought home Aoki who had earlier reached base on a Toritani fielding error. 2-0 Tokyo.

For those keeping track, Tanaka was thankfully not able to properly lay down the Tak-bunt after Aoki reached base. The reason I say this is because he was soon hit in the foot by a pitch with two strikes against him.

But then came the inevitable rough inning for Yoshinori in the fifth. A walk, a botched pickoff attempt at second on a hit and run (Hirano struck out swinging), and another walk meant that it was runners on first and third with one out. Arai then brought home a run and Brazell did the same to level the score. 2-2.

The birds shrugged it off though and put three more runs on the board in the bottom of that inning. Tanaka and Iihara hit back-to-back one out singles before Whitesell cleared the bases with a hard-spinning blooper to shallow left that spun all the way back to the corner after Lin slipped on an invisible banana peel.

Whitesell had himself a stand-up two-RBI triple and his second spot on the hero’s podium in as many days.

Aikawa would later bring Whitesell home from third with a two out single to center. 5-2 Swallows.

In the sixth, Fukuchi had a pinch-hit double and scored on Aoki’s single off the wall in right. 6-2 Tokyo.

Kanemoto’s two run dinger in the eighth made things interesting with Matsuoka on the mound, but that was the end of the scoring for Hanshin. 6-4 Swallows.

Tokyo put two extra insurance runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth. This cancelled out Lim’s chance of getting a save, but whatever. Aikawa led off with a well-hit home run to left, and Miyamoto recorded his third hit of the game to the exact same spot in shallow right to keep things going. Two outs later, Aoki and Tanaka recorded back-to-back singles, the latter resulting in an RBI and a final scoreline of 8-4 Tokyo.

Lim (0.81 ERA) faced four batters and got out of the ninth on 11 pitches.

Yoshinori was only tagged with one of the two runs that crossed home on his watch. He threw 115 pitches in only five innings of work while allowing five hits, striking out four and walking six. The win brought his record to 4-5 while his ERA now sits at 4.06.

Matsuoka struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth, but then he got a little bit sloppy and left some pitches up. The biggest mistake was that high 2-2 fastball that resulted in a two-run homer. Matsuoka’s ERA jumped from 0.93 to 1.50 in his 32nd appearance of the year. Yes, he’s being used too much. And no, Ogawa will probably not stop using him.

Oshimoto (3.38) and Masubuchi (4.46) pitched one scoreless inning each in relief.

Four Tokyo starters had at least two hits.

D’Antona, Whitesell and Aikawa recorded two RBIs each.

Random notes:

Today was Miyamoto’s second three-hit game of the season.

Yoshinori got behind in the count (2-0) to six of the batters he faced. He threw first pitch balls to nearly half of the batters that came to the plate during his five innings of work.

The birds outhit the Tigers 13-9. It was the first time in quite a while that Hanshin wasn’t able to record double-digit hits.

D’Antona and Whitesell, former teammates in Arizona, shared the heroes podium after today’s game.

Whitesell was 1-1 with a triple and two walks.

Following Aikawa’s homer, Onizaki’s Tak-bunt in the eighth failed as Arai threw to second to force Miyamoto out. Miraculously, the birds were still able to score.

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

  • Kozo

    More Random Notes:
    Kanemoto's 2 run homer in the 8th was #450 for his career, making him the 13th player to accomplish that feat.
    Also, those two runs were the first runs Matsuoka has given up this month. Matsuoka had managed 9 and 2/3 innings of shut out ball, in 11 appearances, prior to the Kanemoto homerun with 2 outs in the 8th.

  • Yoshinori leads the league in one category: walks (34). That's his tally through 68 2/3 innings. For the record, he's tied for second on the team in K's (52).

  • matt

    Hey guys – I'm new to baseball but watched the game on Justin.tv thanks to a handy tip from one of your staff.

    Just wondering – why did Craig Brazell get so pissed off when Yoshinori hit him with a ball? Wasn't it an accident?

    Cheers

    Matt

    • Matt,
      Did Brazell get beaned today? Yoshinori did throw a couple of pitches that were a little close, one of them was a misfire that bounced in the dirt before reaching the plate, but I don't think that Brazell actually got hit.

  • Andy

    Brazell got hit by a pitch (maybe in the 4th, can't remember), but it was called a strike because he swung at it. He then started accusing Yoshinori of engaging in dubious relations with his mother, several times. Was pretty funny. Got all riled up and struck out swinging on the next pitch, continuing his foul-mouthed tirade as he returned to the bench. Why do the best bits never make the highlights reel?!!

    • Ah, I guess I missed that. Sorry.

      One explanation for his reaction, and this goes back to Matt's question above, is that Brazell has bad memories from his days at Seibu when he missed the playoffs due to a beanball to the head in the last game of the regular season.

      Brazell, as he told me personally a couple of weeks after that game, had to be escorted out of the stadium by security so that he wouldn't go after the pitcher (Rakuten kid, if memory serves).

      In other words, he has a history of getting grumpy when a baseball touches him.

      Another explanation is that he was just trying to intimidate Yoshinori. If that's the case, then judging by Yoshinori's performance in the fifth, I'd say that the jawing had the intended effect.

      In other

  • matt

    I don't really understand this aspect of baseball I guess. I'm Australian, and in cricket if a delivery hits the batsman it's just considered to be unlucky. If a delivery injures a batsman, its considered to be really unlucky and the bowler rushes forward to check that he's okay.

    I'm guessing pitchers are completely at fault in baseball? Shouldn't he just have got out of the way?

    • Matt, basically yes – as long as the batter doesn't swing or lean way over the plate and try to get hit, the pitcher is considered to be at fault in that the batter will get a free trip to first base.

  • Marc

    Personally, I'm gutted they seem to have pretty much decided to dump Aaron for Whitesell. I'm pretty sure he's not pleased either, but he'll be invariably too polite to mention it in public.

  • eorl

    matt: a hit by pitch can be intended or not.
    first of all, the batter always has to try to get out of the way, but this is not alway possible.
    it happens from time to time that the pitcher loses control of his trow and the ball just gets away and hits the batter. this is the most common reason for HBP. the pitcher gives a signal that he's sorry and the game goes on.
    it's also possibile that the pitcher wants to scare the batter off and pitches way inside, sometimes resulting in a HBP. and of course every now and then the pitcher ist just mad at the batter for whatever reason and hits him on purpose for revenge.
    in this case the pitcher is ejected.

  • Matt

    ah okay. cheers everyone, appreciate it

  • Kozo

    Speaking of reacting to dead balls, here's a clip of my favorite deadball reaction from NPB. Featuring the Swallows own Ishikawa against Tony Batista. Skip ahead to around 0:25.



    • I do believe was there for that one.

      Now I like to laugh at wee Masanori's shitting of pants in this video as much as the next guy, but there is a little context to this which may help explain it.

      A few weeks before this, then-Swallows (and now Yomiuri via Hokkaido) starter Shugo Fujii was absolutely pummelled on the mound by Chunichi slugger Tyrone Woods, who had taken exception to a pitch (not really all that) high and inside and charged the mound.

      Thus Ishikawa was naturally a little twitchy, and I believe the Woods/Fujii incident was what led Bastita to pretend to charge the mound as a rather cruel joke at Ishikawa's expense.

      It is funny though.

  • I do believe was there for that one.Now I like to laugh at wee Masanori’s shitting of pants in this video as much as the next guy, but there is a little context to this which may help explain it.A few weeks before this, then-Swallows (and now Yomiuri via Hokkaido) starter Shugo Fujii was absolutely pummelled on the mound by Chunichi slugger Tyrone Woods, who had taken exception to a pitch (not really all that) high and inside and charged the mound. Thus Ishikawa was naturally a little twitchy, and I believe the Woods/Fujii incident was what led Bastita to pretend to charge the mound as a rather cruel joke at Ishikawa’s expense.It is funny though.