6/15/10 – Hokkaido (Home)

June 15th, 2010

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 10

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWWWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo’s longest winning streak of the season came to a screeching halt at the hands of the Hokkaido Fighters who refused to be swept. In fact, they were so adamant about not being swept that they used seven pitchers over nine innings to keep the home team guessing.

And it worked.

Tonite’s lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Guiel RF
4. D’Antona 1B
5. Iihara LF
6. Aikawa C
7. Yoshimoto 3B
8. Fujimoto SS
9. Tateyama P

Unlike Muranaka the night before, Tokyo starter Tateyama didn’t fare so well in the wet conditions. He gave up a run in three of the first four innings, two of them coming off of solo home runs. 3-0 Hokkaido.

But the end of his evening was hastened and exacted in the fifth when the Fighters plate five more runs off of four hits, an HBP and some other nonsense. 8-0 Visitors.

Here’s a summary of Tateyama’s evening: eight runs (all earned) off of 11 hits (three homers) with six K’s and a single beanball mixed in. His record now stands at 3-5 and his ERA ballooned violently to 4.01 after those five innings of pure trouble.

The birds were only able to collect one hit during the first five innings as Hokkaido used three different pitchers to keep everyone guessing.

The final four innings would see four different Hokkaido hurlers, and the Swallows had to settle for a Fujimoto solo homer in the seventh (his second of the year). 8-1 Hokkaido.

And their final run came in the ninth when Takeuchi scored care of a Fukukawa single.

But that wasn’t before Katoh came in and made a total hash of the top of that inning to allow the Fighters to score two more.

10-2 Final.

Oshimoto pitched a scoreless sixth to lower his ERA to 3.86, and De La Cruz made his first top team appearance of the season while pitching two innings of slightly nerve-wracking, yet ultimately scoreless, baseball to maintain a triple-bagel ERA.

D’Antona and Fukukawa, who got a couple of at-bats in place of Aikawa, were the only players to reach base twice for the Swallows. Both of D’Antona’s appearances on first were due to walks while Fukukawa went 1-1 with an RBI single and a walk.

The Swallows now have two days off before they resume regularly scheduled Central League programming with a three-game series in Hiroshima starting this Friday.

Random thoughts:

The birds were thoroughly controlled on offense. They managed only four hits and five walks.

The Fighters came up with 17 hits, 1 BB and 1 HBP.

The Swallows won the four-game interleague series versus the Fighters 3-1. It was their best result of their otherwise lackluster interleague campaign.

Tokyo finished the interleague portion of the season with a 9-14-1 record. That was good enough for 11th place. Last place went to Yokohama.

Tonite’s foes, the Hokkaido Fighters, finished the interleague schedule with the best team ERA–2.58–very impressive!

The Fighters finished sixth. Interestingly, the five teams that bested them during interleague play were all from the Pacific League.

Yomiuri had the best interleague record for the Central at 12-12.

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

    It seems the Fighters were forced to use all those pitchers because their starter (Masui) was forced off the mound due to injury.

  • The Fighters still have one more interleague game tonight against Chunichi.

    Yeah, Masui got injured. We were all pretty surprised when they pulled him. Guess this makes up for the first time I ever Sakakibara start and HE got carried off the field after an inning…

    Great weather last night too, I had to stop keeping score in the 5th due to the rain, but I still had a pretty good time.

    BTW, as the token diehard Mikinori Katoh fan around here, I want to point out that he hadn't given up a run yet this year before Takaguchi's homer. I realize he probably pitched better at Jingu in college than he did last night, but still, I hold out hope that he will be a fantastic pitcher someday.

    I look forward to the Yakult-Gomiuri series next week!

  • Mac

    I'm not sure that last nighit constituted good weather. Maybe for the prepared! 🙂

    Luckily I did have an industrial-sized umbrella capable of shielding four people under it.

    A disappointing night from our perspective, with the only consolation being that it was a relatively quick game by Japanese standards. There was further upset in that, upon arriving home, there was no one broadcasting the footy. Shambolic.

  • Been away for a few days, but it's good to see the BayStars put in their place 😛