6/7/10 – Chiba (Home)

June 7th, 2010

Chiba Lotte Marines 14

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: LWLWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

For six innings it looked as though Tokyo’s two month wait for a series win/two game winning streak would soon be coming to an end. That was before the Marines put up an astounding 10 hit 10 run 7th inning which just proved to illustrate that a) This Lotte team are absolutely devastating when they get on a roll (and they’ve destroyed far stronger teams than us so far this season), b) This Tokyo team’s pitching staff can still be rather brittle, despite the positive strides overall made post-Takada, and c) one should never get complacent as a Swallows fan as things have a habit of biting you on the ass when you least expect it.

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

Lotte took the lead off Muranaka in the 2nd, with a Miyamoto error allowing Nishioka to reach second and Imae punished the error with a single to make it 1-0 Chiba.

But Tokyo came back to take the lead in the 5th off Chiba starter Murphy, Ihara led off the inning with a double and two outs later consecutive hits from Aoiki and Tanaka brought home a run apiece and it was 2-1 Tokyo and things were looking good.

And so to that fateful 7th inning. A one out walk was followed by 3 consecutive singles, the last of which scored 2 runs after Ihara in left and Araki at short made a hash of fielding Nishioka’s flyball to shallow left, 3-2 Chiba. Muranaka was replaced by Masubuchi but the change made little difference with two more singles making it 4-2, before a Kim grandslam made it 8-2 and a solo shot from Saburo made it 9-2. Masabuchi was replaced by Yoshikawa and Aikawa was replaced by Kinugawa behind the plate, but again the changes made little difference as a double and a Satozaki home run, the third of the inning, wrapped up the remarkable inning with the score at 11-2 Chiba. Chiba managed one more single which tied the Pacific League record for consecutive hits in an inning with 10 (The NPB/world record is 11 held by the Swallows).

Another Swallows error, this time from Tanaka, and two hits added 3 more Chiba runs in the 8th as the score started to creep toward that scoreline from two weeks ago, 14-2 Chiba.

And that was about that for this one, except to say that starting rotation member Nakazawa rather randomly made an appearance in relief, pitching a scoreless 9th. 14-2 Chiba Final.

Muranaka took the loss and his record now stands at 3-5/3.47. Masubuchi’s 4 earned runs without an out saw his ERA balloon to 3.00.

So, for the sake our sanity, lets’s draw a line under this one and put it down to a blip on the road to recovery……..

Tokyo now get a day of rest before travelling to Sapporo to face the the current PL cellar dwellers the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters from Wednesday. The two teams will face each other four times over the next week. But before you get too optimistic, let’s not forget that the CL’s worst is a damn sight worse than the PL’s.

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

  • Mac

    There was a lot of cursing at this one…

  • simon

    man, was that ever murderous. there was nothing to do but just laugh. on the positive side, perfect beer garden weather tho!

  • Christopher Amano-Langtree

    I heard an interesting theory recently from my Japanese Swallows friends – Takada wasn't the problem for you guys. He was a reasonable though conventional manager. In the end with the talent he had he did what he could. The problem was Furuta who failed to develop the younger players and pitching and pretty much let it all drift. Furuta wasn't so interested in the team but just in milking Swallows for all he could and promoting himself. I don't know whether this is true or not but I thought you guys might be interested in it – just to shoot it down if nothing else.

  • Furuta certainly had some shortcomings and failing to develop young talent might have been a big part of that.
    That said, Pythagorean analysis shows the Swallows to have been underperforming for the past two years. I went through the painstaking process of doing second and third-order wins last year and that was even more depressing.

    Above all, there's no way Furuta can possibly be blamed for things like Takada insisting on sac bunting every time he got a man on first, regardless of the game situation, Takada fiddling with the line-up constantly, Takada leaving struggling players he liked in games to dig themselves out while erratically benching other players for having less-than-amazing games, Takada not allowing pitchers to settle in to a role, etc.

    Bottom line: Furuta was not ready to manage, Takada was just plain incompetent. I defy anyone to assert that, even after a career in the game, Takada understands baseball or was able to make reasonable decisions based on what was happening on the field.

    In other words, I heartily disagree that Takada was a reasonable manager hampered by sub-par players. The guy was rubbish.

    The deeper problem is that a lot of managers in Japan are rubbish – this is what comes of a system in which managing and coaching jobs are generally treated as rewards for having been a good or popular player rather than as distinct jobs that require their own skill sets. Some great players go on to be great managers, most don't. Some great managers were once great players, but by no means most.