7/27/10 – Hiroshima (Home)

July 27th, 2010

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 3

Tokyo Swallows 7

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: LLLWW

(Jingu Stadium)

Muranaka and the Tokyo Swallows started the second half of the 2010 campaign with a bang as they tallied four homers en route to a rather easy win against fifth-place Hiroshima.

The way Muranaka pitched, however, didn’t allow it to materialize into the full-on trouncing that it should have been.

Tonite’s lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Iihara RF
4. Whitesell 1B
5. Hatakeyama LF
6. Aikawa C
7. Miyamoto 3B
8. Kawabata SS
9. Muranaka P

Hiroshima got off on the wrong foot before the game even started. With Muranaka, a lefty, slated to start the game for Tokyo, the Carp curiously had a righty throwing batting practice.

Oops.

But they got on the board first anyway.

An HBP to lead things off in the second got ugly when Hirose dropped a somewhat lucky double between Tanaka and Iihara in shallow right. With runners on second and third, Yamamoto (yeah, Carp fans hadn’t heard of him either) came up with a sac fly to right. 1-0 Hiroshima.

Whitesell hit what was probably the longest ball hit at Jingu so far this season in the third inning.

But the Swallows turned things right around in the bottom of that inning, and it all started with a Hatakeyama line-drive homer to right to level the game. 1-1.

Aikawa and Miyamoto put back-to-back outs on the board for the first of four times in this game to add a little bit of darkness to the situation, but Kawabata bounced one up the middle to keep things going.

Muranaka then patiently waited for something fast and up in the zone. He was easily able to beat the drawn-in outfield with a stand-up RBI double off the wall in center-field to give himself the lead. 2-1 Tokyo.

Aoki then drew a full-count walk which again made things hairy for Hiroshima starter, Shimoda.

Oh, and for those of you that are asking the question, “Why isn’t Maeda starting this game?” Well, that one’s easy. The genius at the helm of the visitor’s dugout, Nomura, decided that he’d save Maeda for the team’s weekend series versus Yomiuri. Apparently he has decided that beating Yomiuri is a more expedient way to make the playoffs than beating the team (that would be us) that is directly in their way.

We here at Tsubamegun salute you, Mr. Nomura.

Idiot.

Anyway, back to the second inning. With two out and two on, Tanaka knocked one to center that allowed the loping Muranaka to score from second. 3-1 Tokyo.

Two more runs came in the third when Whitesell and Hatakeyama hit back-to-back solo homers to put Muranaka in the driver’s seat with a 5-1 lead.

But he insisted on keeping things interesting.

The lead-off walk in the fourth would come back to haunt Tokyo’s lanky lefty when a single to left-sac bunt-single to right combo dragged one back for the visitors. 5-2 Tokyo.

It would probably have gotten worse if not for a well-timed double play which let Muranaka off the hook.

He got the first two outs in the fifth without too much trouble but then wobbled again by allowing a single-BB-RBI single progression for 5-3 Tokyo.

Muranaka held on for six innings and gave up three earned runs off of seven hits. He took the win (7-7; 3.15 ERA), but it wasn’t his prettiest of the year. He recorded only two strikeouts against three walks and an HBP in what was one of his worst nights of the season as far as control goes.

The birds allowed only one more runner after that (a walk to start the seventh) as Masubuchi (3.05 ERA), Matsuoka (1.69) and Lim (1.39) buttoned things up for the home team.

Meanwhile, Iihara hit Tokyo’s fourth solo homer of the game in the seventh, and Whitesell’s follow-up walk translated into another run when pinch runner, Fukuchi, easily stole second and then scored on Hatakeyama’s double down the left-field line. 7-4 Final.

Muranaka was selected as one of the heroes of the game for some unknown reason, but the real standout was Hatakeyama (who shared the podium after the game). He went 3-4 with three RBIs and 10 total bases. The homers were numbers four and five on the season for the big man.

For those who are counting, Whitesell hit his sixth (an absolute mammoth shot on a rather slow curve, by the way), and Iihara hit his seventh.

Not bad for a night’s work.

Hopefully this is the start of a more productive second half of the season!

Random thoughts:

It’s fireworks season at Jingu! There’s a decent display that lights the sky after the first half of the fifth inning.

Whitesell is doing a decent job of controlling the strike zone.

Muranaka leads the team with seven wins. Nakazawa has six, and both Ishikawa and Yoshinori have five so far.

Muranaka is tied for the team lead (with Yoshinori) in walks with 43. For what it’s worth, he leads the team in strikeouts as well with 104. Yoshinori is second in that department with 66.

Hatakeyama is currently hitting .286/.329/.603.

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

  • No

    Are they doing the fireworks thru August or just at certain games?