7/7/10 – Hanshin (Away)

July 7th, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Hanshin Tigers 3

Streak: Lost 3  Last 5: WWLLL

(Koshien)

Tokyo fell to their third straight loss as they again struggled to get their offence working against Hanshin at Koshien.

With Whitesell out of action after taking one on the knee the evening prior, it was a case of “as you were” with the lineup accommodating both Guiel and D’Antona in the 4 and 5 spots:

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

Nakazawa, making his first start against Hanshin, wasn’t at his best as he let a lot of men on base over the course of his 6 innings, and was rather fortunate to only give up the 3 runs he did.

He had himself an early lead though, as Aoki hit a solo homer (no.6 for the year and his 99th hit of the season) to centre to lead off the game off homeless Hanshin starter Shimoyanagi, 1-0 Tokyo.

After that, Nakazawa gave up a double in the 1st, another double and a walk in the 2nd before finally surrendering the lead in the 3rd. A walk for Hirano and a single for the impressive Murton put two men on before back to back singles for Brazell and Johjima brought home a run apiece to make things 2-1 Hanshin.

But the lead didn’t last long as another solo homer in the top of the 4th, this time from Aikawa (no.7 for the year), drew things level at 2-2.

Nakazawa again managed to escape further runs in the 4th despite giving up a two-out single and double, but it was in the 6th when his luck would finally run out. With one out on the board, Sekimoto came in to bat for Shimoyanagi and hit his own solo homer that just stayed fair in right to put the Tigers ahead 3-2.

But with a misfiring Watanabe taking the mound in relief in the 7th, Tokyo were presented with their best chance to get back into the game. A lead off walk for Aikawa was followed up by groundouts from Miyamoto and Onizaki which moved the runner to third. Ueda then pinch hit for Nakazawa and was plunked on the foot to put men on the corners for the in-form Aoki. Except he could only tamely ground out to second and the inning, and the chance, was over.

And with Kubota and Fujikawa shutting down things in the 8th and 9th that would end up being their final chance, 3-2 Hanshin Final.

Nakazawa took the loss for his 6 innings of 9 hit/3 run baseball (with 2 walks and 1 strikeout) and his record now sits at 5-5/3.91. Oshimoto (3.09) and Matsuoka (136) both worked scoreless innings in relief.

Tokyo were outhit 10-5 as they never managed more than a hit an inning. Guiel was 0 for 3 (all strikeouts) with a HBP and is now batting .196.

Aoki and Aikawa pretty much were Tokyo’s offence as they both managed two singles and two solo homers between them. Aoki’s single in the 3rd inning was his 100th hit of the season.

Tokyo return to the home of the great yellow unwashed tomorrow evening to try and avoid the sweep. Let’s hope they can manage it.

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

  • Kozo

    With Nakazawa's start tonight, we've now used all of our “regular” starters. Takaichi is the only other potential starter on the roster right now, but he's already made 2 appearances. If reports are to be believed, Barnette will be called up to fill the hole in the rotation.

    Assuming Whitesell's injury is not serious, and YakyuBaka says he'll be back by the 9th, who do we send down to make room for Tony? D'Antona or Guiel? Any player we send down will not be able to return to the active roster for 10 days.

    • Kozo

      Scratch that! I don't think they're going to call up Barnette to start. He just pitched 2 innings against the Giants farm team today. Either they'll call up someone like Ryo Kawashima, or start Ishikawa on 4 days rest. Any other guesses?

      • Yakyu Baka are calling Takagi as a potential starter. A move which I have no problem with whatsoever.