8/3/10 – Chunichi (Home)

August 3rd, 2010


Chunichi Dragons 2

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: WWLLW

(Jingu Stadium)

Aside from a little offense in the first, the birds were dominated at the plate from start to finish, but they still managed to pull out an important win against the third-place Dragons.

Tonite’s lineup:

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

Chunichi got off to a running start in this game thanks to early lackluster fielding in left in which Araki was able to reach second. He then advanced to third on a grounder to first. One out. But in the midst of a Muranaka battle with Blanco, he bounced the 2-2 pitch in the dirt, Aikawa wasn’t able to glove it, and Araki trotted safely home from third. 1-0 Chunichi.

And the Swallows were VERY fortunate to get out of that inning having only surrendered one run as they proceeded to load the bases with a little help from our baby-faced pitcher.

But credit where credit is due. Aoki slapped the first pitch he saw into left before Tanaka Tak-bunted him over to second. Hatakeyama then ripped one up the third base line which allowed Aoki to score and Hatakeyama to record an easy double. 1-1.

Then Whitesell came up big. He waited for something that he liked, and when he found it he roped it over the wall in center field. 3-1 Tokyo.

That was Whitesell’s seventh homer in his still rather short tenure in a Tokyo uniform.

The game quieted down significantly after that. In fact, aside from Aoki’s single to lead off the third, the birds didn’t record another hit after tagging Chen for a very rare three earned runs in the first.

The Dragons, on the other hand, made things interesting in the fourth and sixth before finally scoring another run in the seventh.

A leadoff walk, a sac bunt, plus a one-out walk made things rather easy for Wada who brought a runner home with his second hit of the game. 3-2 Tokyo.

But Tokyo’s slightly fatigued trio of Masubuchi (3.02 ERA), Mastuoka (1.61) and Lim (1.35) buttoned things down properly to give the home side the win against Chen, one of the better pitchers in the Central League.

Heroes honors went to Whitesell and Matsuoka. Matsuoka didn’t deserve the praise given his (count ’em) seven walks, but Whitesell continues to impress.

Whitesell: 23 games, 74 at-bats, 23 hits, 17 RBIs, plus .311/.433/.689 vitals. To spell it out for you, and even though it’s a pretty vague stat, that’s a 1.022 OPS.

Damn.

It seems like Whitesell is on the podium at least twice a week. Can anyone confirm/deny that?

Muranaka recorded his team-leading eighth win of the season against seven losses. His astonishing seven BBs were slightly offset by six Ks in six and two-thirds innings of work (123 pitches). His ERA improved slightly to 3.12, but it wasn’t pretty.

Game two of the series is tomorrow night at 6PM. See you there?

Random thoughts:

The Tokyo Swallows got outhit 8-4 in this contest. It’s nice for this to finally happen in a game that we don’t lose.

Matsuoka’s RIP was over 2.00 in this contest. He was very fortunate to not get tagged with more runs.

Matsuoka continues to lead the league in Ks per nine (8.58). But unfortunately he also leads the league in walks (50 in 115.1 innings).

Tanaka Tak-bunted twice in this game. Ugh.

Why is it that the birds can deal with the Dragons, but the BayStars are annually too much to handle?

The Swallows are now 7.5 games behind Chunichi and a berth in the ever-satisfying Climax Series.

Not that it means anything, but the Dragons and Swallows both have a team batting average of .255. No idea what the team OBPs are (a far more valuable stat, really).

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

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  • SFBird

    It was nice to see the bullpen hold onto the lead down the stretch, though I agree we were lucky to get out of the top of the first with only one run scored. Did anyone get a better look at the tag on second base following that entertaining “pickle” in the 7th? He looked out from where I was sitting, and that cost us a run. Whitesell is a BEAST!!

  • SFBird

    By the way, I prayed for a Swallows home run at the Meiji-jingu shrine before the game following Kozo's instructions, and it would seem that the gods (and Whitesell) heard me! 🙂