8/1/10 – Yokohama (“Home”)

August 1st, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Yokohama BayStars 3

Streak: Lost 2   Last 5: WWWLL

(Home away from home game in Iwaki)

The two unearned runs surrendered in the eighth were the difference in this game as the birds dropped their second in a row to sixth-place Yokohama.

Tokyo’s lineup:

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

Yokohama got one run in the first on a walk and two base-hits. 1-0 Yokohama.

Not counting a very hairy, yet ultimately scoreless, sixth inning, Barnette only allowed one more runner after the first.

Unfortunately for Barnette, while he was busy locking the Yokohama bats down with good pitched, the Tokyo offense wasn’t able to get any good clusters of production at the plate.

The game-leveling run finally came in the bottom of the seventh when a Tak-bunt (arguably) led to a run being scored. Aikawa was able to score from second on Kawabata’s single to center with one out (Miyamoto Tak-bunt). 1-1.

But the wheels fell off in the eighth with Matsuoka on the mound. Uchikawa led off by drawing a walk on a full count, and then Ishikawa recorded the first out by grounding out to second (Uchikawa safe at second).

Guiel then misplayed Harper’s fly ball to right which allowed Uchikawa to reach third and Harper to find second with one out. Matsuoka then threw a wild one which allowed Uchikawa to score the game-winning run. 2-1 Yokohama.

Pinch runner, Nonaka (in for Harper), was then able to scamper home on a groundout to short. 3-1 Yokohama.

And that’s all she wrote.

Even though he didn’t factor in the decision, Barnette had one of his better games of the past eight weeks. He lasted seven full innings and gave up just one run off of three hits. His pitch count reached 117, and he had six Ks against three walks.

Barnette’s record remains at 3-5 while his ERA improved marginally to 5.89.

Matsuoka (2-2, 1.65) took the loss despite not giving up any earned runs. He didn’t exactly absolve himself of all guilt, however, as he had a walk and a wild pitch in his one inning of 22-pitch work.

Takagi (4.77) and Watanabe (7.20) tag-teamed the ninth.

The most potent bat in the Tokyo lineup was probably Aikawa who reached base three times (BB, single, double). Tanaka also had two singles.

Tokyo has the day off Monday before welcoming the third-place Chunichi Dragons to town for three game series starting on Tuesday at 6PM.

Random thoughts:

The birds outhit the BayStars 8-3 in this contest.

The Swallows are now 6-7 against the last place Yokohama BayStars.

Tokyo is 8.5 games behind third place and a spot in the playoffs.

The Chunichi Dragons have scored only five more, and allowed only three fewer, runs than the Swallows so far this season.

Chunichi leads the Central League (and is second in NPB) with a team ERA of 3.71. Tied for number two in the Central are Tokyo and Hanshin at 3.96. Hokkaido leads NPB with a 3.70 team ERA which is, incidentally, only good enough for fifth in the Pacific League.

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