8/5/10 – Chunichi (Home)

August 5th, 2010

Chunichi Dragons 0

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5

Streak: Won 3   Last 5: LLWWW

(Jingu Stadium)

Well, the Tokyo Swallows swept the Chunichi Dragons at Jingu. With Yoshinori on the mound. How about that!

Tonite’s lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Fukuchi LF
3. Tanaka 2B
4. Whitesell 1B
5. Hatakeyama 3B
6. Takeuchi RF
7. Kawabata SS
8. Kawamoto C
9. Yoshinori P

Yoshinori pitched what was (very easily) arguably the best start of his career. 126 pitches brought him to the first complete game shutout of his career. And it wasn’t sloppy. Five scattered hits were clouded by eight Ks and a single walk. He benefited from four double plays, but he deserves credit for keeping his pitches down and changing speed effectively tonight.

The birds started off huge in the bottom of the first. Fukuchi and Tanaka started with one out singles before Whitesell came through with a foul ball to right (sorry, it was foul from where I was sitting…when you see the replay, please let me know if I’m wrong) that was called fair. After the five minutes that it took for Ochiai to realize that the call wasn’t going to be reversed, Whitesell’s double stood, and the birds got back to business. 1-0 Tokyo.

One out later, Takeuchi came through with his fifth home run of the season to put the birds in control. 4-0 Tokyo.

As Yoshinori continued to assemble his unexpected complete game shutout, our hitters drew a walk here and there but didn’t really become dangerous until the sixth when Aoki drove in Takeuchi with a single to right. 5-0 Tokyo.

And that was it. Yoshinori pitched out the game without any real hiccups.

He can now brag to his prepubescent friends about a winning record (7-6) and a reasonably respectable ERA (3.93). I don’t want to get my hopes up, but after two complete game wins in a row, maybe this is a sign of things to come…?

On offense, Tanaka, Whitesell and Takeuchi had two hits each. Takeuchi came through with the lion’s share of RBIs with his three run dinger, which reminds the faithful that he’s worth keeping around against right-handed pitching.

The birds now head to Yokohama to lose all of the momentum that they’ve just built against the far superior Chunichi Dragons.

Random thoughts:

With about 19 hours until they face the fearsome BayStars, the Tokyo Swallows are now 5.5 games behind the third place Chunichi Dragons. Enjoy it while it lasts. The BayStars have our number.

Mystically, Yoshinori now has the best winning percentage on the team at .538. Weird.

Thank fook Tanaka was moved out of the two hole so that he can swing away. Hopefully he proves us right by racking up base hits and walks while he’s not serving as Aoki’s chauffeur.

D’Antona didn’t make an appearance in this game.

Tokyo outhit Chunichi 9-5.

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

  • Kozo

    OK… This BayStars have our number bit is a bit overblown. Until we got swept in Fukushima last weekend we had a 6-5 record against the Stars. Even with the sweep we're only down 6-7. Do we underperform against the BayStars? Maybe, but it's not like we have a 3-10 record against them.

    • Fair enough, but I'm referring to a sustained inability to beat NPBs weakest team over a period of at least three seasons. We're hanging in there this season, but historically (very short-term, mind you) they rain on our parade like it's the only thing they know how to do.

      • Kozo

        Last season we had an 11-13 record against the BayStars, and a 15-9 record the year before. The year before that, we were the worst team in the Central League and the BayStars were the one team we had a winning record against (13-11). Should we be doing better? Of course, but we could be doing much worse.

        • You know me–I won't be happy unless it's more like 20-4 on the year.

        • I'd argue that a 11-13 record is doing horribly considering the level of the opposition. Especially when our other competitors for A-Class status don't tend to share our recent struggles against Yokohama.

          If we'd had a record against the BS similar to that of the other 2009 A-Class teams, we'd have strolled into the post-season instead of sneaking in.

  • Kozo

    The 4 double plays meant that Yoshinori only faced 2 batters above the minimum (29) tonight.