9/1/10 — Yomiuri (Away)

September 1st, 2010

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Yomiuri Giants 3

Streak: Drew 1   Last 5: WLLWD

(Tomiyama)

After finishing out a very respectable August with an 18-8 record, by far the best W-L tally in the Central League, the birds began September with a draw.

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. Ishikawa P

Ishikawa gave up three hits and one run in the first to make things interesting. 1-0 Yomiuri.

He allowed just one more runner in the three following innings, but Yomiuri got to him again in the fifth when another three hits resulted in two runs.

This was just after Tokyo had tied things up in the fourth care of a Whitesell single and an Aikawa RBI double to left. 3-1 Yomiuri.

But the Swallows slowly clawed their way back into the game. A one out Hatakeyama double in the sixth was followed by a two out Miyamoto double to cut the deficit to one. 3-2 Yomiuri.

It was then Miyamoto’s bat that tied the game for good in the eighth when his single past Sakamoto at short scored Fukuchi who was pinch-running for Hatakeyama. 3-3 Final.

The birds were far more dangerous than Yomiuri from the 9th through the 12th inning–six baserunners to the Giants’ one–but no more runs were scored.

Ishikawa put in six innings of eight hit, three run baseball. His ERA blipped slightly to 3.83 while his record held fast at 10-8.

Ogawa used a total of six relievers in this game–two of them faced only one batter each. Oshimoto (3.38 ERA) pitched the seventh, and Watanabe (3.86) threw a grand total of two pitches in his effort to get rid of Ogasawara. He was successful (fly ball to right) and was awarded with a seat on the bench.

Matsuoka (2.51) finished out the eighth and also pitched a scoreless ninth. Lim (1.43) then entered the game in the 10th and pitched not one but two perfect innings.

Lee (24.00), making his first appearance in eons, was then called into a high pressure situation with the draw on the line and responded by striking out the two batters he faced.

Not wanting to allow Lee to ruin a good thing, Ogawa opted to sit him down in favor of Matsui (3.91) to face pinch hitter, Tani, with two outs on the board. The move proved effective as Matsui struck out Yomiuri’s last man to safeguard the draw.

Offensively, both Aikawa and Miyamoto had 3-6 evenings at the plate. Aoki also chipped in with a pair of hits and a walk.

The birds now have the day off before heading to Yokohama tomorrow to begin a three-game series against the worst team in NPB.

Random thoughts:

Tanaka is second in the league with 36 Tak-bunts. Number 36 came in the first inning and was unsuccessful in eventuating a run for Tokyo. Number 37 nearly came in the ninth as he wasted the majority of his at-bat in a bunting stance before eventually grounding out to second (however, he was able to move the runner over).

Tanaka’s real Tak-bunt stance and his fake Tak-bunt stance (ie. he’s actually planning to swing) look nothing alike. The infielders didn’t move in at all on the fake version.

The second best August record in the Central went to Chunichi (14-12).

The Swallows are now five games behind third place Chunichi.

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

  • Since Takada’s departure back on May 26th (mark your calendars!) the birds have been the best team in the Central League with a 44-25-1 record through the end of August.

    Unfortunately, Chunichi just isn’t losing enough these days.

  • This season’s current record against the Giants of 9-9-1 is also unheard of in recent years. In fact I would wager the last time we had a winning record against them was when we won it all in 2001….?

  • Yep, that’s the sad thing. Chunichi look far too professional/consistent to let that lead slip.

  • We have a series at home, the last of the season, against the Dragons on September 18th-20th (Sat-Mon). There’s also an as-yet-unscheduled makeup game against them that will also be played at Jingu.

    Four HUGE games.

    This isn’t 2009’s Central League, that’s for sure.

  • And Yomiuri hasn’t beat Tokyo in six straight games which has to be some kind of record.

  • Oh, and for the record, Ellen DeGeneres is now our most famous follower on Twitter (more than 5 million followers).

    Sorry, Dave, you’re now number two.

  • Rob

    I checked to see who the starters were going to be before the game last night and – silly me, it’s Wednesday, so of course it’s Ishikawa. Can’t wait to see who gets the sixth slot in the rotation this week.

    Last Drags games at Jingu will be 9/26 and 10/7. (The last one isn’t on the Yahoo schedule for some reason.)

    I’m not seeing the Dragons implode, so my hopes hinge on the Tigers fizzling out or the Giants nodding off to sleep, and TYS stepping up to fill the gap.

  • Rob

    Scratch that – just a two game series with the Giants, so we don’t have to scrape up a sixth pitcher. right? We can just push Yoshinori back a day and leave it at that, right? Please?

  • We are now 5.5 games behind 3rd place Chunichi, and 8 games behind 1st place Hanshin.
    Since are next two series are against Yokohama and Hiroshima, hopefully we can build up some kind of streak, while the top teams beat each other up.
    But god, I hate The Dragons so much right now.