10/10/10 – Hiroshima (Home)

October 10, 2010


Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 6

Streak: Lost 1 Last 5: WLWWL

(Jingu Stadium)

This is the way the season ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

With apologies to to T.S. Eliot, that’s the way things went. While Chiba notched their second close win over Saitama to advance to the second round of the Climax Series, the Central League season was finally trundling to an end. (Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it, that one league would be into the second round of the playoffs before the other league had even started?)

Muranaka started tonight’s game needing 14 Ks to pull ahead of Hiroshima’s Maeda, who wasn’t pitching tonight, to take the strike out crown and knock young Maeda out of Triple Crown territory.

Instead, he notched only two Ks, while giving up 11 hits and no walks on his way to letting in five earned runs in as many innings. Not the night he had in mind, to be sure.

The line-ups:

Tokyo:

  1. Aoki
    See you next year.
  2. Noguchi
  3. Hatakeyama
  4. D’Antona
  5. Iihara
  6. Aikawa
  7. Miyamoto
  8. Kawabata
  9. Muranaka

Hiroshima:

  1. Soyogi
  2. Kimura
  3. Iwamoto
  4. Kurihara
  5. Hirose
  6. Akamatsu
  7. Kokubo
  8. Ishihara
  9. Soriano

Muranaka started the game by giving up a base hit to Soyogi, who managed to snake his way over to third on a sac bunt and a foul tip before being driven in by a Kurihara round-tripper. 2-0 Hiroshima.

Soriano got two grounders to first, then a K against Hatakeyama to bring his offense back up, whence Akamatsu led with a double, was moved to third on a grounder, and was batted in by Ishihara, who was then put 90 feet from home by a Soyogi single before Kimura mercifully grounded out. 3-0 Hiroshima.

The Swallows squeezed out a little juice in the second. D’Antona doubled deep, Iihara singled, moving him to third, then a Miyamoto grounder back to the mound allowed him to score. 3-1 Hiroshima.

In the top of the fourth, Kokubo singled, then was driven all the way home by an Ishihara double. Ishihara was then allowed in step by step to make it 5-1 Hiroshima.

In the bottom of the fifth, Kawamoto pinch hit for Muranaka and grounded out, as did Kawabata before him. Aoki came through, though, as did Noguchi following him, putting them both in scoring position for Hatake’s big liner to center that drove them both in. A D’Antona double made things exciting. It got even more exciting when Iihara smacked another line drive. . . which was nabbed a split second later. To give credit where it’s due, Soyogi dove towards second for a highlight reel catch, leaving the score 5-3 Hiroshima.

In the top of the sixth, the retiring Yuki (as in no longer playing, not as in personality) came in for his largely ceremonial last fling and Ishihara dutifully struck out by letting a fastball down the middle go by, what looked like a big, goofy eephus go next, and swinging without conviction at another fastball down the middle. Yuki thus left this game and the game and Masubuchi took over giving up a hit to Soyogi, but striking out Soriano and getting out the inning unscathed.

On the other side of that frame, the Carp brought Ueno in to pitch. (Why let Soriano bat if you’re going to pull him?) Fukuchi and Miyamoto were both retired (from the at-bat, not their careers) before Kawabata knocked one into the home fans. Kawamoto weakly hit the first pitch he saw to get thrown out at first before “Tokyo Ondo” was even over. 5-4 Hiroshima.

Oshimoto took over in the seventh, giving us our first 1-2-3 inning and netting himself a K. He pitched a quick 1-2-3 in the eighth, too.

Shida came in for Iihara in the eighth and weakly grounded out to end his long, if largely quiet career with the Swallows.

In the top of the ninth, though, Matsuoka, making his 74th appearance of the season (no, I’m not exaggerating), gave up a homer to Shima and that would be the final: 6-4 Hiroshima.

Retirement ceremonies followed. Shida cried, Yuki didn’t.

We’ll still be here, posting on the playoffs, updating the faithful in the offseason, but, for those of you who follow a Tokyo baseball site for Tokyo baseball, we’ll see you next Spring.

Don’t forget to check the standings and Player Stats pages for year-end numbers.

  • Anonymous

    Well, we didn’t make the playoffs, but it’s been a good season with plenty to build on for next year.

    Thanks for all your hard work on the site. It really is great for us non-Japanese reading Swallows fans. Much appreciated. And I’ll be checking in for updates on players etc throughout the off season!

    Thanks,
    James

  • Well it was an interesting season to say the least.
    I am really looking forward to what Ogawa could do with a full season under his wings. Hopefully Lim will still be around, as well as Aoki, who I keep hearing disturbing rumors about.
    Anyways, this site has been fantastic again this season, and I hope you keep us updated in the offseason. Thanks a lot for everything!

  • Holtaway

    thanks again for running the site guys 🙂

  • They announced several times at the game that Swallows Fan Day is November 23rd. I don’t know if I can make it, but I would expect a few people from here to go…

  • Susanthom

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Not only do you report the facts, but you give all of us in the USA a feel for what is “really going on” on the other side of the world. I read that Lim, D’Antona, and Whitesell are being pursued for the 2011 Swallows roster. Swallows in 2011 could be the best ever!!!! Again, thank you for your dedication. Without you, we would be in the dark.

  • Na

    As someone who took a brief baseball tour through Japan this year and for no good reason latched on to the Swallows, I’d like to thank you for providing some much-needed English reporting on the team. While they didn’t make the playoffs, it is good to see them turn their season around and finish over .500, unlike my MLB team this year. *sigh*

  • Bob Whitesell

    I also would like to thank you for your dedication in reporting about the Swallows. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity that your site has provided to follow my son and the rest of the Swallows as they turned their season around.

    • Anonymous

      Welcome Bob. And congratulations, Josh has been superb since he arrived.

      Have you had the chance to visit and see Josh live yet? Although I’m sure the cosy hospitality seats that Josh can get you would be nice, you’ll always be welcome to join us in the bleachers for some of the “authentic” fan atmosphere. It’s nothing like the US! Don’t hesitate to post here if you ever want to take us up on the offer.

      All the best,
      James

      • Bob

        My wife, Josh’s brother and I were there in late July, early August. We loved the Swallows games and our visit to Japan in general. I agree that the games are much more fun than in the US. My wife loved waving the umbrella after scores. If Josh returns we will definitely visit sometime next year, and we would love to join the fun in the bleachers.