4/29/11 – Hanshin (Away)

April 29th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Hanshin Tigers 4

Streak: Lost 1  Last 5: WWWWL

(Koshien Stadium)

 

Tokyo’s magnificent run of good form finally came to an end as they ran into a very effective starter in Kubo. This game saw some interesting switches within the lineup as Miyamoto and Aikawa both had the night off.

Lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Iihara LF
4. Hatakeyama 3B
5. Whitesell 1B
6. Balentien RF
7. Kawabata SS
8. Kawamoto C
9. Yamamoto P

Kubo pitched an amazing game. He was nearly perfect through the first six frames save for a minor blip in the form of a solo Kawamoto homer to left in the top of the third. It was his fourth hit of the season and first homer. 1-0 Tokyo.

But after Kawamoto’s blast, the Swallows managed only two more hits. The first was a Tanaka lead-off single in the seventh (quickly followed by another Iihara GIDP), and the second was a Whitesell double to start the eighth.

Hanshin chased Tokyo starter Yamamoto from the game before he could finish the fifth inning. It was his first loss of the season, and his record now stands at 1-1. He surrendered four earned runs off of five hits and helped the Hanshin cause by issuing three walks–two of which came in that fateful fifth inning. His ERA blossomed to 3.09.

Arai and Rin recorded two RBIs each to give Hanshin the game. 4-1 Final.

Kyuko (0.00), Oshimoto (3.86), Hashimoto (0.00) and Matsui (0.00) combined to finish the game without allowing any more runs to score.

Game two of this series is tomorrow night at 2PM.

Notes:

  • Hatakeyama leads the lead in slugging (.854) and homers (6) [tied with Balentien and Yokohama’s Sledge].
  • Balentien leads the league in walks (10) and homers (6).
  • Miyamoto leads the league in hits (21) and batting average (.412).
  • With Whitesell in the lineup, things are starting to look formidable. I kind of like the idea of Whitesell and Balentien on either side of Aoki in the outfield with Hatakeyama at first. If Balentien can continue to be patient and lay off the forkballs, Josh gets back into the swing of things, and Hatakeyama doesn’t experience too serious of a slump, then the Swallows will be sporting a pretty serious lineup. Miyamoto and Kawabata have been doing an excellent job of forcing pitchers to throw to the middle part of the order, and Whitesell’s bat in the lineup means that the problem with the number three hitter all but disappears.

 

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