4/16/11 — Yokohama (Home)

April 16th, 2011


Yokohama BayStars 6

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 6

Streak: Drew 1    Last 5: LLLD

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Technically, we didn’t lose this game. But it sure felt like we did.

Swallows lineup:

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Iihara LF
4. Whitesell 1B

Muranaka was left in just a little too long.

5. Aikawa C
6. Balentien RF
7. Miyamoto 3B
8. Kawabata SS
9. Muranaka P

Muranaka had a bit of a wobbly first inning on the mound, but he was allowed to sit down for a bit when Murata hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Tokyo got on the board in the second when Whitesell walked, Aikawa reached first thanks to a Murata error at third, and Balentien also earned a free trip. With the bases loaded, Miyamoto hit a sac fly to Morimoto in center that wasn’t quite deep enough. Whitesell started barreling for home, but the throw easily beat him to the plate.

However, that made little difference, because Whitesell was able to pop the ball free with a very hard slide into Yokohama’s catcher. In fact, it kind of looked like Josh popped the guy’s head free from his shoulders on that slide. He didn’t get up for a while, but ended up finishing the inning. 1-0 Tokyo.

Kawabata followed that up with a second sac fly, this time to right, and Aikawa was able to scamper home. 2-0 Tokyo.

Although he didn’t score in the second, Balentien made it home in the fourth when he hit the longest home run I’ve ever seen slugged at Jingu. I didn’t see it land, but it turns out that it reached the picnic area at the top of the left field stands. 3-0 Tokyo.

Tokyo extended its lead to four in the fifth care of a Tanaka RBI single. 4-0 Tokyo.

But then Yokohama started to climb back into the game.

They got two back in the sixth when Tanaka’s throwing error put a man on base for Murata to bring home with this first home run of the season. 4-2 Tokyo.

Tokyo then recreated the four-run lead when Aikawa’s drive down the line in right field plated both Aoki and Fukuchi (pinch-running for Whitesell). 6-2 Tokyo.

But Yokohama manufactured three more runs in the eighth when Muranaka was nearing the end of his afternoon. He allowed two hits and a walk which yielded three  earned runs before Barnette was called in to clean up the inning. 6-5 Tokyo.

Lim was then called in to protect the team’s delicate one run lead  and hopefully grab his first save of 2011. But it wasn’t meant to be.

He allowed two hits, one walk and the tying run. 6-6 Final.

Muranaka had a long outing today for which he deserves credit. It’s just a shame that it ended the way that it did. He threw 128 pitches over seven innings and change. His ERA is 3.86 after giving up five runs of which three were earned. He also recorded nine strikeouts to go with his eight hits and three walks.

On offense, both Aoki and Kawabata had two-hit games while Aoki also added a walk. Whitesell also reached base three times on walks (the third was intentional).

Game three of this series is tomorrow afternoon with a 2PM scheduled start.

Tidbits:

  • Three sacrifice bunts by the Swallows in this game. Only two of them qualify as Tak bunts given that the first one was laid down by Muranaka. The Swallows actually scored following two of them which is definitely rare.
  • That Balentien homer was the biggest hit I’ve seen in Japan since that time David Ortiz smacked one off the very top of the  back wall in Tokyo Dome during a Japan-America All-Star game a few years back.
  • The birds still look a little rocky on defense, but it doesn’t appear to be anything to really worry about at this point. Tanaka had another error today, which is very unlike him, and he now leads the Central League with three. Whitesell is right behind him with two of his own.
  • Tanaka also leads the league in Tak-bunts with four.
  • Perhaps more worrying than the defense is the lack of offense. We’re not hitting the ball particularly well as a team right now.
  • This game actually ended after nine innings due to the new power-saving rules that are in place to keep games from going too long.

 

 

 

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

  • Lewis Foster

    Well, I’ve seen my first tie in baseball. I agree it felt like a loss, with the visiting team getting the last out and then celebrating.

    What’s up with the late innings for this team? Muranaka was left in too long, but the bullpen has been horrible as well, so who can say.

    Oh well, aside form a brief rainstorm, it was a beautiful day for a ball game.

  • Lewis Foster

    And the team needs a #3 hitter to step up. It says something for your offense when you pitch hit for your #3 hitter late in the game, left/righty matchups or not.