5/14/11 – Yokohama (Away)

May 14th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2

Yokohama BayStars 0

Streak: Won 2    Last 5: LLDWW

(Yokohama)

 

Everyone, please put your hands together for the Tokyo Swallows’ fifth ever 100-game winner, Masanori Ishikawa! He’s also the second fastest to the milestone in club history (259 starts) with only the venerable Masaichi Kaneda getting there faster (250 starts).

 

Yokohama

Job well done!

 

1. Ishikawa SS
2. Watanabe 2B
3. Sledge LF
4. Murata 3B
5. Harper 1B
6. Yoshimura CF
7. Ide RF
8. Hosoyamada C
9. Takasaki P

Tokyo

1. Aoki CF
2. Tanaka 2B
3. Whitesell 1B
4. Hatakeyama LF
5. Balentien RF
6. Miyamoto 3B
7. Aikawa C
8. Kawabata SS
9. Ishikawa P

The birds weren’t exactly overpowering at the plate this afternoon, but at least they got on the board first this time around.

Tokyo was able to get a runner on second in each of the first three frames, but nothing came of it. The top of the fifth started out with a strikeout for Ishikawa, his second of the evening. But an error at short during Aoki’s ensuing at bat got things rolling for the Swallows. Tanaka followed with a double to put runners on first and third, and Whitesell complied with a sacrifice fly to right that brought in the first run of the game. 1-0 Tokyo.

On the mound, Ishikawa was far more effective. Naturally. He made up for his own four strikeouts at the plate with seven Ks through eight and two-thirds excellent innings. He only allowed four base runners (all singles) through eight innings. The ninth started off a bit ugly with two men reaching base, but he proceeded to strike out both Watanabe and Sledge to get to within one out of his 100th win.

And with Murata at the plate, Lim was called in to finish the job. It only took one pitch. Murata decided to go after the first pitch he was offered (a fastball low and away), and the result was a very satisfactory 6-4 groundout.

Lim earned his 6th save of the season with that one pitch, but the story of the night was clearly Ishikawa’s domination of the Yokohama lineup. The home team was only able to get a runner into scoring position twice in this game, and only six hits were yielded off of Ishikawa’s 107 pitches. His ERA improved to 1.87, and his record now sits at 3-1 on the season.

Tokyo’s second run came in the eighth care of Balentien’s club. After three homers last night, Coco racked up his league-leading 13th of the year on a one-out, first-pitch slider from Takasaki. 2-0 Tokyo.

Balentien had another stellar day at the plate going 2-3 with a walk. Tanaka chipped in with a pair of doubles, and Aoki reached base in each of his final four at-bats (single, E6, BB, HBP). Aikawa also reached base twice care of a walk and a single.

So Tokyo wins its first series since the Golden Week home set against Chunichi. An attempt at a sweep will take place tomorrow at Yokohama Stadium at 2PM.

Notes:

  • Balentien is slugging a very sick .911 as of today’s game. For those that care, his OPS is 1.385.
  • Six of Tokyo’s regular starters are batting over .300 at the moment. More importantly, the weakest OBP of the lot is April’s MVP, Miyamoto, at .359. Hatakeayama (.414 OBP), Aoki (.426), Whitesell (.431) and Balentien (.474) are leading the way where it really counts. Kawabata slides in there just above Miyamoto at .382 OBP.
  • Aikawa has yet to find his stride at the plate. He’s the only clear weakness aside from the pitcher. His vitals read a blush-worthy .207/.235/.244.
  • Whitesell’s vitals, on the other hand, look fantastic now. Read ’em and weep: .319/.431/.596.

Beam me up, Scotty.

 

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

  • Aikawa, even though he’s been atrocious at the plate these past few games, was probably a huge factor in Katsuo-kun getting his 100th w.
    Even Obana commended his game-calling today.
    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20110514-00000024-spnavi-base
    Great win yet again for the Birds!!

    • Agreed. The upgrade in terms of pitch calling and general leadership behind the plate that he has brought to the team shouldn’t be underestimated. 

      •  Haha, remember the days when our options were, Fukukawa, Kawamoto, Kinugawa, Yoneno…..

        • I do indeed .Those days were all the more painful coming after well over a decade of Furuta behind the plate. Thank god the team finally broke their free agency duck and signed Aikawa. 

          Yoneno. *shudder*

  • DeGavph

    Congratulations to Ishikawa!! And to Lim as well, since he certainly deserves ‘economic’ saves looking back on the innings he pitched (though this one was not an easy situation at all).

    Go Go Birds!