The Monday Review #6

Welcome to the Monday Review, in which we’ll look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that will be. We hope a recurring weekly review column will help readers identify some trends that can’t be covered in a single game report. We’re still trying to work out the format, so let us know what you’d like to see in the comments.

First off, I’d like to apologize for the delay in getting this out. Last week, the Swallows continued their mediocre ways of the week before, going 1-3 and finally losing their top spot in the standings to the surging Dragons. The team split their series against the Buaffaloes and looked like they might have turned a corner, but were smacked back to reality by the Lions. The Swallows also fell to the bottom of the Interleague table with an overall record of 2-7-1.

The Week That Was



This picture says it all.


Offense Ineptitude Continued: You probably didn’t need me to tell you that the Swallows offense struggled again this week. The team managed only 7 runs in its 4 games and struggled to get hits with men in scoring position. The team’s Interleague batting average fell below the Mendoza line and now stands at .198. Below you’ll find a table of offensive stats for all the Swallows that made at least 2 starts last week.


Still not pretty, but a few more bright spots than the previous week. Balentien and Hatakeyama both had a decent week, although Tanaka’s numbers took a big fall from a week before. But I think the table makes clear that not enough people are hitting to score lots of runs.

Roster Moves: Only 2 roster moves this week. First, catcher Masakazu Fukukawa was called up in favor of pitcher Mikinori Kato on Wednesday. Then newly acquired reliever Chikara Onodera joined the top team, and took the place of Kosuke Matsui. Both player played in Sunday’s game against the Lions, and neither one had a strong showing.

Barnette’s Return: Tony Barnette has apparently returned to Japan and is expected to rejoin the team after making a tuneup appearance with the farm team. Unfortunately rain cancelled the last 2 farm games which has delayed Barnette’s appearance. The farm team is expected to play later today, and hopefully Tony will be able to get some work in without trouble.

Where in the World is Ryoji Aikawa? Aikawa did not play in any games last week with Kawamoto and Fukukawa getting starts in his stead. No reason has been given for his absence. The Fukukawa call up seems to indicate that the team did not want to use Aikawa as a back up catcher, which would point to an injury rather than a straight up benching for poor performance.

Quo Vadimus

Rainy Week Ahead: The rainy season in Japan has started early this year, and this week the team is scheduled to play all its games in open air stadiums (Chiba and Jingu). The upcoming forecast is fairly optimistic, but game cancellations may be in the cards this week. Only the series against the Marines has a built in rain day. Any rain cancellations at Jingu will probably be made up at the end of Interleague schedule.

Our Opponents: This week the Swallows will face the Chiba Lotte Marines at Chiba today and tomorrow, before coming back to Tokyo to face the Nippon Ham Fighters and the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles for 4 games at Jingu starting Friday night. The Marines have also struggled during the Interleague this season going 2-6-2 in their 10 games. Beyond Tadahito Iguchi, the Marines have been struggling a bit offensively this year. The Marines have a had a bit of a power outage this year, managing to hit only 14 home runs all season. Hopefully whatever is causing the Marines to struggle against the CL will continue into tonight.

The Fighters and Eagles games will be rematches of earlier match ups. The Fighters have had a fairly solid record since opening the Interleague with a 1-1 split against the Swallows, going 5-3. The Eagles on the other hand have managed to win only 1 more game after sweeping the Swallows in Sendai. It looks like the Swallows will be able to avoid Darvish and Tanaka this time around, but as we have seen that’s no guarantee that the team will win.

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • Plenty of great pitchers in the PL, will we also avoid Iwakuma and Takeda?

    • Kozo

      Looks like the Fighters will be Keppel and Yoshikawa. Eagles look to be Kawai and Nagai.

    • Kozo

      There’s no chance we’ll hit Iwakuma. He’s injured with an expected return date of late June.