6/19/11 – Chiba (Home)

June 19th, 2011

Chiba Lotte Marines 7

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Streak: Lost 1   Last 5: WWLWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

 

In their quest to finish the damned interleague portion of the season with a .500 record, the Swallows scored first but got completely manhandled after that.

Chiba:

After only one hit through five, Ishikawa got the hook in the sixth.

1. Okada (CF)
2. Ishimine (RF)
3. Iguchi (2B)
4. Omatsu (LF)
5. Imae (3B)
6. Satozaki (C)
7. Fukuura (1B)
8. Watanabe (SS)
9. Karakawa (P)

Tokyo:

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

Tokyo sent seven batters to the plate in the bottom of the first and even loaded the bases up for Miyamoto who singled to right for the home team’s first and only run of the game. Morioka struck out looking with the bases still juiced to end the inning. 1-0 Tokyo.

Ishikawa allowed a couple of runners in the second, but nobody crossed home plate, and he kept Chiba off the basepaths for the next three innings.

But it was the sixth inning that finally did Ishikawa in. Ishimine’s sac bunt followed Okada’s leadoff single to put a runner on second with one out. Ishikawa then became incredibly hittable after that.

Consecutive singles by Iguchi, Omatsu and Imae meant that Chiba had come from behind to take the lead. But unfortunately they weren’t finished yet. Ishikawa then walked Satozaki and gave up a two-run single to Fukuura. Matsuoka was brought in to collect the last two outs, but the damage was done, and that was basically the game. 4-1 Chiba.

And even though Tokyo won the interleague series 3-1, Chiba had the last laugh. With Oshimoto on the mound to try to hold a three-run deficit, he ended up surrendering three more runs. All of them with two outs. It was just marvelous to watch. 7-1 Final.

With the upcoming four-day cushion until the regular Central League schedule starts up again, Tokyo used its better middle-relievers to keep this one close. Matsuoka (3.93 ERA) and Barnette (1.50) both made scoreless appearances. Oshimoto (3.86) saw several weeks of hard-earned ERA shrinking head back to square-one after the three runs he gave up in the ninth.

Ishikawa took the loss, and his record now stands at 4-4 through 10 appearances. He threw 98 pitches through five and one-third innings. He gave up six hits, five of them in that fateful sixth inning, and surrendered four runs (all earned). His ERA moved sharply to 2.97 (which still ain’t too shabby) while notching three Ks and giving up two walks.

The offense was again a bit anemic although Chiba’s baby-faced 21-year-old pitcher, Karakawa, deserves credit for keeping Tokyo off-balance by changing speeds effectively during this contest.

As a team the birds were only able to collect six hits and three of them were in the first inning. Nobody hit safely more than once, and Karakawa induced 13 groundouts (two by Balentien for inning-ending double plays) and three infield pop-flies.

The bad news is that Tokyo finished the interleague schedule one game below .500, but the good news is that Friday marks the beginning of a return to less feisty competition. Welcome back to Jingu, Yokohama.

More good news: the birds are still in first place in the Central League despite the fact that nearly half the team is slumping at the plate.

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