8/2/11 – Chunichi (Away)

August 2nd, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Chunichi Dragons 0

Streak: Won 1   Last 5: LWDDW

(Nagoya Dome)

Ishikawa managed to keep the Dragons off the board for 8 innings while Lim just about managed to hold it together in the 9th to give Masanori his first win since June. And unlike last week’s fiasco, this time the defence behind him was watertight.

Us:

Ishikawa

  1. Aoki (CF)
  2. Tanaka (2B)
  3. Kawabata (SS)
  4. Hatakeyama (LF)
  5. Whitesell (1B)
  6. Miyamoto (3B)
  7. Balentien (RF)
  8. Aikawa (C)
  9. Ishikawa (P)
Them:
  1. Hirata (CF)
  2. Araki (SS)
  3. Guzman (RF)
  4. Morino (3B)
  5. Wada (LF)
  6. Nakata (1B)
  7. Donoue (2B)
  8. Oda (C)
  9. Nelson (P)

Ishikawa took a while to get warmed up in this one as he walked two in the 1st, but Wada flew out to left to let him off the hook.

And it was still not plain sailing in the 2nd, as singles for Donoue and Oda put two men in scoring positions for Chunichi. But another helpful flyout, this time from Hirata, kept the Dragons off the board once more.

And Tokyo made their move in the 3rd, with a bit of help from Chunichi starter Nelson. A one-out walk for Aoki was followed by a single for Tanaka, after which another walk came the way of Kawabata to load the bases. Hatake then stepped up to hit a sacfly to centre which was good enough to score Aoki for 1-0 Tokyo. Whitesell then flew out to centre to end the inning.

After Ishikawa kept things under control in the 4th and 5th, Chunichi crafted a chance to get back into the game in the 6th inning. Singles for Morino and the impossibly-fat-for-a-professional-sportsman Nakata put men on the corners with one out. But Ishikawa struck out Donoue and the pinch-hitting Koike to escape the jam with the lead intact.

In both the 7th and 9th innings, Tokyo got a man to second with two-outs on the board, and both times Aoki was the next man due at the plate, and each time he was issued with a free pass to first. Unfortunately for the Swallows, Dragons’ manager Ochiai’s decision was vindicated both times as next man up Tanaka couldn’t get on base either time as the runners were stranded. But to be frank, given Aoki’s current form it was probably an overly cautious move on each occasion.

And so to the 9th and to Lim, who was taking the mound for the first time since blowing a save last Saturday, which downgraded a hard fought win into a defeat-like draw. And Tokyo fans’ collective hearts sank when Tanishige hit the first pitch of the inning  straight back up the middle to occupy first. Tanishige was replaced with pinch runner Koyama, and our hearts then proceeded further southwards as Lim messed up a pick-off throw to first, allowing the runner to advance to second, still with no outs for the inning.

He then struck out pinch-hitter Nomoto after an eight pitch battle, before Hirata hit a grounder up the middle which was very well fielded by Kawabata for out number two. With the runner now at third, Ishikawa’s win was looking in quite a bit of jeopardy, but Araki helped out by hitting the first pitch he saw and Hatakeyama caught the resulting flyball in foul territory for a 1-0 Tokyo Final.

Ishikawa got his first win since 6/25 (he didn’t get any reward for three of his decent starts in July) for his 8IP/117P/6H/6K/5BB/0ER performance, and his record moves into positive territory at 6-5/2.73.

Lim made his 21st save of the year and his ERA is now at 2.39. Pitching coach Araki said prior to today that they would be looking to monitor, and if necessary limit, Lim’s workload over the summer months. Tonight was Lim’s 39th appearance of the season. He could do with a week or so rest in the opinion of we here at Tsubamegun, and to be honest, I was half expecting the seemingly bulletproof  Tony Barnette (0.77 ERA!) to take the mound for the 9th tonight.

Tokyo were outhit 7-4, with Balentien (.264) getting half of Tokyo’s total and the other two hits coming from Tanaka (.264) and Miyamoto (.299).

Tokyo return to the Nagoya Dome tomorrow evening for game two of the series.

Job done

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • With Hanshin downing Yomiuri in Tokyo, the Swallows lead remains at 7.5 games.

  • Was able to snag some video, after a brief drought: http://wp.me/p1B9LX-2p

    Is the Swallows organization particularly protective of their copyright compared to other teams? The stream provider that usually specializes in Yakult seems to get shut down regularly for DMCA violations, while on a given morning other teams’ games seem more readily available.  Could be just my skewed perception, however.

    Nice to catch some ball this morning, in any case. Go Swallows!

    • The Swallows home TV coverage is broadcast by Fuji TV (on one of their satellite channels), who as one of the major broadcasters in Japan are likely more protective/resourceful than some of the other smaller cable/satellite channels that broadcast some of the other teams.

      For example, last night’s game, being a home game for Chunichi, was broadcast on J-Sports, a smaller satellite/cable only station.

  • Lim wasn’t particularly convincing this evening, was he? Whether it happens now or later this month, look for Chang-yong to get shut down for 10 days (ie. sent down to the farm team for a rest period).

  • Lim wasn’t particularly convincing this evening, was he? Whether it happens now or later this month, look for Chang-yong to get shut down for 10 days (ie. sent down to the farm team for a rest period).

  • No

    Weak hitting SS batting third in the order? Brilliant!!