8/21/11 – Yomiuri (Away)

August 21st, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 3

Yomiuri Giants  1

Streak: Won 1  Last 5: DWLLW

(Tokyo Dome)

Masubuchi was one out shy of pitching a complete game, and the lackluster Swallows were finally able to win a game at the stain dome.

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Yomiuri000000001161
W: Masubuchi (6 W, 6 L; 4.84 ERA) L: Nishimura (5 W, 1 L; 159 ERA) S: Kyuko (5 W, 1 L, 1 S; 1.95 ERA)

 Tokyo Yomiuri
1Aoki CF1Sakamoto SS
2Tanaka 2B2Fujimura 2B
3Kawabata SS3Chono CF
4Hatakeyama 1B4Takahashi RF
5Balentien RF5Ogasawara 1B
6Miyamoto 3B6Abe C
7Guiel LF7Kamei LF
8Aikawa C8Furuki 3B
9Masubuchi P9Nishimura P

It’s anyone’s guess what got into Masubuchi. Perhaps he was threatened with demotion or something, who knows? But the kid threw much better than he has of late. Unfortunately for his teammates and all of us here in Tsubamegun-land, consistency has never been one of his strong points.

But let’s focus on the positives here for a bit since we finally won a game against a team that is in contention for

Balentien has been feasting on breaking balls recently.

a playoff spot. Masubuchi pitched eight and two-thirds innings. He was just a hair away from a complete game shutout when the 31st batter he faced, right-fielder and perennial underachiever, Yoshinobu Takahashi, pounced on a 1-1 sinker that never really sank and sent it over the wall in right. 3-1 Final.

Kind of a bummer for Masubuchi, but Ogawa has seen enough of his shenanigans over the years and was probably wise to yank him after throwing 117 pitches. At least he has a win to celebrate, and his record is back at .500 with six wins and as many losses.

But let’s rewind a bit and figure out how Tokyo scored those three runs.

After being retired in order in the top of the first, Tokyo got a little something going with the middle of their lineup. Hatakeyama led off with a double to right, and Balentien followed with his fifth home run in the last six games that he’s appeared in (he didn’t play yesterday). 2-0 Tokyo.

The final Tokyo run came in the fifth inning with a little help from the hosts. Aoki managed to reach base on error. Thank you, Mr. Ogasawara. He eventually came around to score on Hatakeyama’s hit to right field. 3-0Tokyo.

And that was it for the Swallows on offense. They didn’t manage to get another runner on base after that. The Giants, however, got a hit here and there but were largely toothless until that homer by Takahashi with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

At any rate, the birds were able to restore one of the games separating them from the second-place Giants. At the time of publishing, the other four Central League teams have yet to start their games. If both Chunichi and Hanshin win tonight, then they’ll join Gomiuri at five games behind the first-place Tokyo Swallows.

Tokyo has tomorrow off and will welcome Chunichi to Jingu for a three game series starting on Tuesday the 23rd. All three games start at 6 PM.

Notes:

It was announced prior to this game that Whitesell and Miyade had been sent down to the farm to make room for Guiel and Yuichi. Whitesell was responsible for Tokyo’s only RBI in last night’s game, but his overall numbers have not been phenomenal in the August heat. In the 17 games that he appeared in this month, he was 11 for 52 (two home runs) with six RBI, eight walks, one HBP, and 21 Ks. His vitals from the past 17 games are .212 AVG / .328 OBP / .346 SLG. Whitesell currently leads the league in strikeouts with 97 from 267 at-bats. Compare that with the 71 times he fanned last season in 230 at-bats. He’s drawing walks at roughly the same rate as last year (32 in 2010 compared with 37 so far this season).

Hopefully he can get some batting practice in while resting on the minor league team over the next 10 days to two weeks. Whitesell can be re-added to the active roster at any time after the required 10 days because there are currently only three non-Japanese on the active roster.

Chang-yong Lim will likely resurface at some point in the near future if the team feels that he has been sufficiently rested. That could possibly delay Whitesell’s return to the top team if Guiel catches fire and earns himself more at-bats.

Miyade, on the other hand, was really just being Miyade.

Guiel started in left and was 0-4 at the plate.

Balentien hit his 25th home run of 2011 today. As of the time of publication, that puts him five round-trippers ahead of Sledge (Yokohama) in the chase for the league title.

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

  • Some ‘lights for those who missed: http://bit.ly/oWMQKn

    Bummed about Whitesell going down, but hopefully he gets things straightened out.

    • We’re bummed, too. Looking forward to his return.

      As always, thanks for the highlights, Seth.

  • The Tigers and BayStars tied, and so did the Dragons and Carp, so the Tokyo Swallows gained a half game on all four of those clubs. Yomiuri are still closest at five games back. Hanshin and Chunichi are 5.5 back, and Hiroshima are 6.5 back.