10/1/11 Yokohama (Away)

October 1st, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 3

Yokohama BayStars 10

Streak: Lost 2   Last 5: WWWLL

(Yokohama Stadium)

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WP: S. Ohara (4-1) LP: T. Yamamoto (0-1)

Things were not pretty as the Swallows’ young bullpen arms were exposed to the BayStars’ bats.

 Swallows BayStars
1CF Aoki1LF Shimozono
22B Tanaka2SS Watanabe
3SS Kawabata31B Tsutsugo
41B Hatakeyama43B Murata
5RF Balentien5RF Ikki
63B Miyamoto6CF Ide
7LF Iihara72B Fujita
8C Aikawa8C Kurobane
9P Akagawa9P Kobayashi

Akagawa seemed to have a handle of things in the early going. Even the solo homerun he gave up to Tsutsugo to open the bottom of the fourth didn’t seem too bad, as he followed up with back-to-back strikeouts and a quick fly out to end the inning. 1-0 BayStars What was more worrying was that the Swallows’ offense had been held hitless through 4 innings.

However just one inning later things went crazy for Akagawa. After getting a quick fly out from Fujita, Akagawa allowed a single to Kurobane to put men on base. The BayStars elected to bunt with their pitcher to make it 2 out with a man on second. The nightmare would begin as Akagawa lost a 8 pitch battle with Shimozono and walked the left fielder. Akagawa would then load the bases by plunking Watanabe after only 3 pitches. Akagawa’s day ended 4 pitches later after he walked Tsutsugo to push home a run. 2-0 BayStars Oshimoto came in for Akagawa, and couldn’t do much better than Akagawa, allowing a 5 pitch walk to Murata to bring home another run. 3-0 BayStars Oshimoto did manage to get the final out of the inning, but the damage was done.

The Swallows roared back the next inning with a rally. Aoki stated things off with a hard liner straight at the third baseman, but certainly made Kobayashi seem hittable. Hiroyasu followed with a single over the second baseman’s head. Kawabata dropped a single in front of the left fielder to make it 1 out with men on first and second. Kobayashi battled Hatakeyama for 8 pitches but lost as he walked Hatake to load the bases. After falling behind 2-1 to Balentien, the Curaçaoan punished a low fastball and sent it scorching to left field for a single that scored Tanaka and Kawabata. 3-2 BayStars Thus ended Kobayashi’s night and the BayStars sent Ejiri to the mound. Ejiri managed to jam Miyamoto on 2 pitches, but the veteran’s ball managed to bloop into right for a single to load the bases. Iihara followed with a high chopper to that the shortstop had no choice but to throw to first. Iihara managed to beat the throw despite sliding head-first into the bag. Meanwhile, Hatakeyama scored easily from third. 3-3 All Ejiri struck out Aikawa for out number 2, and the Swallows elected to send out Whitesell to the plate. The BayStars elected to send lefty Shinji Ohara to the plate, and the Swallows responded by replacing Whitesell with Fukukawa. While Whitesell’s .207 average against left-handers is low, Fukukawa did not seem like the ideal replacement. Looking through the available bench players and their lefty/righty split it would seem like left hander Morioka may have been the best choice, if we were intent on replacing Whitesell. Fukukawa struck out looking to end the inning and the threat for the Swallows.

The BayStars responded immediately with a surge of their own as Ide and Fujita opened the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles against Tetsuya Yamamoto. A Kurobane bunt, and a Nakamura strikeout made it 2 out with men in scoring position for the ever dangerous Shimozono. Shimozono smoked a 1-1 offering down the right field line to score 2, and put himself on second. 5-3 BayStars Watanabe followed with a fly ball over the head of Aoki, who was playing shallow, to score Shimozono. 6-3 BayStars Hidaka came in and got the final out.

The Swallows got multiple runners in the seventh, eighth, and ninth but could not get them around to score. Meanwhile the BayStars got 1 extra run in the seventh off Kosuke Matsui, and 3 extra runs in the eighth off Okamoto and Ichiba. The details are not too relevant, the only thing you should know is that Hidaka’s one batter appearance was the only one of the night which did not allow an earned run or an inherited runner to score. Overall the Swallows pitchers allowed 20 H+BB+HBP, not a sexy night… 10-3 Baystars FINAL

The Dragons won their game against the Tigers to shrink the CL pennant race gap to 2 games. No word on the condition of Ishikawa, but Data Stadium is projecting a Hitoshi Yamamoto start from the Swallows in game 3 of this BayStars series in Yokohama. One can only hope that the pitching will get better or that the Swallows offense will better capitalize on the chances that the BayStars pitchers tend to give up.

Not a great day to be a Swallows' pitcher.

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.