10/12/11 – Chunichi (Away)

October 12th, 2011

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3

Chunichi Dragons 4

Streak: Lost 3   Last 5: LWLLL

(Nagoya Dome)

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 Tokyo Chunichi
1Fukuchi (LF)1Araki (SS)
2Morioka (2B)2Ibata (2B)
3Aoki (CF)3Morino (3B)
4Hatakeyama (1B)4Blanco (1B)
5Kawabata (SS)5Tanishige (C)
6Miyamoto (3B)6Wada (LF)
7Balentien (RF)7Hirata (RF)
8Aikawa (C)8Oshima (CF)
9Masubuchi (P)9Nelson (P)

This was an uneventful, low-hitting game for five and a half innings. Masubuchi and Nelson were even pretty evenly matched in pitch count. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, starting at the top of the Chunichi order, Araki singled and made it to second on an Ibata ground-out, Morino walked, and Blanco hit an RBI double to the center-field fence to open up the scoring. Masubuchi must’ve been on a short leash, as he was immediately yanked for Oshimoto, who opened with a K against Tanishige, walked Wada to fill the bases, and, lukcily, got Hirata to pop out to end the inning. 1-0 Chunichi.

Tokyo made no reply and Matsui took the mound for the Birds in the seventh, notching a K in a 1-2-3 inning. The offense then came back up and sat right back down – Nelson was either getting better as the night went on, or the lanky Dominican righty has more endurance on the mound than the Swallows do in the batter’s box.

In the bottom of the eighth, Chunichi showed that they did, in fact, want to win the CL. Lim made an earlier appearance than he’s used to and got a quick out, followed by a seven-pitch out, then beaned Blanco and sat down. Matsuoka took over, looking for a chance to redeem himself, and walked Tanishige before giving up a three-run homer to left to the baldy from Gifu, Wada. The youngster Hidaka managed to secure the third out. 4-0 Chunichi.

Tokyo’s good for a little excitement, though, and the top of the ninth saw a rally.

Nelson walked Morioka and finally left the game, having given up three hits and no runs on 105 pitches in eight innings. Kobayashi took over for the Dragons and gave up a single to Aoki. Suzuki then took the mound to bean Hatake and fill the bases. (The youth Nakamura did the running.) The oft-dangerous Asao then took the mound, getting Kawabata out, but allowing Morioka to score. Miyamoto then drove in Aoki with a single (and was replaced on the basepaths by Noguchi). Balentien followed that by knocking in Nakamura with a line drive to left. Aikawa and Iihara then both struck out to end the rally and the game. 4-3 Chunichi, Final.

Nelson (10-14) took the win, Masubuchi (7-11) the loss.

The Swallows’ chances to retake the lead are growing fewer. Another chance to salvage a bit of pride against the Dragons come tomorrow night before the team comes back to Jingu for a one-off make-up with Hanshin that has become really important.

  • With this win the Dragons now have themselves a magic number of 4.

    I think the fat lady is currently warbling at the top of her lungs.

    • Kozo

      For those of you wondering about the security of our hold on 2nd place, here are some numbers. The Swallows have a magic number of 2 of finishing ahead of the Giants. While they have a magic number of 3 of finishing ahead of the Tigers. The Tigers’ number is higher by virtue of the fact they have 12 games remaining on their schedule, while the Giants have just 4.

      If/When the Swallows clear one of those numbers they’ll have secured a spot in the CS. If/When the Swallows clear both numbers they will have secured second place and home field advantage for the first round of the CS.

      Because the Tigers and Giants will not face each other the rest of the way, there is a nightmare scenario in which the Swallows lose their remaining games and the Giants and Tigers win out (give or take a game or two) and the Swallows are knocked out of the CS.

  • A few things I noticed during this game:

    1. Nelson was awesome. He kept his pitches down all night. 16 of the 24 outs he recorded were groundouts.

    2. The bottom of the fourth was hilarious (in a good way). Masubuchi got out of the inning on three pitches.

    Blanco: first-pitch double.
    Tanishige: first-pitch sac-bunt attempt, but Blanco thrown out at third.
    Wada: first-pitch GIDP (4-6-3).

    By the way, that was the second time that Tanishige tried to bunt Blanco over and failed.

    3. The bottom of the 6th should have ended sooner. There’s no reason why Blanco should have ended up on second when he drove in that run. Morioka forgot to cover second, so Blanco took it. Hatakeyama tried to hustle over but was about an hour and a half late. When Kawabata fielded the cut-off throw from Aoki, he did a double-take when he saw how far from the bag Morioka was standing. 

    4. Did that pitch actually hit Blanco’s helmet? The slo-mo replay was inconclusive. I’m thinking that it didn’t since his helmet didn’t even budge. If the brim of your helmet gets grazed by a Lim fastball, then I’m thinking it’s going to cause the whole lid to shift or wobble or something. But that doesn’t appear to be what happened.

    • Rob

      That was Morioka’s goof? That’s disappointing. I saw Blanco just trot in to second and I wondered “wasn’t there supposed to be someone covering the bag?”
      Such a waste of good pitching, again….

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