10/18/11 – Hanshin (Away)

October 18th, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 4

Hanshin Tigers 0

Streak: Won 2   Last 5: LLLWW

(Koshien)

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Tokyo0101200004121
Hanshin000000000040
W: Tateyama (11-5/2.05) L: Messenger (12-7/2.88)

After huffing and puffing for a while, the CL’s most boring team finally clinched their second straight pennant in Yokohama with…..a 3-3 tie. How apt. For a while Tokyo’s championship hopes looked like they may live to see another day as the Baystars were leading against the Dragons while the Swallows were always in total control of their game, but a Blanco three run game-tying homer, and some comedy play from Yokohama allowed the team from Nagoya to eek out a draw that was good enough for the title.

But the Swallows win wasn’t in vain, as it secured second place in the CL, and thus a home playoff series against the Giants awaits. But after leading the CL for so long this year, it all feels a little underwhelming.

 Us Them
1CF Aoki12B Hirano
2LF Ueda2CF Shibata
32B Tanaka3SS Toritani
43B Hatakeyama43B Arai
53B Miyamoto51B Brazell
6RF Balentien6RF Murton
7SS Morioka7LF Shunsuke
8C Aikawa8C Fujii
9P Tateyama9P Messenger

Aikawa does the initial damage

Despite the Swallows recent terrible form against the Tigers, this was a game that in all truth they were expected to win, what with Hanshin now out of the playoff reckoning along with the fact that their current manager is entering his last few games in employment. Nevertheless, a lights-out complete game performance from starter Tateyama and some lively batting meant that Tokyo wrapped up their season series (10W-14L) with the B-class Tigers with aplomb .

Tokyo’s runs all came off Hanshin starter Messenger. In the 2nd, singles from Miyamoto and Balentien, a Morioka sacbunt and a sacfly to centre from Aikawa made it 1-0 Tokyo.

And Aikawa brought home the bacon again in the 4th, bringing home Balentien after Coco had reached second with a two-out double, 2-0 Tokyo.

The Swallows final runs came in the 5th. Two two-out singles for Hatake and Miyamoto put men on the corners for Balentien, and the big man hit his second double (and third hit) of the evening along the leftfield foul line to bring in a run for 3-0. Morioka then smacked one over the infield to right and the evening’s run scoring was complete, 4-0 Tokyo Final.

Tateyama won his first game in a month for his superb 9IP/105P/4H/4K0BB/0ER performance. It was his 7th complete game (3rd without a run, 4th without issuing a walk) of the season, and who knows how much better his 11-5 record would be if he’d received better run support/bullpen support throughout the year.

And Shohei’s performance combined with the 12 hit evening for the offence (Miyamoto and Balentien with 3 hits evenings, with Aoki the only starter apart from Tateyama to not register a hit) bodes well for the impending playoffs.

But before we get to those, two more games to go, against the Dragons away tomorrow, and then Hiroshima at home next Tuesday.

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

  • I’m looking forward to going through Nagoya Dome to get to the Japan Series. After dropping what felt like 200 games in a row there over the past month, I have a funny feeling that we’re going to get even.

  • No

    I’ve
    seen teams “back into” the playoffs by losing but still clinching first
    place, but what would you call it when you tie into first?