10/30/11 – CL Climax Series First Stage – Tokyo vs Yomiuri (Game 2)

October 30th, 2011

Yomiuri Giants 6

Tokyo Swallows  2

Series: Tied 1-1

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

The Swallows were never really in control of this contest. That was evident throughout. Making it worse was the fact that the team never had a shot once we got deep into our bullpen.

W: Utsumi (1-0) L: Ishikawa (0-1)

Uninspiring. Unhelpful. Unhappy. Unbe-Lim-able.

 Yomiuri Tokyo
1Sakamoto SS1Ueda LF
2Terauchi 2B2Tanaka 2B
3Chono CF3Aoki CF
4Abe C4Hatakeyama 1B
5Ramirez LF5Miyamoto 3B
6Ogasawara 1B6Balentien RF
7Tani RF7Morioka SS
8Furuki 3B8Aikawa C
9Utsumi P9Ishikawa P

Utsumi was in control of this game from the start. Everything that came off the bat in fair territory was Lim-p at best. He pitched six innings and gave up only three hits and one earned run (94 pitches). He was locked in and didn’t cry in the dugout as far as anyone has been able to tell.

Tokyo’s starter, Ishikawa, was reasonably solid through four and two-thirds innings (an Abe homer in the fourth notwithstanding), but he got yanked after giving up a suicide squeeze bunt to Utusmi which put the visitors up 2-0.

The one run that Utsumi surrendered came in the fifth when pinch-hitter Kawamoto came up with a two-out single to knock in one run. 2-1 Gomiuri.

But that was the extent of the threat from the home team as the cross-town visitors plated four runs in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach and force a decisive Monday contest.

Surprisingly, Tokyo’s vaunted closer, Lim, did as poorly as he’s done all year by allowing three runs on his watch and a fourth after he had been sent packing.

Abe collected his third hit of the night on the second pitch he saw–an outside slider that ended up in right field.

Hashimoto then bunted him over, and Ogasawara followed with a fly-out to Aikawa (he caught it IN Yomiuri’s dugout).

Then with two outs, pinch-hitter Suzuki singled, and Furuki drew a walk.

It got ugly.

That left the bases juiced for Takahashi who came up with a double to center which scored three. 5-1 Yomiuri.

Lim was then replaced by Matsui (which is normally as unthinkable a switch as can possibly be fathomed), but he walked Sakamoto and allowed Takahashi to score on a Terauchi single to center. That ended up being Lim’s fourth earned run of the game, and that was basically it. 6-1 Yomiuri.

A pair of doubles in the bottom of the ninth (Morioka and Whitesell) meant that Tokyo was able to scrape a conciliatory run back, but that was all she wrote. 6-2 Final.

The home team never really got things going in this game and will likely lose tomorrow unless the team’s veteran’s step it up on offense.

Aoki and Hatakeyama have only one hit each thus far in the series, and Miyamoto is hitless. That has to change. Believe it or not, Morioka, Aikawa and Tanaka are leading the charge so far. Unbe-Lim-able.

To be fair, however, at least Hatake has collected a walk in each of the two games thus far. And Balentien drew as many in tonight’s contest (which is utterly unthinkable).

Tomorrow we’ll likely get to see a Gonzalez vs Akagawa showdown on the mound. Tokyo is going to win, but it never needed to get this far.

See you at Jingu!

There's always tomorrow.

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

  • No

    Hopefully Ogawa noticed Whitesell’s bat last night and will get him in the lineup today…

  • Everyone, do you think Aoki can really make it in the US with that poor defense?   I guess he was thinking about his MLB contract terms out there in the 9th.

    • His performances with the bat should be of more concern to him at the moment, he looks lost at the plate.

      I think his career would be better served staying here in Japan, and the front office should make him bring home a championship before letting him go. A few years ago I would have said he would be a dead-cert for some success in the MLB, but now I’m not so sure.

      It’s pretty galling that the team’s best season in a decade has coincided with the worst year of Aoki’s career. Just imagine what might have been had he been the dominant player he was in 2010 (and prior) this year.

      • I agree.  I don’t want to see Aoki become another Iwamura.  (Though I really enjoyed watching him play at Tropicana Field in 2008!) 

  • FLR

    Yes, what’s the deal with Whitesell? I figured that he was injured until he showed up in the 9th. This was my fourth live game. The first against the Carp he played 1st base and did quite well. Then he PHed for the other three. He got on base every time with two doubles. Also the fact that he was third or fourth choice PH is surprising. I am not sure if there was anything tactical in terms of the pitching yesterday behind that decision.

    • Whitesell is the odd man out. He’s basically this year’s D’Antona. 

      The problem is that there’s nowhere to put him on the field. He can only really play first, but as Hatakeyama isn’t really a great option in left, Josh is left to assume the late inning pinch hitting role.

      It’s possible to put Hatakeyama at third, but then we’d have to move the injured Miyamoto over to the farm more strenuous gap at short which isn’t really an option.

      Hopefully we’ll make it to the Japan Series because Whitesell will be able to DH when the games are being played away.

  • The way Whitesell is used is really a disappointment.
    Also, I really don’t understand Ogawa’s love for Noguchi…. what is that all about??

    • We’ve been trying to figure out why Noguchi gets to hang around so much, too. Especially toward the end of the season. I’m thinking it’s his work ethic in practice. He’s also able to play more than just a single position and is an OK pinch running option.

      But still. 

      • This year’s D’Antona, that’s exactly what he is! If Whitesell is as effective as he was last night, he can be the ultimate pinch hitter, something we haven’t had since Manaka was gone.
        It was so sad to see the Giants having Takahashi there (and Saburo was also standing by) but for us, Kawamoto and Noguchi…    I know Yamaguchi is a lefty killer, but then, why not Fukuchi?   

  • I’ll be there in the outfield tonight with some friends for their first live playoff-watching.  Let’s get something better this time!

  • Bruce0747

     plated 4 runs-Please stop using Japanese English to describe baseball,even thou it’s yaku ball.

    • Uhm. . . Using “plate” as a transitive verb to mean “score” is unusual English, but it’s baseball jargon, not Japanese English. In fact, it shows up in American sports writing somewhat regularly (see NBC’s coverage of the World Series), but, as far as I have seen, not in Japanese.

    • Oh give over……

  • Bruce0747

    I HATE the giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Anyone who loves Base Ball can only HATE the giants for their BAD sportmanship in not allowing Randy Bass the chance he or any athlete deserves!

    • Agreed, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Giants are a force that actively harms the development and improvement of the game in Japan and, by extension, East Asia.

      • No

        Explain further please. I’m honestly curious about this.

        Also: Woooooooooooo! Sat behind home plate tonight and it was like I was at the Tokyo Dome with all the Giants fans. We had the last laugh tho! Morioka and Fukuchi for the win!

        • FLR

          So why was Wsell pulled tonight?

        • What it primarily comes down to is Yomiuri’s unusually aggressive complacency. They’ve long been the big fish in a small-to-medium pond and they work hard to keep it that way. As they see it, the Giants are Japan’s team, they’re supposed to win, and the other teams exist to make it a little more interesting. When Rakuten won a franchise up in Sendai, Watanabe reportedly bitched that he didn’t even know the head of Rakuten and that the team wasn’t going to be in Tokyo or Osaka.

          For a long time, and to some extent now, teams made their money mainly from ticket sales and other CL teams depend heavily on the hordes of Giants fans who show up for what is (from their point of view) something akin to a Harlem Globetrotters game. If anything is proposed that is not advantageous to the Giants, they pitch a fit and threaten to stop playing other clubs or leave the league. This is changing, but all too slowly.
          Rumor has it that one of the main reasons the Asia Series got no support from NPB and was effectively killed in the crib was that Yomiuri hated it. It wasn’t their idea and it implied that there could be a level of championship beyond the Japan Series, which could take some of the shine off of the Giants’ past trophies. Besides, what would it do to their “Japan’s Team” image or their vaunted “Pure-blooded Japanese” teams of the Golden Age (on which the best player was Taiwanese) if they lost this higher championship to a team that wasn’t even Japanese?Does this all sound implausibly petty? I think so, too. It’s ridiculous, but real, and every bit as juvenile as it sounds. There are even worse stories out there about what Yomiuri will do to make sure Japanese baseball remains in the late ’60s.

          The sad irony is that the Giants reached the top by being a progressive and innovative club from 1935 to the early ’60s, then they tried to preserve the game in aspic at a moment they particularly liked and became hostile to the notion of a future.

  • Okawari Phil

    To Garrett, Christopher and David
    Can it be possibly true?
    Did you ‘turn over’ the hated Kyojin earlier this evening?