10/6/11 – Hanshin (Away)

October 6th, 2011

Tokyo Swallows 1

Hanshin Tigers 7

Streak: Lost 3    Last 5: LWLLL

(Kyocera Dome)

W: Messenger (12-5) L: Masubuchi (7-10)

Let’s not beat around the bush the Swallows lost, and the Dragons won their fifth straight game tonight. Which meant that the Swallows have relinquished their CL lead for the first time since May 30th, the last time the Dragons pulled ahead of the Swallows. The last time the Dragons had the CL lead it lasted 1 day before the Swallows rallied and ran with crown until tonight. So let’s look at the game…

 Swallows Tigers
1CF Aoki12B Hirano
2LF Fukuchi2CF Shibata
3SS Kawabata3SS Toritani
43B Hatakeyama43B Arai
51B Whitesell51B Brazell
62B Tanaka6RF Murton
7RF Balentien7LF Kanemoto
8C Aikawa8C Fujii
9P Masubuchi9P Messenger

In case you missed the Tweet last night, Miyamoto was held out of the last two games with pneumonia. Miyamoto is the third Swallows after Ishikawa and Kyuko to succumb to pneumonia in the last couple of weeks. Someone needs to go check for mold in the clubhouse. The absence of Miyamoto and offensive power gave Whitesell the start at first base, while Hatake manned third base. Unfortunately the results remained lackluster, to say the least.

Aoki did start things off with a double, and advanced to third on a Fukuchi bunt. But Kawabata and Hatakeyama weren’t able to get Aoki over the plate.

The Tigers on the other hand, got their first run after back-to-back one out singles by Shibata and Toritani put men on the corners in the bottom of the inning. Arai cashed in a run with a sac fly for the Tiger’s first run. 1-0 Tigers

The Tigers got another run in the next inning after Murton and Kanemoto opened the inning with back-to-back singles to put men on first and second. Fujii bunted them over to scoring position, and Messenger grounded out for out number 2. Unfortunately Masubuchi wasn’t able to coax another out from Hirano, who hit a grounder deep to short for an infield single to score Murton. 2-0 Tigers Luckily the Tigers let the Swallows off the hook after Kanemoto got caught in a run down to end the inning without further damage.

The Swallows got their only run in the third after Aoki got a one out triple, and a Fukuchi groundout brought him home. 2-1 Tigers

Masubuchi managed to settle down a little and kept the Tigers off the board for the next 3 innings. The Tigers struck again in the sixth when Brazell launched a solo shot into the left field stands. 3-1 Tigers Masubuchi ended the night with 2 consecutive strikeouts to end the inning, but the damage was already done.

With the Swallows offense failing to string together anything close to a rally, the game rested on the shoulders of the Swallows relievers to keep it close and hope that the offense would get it’s act together. Hidaka managed to get through the seventh inning in three batters, even though Hirano got on base via a two out infield single. The feisty Hirano got caught stealing soon after he reached base to end the seventh.

The Swallows handed the ball to Oshimoto for the eighth and things just went down hill from there. Oshimoto gave up 6 consecutive hits to the Tigers to start the inning, including a Brazell home run. In total 4 runs scored before Oshimoto got a double play and a ground out to end the inning. 7-1 Tigers

The offense never arrived and the Swallows went down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the game.

Despite giving up a bunch of hits (8 in total) in his 6 innings, Masubuchi looked relatively in control and didn’t give up a single walk. While certainly not the prettiest outting, it should have given a chance to the offense, which has been woefully lacking the last couple of days. The offense managed only 5 hits and drew 2 walks but conceded 3 sac bunts and 2 GIDPs, not pretty.

The Swallows look to begin their epic comeback tomorrow at home against the Carp.

Will the nightmare end? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

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.

  • Oogieball


  • Okawari Phil

    noh! (in the style of  Bruce from ‘Family

    wheels are coming off the Swallow’s wagon and it’s partly the fault of my fave
    team the Tigers. I only follow ‘em because a friend brought me back some
    merchandise from a trip to Kobe once (and ‘cause Koshien is such a cool old
    stadium) but listening to you guys I get the impression that their followers are
    the NPB equivalent of Millwall fans (Mr Watkins will know what I mean)? Is that
    the case, are they somewhat ‘blue collar’?



    • Mmm. Hanshin fans.

      We might try and shine a bit of light on them in the upcoming podcast for you.

  • Rob

    Wait, so I have to root for the Giants against the Drags for the next three games? Ick.

    • No


      • No

        Let’s just root for the Giants to tie. We can catch up a half-game at a time and the Giants don’t win. I’m ok with this.

        • Rob

          Yes! High-scoring, bullpen-exhausting, momentum-draining ties would be good.

  • I’d rather root for the Giants or the Tigers than see the Swallows being eaten by Ochiai, who looks like a deep-sea creature with a half smile on his face, waiting for his supper to fall!