10/8/11 – Hiroshima (Home)

October 8th, 2011

Hiroshima Carp  7

Tokyo Swallows  4

Streak: Lost 1       Last 5: LLLWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

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W: Aoki (2-4/3.40) L: Matsuoka (2-2/2.79) S: Imamura (1S/4.75)

On a night which saw Chunichi shut down and beaten by Yomiuri, a win for Tokyo would have sent them back to the top of the CL. But a battling come-from-behind performance was undone by another dose of misfiring bullpen.

 Us Them
1CF Aoki12B Higashide
22B Tanaka2CF Akamatsu
3SS Kawabata33B Barden
41B Hatakeyama41B Kurihara
5LF Yuichi5RF Hirose
6RF Balentien6LF Matsuyama
73B Morioka7C Shirahama
8C Aikawa8SS Kimura
9P Muranaka9Ohtake

Muranaka started for the Swallows but wouldn’t last four innings as he let the team in the midst of an eight game losing streak fashion an early lead.

In the 1st a two-out walk for Barden and a Kurihara home run made it 2-0 Hiroshima. And in the 4th, three hits combined with a walk put the Carp 3-0 ahead. Matsui came in in relief of Muranaka and got the final out of the inning.

After Ohtake held the ice-cold Tokyo bats to a solitary hit over the first three frames, Tokyo got on the board in the bottom of the 4th, as two hits and a Hatakeyama groundout to first was good enough for a 3-1 scoreline.

And the Swallows tied things up in the 6th. A solo homer from Aoki (no.4 for the year) made it 3-2 before Tanaka got on base via an infield hit. After Hatake drew a walk one out later, and Yuichi flew out for out number two, Balentien hit a broken bat bloop single to centre to put things level at 3-3.

Matsuoka lets things slip in the 8th

But all that hard work was undone in the 8th. With Matsuoka on the mound, a single for Kurihara and a two run shot to right for Matsuyama put the Carp back ahead at 5-3.

The Swallows did have a bit of fight left in them yet though, however their efforts were undermined by some hair-brained management in the bottom of the inning.

Tanaka was plunked to lead off the inning before Kawabata walked to put two Tokyo men on. Up stepped no.4 batter Hatakeyama, the CL’s current no.2 harvester of RBIs, and he was instructed to……..sacrifice bunt. Now if it was Miyamoto or someone of that ilk up next I could possibly understand that move. But it was the utterly ineffectual Yuichi up next (a man who should never have been in the starting lineup to start with, injury crisis or not), and he grounded out to second, Tanaka scored from third to make it 5-4. But that would be as close as they would get, with Balentien striking out to end the inning.

And so to the top of the 9th, and Hidaka put two outs on the board before giving up a single and a walk. On came Ichiba to take Hidaka’s place, and the pitcher, who hasn’t been seen much at all since his move from Rakuten in 2009 for good reason, gave up back-to-back run scoring singles to put the Carp out of reach for a 7-4 Hiroshima Final.

And that was that. Positives: at least Chunichi lost so their lead remains at 0.5 games. However, this Chunichi team is not losing a hell of a lot these days, and thus the Swallows capitulation, again late in a game, cannot be seen as anything other than an opportunity wasted.

The two teams will return for the final game of the series tomorrow evening, before Tokyo travel to Nagoya for the do-or-die four game series with Chunichi from Monday.

The Swallows' fans turned out in force, but ultimately, all that cheering would be in vain

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

  • Oh, and it seems Miyamoto may be back in the lineup for tomorrow’s game. Thank fuck.

  • Rob

    The Hatakeyama bunt thing was just nuts regardless of who was due up next, but since the next batter was Yuichi (.216? 1 HR? How many ABs this season) I really do not understand, unless he has some amazing lifetime numbers against the pitcher.

    Same thing in the sixth. Tanaka singles after Aoki starts the inning with a HR. So… have Kawabata bunt? He failed, but ended up grounding out to second and moving Tanaka to second all the same. But now first base is open and the Carp can either pitch to Hatakeyama (.27x? 23 or so HR, currently the RBI leader), or Yuichi. Not a tough call.

    • Yep, now’s not the time to be having managerial brainfarts.

  • Pingback: Tokyo Swallows Podcast 03 (September, 2011)()

  • Augusttime

    Any idea what Tanaka’s OBP would be I’d we removed all his sac ‘hits’? And then, how would he rank against the rest of the Central? We should let the boy play Baseball and stop him from playing Yakyu anymore…

    • Sacrifice bunts are not included in calculations of OBP, so I’m not sure if I understand your question. He leads the league with 62 Tak-bunts, but those outs do not count against his batting average or OBP (.256 and .312, respectively).

      Maybe your question is about how his numbers would look if he had been allowed to swing away during those 62 at-bats? If that’s what you’re getting at, then the answer is actually a little surprising.

      If we use his current number of  hits (123), walks (37), sacrifice flies (3) and HBP (3), then we might be able to extrapolate a bit.

      Over 480 at-bats so far this season, Tanaka has gotten a hit 25.6% of the time (ie. his batting average is .256). He has worked a walk 7.7% of the time and a sacrifice fly or an HBP in 0.6% of his at-bats.

      Using those percentages and the 62 at-bats in question, it is possible that he would wind up with 15.87 hits, 4.77 walks, and .37 sac flies and HBP. Let’s round those down to 15, 4, 0 and 0 even though doing so will lower the final outcome slightly.

      Using the OBP forumla: OBP = hits + walks + HBP divided by at-bats + walks + HBP + sacrifice flies

      we are left with an OBP of .309, or a few tenths of a percentage point below where he is right now.

      In other words, going by the numbers, there wouldn’t really be a difference. 

      However, there may be some intangibles at play here. It is very difficult to quantify how much Tanaka’s hitting would improve if he were allowed to consistently swing away on a daily basis. 

      Also, there don’t appear to be any official statistics which tell us how many of his official at-bats started out as sacrifice attempts, but then ended as an out after he accumulated two strikes and was forced to swing to keep himself in the at-bat.

      It might be interesting to compare how he has done over his four years as our starting second baseman when he’s batting second (where he bunts all the time) and when he’s batting sixth-eighth (where he’s allowed to swing away more often).

      • Remember, Christopher, that a successful sac bunt does not count as an AB.

  • Augusttime

    Exactly Garrett.  This all means that we’re looking at his % numbers over 418 at bats then?  So then if we’re talking 480 at bats x .256 average = 123 hits, if we then do 123 / 418 = new batting average of .294.  Wow.  And we can safely say that he’d have an OBP then of at least .360.  That would make him #7 in Average and #5 in OBP in the league.  And we have this stud bunt??  Argh.  That’s only a hair worse than Hatake – albeit Hiroyasu lacks power…

    • OK, now I’m confused. He has 480 official at-bats, but his plate appearances are around 580. What am I missing?

      • Right, Christopher. Successful sacrifice bunts do not count as at-bats (nor do sac flies). In other words, the number of times Tanaka sacrifices has absolutely no effect on his OBP, BA, or any other batting statistic other than the number of plate appearances and the number of sacrifices.

        As you point out, he has many more PA than AB – the difference is walks, HBP, and sac bunts.

        Augustine, no one hates the sac bunt more than me, but your assumptions are off because a successful sac bunt does not count as an AB.Sorry to have sparked confusion there.

        • And just to clarify, since maybe it wasn’t clear in my comment from yesterday, I used 542 (480 plus 62) as the number of at-bats when calculating Tanaka’s theoretical, sacrifice bunt-less OBP.

  • One more point that I’d like to emphasize:
    As explained in my original comment, sac bunts are not factored into any of our calculations. However, sacrifice flies ARE used in calculations of OBP. The OBP formula from my first comment is correct.

    In other words, if a player has several sac flies, and no walks or HBP, then he could have a batting average that is greater than his OBP. It’s rare, but you occasionally see it at the beginning of the season.

    Why do sac flies count against a batter’s OBP but sac bunts don’t? Good question.

    I’m guessing here, but I believe that it’s because hitters are generally trying to drive the ball into the  outfield when a runner is on third with less than two outs. The hitter’s objective, of course, is to get on base safely while collecting an RBI, but a sac fly is an acceptable compromise. 

    I could be wrong, but it seems like sac flies don’t count against a hitter’s batting average purely because a run actually scored–the hitter is given credit for hitting the ball deep enough for a run to score. However, the resulting RBI does not appear to be enough to override the fact that they did not reach base successfully (where OBP is concerned).

    Logically, of course, this doesn’t make any sense when compared with the statistically disadvantageous act of sac bunting a runner over to second. 

    My (controversial) question is: why aren’t sac bunts counted against OBP?

    • Kozo

      The question isn’t really controversial, if you think about what OBP is supposed to measure.

      Wikipedia says:
      Sacrifice bunts (sacrifice hits since 1954), which would lower a
      batter’s on-base percentage, are not included in the calculation for
      on-base percentage, as bunting is an offensive strategy – often dictated
      by the manager – the use of which does not necessarily reflect on the
      batter’s ability and should not be used to penalize him.

      As a complete aside, if the scorer determines that a batter was bunting for a hit, even if the bunt advances a runner, it would not count as a sac bunt and would count against the batter’s stats.

      • Well put, Kozo. While you might not have driving at the point I’m about to make, you brought it up in a way: it is easy to see stats as an end rather than a tool for making what had once been intangible tangible.

        Chris, I stand corrected re: sac flies. You’re right, of course.

      • Kozo

        In terms of SFs not counting in BA, I think that’s relic from when sac bunts and flies were both counted under the heading sacrifice hit. OBP being a much newer metric, it wasn’t saddled with that little piece of historical baggage. Given baseball’s love of numbers and being able to compare players across eras, I think people are loath to redefine the definition of the almighty batting average. Especially since the effect would be fairly negligible.

        • Interesting. So let’s invent a new OBP metric that includes sac bunts. After all, It’s not a true sacrifice unless one of your averages gets damaged in the process, right? 

          What should we call it?

          Off the top of my head: 
          TOBA – Tanaka On Base Average (or KOBA if you want to substitute Kawai for Tanaka)
          BOBA – Bunt-adjusted On Base Average