Tokyo Swallows Snapshot: April 9, 2012

Homepage Layout

A couple of very small changes have occurred on the homepage of this fair website. We moved the Central League standings plugin to the footer area and added a Pacific League widget as well.

We also started a Swallows of the Week list down in the footer. The winner of week one voting was Masanori Ishikawa!

Swallows of the Week

Milledge hit his first NPB round-tripper this week, but it wasn't quite enough to get him on the weekly MVP ballot.

Week 1

There were 22 votes during the few days following the publication of the first Tokyo Swallows Snapshot, and voters were asked to select an MVP from a list of four strong week one contributors: Tony Barnette, Masanori Ishikawa, Shinya Miyamoto, and Hiroyasu Tanaka.

Here’s how many votes each player received:

Masanori Ishikawa1150
Shinya Miyamoto522
Hiroyasu Tanaka314
Tony Barnette314

Congratulations to Mr. Ishikawa! Your imaginary trophy is in the mail.

Week 2

Your Tokyo Swallows played five games last week, two against the visiting Hanshin Tigers (Tuesday’s game was erased by gale-force winds) and three at Nagoya Dome against 2011 CL champ, Chunichi.

The week didn’t start particularly well, but the ending was just what the doctor ordered for a fanbase that is still licking its wounds after being overtaken for the CL Pennant and later beaten in the second stage of the Climax Series by one of the most boring teams in all of professional baseball.

At any rate, the birds finished the week with two wins, two losses, and one tie. That’s good enough for fourth place in the very young 2012 Central League pennant race.

And here are week number two’s key contributors:

Shingo Kawabata
Tokyo’s shortstop has not endured the slow start that many of us envisioned given his injury issues and abbreviated top team stint during spring training. But he’s been solid both on defense and at the plate, and he looks to be every bit as good as he was last summer. He was 8-18 at the plate last week with two RBI and one walk. That’s a .444 batting average during week two, and his current slash line is .379/.419/.379.

Orlando Roman
In his first start for the Swallows, Roman easily exceeded expectations. He ended up being tagged with the loss, but he gave up only one run during his six and one-third innings of work while striking out six and walking two. He was very unfortunate to be facing Chunichi’s ace, Yoshimi, who limited the Tokyo offense to just three hits during his time in the game. A very promising start by anyone’s standards.

Wladimir Balentien
Indifferent fielding aside, Coco had a decent week at the plate. He went 7-17 with a solo home run against both Hanshin and Chunichi. He also had two RBI against Hanshin on Wednesday which gave him four for the week. His .412 batting average last week made him a very difficult out considering the fact that he was batting seventh. His current slash line is .320/.433/.560.

Tony Barnette
Three more appearances this week led to Tony tabulating his third save and first win of the 2012 season. He still sports a goose egg filled ERA, allowed just one hit, and sports a RIP of just 0.64. He’s currently tied for second in the league in appearances (5), tied for fourth in wins (1), and tied for first in saves (3).

Takehiko Oshimoto
With another four appearances under his belt, Oshimoto still boasts a 0.00 ERA. He allowed three walks and three hits last week, but he struck out three batters as well.

Spits or Swallows

I’m still unsure about this part of the column. I kind of like the idea of picking players that are on fire or sucking pretty hard, but I don’t like the limited scope of just one week’s worth of games. Maybe the column itself should be called “Spits or Swallows” since we tend to revel in both the positive and negative here at Tsubamegun?

Feedback on this point would be very much appreciated, even if it’s just to let us know who you think had a good/bad week.

Community Opinion Poll

You may or may not remember that back on March 29th we asked for your opinions on a variety of Tokyo-related areas. 18 of you took the time to fill out the eight-question survey, and here’s what we found:

With Lim on the farm team, who would you like to see pitching the ninth inning?
Tony Barnette 15 (83% of respondents)

In what place do you think Tokyo will finish the regular season?

  • CL Champs – 6 votes (33% of respondents)
  • 2nd place – 6 votes (33%)
  • 3rd place – 3 votes (17%)
  • 4th place – 3 votes (17%)
  • 5th place – 0 votes (0%)
  • 6th place – 0 votes (0%)

How many wins do you think the Swallows will finish the regular season with?

  • 56-65 – 1 vote (6%)
  • 66-75 – 5 votes (28%)
  • 76-85 – 12 votes (67%)

Do you agree with the team’s decision to start Lim on the farm so that he has more time to make sure that his arm is ready for top team pitching?

  • Yes – 13 votes (72%)
  • No – 3 votes (17%)
  • Undecided – 2 votes (11%)

Do you agree with the team’s decision to try and move Masubuchi back to the bullpen?

  • Yes – 13 votes (72%)
  • No – 3 votes (17%)
  • Undecided – 2 votes (11%)

Do you agree with the team’s decision to start Yoshinori on the farm team so that he has more time to work on his control?

  • Yes – 11 votes (61%)
  • No – 5 votes (28%)
  • Undecided – 2 votes (11 %)

Who should be the everyday starting shortstop?

  • Shingo Kawabata – 14 votes (78%)
  • Tetsuto Yamada – 4 votes (22%)

When will Shinya Miyamoto record his 2,000th career hit?

  • Before May 1st – 7 votes (39%)
  • On/After May 1st – 11 votes (61%)

The Week Ahead

Tokyo play host to Yokohama tomorrow through Thursday, and they will hopefully take at least two of three from the last-placed Baystars who have only managed to win one game so far this season.

Then after a travel day on Friday, the Swallows will take on Hiroshima in Matsuyama on Saturday and Sunday.

Tokyo was 15-5 (4 ties) against Yokohama last year, and 13-9 (2 ties) against Hiroshima.


Kamei took one right in the face.

Around the Central League

Yomiuri’s Kamei had his nose broken by a pitch during yesterday’s game against Hanshin. The nose-breaker was courtesy of Tatsuya Kojima (video here).

Yomiuri and Yokohama continued having a difficult time scoring runs this past week. Many franchise records were set or equaled by both teams for general ineptitude.

Hanshin starting pitcher, Jason Standridge, looked very sharp in his win over the Giants on Saturday.

Hiroshima currently lead the Central League with a 6-2-1 record.



Former Swallows

After striking out in his first MLB at-bat, Norichika Aoki recorded his first hit (pinch-hitter) during Milwaukee’s 3-9 loss to St. Louis.

Through seven games, Josh Whitesell has 27 at-bats and is hitting .259/.310/.296. He leads Chiba in strikeouts with 11.

Whitesell’s teammate, Seth Greisinger, was the starting pitcher on Wednesday versus Saitama and went seven innings while earning the win and striking out nine. He gave up four hits and no runs off of only 94 pitches in a very commanding performance.

Alex Ramirez is currently hitting .250/.286/.250 for Yokohama. He’s currently tied for the team lead in HBP (1).


OK, that’s it for this week. Please chime in with your thoughts and don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll. It is very obvious that the vast majority of the visitor’s here are refraining from participating in any way, shape, or form. I can totally sympathize with not wanting to comment, but refusing to take part in an anonymous poll?

Lame dot com.

Alright folks, keep on swallowing. Or drink up. Whichever you prefer.

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

  • Andrew Willis

    Hi, as a fairly new Swallows fan based in the UK, just wanted to say how much I appreciate the articles and post-game updates. Really gives you a feel for some of the characters & personnel behind the results. Please keep them coming!
    Like the way Snapshot is evolving so far. 
    If I understand the reports and box scores correctly, have the Swallows really employed Hidaka twice just to intentionally walk people? What’s that all about??

    One last thing; what’s the best way to keep up with live games? I’ve found Yahoo Japan has a pretty good mlb Gameday type update, and Justin tv seems to feed some of the games. Any others?

    Many thanks in advance

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