5/24/12 – Chiba (Away)

May 24th, 2012

Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1

Chiba Lotte Marines 6

Streak: Lost 5   Last 5: LLLLL

(QVC Marine Field)

That’s right folks, that’s 5 L’s filling up the ‘Last 5’ field. Another night, another loss, I’m starting to feel like a BayStars fan.

W: Fujioka (4-1); L: Shichijo (0-1)

The Swallows shake up the line up hard by sending out 9 righties to counter lefty rookie Fujioka.

 Swallows Marines
1Iihara (RF)1Okada (CF)
2Noguchi (LF)2Nemoto (SS)
3Milledge (CF)3Iguchi (2B)
4Balentien (DH)4Saburo (DH)
5Hatakeyama (1B)5Kakunaka (LF)
6Miyamoto (3B)6Fukuura (1B)
7Aikawa (C)7Satozaki (C)
8Tanaka (2B)8Imae (3B)
9Yamada (SS)9Kiyota (RF)

The result was more hits than last night, the ultimate result was the same. One run scored, and another loss. On the defensive side of things, Shichijo made his 2012 debut, and looked like the Shichijo from late 2011 rather than the Shichijo of early/mid 2011.

The Marines got on the board first with a 2 out double with men in scoring position in the second inning. 2-0 Marines

The Swallows weren’t able to respond in the third despite getting a lead off double by Iihara. The Birds decided to go for the run by bunting Iihara over to third, but neither Milledge (strikeout swinging) nor Balentien (groundout) got the man home.

On the flip side, Shichijo managed to get out of a no out 2 men on situation in the bottom of the inning to keep the Swallows within striking distance.

The Swallows shrunk the lead in the fifth. Tanaka lead off the inning with a double to left, and Yamada laid down a beautiful bunt single to put men on the corners with no out. Iihara followed with a single to score Tanaka for 1 run. 2-1 Marines Then the Swallows decided to go to standard Japanese tactics asking Noguchi to bunt the runners into scoring position. Fujioka kept attacking Milledge inside and induced a foul to the first base side that Fukuura caught on a dive for out number 2. The Marines (wisely) decided to intentionally walk Balentien to face Hatakeyama. The result was a pop out to the catcher and 3 runners stranded.

The narrow gap in the score was short lived, as the Marines showed the Swallows how runs are supposed to be scored. Nemoto led off the inning with a single, and Iguchi followed with a homer to widen the score. 4-1 Marines Saburo quickly followed with a double, and the Swallows decided to pull the sophomore righty in favor of the sophmore lefty, Kyuko. Kyuko did his job by getting the next 3 Marines out in just 6 pitches.

The Swallows threatened again in the seventh, with yet another Iihara lead off hit, this time a full count single. Noguchi followed with a single of his own to put men on first and second with no out. Milledge got walked on 4 pitches, and the Marines decided to call it a night for the rookie southpaw. The Marines sent right-hander Uchi to face the Swallows. Uchi crushed the Swallows hopes by getting a swinging strikeout off of Balentien, and inducing a double play from Hatake.

The Marines salted the wound in the bottom of the inning by lighting up Onodera. Onodera pitched the Swallows’ only perfect inning in the sixth and was coming out for a second inning. Onodera started the inning with a strikeout off of Nemoto, but back-to-back doubles by Iguchi and Saburo added a run to the Marines’ total. 5-1 Marines After Onodera got Kakunaka to strikeout swinging, the righty gave up a triple to Heiuchi that scored Saburo. 6-1 Marines Onodera ended the inning with a K to end the inning with a somewhat surreal 3 Ks and 3 extra-base hits.

Tetsuya Yamamoto pitched a shaky but score-less eighth for the Swallows, and the Marines got Yabuta to shutdown the Swallows to end the blow out. Not a pretty game.

The Swallows now travel from the Eastern boonies of Chiba to the Western boonies of Saitama to face the Lions.

The offensive hole in the 5 spot.

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.

  • And now we’re off to Seibu, where we lost both games last year, and in fact always seem to lose.


  • Andy G

    Was there watching it. Talk about missed opportunities. On the plus side, Iihara, Noguchi and Yamada did well. Balentien, Milledge and Hatakeyama really poor though. Couldn’t ask for a more cushy next game though – Lions worst team in PL this year. Even if your record against them is bad, I’d still fancy you for at least one win out of two, if not more.

    • Like the optimism Andy. The Seibu series does present us with a good  opportunity to get things back on track given they’re in the midst of their own four game losing streak.

      However I can’t stop thinking back to the Orix series, which beforehand looked like it should be rather straightforward given their prior form, but didn’t quite turn out that way.

      That said the opposite could well be true, and we’ll be the team to awaken and deliver a satisfying victory underneath the echo-filled UFO in Tokorozawa.

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  • Andy G

    Shows what I know, doesn’t it?!

    • Your prediction was based on logic Andy. Unfortunately logic often doesn’t apply in Swallowsland.

      Especially with regards to our annual trip to Saitama to collect our two Ls.

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