5/28/12 – Tohoku (Home)

May 28th, 2012

Tohoku Eagles 7

Tokyo Swallows 1

(Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium)

W: Mima (3-1; 3.78 ERA) L: Masubuchi (1-1; 3.52 ERA)

Okay ladies and gentlemen, let’s take stock of the last few games shall we? Are you ready? Then let’s begin. Count along with me:










Tokyo Yakult Swallows make little children cry

Yes, if my counting skills are not too rusty, I make that nine. Nine losses on the trot. Not. Pretty.

The Lineup

Hijirisawa (CF)1Milledge (CF)
Ginji (2B)2Tanaka (2B)
Takasu (3B)3Yuichi (LF)
Garcia (1B)4Hatakeyama (1B)
Nakamura (LF)5Ihara (RF)
Terrero (RF)6Miyamoto (3B)
Masuda (SS)7Morioka (SS)
Oyama (C)8Aikawa (C)
Mima (P)9Masubuchi (P)

The big news in today’s lineup was that, as a reward for batting .037 (27-1) during the course of the previous eight losses, Balentien was benched. This was, I believe, the first game this season which he has not started. This meant Milledge was moved to leadoff with for better or for worse, Yuichi, Hatake and Ihara filling the 3-5 clean-up slots.

The Pitching

Masabuchi made his first start of the year to plug a hole in the rotation, and for the first four innings of this he was decent. Things started ominously in the 1st as he walked the first man he faced on five pitches, but he wouldn’t allow another man on through until the 5th.

And so to that inning we go, which saw Garcia lead off the with a chopper up the middle to register the Eagles’ first hit of the contest. A strikeout and a walk put men on first and second for Masuda, who hit a double to the corner in left to make it 1-0 Tohoku and put two men in scoring positions.

Masubuchi left another pitch up in the zone for Oyama, who snuck one by Morioka and into the outfield which scored two to make it 3-0 Tohoku.

He would play no further part, and would ultimately be tagged with the loss for his 5IP / 3H / 5K / 2BB / 3ER outing.

The 6th saw Kyuko come into the game to try and stabilise things, but an infield single, a bunt, a steal (of third) and a walk put men on the corners with one out. Araki then deemed he’d seen enough, calling for Onodera from the bullpen. And the ex-Seibu hack let things spiral out of control as he gave up a RBI single to Garcia (4-0) before Nakamura hit one off the foul pole in left for a three run shot (after video review, it was initially called fair) to make it 7-0. Two of the runs would be charged to Kyuko while Onodera had two of his own.

After Onodera was left in to get out of the inning, Yamamoto (7th) and Matsui (8th and 9th) allowed no further hits over the rest of the game.

The Batting

Same old story. Five hits which delivered little:

  1. Ihara (who has hit .333 / 15-5 over the last eight) led off the 2nd with a single to centre. He was soon back on the bench as Miyamoto (who has hit  .111 / 27-3 over the prior eight) hit into a double play to kill the tiny amount of momentum stone dead.
  2. In the 5th, after falling three runs behind in the top of the inning, Miyamoto got on base via a error at short before Morioka singled to centre. But consecutive flyouts from Aikawa (batting .333 / 21-7 over the previous eight) and Fujimoto (in for Masubuchi) stranded the two men.
  3. Hatake led off the 7th with a single, but no-one else could get on that inning.
  4. In the 8th, a two-out solo shot to left from Milledge (6th of the year) scored the Swallows’ solitary run to make it 7-1.
  5. And finally in the 9th, Hatakeyama got his second single of the game with one out on the board. Ihara then struck out swinging before a pinch hitting Balentien swung at the first pitch he saw to fly out to shot and end the game with a 7-1 Tohoku Final.

Further Notes

  • 10,509 hardy souls were present at Jingu to witness loss number nine, two of which I know have been present for all nine. Poor fuckers. The last time Tokyo lost nine on the spin was during inter league 2010 under Shigeru Takada. After which Takada resigned/was pushed and Tokyo were then transformed under the helm of Ogawa. Don’t expect such drama this season, as Ogawa has built up quite a reserve of goodwill points in the bank, whereas Takada was terminally overdrawn.
  • This is the 7th straight game that the Swallows have been held to one or fewer runs. The team record for such a streak is eight games, which dates back to October 1970.
  • I believe the record all-time inter league losing streak is eleven games. Which if things go with form could be equalled on Thursday night in game two against the visiting Hokkaido Fighters.
  • Can anyone see any light at the end of the tunnel……….?
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

  • Ken

    So wants to bet on who wins first, Cubs or Swallows?

  • Rob

    Wow, this blows. We should just take a knee and run out the clock on interleague play. Oh, wait, the offense already is.

    It’s kind of stunning to see so many things go so badly at once. I’d like to think the upside is that once things get better they’ll never be this bad again.. But Yokohama fans have been thinking that for years.

  • Augusttime

    I left at the bottom of the seventh. The carnage was just too much to bear…

  • zunlin

    Looking at Balentien Twitter Account he will be sent down to the farm team because he was caught “tweeting” in the middle of the second Lions Game.

    • Rob

      Dang. I was wondering why they sat him the whole game yesterday, then put him in for a meaningless AB with two outs in the ninth. One thought was “here’s a no-pressure situation where you can take some swings and get your groove back.” The other was that it was a FU from management.
      So it was the latter.
      But why bench him yesterday? Why not just send him down straight away?

  • Pittpen10

    I was a the game yesterday as well. I was told that he was also on the pine for a throwing gaff during Saturday’s game against the Lions. I was at that game as well and he missed the cut-off man when throwing a ball he chased down into the rightfield corner.  I do agree it was strange to bring him in cold off the bench in a game that was out of reach.
    I am also stunned that Barnette is never coming in to pitch in these games that are out of reach. His last outing was when he game up the two-dinger and took his first loss.  That night he had gone six games without pitching… Why not bring him in even to just throw in a game situation when we are getting blasted out of the park. At least he keeps his arm in game shape… no?

  • ‘M’

    I have witnessed 7 of 9 of these. Enough to make grown men cry.

  • Highwaythe3rd

    You Tsubamegun guys on Coco’s Twitter feed?  Maybe you can incorporate some real-time updates from him during future games.

    • Nice idea, but, if the Tweeting did, in fact, have anything to do with his being sent down, I expect we won’t be saying any more mid-game updates from Coco. His Tweets are also, to be honest, not always examples of pith and clarity, either.

  • Baseball Oogie

    This is a tragedy. Someone wake up the offense.

  • Pittpen10

    >>Chris.. Thanks. I was not able to make it to the game on Sun… but the point still remains the same. You can’t leave a guy out of a lineup for a number of games and then throw him in cold.