Tokyo Swallows Snapshot: June 12th, 2012

Welcome to rainy season, Swallowers.

Adult swings at the plate, but how long will he be able to stick around?

Here’s something for you to read while beating a hasty retreat.

Swallows of the Week

Week 10

Here is a recap of the performances of the four contestants from last week (copied from last week’s Snapshot):

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B) – Fludge was 7-17 at the plate this week and contributed two homers and two doubles. He tallied seven RBI while drawing a single walk. He broke Sunday’s game open and batted .412/.444/.882 for the week. It was pretty much Fludge who put the game out of reach on Sunday for Tokyo’s third win of the week.

Masanori Ishikawa (P) – Ishikawa pitched his second complete game of the season on Saturday. He got the win and saw his record improve to 4-5 with a 3.12 ERA. His performance looked a little like this: 9 IP; 120 NP; 3 H; 5 K; 3 BB; 2 R (both earned).

Lastings Milledge (CF) – Thrilledge had three multi-hit games in what was arguably his best week yet in a Tokyo uniform. He was 8-15 at the plate while leading off for the Swallows. He helped kick off Tokyo’s current winning ways with a grand slam on the last day of May, and he came through with a total of 6 RBI, two walks, and a slash line of .533/.556/.733.

Shohei Tateyama (P) – The man with the seamed right hand won his first game since being named CL pitcher for the months of March/April. What a kiss of death that was. At any rate, he came through with a high-quality start on Sunday in Fukuoka: 8 IP; 124 NP; 5 H; 5 K; 4 BB; 1 R (earned).

And here is what the 31 people who voted had to say about those numbers:

Lastings Milledge (CF)2065
Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)1135
Masanori Ishikawa (P)00
Shohei Tateyama (P)00

Milledge is the second Tokyo Swallow to earn weekly MVP honors twice in the same season–you may recall that he was your week five SOW. We raise our glasses to you, Lastings. Here’s to many more!

Week 11

Including Monday’s crappy contest against Saitama, in which the Swallows were effectively swept by the visiting Lions, Tokyo played five games this past week. They finished the soggy week with a 2-3 record. But here are a few of the bright spots:

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B) – notched the most hits on the team last week, going 6-21 at the plate. He was also the only Swallow to reach base safely in all five games. He had one homer and one RBI.

Jun Matsui (OF) – the youngster spins himself into the ground with his Ogasawara-esque cuts at the plate, but he made some solid contact last week while helping the team win a couple of games. He was 5-13 at the plate with three RBI, a walk, and an HBP. He also hit the first home run of his career on Sunday with a shot that cleared the center field wall.

Itsuki Shoda (P) – the former rookie of the year made two relief appearances this week and pitched a total of three innings. He allowed three hits and no runs while striking out four.

Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B) – reached base in all but one of last week’s games. He was 3-14 for the week with a double and a triple while driving in three runs and drawing three walks.

Make your choice below:

Just missing out on the ballot:

Kazuki Fukuchi (OF) – 3-6 at the plate with a doulbe, RBI, and a walk
Shingo Kawabata (SS) – 4-21 with a double, 2 RBI, and a walk
Ryuji Miyade (OF) – 3-4 with two doubles and a walk

Roster Updates

Kyohei Muranaka (P) officially returned to the top team on the fifth, and both Balentien (RF) and Kawamoto (C) were promoted to the top team on the eighth at the expense of Roman (P) and Iihara (OF). Iihara has an injury that he’s dealing with, but Roman’s demotion was reportedly controversial (amongst the coaching staff) given how steady he’s been as a starter. The rationale is that, hey, it’s interleague, and there’s a bit of extra cushion built in for spinning the revolving door between the farm and pro teams at warp speed.

Iihara is apparently dealing with a hand injury (link in Japanese).

Finally, on Tuesday the 12th, Yuichi was sent back down to the farm team. He was 0-2 at the plate this week in two pinch hit appearances.

Here’s how the roster currently looks:

Lim, Muranaka, Ishikawa, Yamamoto, Masubuchi, Tateyama, Barnette, Hidaka, Akagawa, Shoda, Oshimoto

Aikawa, Kawamoto, Nakamura

Kawabata, Miyamoto, Tanaka, Fujimoto, Hatakeyama, Noguchi, Miwa, Morioka

Fukuchi, Balentien, Miyade, Jun Matsui, Milledge

*27 of 28 spots filled.

From the Farm

The mini birds beat Saitama 5-4 last Tuesday: Hiyane was 4-5 at the plate, and Balentien made his first farm team appearance of the year. He was 2-3 with two RBI including a solo homer in the sixth. It was actually the second of a back-to-back effort involving DH Yuhei off of Saitama reliever Okamoto. Coco added a walk for good measure, and Araki and Aso had a pair of hits as well.

After a rained out game on Wednesday, the Lions were welcomed to Toda for another Tokyo victory. Coco didn’t feature this time around, but second baseman, Aso, again came through with a big game. He pushed both of Tokyo’s runs across home plate and the team won by a 2-1 margin. Fernandez earned his third win against one loss in his eighth appearance of the season. He pitched 6.1 innings and gave up one earned run while scattering eight hits, striking out three, and walking two.

Miyade multi-tasks on his way into the stadium.

Tokyo then beat the Baystars 5-4 in Yokohama to win their fourth straight on Friday. Yoshinori Sato’s little brother, Takanori, continued to show that he can hit by going 4-5 and scoring two runs as the starting center fielder. He’s now batting .331 as a regular starter. Tokyo’s other backup outfielders, Yuhei (LF) and Hiyane (RF) contributed multi-hit games with the former boasting three RBI.

The team finally suffered a loss on Sunday when Yagi had a little bit of a rough day on the mound and the Tokyo offense could only manage two hits. Yokohama prevailed. 0-5 Final.

Around the Central League

The first place Chunichi Dragons were 3-2-1 last week. They lost both of their games at Seibu Dome before squeaking out a pair of one point victories over the visiting Tohoku Eagles at Nagoya Dome. They then tied and won the next two boring games against the Fighters in Nagoya. Their 30-18-10 record puts them one game ahead of second place Yomiuri.

The second place Yomiuri Giants were 4-2 last week. They took both of their games at Yahoo Dome against Fukuoka before splitting their two-game series at home against the Lions. Chiba was able to force a similar result when they played at Tokyo Dome on Sunday and Monday. Yomiuri finds themselves one game behind Chunichi and 5.5 games ahead of the third place Tokyo Swallows.

The fourth place Hanshin Tigers were 3-3 last week. They split all three series they played, one each against the Tohoku Eagles, Orix Buffaloes, and Fukuoka Hawks. They are half a game behind the Tokyo Swallows with a 24-26-7 record, and three games ahead of Hiroshima.

The fifth place Hiroshima Carp were 3-2-1 last week. They split their series up in Hokkaido against the Fighters before drawing and losing at home to the visiting Hawks. They then swept the Buffaloes at home by an aggregate score of 11-3 on Sunday and Monday. They sit three games behind Hanshin with a 22-30-5 record, and they’re 3.5 games clear of the last place Yokohama Baystars.

The sixth place Yokohama Baystars were 1-4 last week. They lost a pair away in Chiba before losing one at home to the vising Hokkaido Fighters. After their game on Saturday got rained out, they managed to split the Sunday-Monday tandem against the visiting Eagles. They’re 3.5 games behind Hiroshima with the worst record in Japanese baseball.

The Week Ahead

The birds are in the midst of a road trip as they head to Sendai for a pair of games against Tohoku on Wednesday and Thursday (scheduled rain makeup day is Friday). On Saturday and Sunday they’ll be in Hokkaido for a two-game set against the Fighters.

Here are the start times for the next four games:

6/13 at Tohoku – 6PM
6/14 at Tohoku – 6PM
6/16 at Hokkaido – 6PM
6/17 at Hokkado – 2PM

Saturday’s game (6/9) got called due to rain, and it will instead be played on Tuesday the 19th with a 6PM scheduled first pitch. That is the last time that the birds will play at Jingu until June 29th against Hanshin.

You should all make an effort to be there on the 19th to help us celebrate the end of interleague play. Enough is enough.

OK, thanks for partaking, but please excuse me while I scrub a little harder.

Drink up.

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