Tokyo Swallows Snapshot: June 4th, 2012

Things were a touch better last week, Swallowers!

Here’s something for you to read while deferring to logic.

Swallow of the Week

After losing an agonizing 9 straight games, the Swallows entered the week with a retooled top team roster (check the Roster Updates section of last week’s Snapshot for more info on the shakeup) and an increasingly dissatisfied crowd at Jingu Stadium.

But after loss number 10 on the trot, the Swallows regained a little bit of swagger (equal parts mojo and scrappy) and reeled off three straight wins.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the weekly polls.

Week 9

There was some serious voter apathy last week as only 14 people voted before the polls closed. That’s what a nine-game losing streak can do to one’s inner superfan.

But the Tokyo faithful have spoken, and they chose from the four candidates (Iihara (OF), Milledge (OF), Tanaka (2B), and Yamamoto (P)) thusly:

PlayerVotes%
Yasushi Iihara (OF)857
Lastings Milledge (CF)536
Tetsuya Yamamoto (P)17
Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B)00

Welcome to the SOW club, Yasushi! Our many thanks to you and your more productive teammates (such as the other three listed in last week’s poll) for getting something done to help the team.

Week 10

Tokyo’s 3-1 record from last week was the result of a team effort that saw a lot of players, old and new, make valuable contributions to the cause.

Here are the top four from last week:

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).

Make your choice below:

Just missing out on the ballot:

Miyamoto (3B) – 6-17 at the plate
Aikawa (C) – 5-16 with an RBI and a walk
Akagawa (P) – 7 IP; 112 NP; 4 H; 8 K; 1 BB; 1 HBP; 1 R (earned)

Roster Updates

Following the demotion of Balentien (RF), Yamada (IF), Onodera (P), and Kyuko (P) on the 29th, the Swallows promoted a quartet that didn’t inspire a massive amount of confidence.

Chang-yong Lim (P)
Itsuki Shoda (P)
Shingo Kawabata (SS)
Ryuji Miyade (OF)

Kawabata (SS) was the sole sigh of relief from the bunch. But while Lim wasn’t exactly overpowering on the farm, he certainly has plenty of upside if he’s motivated and feeling sharp. He could prove to be an excellent 1-2 punch with Barnette if he’s a bit more consistent than he was in 2011.

Jun Matsui (OF) was promoted on the 31st at the expense of Fukukawa (C). Matsui was the starting DH on Saturday but didn’t make it to his second at-bat.

And earlier today, Kousuke Matsui (P) was demoted. That leaves one open spot of the top team.

Here’s how the roster currently looks:

Pitchers
Lim, Ishikawa, Yamamoto, Masubuchi, Tateyama, Barnette, Hidaka, Akagawa, Roman, Shoda, Oshimoto

Catchers
Aikawa, Nakamura

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

Outfielders
Fukuchi, Iihara, Yuichi, Miyade, Jun Matsui, Milledge

*27 of 28 spots filled

From the Farm

9-21 at the plate since reclaiming the cleanup spot on May 28th.

The mini Swallows started off week number 10 by dropping three straight to the midget Giants. Jun Matsui was the only Swallow with a multi-hit game during game one of the series, and he came through with a hit on each of the following days to earn a top team call-up.

Those three losses helped create a four-game streak of futility for the farm team that closely resembled that which was going on a league above.

The nastiness endured two days longer though as the birds dropped the first two-thirds of their weekend home stand to the visiting Hokkaido Fighters. The corner outfielders, Sato (LF) and Hiyane (RF) each put up two-hit games in the Friday encounter, but that was about it for the Swallows offense. Shichijo was horrid during his start (3 IP; 101 NP; 9 H (1 HR); 3 K; 3 BB; 7 R (all earned). His farm team ERA is now 5.00 through five appearances with a 1-2 record.

Sato was 4-5 while DHing on Saturday, but the birds still lost. Yuhei and Kawamoto had multi-hit games as well, but it wasn’t enough.

Tokyo’s hopefuls finally got a win on Sunday thanks to 3-5 games from Sato (LF), Araki (SS), and Aso (2B). Sato and Aso had two RBI each.

Coco Balentien didn’t make an appearance on the farm this week.

Around the Central League

The first place Chunichi Dragons were 1-2-1 last week. They won one and tied one against the visiting Orix Buffaloes before dropping the first two games of June in Chiba to the Marines. It was the first time that the Dragons had lost two in a row since May 10th against the Tokyo Swallows and May 11th against the Hiroshima Carp. Record: 27-16-9.

The second place Yomiuri Gaints were 3-1 last week. They won both of their home games against Tohoku by an aggregate score of 6-2 before splitting their away series against Orix at Kyocera Dome. Yomiuri’s prize off-season acquisition, former Fukuoka starter Sugiuchi, started the week off by no-hitting the Eagles (it was nearly a perfect game). The Giants are 1.5 games behind the first place Dragons. Record: 26-18-5

Your Tokyo Swallows are currently in third place, four games behind Yomiuri. Record: 23-23-3.

The fourth place Hanshin Tigers were 1-2-1 last week. They won one and lost one against the visiting Chiba Marines before dropping both of their games against Hokkaido up in Sapporo. The Tigers were briefly back in third place, but they now sit fourth, one game behind Tokyo. Record: 21-23-7.

The fifth place Hiroshima Carp were 3-1 last week. They took both games from the Saitama Lions at home (yes, the same Saitama Lions that smacked the piss out of us not long ago) before splitting their away series up in Miyagi against the Eagles. They’re currently fifth, 3.5 games behind the Tigers. Record: 19-28-4.

The sixth place Yokohama Baystars were 2-1-1 last week. They won one and drew one against Fukuoka down south before splitting their two-game series in Saitama against the Lions. They’re currently just 1.5 games behind the Carp. Record: 15-27-5.

The Week Ahead

Tokyo will look to continue its winning ways down in rent-a-car land as they take on the Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome on Tuesday and Wednesday (both games start at 6 PM). After that it’s back to Jingu for a four game stretch against the Chiba Marines and Saitama Lions (two games apiece).

The start times for upcoming games played at Jingu are as follows:

6/8 (Fri) vs Chiba – 6PM
6/9 (Sat) vs Chiba – 3PM
6/10 (Sun) vs Saitama – 3PM
6/11 (Mon) vs Saitama – 6PM

Be warned, after the 11th, there are no more regularly-scheduled games at Jingu until June 29th. If any of the games on the 8th-11th get rained out, then they’ll be made up between the 18th and 21st of this month. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on what’s going on (if you’re not yet following us on Twitter, then get on it).

See you there!

He never rests.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of the Snapshot, Swallowers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find another way to open this thing.

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

  • Dr. No

    Why are you calling Hatakeyama Fludge? Not that it’s any worse than Boo.

    Also, why is the consensus that Lim was so bad last year. His numbers were damn fine {2.17 ERA, 9.81 K/9INN, 0.995 WHIP) if you ask me

    • Fly ball + pudge.

      Lim’s performance last year was being looked at relatively, I’d say.