Apr 27th 2013, vs Yomiuri

April 27th, 2013

Yomiuri Giants 2

Tokyo Swallows 4

Streak: Won 4 Last 5: LWWWW

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Your Tokyo Swallows won their second series on the trot tonite, and it’s never more satisfying than when said victory comes at the expense of Yomiuri’s patronizing, piggly swagger.

W: Ogawa (3-0; 2.08 ERA)
L: Sugano (3-1; 2.57)
S: Yamamoto (3S; 1.69)

And guess who was finally dealt his first NPB loss–Hara’s endlessly smirking nephew, Sugano-kun.

Chono (RF)1H. Tanaka (2B)
Matsumoto (CF)2Morioka (SS)
Sakamoto (SS)3Milledge (LF)
Abe (C)4Balentien (RF)
Lopez (1B)5Hatakeyama (1B)
Murata (3B)6Miyamoto (3B)
Wakiya (2B)7Takeuchi (CF)
Hashimoto (LF)8M. Tanaka (C)
Sugano (P)9Ogawa (P)



Tokyo’s got a flock of rookie pitchers that are holding their own right now, but Yasuhiro Ogawa is head of the class. The Swallows’ second pick in the draft, Ogawa now has three very solid wins from four appearances so far in what has been a very lackluster start to Tokyo’s 2013 campaign.

Ogawa suffered a minor hiccup in the top of the first when Tanaka allowed a hard grounder to get the better of him, and Matsumoto was able to beat the throw at first. It was Tanaka’s fifth error during the first month of the season, but fortunately Ogawa was able to get Sakamoto to ground out to short and Abe to strike out looking.

Is it just me, or does Beavis carry a buttery glove in April every year? I seem to remember the same thing happening last year before he put together a Golden Glove-winning season.

After that, Ogawa didn’t allow a base runner until the top of the fifth inning. Lopez singled and Hashimoto drew a walk with two outs, but nobody scored.

By that point, however, Tokyo was already protecting a lead.

Way back in the bottom of the first inning, with yours truly and several other people that you love beginning to freeze their assets off in the right field bleachers, Morioka and Milledge pieced together back-to-back one out singles to put runners on the corners for Balentien.

And just as he has so many times over the past two weeks, Coco found a way to add to his RBI tally. He grounded out to second, but Morioka was able to score uncontested from third.

1-0 Good Guys.

The bad guys didn’t curl up and die though, unfortunately, no matter how much we’d like them to. Matsumoto drew a walk with one out in the top of the sixth, and Sakamoto followed with an opposite field long-ball that just skirted the fence.

Hit it there, and everything will be fine.

Hit it there, and everything will be fine.

1-2 Forces of Evil.

But things got back to normal pretty damn quick.

Beavis teed the bottom of the sixth up with a walk, and Morioka Tak-bunted him over to second because that is what the yakyu manual says you are supposed to do in that situation.

Milledge chipped in with his second single of the night, this time to left, and once again up came Coco.

Up came Coco. Sounds like the title of a dance track.

Somebody get on that. Do it. We’ll feature the song here on Tsubamegun.

But anyway. Coco did as Coco does, and Coco roped the 2-1 pitch into the sea of orange in left.

4-2 Final.

Miyamoto followed Coco’s game-winner with a single, but that was the last hit of the game. Ogawa lasted seven innings, Ishiyama (1.50 ERA) pitched a perfect eighth, and Yamamoto (1.69 ERA; 3S) tamed Yomiuri’s cleanup on three fly balls for the save.

And believe it or not, this is the first time that the vaunted Giants have lost two in a row this season. For shame!

A bit more on Ogawa’s night: he threw 104 pitches over seven innings and allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits. Sakamoto’s homer was the fist he’s allowed so far in his professional career. He also struck out 7 and walked 2 (one was pseudo-intentional).

Game three of the series is tomorrow night at Jingu, and first pitch is again scheduled for 6:15PM.

If the Swallows win tomorrow, it will be not just the team’s first sweep of the year, but also their first five-game winning streak.

There. I just jinxed it.

Game Notes

  • The game lasted just two hours and 31 minutes.
  • 30,678 frozen people held tickets to this game.
  • The season series versus Yomiuri is currently two games to us, three games to them. Bastards.
  • Milledge was the only Tokyo Swallow with a multi-hit game. He was 2-4 at the plate with a pair of singles, scoring once.
  • Masahiko Tanaka, Tokyo’s third-string (now second) catcher, was the only other Swallow to reach base twice.
  • Yomiuri managed only three hits in this encounter. That’s their second lowest tally of the season. Their lowest was April 11th at Koshien against the great unwashed when they collected only two hits. How’d they fare in the next game? They whupped us 8-3 at the Stain Dome on April 12th.
  • Balentien brought home all four of Tokyo’s runs. Despite missing 12 games due to injury, he’s already tied with Hatakeyama for the team lead in RBI (15). Simply, that’s 15 RBI from 13 games.
  • Miyamoto currently leads the Central League in batting average with runners in scoring position (.500).
  • The heroes of the game were Yasuhiro Ogawa and Wladimir Balentien.
Ogawa helps the penguin by holding his ladle-mic for him.

Ogawa helps the penguin by holding the ladle-mic.

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

  • Oogieball

    Hooray mini winning streak! Hooray beating the Midgets!

  • TokyoGarMan

    Thanks for the great write-up, Christopher! Last night’s game was just sweet! It’s nice to see the crowd so pumped up, and Coco is locked in to the point that every time he steps to the plate you expect him to hit a home run. It doesn’t get any more dramatic than last night’s game winner! Katobase!