May 14th 2013, vs Saitama

May 14th, 2013

LionsSaitama Seibu Lions 4

Tokyo Swallows 3

Streak: Lost 5     Last 5: LLLLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

W: Iwao; 1-0 / 0.00 ERA L: Muranaka; 3-2 / 2.81 ERA. S: SOME SEIBU DUDE

Brace yourself folks, as for better or for worse, it’s Interleague time. It was during this period last year where the wheels fell off the Swallows season, as they embarked upon a truly dire ten game losing skid against Pacific league opposition. Here’s hoping that this year’s Interleague schedule will have the opposite effect by galvanising Tokyo as they try to fix the across the board inconsistency that has plagued them so far in 2013. However, after tonight’s game, I feel that is unlikely. The only thing I took from this game was WASTED CHANCES! WASTED CHANCES!! WHY ALL THESE WASTED CHANCES!!!? OH MY LORD MY EYES ARE BLEEDING!!!!

 Lions Swallows
1Asamura (SS)1Kawashima (SS)
2Akiyama (CF)2Tanaka H. (2B)
3Kuriyama (LF)3Milledge (LF)
4Ortiz (1B)4Balentein (RF)
5German (3B)5Iwamura (3B)
6Sakada (RF)6Hatakeyama (1B)
7Kaneko (2B)7Takeuchi (CF)
8Sumitani (C)8Nakamura (C)
9Togame (P)9Muranaka (P)

Muranaka enjoys another shift at the abbatoir

Muranaka enjoys another shift at the abbatoir

Both of  these teams came into this evening’s game nursing a four game losing streak, though the Lions were in a much better position in their respective league (second in the PL versus pretty much tied for last in the CL).

Muranaka started this one in uninspiring fashion. The first batter of the evening got on board via a Hatake error at first, then a single and a walk loaded the bases with no outs for Ortiz. An excellent play by Tanaka at second got one out and left men on the corners with the score now at 1-0 Saitama. German then grounded out to first, with the final out of the inning then made via a run-down of the runner between third and home plate.

The Swallows struck back in the bottom of the 1st, as back-to-back one-out singles from Tanaka and Milledge put two men on. And after
Cococ struck out, Iwamura hit a rather fortunate pop-up to left, which fell fair in the no-man’s land between the infield and out for a double, which scored Tanaka for 1-1. Hatake then flew out to right to end the inning.

Akinori Iwamura - the lone bright spot

Akinori Iwamura – the lone bright spot

It was Iwamura who struck again in the 3rd to put Tokyo ahead. After Milledge had worked a one-out walk (and later stole second), Akinori hit one over the fence in right for his third dinger of the year, 3-1 Tokyo. The Swallows then threatened to pull away as Hatake doubled to right, but Takeuchi flew out to left to end the threat.

Three consecutive one-out singles made it 3-2 in the top of the 3rd, before the Lions pulled ahead once more in the 4th. Two more singles got things rolling for Saitama, and a sac-bunt moved both runners into scoring positions. Kuriyama then hit a grounder to Kawashima at short, Keizo threw home in what would have been time to get the out at the plate, but his throw was a touch high and wide, meaning the runner was called safe and Kurihara was safe at first on the fielder’s choice, 3-3.

That was all for Muranaka (4.1 IP / 78 P / 7 H / 1 K / 1 BB) as Roman came in to try and stem the bleeding. But he gave up the go-ahead run (charged to Muranaka) off a single up the middle for 4-3 Saitama.

The Swallows should have at least drawn level in the bottom of the 6th. With reliever Iwao on the mound, a walk for Takeuchi, and two singles from (a pinch-hitting) Morioka and Kawashima loaded the bases with one out for Tanaka. And despite working the count to a hitter’s dream 3 balls 0 strikes, after taking a fastball down the middle for strike number one, Hiroyasu hit a grounder to short, and the out was made at home. This brought up Milledge with the bases still juiced and two outs on the board, but he could only do the same as Tanaka had before (grounder to short) and a golden chance to get back in the game went begging.

And the chance wasting became a very very bad joke in the bottom of the 7th. Facing the third Lions pitcher of the evening Sakamoto, singles for Balentien, Iwamura and a walk for Hatake loaded the bases with no outs. But two strikeouts from Takeuchi and Nakamura sandwiching an infield fly-out from Morioka stranded three more men.

After all that chance wasting Tokyo were pretty much spent, though they did bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the 9th after Iwamura singled (his fourth hit of the night, and a triple away from a cycle), but of course neither Hatake nor a pinch-hitting Miyamoto could do jack shit. 4-3 Saitama Final.

Game Notage

  • After Muranaka and Roman had conspired to give up four runs, the Swallows bullpen put up goose eggs over the final four frames. Ishiyama, Matsuoka both worked perfect innings, and after Oshimoto let two men on (walk and single) Shoda came in to get the final out of the 9th.
  • Tokyo out hit Saitama 12-9, but stranded 14 runners on base.
  • Coco was 1 for 5 with 3 Ks.
  • 14,742 people were enticed into Jingu by the unseasonally hot weather. The mental institutes of Saitama all took the night off as their residents inhabited the left field Jingu bleachers once more.
  • I really, really don’t like Seibu.
  • I don’t want to talk about this game any more.
  • Tomorrow will see Tokuyama make his pro debut on the mound for Tokyo, with Seibu countering with Makita.

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

  • I know you don’t want to talk about this game anymore, but can we arrange a little quid pro quo here? Kindly beat up on Seibu and we’ll take care of Gomiuri?

    • Happily, though I feel we may not be able keep our side of the deal.

      And if we don’t win in the Seibu Dome this year, I may have to set fire to something. Witnessed every loss there in person since we last won in 2008.