Jun 9th 2013, vs Hokkaido

June 9th, 2013

Nippon HamHokkaido Fighters 10

Tokyo Swallows 4

Streak: Lost 3  Last 5: LWLLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

In Chris Leroux’s first start for the Swallows last week, it was all about the balks. A week later there were no balks, but Leroux’s teammates managed to put together six errors to help cement the first blemish on his nascent record.

W: M. Takeda (3-4; 4.99 ERA)
L: Leroux (0-1; 5.06)

The only thing to really get excited about is the fact that Coco continues to beat the piss out of the ball.

Yoh (CF)1Yamada (SS)
Ohbiki (SS)2Hiyane (CF)
Abreu (1B)3Milledge (LF)
Nakata (LF)4Balentien (RF)
Ohtani (RF)5Hatakeyama (1B)
Koyano (3B)6Aikawa (C)
Imanami (2B)7Tanaka (2B)
Ohno (C)8Araki (3B)
M. Takeda (P)9Leroux (P)

Leroux gave up his first earned run of the game in the second. But it wasn’t the first run that Hokkaido had scored. Do you see where I’m going with this? Giving away free bases and runs would become a recurring theme during the game. Leroux was tagged with seven runs, but only three of them were earned. Annoying.

Tokyo got on the board in the bottom of the second when they were already facing a two-run deficit. Balentien parked a 2-2 changeup in the bleachers in left to keep the home side close.

1-2 Hokkaido.

But the visitors would seal the win in a decisive top of the fourth.

A combination of three hits (not consecutive), a walk, two infield errors, and a fielder’s choice led to five runs crossing home plate for the Fighters.

The fielding was unpretty no matter where you were sitting.

Tokyo’s infield defense looked pretty crap from any and all vantage points.

7-1 Hokkaido.

Tokyo scored again in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Aikawa’s double (Millege scored).

7-2 Hokkaido.

Hokkaido got two more in the fifth with former teammate Oshimoto on the mound for Tokyo, but neither of them were earned thanks to yet another infield error. And the Fighters plated their final run of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth with Oshimoto still on the mound. Astonishingly, this run was earned.

10-2 Hokkaido.

Balentien struck again in the bottom of the sixth. Facing Takeda once again, Balentien went after the first pitch he saw (slider) and watched it land just over the fence in left.

10-3 Hokkaido.

Tokyo eked out a final run in the bottom of the seventh on Hiyane’s grounder to third, but Hatakeyama flew out to center for the third time in four at-bats to strand Milledge and Balentien who had walked to keep Jingu’s hopes alive.

10-4 Final.

Leroux left Jingu with the first loss of his NPB career. He threw 76 pitches over four innings of work while striking out three, walking two, and beaning one. The three earned runs that he was assessed raised his ERA to 5.06.

Another interesting day at the office.

Another interesting day at the office.

Oshimoto (5.57 ERA) gave up three runs (only one earned) over two innings, Kiya (2.84) worked a scoreless seventh and eighth, and Yamamoto (3.51) retired the side in the top of the ninth.

Balentien was the only true threat for the Swallows today. His two solo homers were number 18 and 19 on the season, and he’s now just four behind Central League leader, Tony Blanco (Yokohama – 23 HR). Coco also drew a pair of walks.

Milledge reached base twice (single, walk) and continues his run of good form over the past week or so.

Aikawa added a walk and an RBI double to his impressive streak of offense since rejoining the top team following his shoulder injury.

Game Notes:

  • With the loss, Tokyo sank to 13 games below .500.
  • Araki (3B) and Yamada (SS) had two errors each within the first four innings of the game.
  • 22,306 people had tickets to today’s game which lasted three hours and 23 minutes.
  • Hatakeyama, Tokyo’s number five hitter, currently carries a slash line of .206/.260/.335.
  • Balentien, on the other hand, clocks in at .300/.400/.671.
  • Tokyo now have a couple of days to collect their thoughts before heading to Fukuoka for a two-game set beginning on Wednesday. Both games begin at 6PM.
  • The team then rounds out its Interleague misery with a couple of day games at Kyocera Dome on June 15th and 16th (2PM and 3PM starts, respectively).
  • Regular Central League hostilities resume on Friday the 21st when Tokyo take on Hiroshima at Mazda Stadium.
  • Tokyo’s next set of home games will begin on the 25th at Jingu when the team hosts Yokohama (Tues-Thurs 6PM).

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