Aug 11th 2013, vs Yokohama

August 11th, 2013

Yokohama BayStars 13

Tokyo Swallows 7

Streak: Lost 1        Last 5: WWWWL

(Komachi Stadium, Akita)

This game started poorly.

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Tokyo110020120790
W: Kuniyoshi (1-0; 5.06 ERA)
L: Leroux (0-2; 9.00 ERA)

And it just never really got much better.

YokohamaOrderTokyo
Ishikawa (2B)1Hiyane (LF)
Kajitani (SS)2Miwa (CF)
Morgan (CF)3Kawabata (3B)
Blanco (1B)4Balentien (RF)
Nakamura (3B)5Hatakeyama (1B)
Aranami (RF)6Morioka (SS)
Shimozono (LF)7Yamada (2B)
Tsuruoka (C)8Nakamura (C)
Mishima (P)9Leroux (P)

 

Let’s not even really talk about the first inning. Leroux was visibly perturbed with his control, and the Mars-like infield made grounders highly eventful.

When all was said and done, the bases were loaded, then a pair of runs scored, and the first out of the game hadn’t even been recorded.
And I’m going out on a limb here, but judging by how badly both Leroux and Yokohama starter, Mishima, were jerking their pitches into the dirt, I think it’s safe to say that the mound sucked pretty hard today.
Yokohama sent nine different batters to the plate in the first, and they wound up with four earned runs to show for it.
0-4 Yokohama.
Tokyo got one back in the bottom of the first on Balentien’s single, but it wasn’t a totally positive experience for the “home” team because Miwa got thrown out at home on the same play.
1-4 Yokohama.
Kajitani sneaks home in the first.

Kajitani sneaks home in the first.

Leroux seemed to have better control of the zone in the second, but he still got hounded by bad bounces and an uncanny ability on Yokohama’s part to hit the ball directly at the gaps in the infield. Yokohama scored one more run in the second.

1-5 Yokohama.
In the bottom of the second, Tokyo once again came up with less than it probably should have. A wonky bounce error at second started things off, and the birds were only really able to score thanks to a mirror image of last night’s 11th inning. In other words, a run walked in.
2-5 Yokohama.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of that half-inning was the look on the face of Yokohama pitching coach, Tomori, when he came out of the dugout after Tokyo’s second run crossed home plate thanks to a walk. Raging on the inside, and beet red in the face, he didn’t even speak to Mishima when he went out to give him the hook.
I need confirmation on this, but I’m reasonably certain that Mishima ended up shedding several tears on the bench while relief pitcher, Kuniyoshi, secured an easy third out on a weak Kawabata fly ball in foul territory behind third base.
The top of the third was a breeze compared to the first two innings. Leroux allowed one base runner, but he made it through the inning on less than a dozen pitches.
Unfortunately for the Swallows, Kuniyoshi brought better stuff than Mishima had. He got Balentien and Hatakeyama to K swinging, and Morioka flew out to left
Yokohama notched its 10th hit on Ishikawa’s leadoff at-bat in the fourth. At this point in the game the balance was 10 hits to one. Kajitani’s follow-up single, his third hit in as many at-bats, pushed Ishikawa over to third with Morgan at the plate and Blanco waiting in the on-deck circle.
Morgan roped a single right up the middle for his third hit of the game, Ishikawa scored from third, and that was the end of the evening for Leroux.
Emura then took the mound for the Swallows with runners on the corners and no outs. A double-switch was made and Kawashima took Morioka’s place at third.
First pitch, whack! Blanco doubles to the wall in center for his third hit of the day, and Yokohama have a seventh run.
2-7 Yokohama.
Out number one finally arrived thanks to a Nakamura sac fly to center.
2-8 Yokohama.
Emura then started walking everyone. He very nearly walked in run number nine, but Tsuruoka settled for a sac fly to right.
2-9 Yokohama.
Kuniyoshi grounded out mercifully to third to end the bleeding.
Two four-run innings for Yokohama in the first four innings. Yay.
Kuniyoshi continued to demonstrate that he was the pitcher of the day with a 1-2-3 inning to finally close out the fourth inning after nearly two hours and 10 minutes of straight horseshit.
But as punishment, ours perhaps, Emura took the mound again in the top of the fifth. He continued to have a hard time finding the strike zone. And on the occasions that he did, a highly aggressive troupe of blue-jerseyed Yokohamans, many of whom could smell a career day at the plate, swung with confidence and put the ball in play every time.
Ishikawa singled to left and then Kajinami homered to right.
2-11 Yokohama.
Things started to go Emura’s way after that. He got out number one on three pitches with Morgan looking for his fourth hit of the game. Number two came via a soft Blanco grounder to third. Nakamura let us off the hook with a fly ball to the warning track in left that Emura initially thought was gone.
And wow were the Swallows fans hammered out on the picnic slope. The cameras made sure to document some of the complete disregard for the game thanks to mass consumption of chuhai. I’m sure that many young children were learning many colorful new words.
Hiyane found his way to first base in the bottom of the fifth care of a Kuniyoshi offering that was high and tight. The beaning was his first of the year.
Miwa followed with a single between Kuniyoshi’s legs that very nearly transformed him into a eunuch.
Unfortunately, Kawabata once again did his best Fludge impersenation (sorry, old reference to FLy ball pUDGE boy, Hatakeyama), but Balentien pushed another run across home plate with his single to left.
3-11 Yokohama.
Unfortunately, Hatakeyama reminded us that he is indeed still worthy of the Fludge moniker by lighting a second red lamp with a pop-up to left.
And at this point, the umpire clearly wanted to speed the game up because the strike zone kept expanding horizontally.
But pinch-hitter, Takeuchi, overcame the bogus strike call (a near mirror-image of one suffered by Kawabata three batters earlier) and punched a single into center field that held up nicely on the thick, uneven turf. That allowed enough time for another run to score.
4-11 Yokohama.
Masubuchi took the mound for the Swallows in the top of the sixth, and he surprised everyone by striking Aranami out. Sorry, “everyone” basically means me in this case–plus anyone else who has actually watched Masubuchi struggle to find his form on an annual basis. One pitch later, however, Shimozono was headed back to the dugout after flying out to center. And shortly after that, the top half was over thanks to another easy fly ball, this time to right.
Kuniyoshi once again took the mound for Yokohama, and our Nakamura led off with a single to right. Kawashima very nearly hit into a double play, but the late throw from Ishikawa at second was also off the mark, so Kawashima ended up on second with one out.
With two walks and an HBP to show for his day, Hiyane stepped into the batter’s box next. He Fludged out lightly to shallow center to bring Miwa to the plate (1-1, 2 BB). Miwa drew his third walk of the game, and up came Kawabata. Behind on everything during the at-bat, he eventually lined out to third to end the inning.
Then the Masubuchi that we’ve seen all year appeared. He very nearly hit Kuniyoshi, Yokohama’s pitcher, who did everything in his power (swinging in slow motion) to make sure that he struck out despite the brushback. Runners quickly populated the basepaths despite the initial strikeout, and two runs quickly scored. With runners on the corners and two outs, Masubuchi finally got Yokohama to ground out of the inning.
4-13 Yokohama.
Balentien led off the Swallows’ half of the seventh inning with his 40th homer of the season. He was a bit ahead of the pitch, but he was able to hold up his swing and connect for a bomb to left field.
5-13 Yokohama.
Kyuko took the mound to start the eighth, and he put together a refreshingly uneventful inning despite allowing one base runner.
Tokyo got a little lucky to start of the eighth when Kajitani couldn’t figure out a rough hopper as he charged towards the mound. That was followed by a Hiyane fly ball that was perfectly placed in the gap between center and left. His triple meant that Kawashima was easily able to score from third.
Kawabata hit into an RBI double play, the best kind of double play, and then Iihara took Balentien’s spot in the lineup so that he could ground out on the first pitch he saw.
7-13 Yokohama.
Actually it wasn’t an RBI because it was a fielder’s choice, but hey.
Fujita took the mound for the Swallows in the top of the ninth, and he started off by doing what none of his battery mates before him could. He got Kajitani out (K swinging). Then he froze Morgan looking.
But Yokohama would not be denied their 20th hit of the evening. Yamazaki smacked one right up the middle to put a half to Fujita’s momentum.
Miyazaki followed with Yokohama’s 21st hit of the evening when he did exactly what Yokohama hitters were doing all night–slap another single rperfectly between the Swallows infielders. He eventually got out of the inning unscathed though thanks to a grounder that wandered within a reasonable distance of someone with a leather glove.
Yamaguchi was wheeled out to the mound for the bottom of the ninth, and Hatakeyama welcomed him with a grounder into left field.
However, Takeuchi flew out to center, Aikawa struck out on three pitches, and Nakamura grounded out to third to end the contest and the misery.
7-13 Final.
THOUGHTS:
  • The Swallows are still not out of the cellar. Tonite’s loss sank them back to a game and a half behind Yokohama.
  • Leroux gave up eight earned runs through three and 0/3 innings.
  • Kuniyoshi got the win in his first appearance of the season, long relief or otherwise.
  • Emura gave up three earned runs, and Masubuchi gave up two.
  • Yokohama’s 2-5 (Kajitani, Morgan, Blanco, and Nakamura) combined for 14 hits and 11 RBI tonight.
  • Kawabata was the only Tokyo player to play the entire game and not get on base.
  • Balentien was 3-4 with 3RBI and a solo HR. He did not take his final at-bat. Hopefully he isn’t hurt or anything.
  • Your birds have Monday off before the Dragons come to town Tuesday-Thursday. All three games begin at 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

  • Michael Westbay

    Today’s Nikkan Sports has a photo of that chick in a swimming suit coming off the mound after the ceremonial first pitch and Leroux in the background staring dumbfounded at her. Perhaps his mind was scrambled a bit before the start?

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