Apr 2nd 2014, @ Hiroshima

April 2nd, 2014

Tokyo Swallows 3Hiroshima Carp logo clean

Hiroshima Carp 4 

Streak: Lost 3    Last 5: WLLL

(Mazda Zooooom Zoooooom Stadium)

We are ONLY four games into the season yet flashbacks to the 2013 campaign are already flashing through my head and clouding my objectivity. Today’s game featured a pitching matchup between rookie Daichi Osera and sophmore Masato Furuno.

W: Nakata (1-0)
L: Barnette (0-1)
 Swallows Carp
1Tetsuto Yamada (2B)1Yoshihiro Maru (CF)
2Yuhei (Takai) (CF)2Ryosuke Kikuchi (2B)
3Wladimir Balentien (RF)3Ryuhei Matsuyama (RF)
4Lastings Milledge (LF)4Kila Ka'aihue (1B)
5Shingo Kawabata (3B)5Eishin Soyogi (SS)
6Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)6Brad Eldred (LF)
7Ryoji Aikawa (C)7Kosuke Tanaka (3B)
8Naomichi Nishiura (SS)8Yoshiyuki Ishihara (C)
9Masato Furuno (P)9Daichi Osera (P)

My overwhelming impression of Furuno is that his entrance music at Jingu is the ridiculously British Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble. However, looking back at Furuno’s four starts in 2013 outside of his last start where he allowed 8 runs in 2 innings, it seems he had actually flashed some talent allowing just 3 runs in his three other starts. While ideally we’d let him develop as a lower end starter, it would be unfair to say that he doesn’t deserve to start.

That said, it appeared Osera would get the better of Furuno in the early going. Furuno gave up first blood to the Carp in the first after he was punished for a one out walk with a Kila single. 1-0 Carp The Carp extended their lead with an Eldred solo shot to open the second inning. 2-0 Carp

Meanwhile, Osera held the Swallows off the board and largely off the basepaths. But with Furuno settling down and keeping the score close, the faithful still had hope. Osera finally cracked just a bit by issuing his first NPB walk to Yuhei. After getting Milledge to pop out, Osera had to face Coco. Coco gave the rookie a nice NPB welcome by taking a 1-1 pitch for a ride to left-center to tie the game. 2-2 All

But like the 2013 Swallows the 2014 Swallows have shown they can catch up but not pull ahead. Furuno pitched six innings and the Swallows handed the ball to the bullpen in the seventh. Ishiyama was the first man up and did not fair very well. Ishiyama gave up back-to-back walks before getting an out via sac bunt. Ishiyama was asked to intentionally walk Matsuyama to load the bases before he handed the ball off to Kyuko to face the left-handed Kila. Kyuko did manage to0 get Kila to ground out to second which allowed the Carp to take the lead. 3-2 Carp

It looked like the Carp would get away with the win and give Osera his first career win after he pitched 7 strong innings. Fortunately the Swallows showed some fight in the ninth against Carp closer Mickolio. Kawabata opened the inning with a infield single and Hatakeyama followed up with a double to put men in scoring position with no out. Aikawa grounded out to short and kept the runners in place for Yuichi. Mickolio pitched around Yuichi to load the bases for Morioka. Morioka delivered a single to right to tie the game and bring up the top of our order with one out. 3-3 All Unfortunately Mickolio decided to look like a closer again, and Yamada and Yuhei both struck out to end the threat.

The Swallows handed the ball to Yagi who pitched a perfect ninth to preserve the tie and send the game into extra innings. Neither team got much going offensively as Yagi shut down the Carp in the tenth, and Barnette cleaned up his own mess in the eleventh. After the Swallows went scoreless in the twelfth, the team handed the ball back to Tony to preserve the tie. After getting Kimura to ground out, Barnette  took Dobayashi to a full count. Dobayashi swung at a pitch high and away out of the zone. Unfortunately he got enough of the ball to sail it just barely into the right field stands to give the Carp the win. 4-3 Carp Sayonara FINAL

With the loss the Swallows are back in the CL cellar tied with the BayStars with a 1-3 record. It’s still early folks, let’s not over think it. The Swallows will try to salvage the road trip against Kenta Maeda and the Carp tomorrow. The lucky pitcher that will get the start for the Swallows is Masato Nakazawa.

Osera debuts for the Carp

Osera debuts for the Carp

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.