Apr 6th 2014, vs Hanshin

April 6th, 2014

Hanshin Tigers 15

Tokyo Swallows 8

Streak: Lost 1  Last 5: LLWWL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Tokyo sent Nakazawa to the mound for his first start of the season, and the Swallows bats hoped to pile more misery on Hanshin’s Enokida who entered the game with a 12.50 ERA.

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Hanshin02000036415201
Tokyo0330002008110
W: Kato (1-0; 4.15 ERA)
L: Ishiyama (1-1; 13.50)

But alas, it was not to be. Enokida didn’t last long, but neither did Nakazawa. And if you bought a ticket to this game, we feel your pain. We were there, too.

HanshinOrderTokyo
Uemoto (2B)1Yamada (2B)
Yamato (CF)2Kawabata (3B)
Toritani (SS)3Milledge (LF)
Lopez (1B)4Balentien (RF)
Murton (LF)5Yuhei (CF)
R. Arai (3B)6Hatakeyama (1B)
Shunsuke (RF)7Aikawa (C)
Shimizu (C)8Nishiura (SS)
Enokida (P)9Nakazawa (P)

Ogawa tweaked yesterday’s lineup by swapping Yuhei and Kawabata in the order. “Let’s get the hot bat providing cover for Coco,” was the likely thinking behind that move. But it didn’t work. Kawabata ended up having a great day in the two hold (3-4, RBI), and Yuhei was positively toothless following Balentien. Too much pressure protecting the big guy? Your guess is as good as mine.

The birds fell behind early but stormed back. After Uemoto’s two-run single in the top of the second, Yamada brought two home with the bases juiced, and Kawabata followed with a sac fly to center.

3-2 Swallows

Just like the good old days.

Just like the good old days.

But by the end of the second, both starting pitchers had been replaced. And all manner of pitching sketchiness ensued.

Tokyo added three more in the bottom of the three on Iwamura’s pinch homer to right.

6-2 Tokyo

But with Yagi and Ishiyama taking some of the middle relief burden, things began to fall apart in the top of the seventh. The Tigers strung five hits together to the tune of three runs. And while Tokyo got two back on Yamada’s double, the Tigers were only just getting warmed up.

8-5 Tokyo

The Swallows allowed six runs on six hits (including another Murton home run to cap it all off) in the fateful eighth frame. Oh and four more in the top of the ninth.

8-15 Final

So if you were hoping that Saturday’s 11 runs allowed were an anomaly, you are in for some serious disappointment. Over two games, the birds allowed 26 runs (versus 20 scored). And that’s against a team that only has one real weapon at the moment (Matt Murton).

POSITIVES?

  • Yamada looked dangerous again from the leadoff spot going 2-6 with four RBI.
  • Kawabata had his best game of the series with a 3-4 afternoon and a sac fly.
  • Nishiura was 1-2 with three walks.
  • Muranaka pitched two perfect innings of relief. In fact, he was the only Tokyo pitcher to not allow a runner all day. He may have made an argument that he deserves to start ahead of Nakazawa at the very least.

LEAGUE LEADERS

  • Yamada currently leads the league with three stolen bases. He’s also tied for the league lead in sac flies with one (Kawabata is joint holder of that honor).
  • Yamada also leads the league with two HBP.
  • Balentien leads the league with nine strikeouts, Morioka with two errors.
  • Ogawa leads the league in wins (2), winning percentage (1.00), Ks (16), and Ks/9 (10.29).
  • Ishikawa leads the league in home runs and total runs allowed (three and 13, respectively).

The Swallows travel to Nagoya tomorrow to take on another team that is struggling to find its form. Tune in Tuesday through Thursday for news on how those three contests go.

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