May 18th 2016, @ Hiroshima

May 18th, 2016

Tokyo Swallows 11Hiroshima Carp logo clean

Hiroshima Carp 3

Streak: Won 1 Last 5: LLLLW

(Mazda Zoooooom Zooooooom Stadium)

 123456789RHE
Tokyo00000322411141
Hiroshima102000000371
W: Akiyoshi (3-2 ; 2.49 ERA)
L: Imamura (0-3 ; 3.50)

After a horrific weekend series at the Tokyo Stain Dome was followed up by a familiar drubbing at the hands of the Carp last night, Swallows fans (or this one at least) were feeling rather punch-drunk coming into tonight’s game. Thankfully Tokyo were able to pick themselves up off the ground to snap their four game losing streak with a delicious revenge drubbing of their own, as they came back from an early deficit to repeatedly stamp on the unconscious Carp’s face as they lay on the floor bleeding stinky fish blood. And my did it feel good.

 Tokyo Hiroshima
1Sakaguchi (CF)1Tanaka (SS)
2Imanami (3B)2Kikuchi (2B)
3Yamada (2B)3Maru (CF)
4Balentien (LF)4Arai (1B)
5Yuhei (RF)5Eldred (LF)
6Hatakeyama (1B)6Suzuki (RF)
7Ohbiki (SS)7Kokubo (3B)
8Nishida (C)8Ishihara (C)
9Ishikawa (P)9Nomura (P)

First thing’s first: the 2016 ISHIKAWA PATTERN has ended. Kind of. While he didn’t quite manage to get his first win in enemy territory of the season, he did pitch a decent 5 innings of 3 run (2 earned) on the road, and ultimately wouldn’t figure in the final decision. Thus the home / away : win / loss sequence that he has been mired in since late Match was snapped. Nice.

160518 Ishikawa

I LOVE THIS MAN

Ishikawa fell behind early though, with that unearned run giving the Carp a 1st inning lead (Tanaka lead-off single, botched throw to second by Nishida on a steal attempt, runner advancing to third on the error, followed by a Maru single to left that Imanami could possibly done better with at third) 1-0 Hiroshima.

A pair of consecutive singles and a double in the 3rd would add two more runs as Ishikawa and the Swallows found themselves in a 3-0 hole.

At this point the game looked to be going the same way as the night prior, with Nomura, who entered the game with a 2.05 ERA against the Swallows this year, coasting through his first four frames without allowing a hit. Tokyo did threaten for the first time in the top of the 5th, with singles from Yuhei and Ohbiki putting two men on, but Nishida would hit into an inning-ending double play to let Nomura off the hook.

Ishikawa meanwhile, dug in and didn’t allow another hit through to the end of the 5th, laying the foundation for the Swallows to pounce on Nomura in the top of the 6th.

After Ugumori had struck out pinch-hitting for Masanori, Sakaguchi got the ball rolling with a one-out double. Imanami then singled up the middle to put men on the corners for Yamada, who poked one through the infield to left to get Tokyo on the board, 3-1.

Yamada then stole second to put two men in scoring position for Balentien, who somehow threaded one up the middle through the infield, scoring another run, 3-2, and leaving men on the corners for Yuhei. And the pitcher formerly known as Takai hit to right, tying the game up at 3-3 with men again on the corners with one out. That was all for Normura, as he was knocked out of the game, being replaced by Imamura. And the Swallows couldn’t quite tag Nomura with his second loss against them in a week, as Hatakeyama hit the first pitch from the reliever straight back to him for a rally killing double play. Hatake would get his revenge later though.

The lead was taken though in the 7th against Imamura, with a Ihara pinch hit single and Sakaguchi walk putting two on for Imanami, who hit a triple to the wall in centre, 5-3 Tokyo.

Imanani ponders the broken back he just inflicted on the Carp in the 7th

Imanani ponders the broken back he just inflicted on the Carp in the 7th

Ono took Imamura’s place to start the 8th, but the beautiful song remained the same. Balentien started the inning with a towering infield pop fly that Arai made a mess of, allowing Coco to occupy first on the error and then transform into his quicker robot form AKA Hiyane. After Yuhei flew out for out number one, Hatake singled to centre, with Hiyane’s speed and nous allowing him to go first to third for more corners fun. An increasingly erratic Ono then walked Ohbiki on four pitches to load the bases for Nishida, who was hit on the shoulder by a dangerous first pitch high and inside fastball to walk home the sixth run with the bases still juiced, 6-3.

A pinch-hitting Takeuchi then poked one through the infield to right, 7-3, before Ono became Egusa who got Sakaguchi to hit into the Swallows’ third inning-ending double play of the game.

Egusa remained on the mound in the 9th and it went a little something like this: two walks (Imanami, Yamada), Hiyane sac bunt, Yuhei K, Hatake double (9-3), Ohbiki single up the middle (that Egusa should have been able to snag), all followed by the first hit of the season for Nishida who hit one up the right field foul line to bring home Tokyo’s final two runs, 11-3.

In the bottom half of all these fundiddlydocious innings post-Ishikawa, Akiyoshi, Muranaka, Lueke, and Ondrusek all put up zeros, allowing a combined two hits the rest of the way, and we had ourselves a blow-out of a 11-3 Tokyo Final.

Game Notes

  • Ishikawa’s final line: 5 IP | 97 NP | 5 H | 5 K | 2 BB | 3 R | 2 ER. So hopefully that’s the monkey off his back, so next step for Masanori is win on the road.
  • This was a fun game. At least the second half was once the de ja vu depression that built up over the first half was shattered post-Nomura.
  • Tonight marked the Swallows first win in Hiroshima this season. The season series now sits at an improving W4-L6.
  • Despite the now halted four game losing streak, the 5th placed Swallows are still only 3.5 games out of 1st. More alarming is that a resurgent Yokohama is now just 1 game back in 6th.
  • Tomorrow will see Tokyo attempt to win their second series against the Carp in as many weeks, as Ogawa goes against Kuri.

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