Jun 4th 2016, vs Orix

June 4th, 2016

Orix BsOrix Buffaloes 6

Tokyo Swallows 4

Streak: Lost 4 Last 5: WLLLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

Your 6th-place birds looked to snap a three game skid against the very team that halted their own four game slide the previous evening.

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W: Yoshida (3-0-1); L: Yamanaka (2-4-0); S: Hirano (1-3-11)

 Orix Tokyo
1Kojima (3B)1Ohbiki (SS)
2Nishino (2B)2Sakaguchi (CF)
3Itoi (RF)3Yamada (2B)
4T. Okada (1B)4Balentien (LF)
5Bogusevic (LF)5Kawabata (3B)
6Shunta (CF)6Hatakeyama (1B)
7Adachi (SS)7Iihara (RF)
8Wakitsuki (C)8Nakamura (C)
9Yamasaki (LHP)9Yamanaka (RHP)
RPCordier (R), Yoshida (R), Satoh (R), Tsukahara (R), Hirano (R)RPKyuko (L), Muranaka (L), Matsuoka (R), Ishiyama (R)

The afternoon did not get off to a stellar start.

Yamanaka allowed consecutive hits to get things started, and one out later T Okada took him yard. Not an exemplary beginning to Yamanaka’s quest for a first win since his complete game shutout against Yokohama on May 3rd.

0-3 Orix

Tokyo got a couple runners on in the second, but Yamanaka, standing a meter an a half from home plate, was unsuccessful in notching his first hit of the season.

Three runners stranded through two innings.

Meanwhile, Yamanaka was working on a new personal best for HBP. He plunked Bogusevic the first two times they faced off, and Itoi took one off the leg as well.

Tokyo got one back in the bottom of the third. Sakaguchi got his first hit against the team that cut him during the off-season, a floater that plopped in front of former teammate, Itoi, in right field.

He then scored from first on Yamada’s rip to the wall in left-center.

1-3 Orix

With one out in the fourth, Iihara got hold of one and put it just over the fence in left-center for his third homer of the season.

2-3 Orix

The visitors scored another run in the top of the fifth though. T Okada grounded into a double play (Yamada unassisted), but Nishino got a good jump from third and there was never hope of a play at the plate.

2-4 Orix

Fortunately, Yamasaki lost the handle a little bit to start the bottom of the fifth. Ohbiki drew a five-pitch walk, and then Sakaguchi moved him over when he grounded out to first.

Yamada then drew a walk without letting the bat leave his shoulder, and Balentien took his place at the dish with one out and runners on first and second. Balentien walked on five pitches.

Bases juiced.

Good afternoon, Mr. Yamasaki. Hello, Mr. Cordier (4.76 ERA through 10 appearances before this afternoon).

Kawabata’s turn. Shingo sent the 1-0 pitch straight back up the middle, shaving Cordier’s glove on its way. Ohbiki scored, and then Tokyo got a bonus run (Yamada) when center fielder, Shunta, repeatedly bobbled the ball.

4-4

Cordier soon walked Hatakeyama to load the bases once again.

Then Manaka did something a little surprising. He pinched Yuhei for Iihara.

This was ballsy for a couple of reasons:
1) Iihara homered in his previous at-bat.
2) Yuhei did about as poorly as you can do in a similar situation last night.

The good news: Yuhei didn’t ground into a double play.
The bad news: He struck out swinging.
Verdict: Slight improvement over yesterday’s performance, but who else hoped to see Iihara attempt an encore performance? (Actually, I don’t know that it would have turned out a whole lot better if I’m honest.)

Nakamura also struck out swinging to strand three more runners.

But the Buffaloes added another one in the top of the sixth. Nakajima pulled a tough looper in front of Balentien in left which the latter was able to slap with his glove, keeping it in his general vicinity, but it was more than enough time for the runner on second to score.

4-5 Orix

And that was it for Yamanaka. Kyuko got the last out with a called strikeout.

Muranaka took the mound for the birds to start the seventh, making his 26th appearance of the 2016 season. He got the first out pretty easily, but then Itoi got really lucky with a wind-aided check swing home run going away.

He struck out both T Okada and Bogusevic to get out of the inning with no further damage.

4-6 Orix

After Yamada and Balentien struck out swinging late at a steady diet of heaters, Kawabata singled and Hatakeyama drew a walk. But then Yuhei stranded both runners when he too struck out swinging.

Matsuoka pitched the eighth, and despite allowing two runners, he got a good assist from Yuhei who threw Adachi out at home to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Swallows got two runners on against Tsukahara, but Orix closer, Hirano, was brought in early to get the last out. He eventually got Yamada to pop up in foul territory after a lengthy battle.

Ishiyama pitched an effective top of the ninth, and then it was up to the middle of Tokyo’s lineup to get something started.

Balentien took himself out of his at-bat when he disagreed with the 2-0 called strike. Two pitches later, still visibly stewing over how wronged he was, he struck out looking.

Hatakeyama singled but Yuhei grounded out to pull the plug on the rally.

4-6 FINAL

Annoyingly, Yoshida got his second relief win in as many days, and Hirano notched saves in back-to-back games against the same team for the first time this season.

Yamanaka was saddled with the loss after throwing 89 pitches over five and two-thirds innings. He allowed five runs (all earned) from eight hits (one homer). He also mixed in one strikeout and three HBP.

Those three HBP mean that he leapfrogged teammate, Naruse, for the league lead in that category with six over seven appearances. Naruse’s five HBP are good enough for second.

Seven appearances, by the way, is just two shy of how many he made for the Swallows in both 2014 and 2015. He posted a 3.24 ERA over 50 innings last season, and so far in 2016 he’s at 4.76 over 45 and one third.

Game three of this lovely series starts at 1 PM.

Tune in right here for some more 6th place baseball.

**Game Notes:

  • We’re still waiting on Sakaguchi’s payback game against the team that cut him during the off-season. He was 1-5 today and scored a run, but he’s just 1-9 with a walk over two games. He also left Ohbiki hanging twice this afternoon (although the first time was debatable as he at least moved the runner over). Maybe he’ll exact some revenge tomorrow.
  • Kawabata was probably Tokyo’s most consistent threat again today. He was 2-5 with an RBI.
  • Balentien was 0-5 with three strikeouts.
  • Akiyoshi didn’t appear yesterday or today, but he still leads the Central with 31 appearances.
  • Aside from Yamanaka’s capture of the league HBP lead (6), Ogawa is the only other pitcher who can claim top spot in regularly tracked categories. He leads the Central League in:
    Home Runs Allowed (10)
    Total Runs Allowed (34)
    Total Earned Runs Allowed (33)
  • Yamada, as you might suspect, leads the league in myriad offensive categories, including:
    Games Played (59)
    Doubles (17)
    Home Runs (17)
    Total Bases (143)
    Steals (14)
    Walks (46)
    OBP (.447)
    Slugging (.662)
  • 26,648 tickets were sold to this game. It lasted three hours and 13 minutes.
  • Your Swallows are now eight games below .500 and three games behind the fifth-place Dragons.
  • The Swallows are the only team in the Central League with a team ERA above four. It’s actually 4.95 at the moment which means that we’ll be the only club in Nippon Pro Yakyu with a team ERA over five if this continues.
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