March 31st, 2017
Tokyo Swallows 9
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: W
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
The Swallows kicked off the 2017 campaign at home. The weather was cold and wet but the bats were red hot against the Baystars
|W: Ishikawa (1-0)
L: Ishida (0-1)
|1||Masayuki Kuwahara (CF)||1||Keiji Obiki (SS)|
|2||Takayuki Kajitani (RF)||2||Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)|
|3||Jose Lopez (1B)||3||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)|
|4||Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (LF)||4||Wladimir Balentien (LF)|
|5||Audy Ciriaco (3B)||5||Yuhei (Takai) (RF)|
|6||Hiroyasu Tanaka (2B) (!?)||6||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|7||Toshihiko Kuramoto (SS)||7||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|8||Yasutaka Togashira (C)||8||Naomichi Nishiura (3B)|
|9||Kenta Ishida (P)||9||Masanori Ishikawa (P)|
Ishikawa made his eighth career opening day start and was able to stick to his style of ground ball pitching despite the rain and temperatures dipping to 4°C (39°F). While Ishikawa allowed singles in the first and second the potential threats were both erased by double plays.
The Baystars started third-year lefty Ishida who didn’t allow hits in the first three frames but gave up a bunch of walks. Ishida managed to get into a no-hit two out bases loaded jam thanks to an error and two walks in the third, but Ishikawa couldn’t help his own cause and struck out swinging.
The first runs of the season belonged to the Swallows as Coco and Yuhei opened the fourth with back-to-back singles. After Hatake fouled out, Nakamura and Nishiura hit back-to-back singles to center to score a run each. 2-0 Swallows
The Swallows got an extra run in the fifth after Sakaguchi opened the inning with a double and Coco followed with his own double. 3-0 Swallows
Ishikawa gave up his usual homerun, a two-run shot to Jose Lopez in the sixth, to make the game close again. 3-2 Swallows However, Ishikawa limited the damage by ending the threat with a strikeout of Tsutsugo.
While the Swallows didn’t score any runs in the sixth, Ishikawa managed to get a two out single. Obiki followed with a double before Sakaguchi flied out to end the inning. That meant that Ishikawa had to run the bases and wasn’t able to stech in between the innings. While it looked like Ishikawa would start the seventh, after a slight delay to fix the mound the Swallows called in Lueke to pitch the seventh. Lueke pitched a perfect inning including two Ks.
The Baystars lifted Ishida after the sixth and started the seventh with Suda. Suda gave up a double to Yamada, a walk to Coco, and a single to Yuhei to load the bases. He managed to get Hatake to foul out before he was replaced with rookie Shindo. Shindo’s first top flight pitch was blasted into center by Nakamura for a two run double. 5-2 Swallows Nishiura followed with a sac fly to right for an extra run. 6-2 Swallows Former Marine Shoitsu Omatsu made his Swallows debut as a pinch hitter but wasn’t able to extend the inning any further.
Ishiyama pitched a perfect eighth with two Ks against the bottom of the Baystars’ order. The Swallows bats added more runs in the eighth, this time against Takasaki. Obiki lead off with a single and Sakaguchi drew a walk. Yamada belted a double to score a run. 7-2 Swallows Ueda fllowed with a ground out to short that scored Sakaguchi for yet another run. 8-2 Swallows Yuhei flew out but Hatake got his first hit of the night with a single up the middle to score Yamada. 9-2 Swallows The Hatake hit ended the scoring for the night and also meant that every Swallows starter, including Ishikawa, had recorded a hit in the game.
Despite the seven run lead the Swallows called on Akiyoshi to close out the game, which he did without issue. 9-2 Swallows FINAL
- The Swallows played to a sold out crowd of 30,681 people.
- Former Swallow Hiroyasu Tanaka made his Baystars debut last night. He was greeted warmly by the crowd when he was introduced. He hit a hard single off the wall in his first at bat in the second. It was quite surreal to hear a loud “HIRO-YA-SU” chant emanating from the left field stands.
- The pre-game ceremonies involved a full introduction of both teams. A singing of the national anthem. (Which is not a regular part of all baseball games in Japan.-) Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
- No major changes to Jingu this season. There are some new food options in left field. Sections of seats with side tables were added to in first and third base side. While not a Jingu feature itself construction of the Nihon Seinenkaikan behind the third base stands continues and now obstructs the view of the skyline.
- The Swallows cheerleading squad Passion debuted some new uniforms that made them look more grown up.
- Yasuhiro Ogawa will make the start against Phil Klein who will be making his NPB debut.