Apr 26th 2017, @ Chunichi

April 26th, 2017

TS Logo 150x transparentTokyo Swallows 8Chunichi Logo

Chunichi Dragons 7

Streak: Won 1    Last 5: WWLLW

(Nagoya Dome)

W: Akiyoshi (3-0-2S ; 1.00 ERA)
L: Iwase (0-3 ; 5.00)

The Swallows showed some encouraging tenacity with the bat as they repeatedly clawed their way back in this one, ultimately prevailing in eleven innings. Also: Thank fuck for Iwase.

 Tokyo Chunichi
1Sakaguchi (CF)1Kamezawa (3B)
2Araki (3B)2Araki (2B)
3Yamada (2B)3Ohshima (CF)
4Balentien (LF)4Hirata (RF)
5Yuhei (RF)5Viciedo (1B)
6Ugumori (1B)6Donoue (SS)
7Nakamura (C)7Guerrero (LF)
8Ohbiki (SS)8Matsui (C)
9Buchanan (SP)
5 IP | 5 ER
9Yoshimi (SP)
1.2 IP | 1 ER
0.1 IP | 0 ER
1 IP | 0 ER
1 IP | 0 ER
2 IP | 1 ER

David Buchanan came into this game boasting an NPB leading ERA of 0.78, but that ballooned a touch to 2.25 after his shortest outing in Japan so far. David went 5 innings, giving up 5 earned runs off 7 hits.

He fell behind in the 2nd, with a walk and a double cashed-in to the tune of two runs by a Guerrero single to left. 2-0 Chunichi.

After the veteran Yoshimi kept them in check over the first three frames, the Swallows bats woke up and smelt the fact that the former-ace just ain’t what he used to be in the 4th. Araki doubled to lead off the inning before the currently ineffectual Yamada (never written those two words together before) grounded out for out number one. Balentien then stepped up to hit a liner to left which put the Swallows on the board, 2-1 Chunichi. Yuhei then singled to put two on for Nakamura, who hit a single of his own to tie the game up at 2-2.

Buchanan could not hold that tie though, with Viciedo hitting a towering solo shot to left to put the Dragons back ahead in the bottom of the 4th. 3-2 Chunichi.

Thing then started to look real bleak as two more runs off three hits followed in the bottom of the 5th which made it 5-2.

Back-to-back one out singles from Coco and Yuhei in the 6th ended Yoshimi’s night, with Satoh coming in to walk Ugumori to load the bases, before allowing Nakamura to sneak one through the infield to right to put Tokyo within two. 5-3.

Preston Gulimet made his return to the top team in the 6th. Guilmet remember, failed to get out of his first inning back on April 1st, being tagged with 4 earned runs in the process. Since then he has (I believe) pitched lights-out down on the farm, before coming back up to replace the struggling Ross Ohlendorf. He worked himself a scoreless bottom of the 6th, before a double and walk in the 7th to put men on the corners saw Sugiura come in to face the dangerous Hirata with two outs. The switch was to no avail though as Hirata doubled to extend the Chunichi lead to 6-3, with Sugiura then striking out Viciedo to end the inning.

And so to the top of the 8th, an inning in which Tokyo found themselves an unlikely hero. With reliever Sobue on the mound, a Coco single and Yuhei walk would ultimately set the table for this:


Yes, that was Keiji Ohbiki hitting his first long ball of the year, one which *just* stayed fair to tie things up at 6-6.

With nothing further doing over the rest of regulation, we entered extra innings.

After the Swallows put two on against current Dragons’ closer Tajima in the 10th only to strand them both, they would have more luck against Chunichi’s closer of old.

Yes because it’s 2017, and yet somehow Ye Olde Closer of Olde Nagoya Towne AKA the Sweaty String-bean AKA the 57 and a half year old Hitoki Iwase is still getting meaningful top-team innings. And as previously mentioned – THANK FUCK FOR THAT – as a walk for Yachi, single from Nishiura, and a walk for Yamada loaded the bases with one out. However instead of Balentien, who had gone 4 for 5 (all singles!) to that point, it was Hiyane coming to the plate after the wee one replaced Coco as a pinch-runner in the 10th. He lined out to third (but no double play, thanks Hiyane!) which brought up Yuhei.

He slapped one through the infield to left to bring home two runs and give the Swallows their first lead of the evening, 8-6 Tokyo.

While Akiyoshi did give up his first run of the season off two hits in his second inning of work for the night in the bottom of the 11th, he managed to successfully shut the door for a “6th place no more” 8-7 Tokyo Final.

Game Notage

  • Aside from the obvious heroes of Ohbiki and Yuhei props must go out to Coco Balentien. As well as doing everything he could to get on base with his four singles, he also showed serious hustle on the base paths. He hustled himself an infield single in the 8th (scoring on the home run), went first to third on the Yuhei single in the 6th (eventually scoring the inning’s only run), as well as scoring from second on Nakamura’s single in the 4th. Well done Coco, keep it up, but erm, don’t pull something in the process…
  • On the flip side of that coin: the Yamada slump is real. He went 0 for 5 for the night, with two Ks and that 11th inning walk. He’s now batting for a .224 average, with a OBP of .366 and SLG at .382.  He does look pretty lost at the plate at the moment, but let’s hope he can turn things around soon.
  • Tomorrow will see 2015 first round draft pick Juri Hara make his first start of the year, so buckle up for that. He’ll be facing off against Matayoshi who pitched 8 innings of 2 run ball in his other start against Tokyo this year.
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