July 7th, 2017 vs. Hiroshima

July 7th, 2017

Hiroshima Carp 9TS Logo 150x transparent

Tokyo Swallows 8

Streak: Lost 6 Last 6: LLLLLL

(Meiji Jingu Stadium)

For eight innings and almost three hours, Swallows fans were treated to a very enjoyable game. Then the bottom fell out abruptly in the ninth.

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W: Jackson (2-2); L: Ogawa (4-3); S: Imamura (17)
 Carp Swallows
1Kosuke Tanaka (SS)1Takahiro Araki (1B)
2Ryosuke Kikuchi (2B)2Tsuyoshi Ueda (RF)
3Yoshihiro Maru (CF)3Tetsuto Yamada (2B)
4Seiya Suzuki (RF)4Wladimir Balentien (LF)
5Ryuhei Matsuyama (LF)5Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)
6Brad Eldred (1B)6Yuhei Nakamura (C)
7Tomohiro Abe (3B)7Ryota Fujii (3B)
8Yoshitaka Isomura (C)8Naomichi Nishiura (SS)
9Takaya Toda (P)9Juri Hara (P)

The Swallows bats did plenty of work in tonight’s game. Through the first eight innings Yamada homered, doubled, singled, and walked with 3 runs scored and 4 RBIs. Ueda had two hits. Nakamura doubled in a run. Coco had an RBI single. Hara pitched six strong innings before wobbling in the seventh and needed Kondo to finish off the inning. But ultimately it felt fine since the Swallows got a run back in the bottom of the seventh and were up 8-3 in the ninth after Lueke pitched a scoreless eighth. 8-3 Swallows

What follows is a recreation of the thoughts that went through my head at Jingu as the ninth inning unfolded…

The Swallows elected to hand the ball to Ogawa to finish off the game. First pitch to Xavier Batista ends up in the left field stands. 8-4 Swallows No bid deal, right? It’s just a solo shot… After Tanaka grounds out, BOOM Kikuchi goes yard for yet another run. 8-5 Swallows We’re still up three runs and the bases are clear, we’ll be ok…

Maru draws a full count walk after fouling a off a bunch of pitches. Whatever, even a homer won’t give up a lead. Suzuki flies out to deep center. Alright we’ll get out of this… I wonder who we have left in the bullpen? There’s no activity in the Swallows bullpen.

Matsuyama starts fouling off pitches after ball one, one of the foul balls end up in shallow right near the bullpen mound, Takeuchi gave chase and almost caught it. People around me wonder if Ueda would’ve gotten to it had it been Green/Hatake been at first and been nowhere near the ball. Matsuyama ends up doubling to center to score Maru. Holy shit, will this not end??? 8-6 Swallows There’s still no activity in the Swallows bullpen. I guess the Swallows intend to live or die by Ogawa tonight.

Nishikawa (who?) comes up and falls behind 0-2 before he fouls off a few pitches. He ends up hitting a slow grounder towards second. Yamada got to the ball and made a throw to first but it didn’t get there in time. Men on the corners, with the pitchers spot coming up.

Oh fuck I hope Arai’s not starting tonight because of injury or something. No such luck, the stadium announcer announces Arai as the pinch hitter and Jingu absolutely erupts. (The left field stands and all the infield seats were completely sold out a week in advance of this game. Carp fans completely outnumbered Swallows fans but it wasn’t a factor through the first eight innings.) It’s Arai, maybe he’ll strikeout…

Ball

Strike

Ball

Homerun off the centerfield backscreen. 9-8 Carp

I didn’t see the home run but the crowd reaction told the whole story as I collapsed into my seat. I am completely numb as Ogawa ends the nightmare with a three pitch strikeout of Isomura.

The game ends rather quickly as Takeuchi, Ueda, and Yamada all go down in just nine combined pitches. 9-8 Carp BRUTAL

As I stumbled to the station I recorded this piece of audio which sums up my feelings of this game.

I ultimately found myself at my local where everyone had watched the game on TV, and helped lighten the mood. Over the years I’ve learned not to let bad game results negatively affect my emotions, but this game tested me in a way few games ever have and I’m sure I’m not alone.

On to the next one…

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • Frederick De Naples

    I was at that game too, enjoying the atmosphere of my first Japanese baseball game and rooting for the Swallows. (I know almost nothing about the YS, but I enjoy a good baseball game.) I could not believe the meltdown and spent much of my walk back to the hotel replaying the sequence of events. It was quite a game, but I felt bad for the Swallows.

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