5.13.2011

Yakult Swallows-6 Yokohama BayStars-4

                another goofy interview by our favorite Dutchman.
 Nothing like looking at the schedule and seeing the BayStars as your next opponent...especially if your name is Wladimir Balentien. He went yard three times today to raise his league leading total to 12. He outscored the Baystars by one run just with his bat.

Yokohama took an early lead but Balentien got it right back with his first homerun. In the next inning, the Swallows added three more runs off of Kazuhiro Hatakeyama's sac fly and another Balentien homer (broken bat homer).

The Baystars made things interesting and cut the deficit to one in the sixth, but Balentien put the game out of reach with his final homerun in the eighth.

Yoshinori did not have his best stuff today but still worked through seven innings and gave up just three runs. He struggled with location for much of the day but was able to work out of several jams. Tony Barnette has a thing for bases loaded with no one out because he juiced the bases for the second straight game with zero of the OUT lights lit up. He gave up one run, but still got credit for the hold. Lim Chang-Yong came in to grab another easy save to break the Swallows winless streak. They go back at it with the Baystars at 1 a.m. EST.

**The Carp lost so the Swallows maintain possession of first place.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

5.12.2011

Series Preview: Yokohama BayStars 5/13-5/15

                  After having the Dragons' series rained out, the Swallows head to Yokohama, eager to break a three game win-less streak. They actually are back in sole possession of first place in the CL after Hiroshima's loss to the Tigers last night. They will look to extend that lead in the last series before interleague play begins.

The BayStars have been playing some great baseball, winning 5 of their last 6. Their whole lineup has been getting the job done and they have been finding ways to pull out a victory; only one of their wins was a blowout. Termel Sledge took a knee to the face in their last game and it is unclear whether he will be ready for tonight's game.

The Swallows are well rested after a couple of rain-outs and off days. Ishikawa is still slated to make the start; he was originally supposed to pitch on Tuesday. Refer to this for more Swallows analysis because nothing has changed since it was written.

Prediction: The Swallows, with their ever reliable top of the rotation, stop the Baystars' hot streak and finish league play with a sweep.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

Masanori Ishikawa x Yoshinori Sato Feature



Cool feature on the 31 year old Ishikawa and the 21 year old Yoshinori. It's in Japanese, it's just a interview with both players discussing the differences in age and how that has influenced them to be baseball players.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

5.11.2011

Yakult Swallows vs. Chunichi Dragons - RAINOUT

The recent rain in Japan has made it impossible for any baseball to be played in outdoor stadiums, with six games getting rained out the last two nights. It sucks too, because I was in a huge baseball mood, waking up at five o clock with no problem, ready to watch my first baseball game in a while. I ended up watching my PL team, the Buffaloes, blow a two run lead to the Hawks. I also caught a bit of our next opponent's win versus the Giants. The BayStars' Bryce Harper saved the day with a two run blast late in that one. The Baystars have won the last two against the Giants and go for the sweep tonight, before facing our Swallows.

The Swallows/Dragons game will be made up in October.


© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

5.10.2011

Around the NPB - 5/10/11 - Darvish vs. Iwakuma

Two of the best pitchers in Japan squared off with predictable results. Darvish went 9 innings for the complete game shutout, fanning 15. Iwakuma left in the ninth with an apparent injury. He only allowed two runs but was tagged with the loss because of a Sho Nakata two run homer.
 
© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

Yakult Swallows vs. Chunichi Dragons -RAINOUT

The game will likely be made up in October. More rain in the forecast, but the Swallows and Dragons will try to play their last game of the series with Ishikawa still the probable starter.


© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

5.09.2011

Series Preview: Chunichi Dragons 5/10-5/11

featuring the Chunichi Dragons.
The Swallows are back at it, AGAIN, with the Dragons. As sick as I am of seeing these guys, I'd be even sicker of them if we weren't 5-1 against them. Let's hope we can keep up our success versus our friends from Nagoya.

The Dragons certainly fared better than us in the 2 game break after our last game with them. They lost 2-1 to the Giants before rebounding for a 6-0 win. It seems the Dragons employ a strategy of lulling the opponents to sleep by losing games until exploding offensively in the last game of the series. Since the upcoming series is another quick two-gamer, the Swallows will hope for a sweep, rather than a split. The Swallows blew the CL lead in their last series against the Carp, and there are several causes for concern:
     
      1. Wladimir Balentien is no longer synonymous with Hank Aaron - He has struggled of late, not homering every single time at the plate. Seriously though, he has been striking out more frequently and does not look quite the same as he did a week or two ago.
      2. Bullpen - With Kenichi Matsuoka's demotion, there is a domino effect in the bullpen. Tony Barnette moves into the ace setup role quite nicely, but that leaves a pretty important role with no name attached. Likely, Oshimoto will hold the position down with Kyuko replacing Oshimoto in his old role.
      3. Murderer's row moniker no longer applicable - With everyone coming back down to Earth, the lineup is not the same as a week or two ago when the CL was in fear of the Swallows hitters. They must now find new ways to win, or hope that everyone goes on a hot streak again.

Masanori Ishikawa and Yoshinori Sato are the probable starters in this series. This is the third time the Dragons see both of these guys so I wouldn't be surprised if they get a few runs off of them. On the other hand, they've combined to give up just 5 earned runs in the four starts against the Dragons, so they could just have their number.

Prediction: Swallows take two...hopefully. Even if we don't, the Baystars are our next opponent so there's no need to worry.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise

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