Swallows Lose Two Straight, Widespread Panic in Tokyo

Hatakeyama didn't have his best game.
I'm gonna go ahead and use a mulligan. I earlier called for Kazuhiro Hatakeyama to be the left fielder. Junji Ogawa heard my cry and obliged. Boy did I mess that one up. Hatakeyama blew the game in the first inning, by allowing what should have been a routine flyout to fall next to his pathetic body, which had clumsily tried to dive for a ball which he had over pursued (video after the jump). This allowed the Tigers to command an early lead, and they never looked back.

The game started off well enough for the Swallows. Norichika Aoki led off with a double, and was scored on Josh Whitesell's RBI single. 1-0 Swallows.

The bottom of first is where Calamitykeyama struck in left. It is fair to point out that the Swallows would have been out of the inning with no runs scoring if Hiroyasu Tanaka didn't bobble a potential double play ball. All in all, today's defense was atrocious. 4-1 Tigers.
 Randy Messenger continued to give up hit after hit but found his way out of jams time and time again. Takahiro Arai added a solo homer in the third to give the Tigers a four run lead. 5-1 Tigers.
In the fifth, the Swallows had a chance to take a chunk out of the Tigers lead with bases loaded and none out. However, Blad flew out softly to center and Shinya Miyamoto followed up with a 1-2-3 double play to continue the disappointing play by the Swallows.

The sixth inning finally saw the Swallows get a run back, with Miyamoto getting a infield single with runners on second and third. Shingo Kawabata got good wood on a ball but Matt Murton was able to track it down near the warning track in right. 5-2 Swallows.

In the seventh, the Swallows got multiple runners on base for the third time in the game. After Tanaka struck out, Whitesell hit one right on the button but right at the first basemen. Hatakeyama walked to load the bases. This is where Balentien should walk to the plate to hit a go-ahead grand slam if Ogawa listened to my lineup suggestion. As it was, Aikawa came up to bat and flied out to right to end the threat.

The bottom half saw a balk by rookie Kentaro Kyuko with runners on first and third. He go hit pretty hard as well. He ended up allowing the one run, but left runners on first and third with just one out. He had pitched extremely well in earlier games so I'll let him have a pass today. Yoshitaka Hashimoto did well to induce a double play out of T. Arai to escape further trouble. 6-2 Swallows.

The rest of the game went by quickly and at the end of it, the Swallows had a mini losing streak. There's nothing to do except play better tomorrow. If they salvage the last game they will still have a winning record in their series versus Yomiuri and Hanshin, a good feat indeed. Depending on how the Chunichi/Hiroshima game turns out, the Swallows could fall to second place in the CL.

3 Hitter Watch - Whitesell held it down today. He went 3-5 and was robbed in his second to last at-bat. Grade: B+

Hero: I'm going to ease up on Yasushi Iihara. He got his first hit of the season and his first prestigious Julian Jowise Hero award. Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak started with one hit in one game. Remember that...and I'll pretend he didn't strike out looking in his next at-bat.

Goat: Hatakeyama...as if the error wasn't bad enough, they showed a shot of him doing the classic post-error glove inspection (you know, when the fielder looks at a glove like the error was the glove's fault).

Notes: Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi didn't pitch particularly poorly but his line looks bad because of some poor defense that was not credited with errors.

© 2011, copyright Julian Jowise


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