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 Murderer's row moniker no longer applicable - With everyone coming back down to Earth, the lineup is not the same as a week or two ago when the CL was in fear of the Swallows hitters.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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