Truth be told, this wasn’t a very good game. And I am not just talking about the result – a 5-3 loss to the visiting Swallows – it was just a poorly executed game all around. Eh, it happens.
Lotte starter Yuta Ohmine came into this game on a super duper hot streak – 16 scoreless innings in a row. That streak wouldn’t last very long in this one as with two outs in the top of the first Lastings Milledge smashed a pitch over the fence in left for a quick 1-0 Yakult lead. That seemed to rattle Ohmine as he immediately walked Balentien and then Hatakeyama on 4 pitches prompting a visit from the dugout, but he escaped without further damage.
Our Marines answered quickly in the bottom of the inning as with two outs Iguchi hooked a liner from Tokyo starter Chris Leroux neatly inside the foul pole and over the fence to make it 1-1 Lotte. Leroux was making his first start in Japan and did not factor in the decision, though he did go 6 2/3.
Tokyo answered right back in the top of the second. Iihara drew a one out walk and make it to third on a single to right by Hiyane. Yamada grounded to Daichi who tried to turn the DP but Hiyane was too fast, beating the force at second. Iihara scored with that miss, so it was back to a 1-run Swallows lead.
Things Get Weird
Leroux had trouble adjusting his pre-pitch motion to the rhythms of the Japanese game. After a Kiyota single in the bottom of the second Leroux balked him to second base, and Kiyota advanced to third on a Daichi ground out. It’s up to Emura – nope! Leroux balks AGAIN and Kiyota is in to tie it at 2-2! Leroux is NOT happy.
Hits by Emura and T OGINO are followed up by a walk to Nemoto – big chance for Kakunaka but no, nope, uh uh. A fly to left leaves the sacks full.
Ohmine completely lost it in the second. 3 straight walks to start the inning, followed up by a deep ball to left. It stays in, but the run scores to give Tokyo a 3-2 lead. Fortunately Aikawa grounds in a DP to give Ohmine an escape, but with that he’s done for the day. 3 ER, 6 BB in 3 innings – perhaps the Ohmine Reclamation Project has some work to do.
Actually I’m lying a bit with that one. Ueno took over for Ohmine and was quite decent – 3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K and no runs allowed. Minami was serviceable as well – 2 walks in his inning but a DP and also no runs. But Fujioka, who took over for Minami? Very not good.
Our Marines actually tied this one up in the 7th. An Emura walk brought on Ishimine as a pinch runner, and despite lots of attention from Leroux Ishimine swiped second anyway. With that, Leroux balked for the THIRD time sending Ishimine to third, where T OGINO brought him home with a sac fly. Nice, a 3-3 tie!
I think the swap of Emura for Kawamoto might have played a role in the 8th inning. The pitching got good when Emura got more playing time, and with Kawamoto in, the Fujioka-as-Middle-Reliever Project went completely pear-shaped. With one out, Fujioka gave up back-to-back singles to the bottom of the order, and Yamada tripled (that ball was a solid 2 on the Okada Index1) to bring both guys in. Eeeeeek. 5-3 Tokyo lead.
1 I’m starting a New Thing here – the Okada Index. Since Okada is rarely playing these days a rotating cast is filling in in center. Today was Kiyota. I’m going to rate balls that weren’t caught on a 1-5 scale, 1 is no way Okada gets that, 5 is Okada gets that for sure, why is he not playing you idiot who filled out the lineup card! Okada never would have actually caught this ball but it might not have gone to the track and scored 2. So, I’m calling it an Okada 2.
Our Marines had two more cracks at this, though. And the first batter of the 8th, Imae, got things started with a single! Hosoya in to pinch run, Fukuura at the plate – and he draws a walk! Hayasaka in to pinch run, still nobody out, Kiyota at the plate. It’s… a bunt. Well, OK. Not my choice here, but with the hot Daichi on deck maybe it makes sense. Kiyota squares and pops up. Ayyyy. It’s not caught but dangerous! With the next pitch Kiyota squares, bunts…. foul. Ayyyy Ayyyy. Kiyota then proceeds to strike out. As does Daichi. Hosoya and Hayasaka are game – Hosoya advances to third on a ball in the dirt, Hayasaka swipes second, but Kawamoto pops up to end it. Poor, poor execution.
That’s basically it. A sloppy game and the 6 game winning streak is over. Tokyo and Our Marines play the final game of the season tomorrow night. Nishino is tasked with actually beating the Swallows for once. I took a bunch of pictures today, so enjoy!
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