The Swallows Series : 28th – 29th April
(Meiji Jingu Stadium)
Game 1 was rained out.
Game 2 saw an entertaining 9-3 victory. At this point its just good to see us enjoying our baseball, and there being plenty of fun games- the gloom of last season has definitely been lifted. Kubo pitched the whole game here, and pitched excellently until he tired in the closing stages, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs, all in the last 3 innings. Offensively, Hirano was the stand-out player, with 4 hits from 5 plate appearances. Toritani got an early home run, Brazell got two hits and a home run, and Johjima and Kanemoto (as pinch hitter) also got home runs in an ascendant offensive performance.
Game 3 was another great game. Uezono pitched ok, but was replaced early to bring Kanemoto in to pinch hit. Facing an early 3-0 deficit, the Tigers constantly threatened to get back into the game. A Johjima home run in the fourth made it 3-1, before the Swallows, helped by an error from Kanoh at left field, got a run back: 4-1. I our sixth we pulled level at 4-4 thanks to hits from Murton, Hirano and Arai, and in the seventh we finally got the go-ahead run, 5-4. All looked easy from then on in- except an error in the ninth off Kyuji Fujikawa’s second ball, that got a Swallows runner to third! Never fear though- Kyuji’s nerve held, and he got the three outs for an excellent victory. Good pitching from a battery of Uezono-Tsutsui-Nishimura-Kubota-Fujikawa, and Johjima was excellent behind the plate. We deserved the win on hits too- it was 12 to 7.
Series Heroes シリーズのヒーロー
We all know it- Kubo is a darn good pitcher. Last season he was 9-8, and deserved better. Traded from Lotte in 2008, he has proved an excellent signing. He finished 3.75 last season- at the moment he is 3.16, with a 3-2 record. Those 2 were also unfortunate (or down to bad management from Mayumi, depending on how you see it). Along with the emergent Fossum, I’d consider him one of our best pitchers- better than Nohmi and Shimoyanagi.In the first game of this series, he got 5 strike outs in 6 innings, before giving up 6 hits in 3. In his previous outing against Hiroshima, he got 6 strikeouts, before giving away hits in the later stages (he played 9 innings in both games)- this shows he shouldn’t play all 9, but should be used decisively for 6/7 before our relief takes over.
Hirano played excellently in both games.
In the first he went 4 from 5, and the second 2 from 4.
Hishits were invaluable in both games,
and he deserves the second hero spot.
Good job Hirano!
Johjima looks to have recovered from his mini-slump, and gets the third place in my hall of fame for his consecutive game home runs, as well as his excellent performance behind the plate. Now that Kanoh has been reincorporated into the team, I’m genuinely glad to see Johjima looking so good (although I still reckon Kanoh could get the odd game behind the plate- not sure if Johjima’s rather large ego would accept that tho). He still needs to improve his hit ratio also.