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It was too Good to Last

Discussion in the Bayside West: Yokohama forum
It was too Good to Last
The euphoria of the Opening Week has now worn off. And with it, so have the wins.

Winning a series against the Chunichi Dragons was an incredible way to start the season for the Yokohama BayStars. It's rare enough that Yokohama beats Chunichi, let alone take a 3 game series from them.

The 3 game series at Jingu against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows still showed some hope. Yokohama let the lead get away from them when Kaga Shigeru, of all people, allowed 3 hits, 2 of them doubles in just a third of an inning in the first game. Terrmel Sledge had hit a home run in his third game in a row, Brett Harper hit one out, as did Yoshimura Yuki. But the big home run of this first day game at Jingu came off the bat of pinch hitter Kinjoh Tatsuhiko, a three run blast that turned the game back around in Yokohama's favor, ending 9-7. The firepower the BayStars put on display was incredible.

Yokohama played catchup the entire second game, finally tying things up in the 9th inning. Due to all of the pitching changes, 9 innings was all they could play before 3 and a half hours, and the game was called a draw at 3-3. Still, that feeling of not giving up was there. It wasn't a win, but the BayStars fought hard to the end and avoided a loss.

Then the offense went bad.

Yakult's Masubuchi Tatsuyoshi threw a 1-hitter through 8 innings against an anemic BayStar offense. It's as though they used up their allotment of hits the previous five games. They did have a number of chances, including three walks in the first inning. But other than Sledge's lead-off single in the seventh inning, the 'Stars hitless. Lim Chang-Yong threw a perfect ninth as the Swallows too the final game 4-0.

OK. So we split the series with the Swallows. But we're heading home to Yokohama to face the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Surely they're contenders for the cellar this year, right?

Don't get so snobby there, fella. The Carp took three in a row at Yokohama, winning 6 games in a row, and standing 4 games over .500 to lead the Central League.

In the first game, Yokohama managed to get to Maeda Kenta first as Takeyama Shingo hit a solo home run to left to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Have the BayStar pitchers managed to infect their opposition with ippatsu-byo this year? It feels so strange to see so many home runs while we're at bat instead of in the field. This can't be right.

Ohka Tomokazu got the start for Yokohama and threw very well for three innings. The second time through the order, however, turned out to be a challenge. The fourth inning went something like this: Single, double, double, single, home run! Before you could blink, the Carp had come through with 5 runs to take the lead 5-1.

After that, Morimoto Hichori led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to be driven home on Yoshimura's home run to right to start that "we can come back" feeling again. But Yokohama only managed two more hits the rest of the game and dropped the opener against the Carp 3-5.

Game two was a pitchers' duel. Hiroshima scored in the third without the aid of a hit (but with the help of an error). A 2-out single and double in the sixth inning added an insurance run for the Carp, who went on to win 2-0. But it was Shinoda Junpei who threw the complete game 2-hitter against the BayStars that was the most impressive. Yokohama's Takasaki Kentaro, though throwing a very fine game, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits in 8 innings of work, was simply out done.

To contrast the pitching duel of game two, the third game of the short home stand was all power, by both sides. Hiroshima out-hit Yokohama 14 to 13, while out scoring the 'Stars 11 to 8. And again, we witnessed a see-saw game, where each time Hiroshima took the lead, the BayStars managed to stay in there, it seemed.

So, Yokohama has now dropped 4 games in a row going into Friday's series against Hanshin. They've also dropped to fifth place like a lead weight after that amazing start. That doomed to failure feeling is starting to creep back in. They've played some close games, where the hitting has failed when the pitching was on, and where the pitching has failed when the hitting was firing on all cylinders. The two really need to come together for a few games.
Re: It was too Good to Last
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: May 12, 2011 1:07 PM | HAN Fan ]

A five game winning streak, sweeping the Tigers, beating the Giants. What is happening?
Re: It was too Good to Last
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: May 12, 2011 4:50 PM | YBS Fan ]

I've been so buried in work the past few weeks that I've missed a lot of it. But I've been liking what I've been reading. I was afraid of jinxing them by mentioning the streak.
Re: It was too Good to Last
[ Author: Shinigami | Posted: May 17, 2011 1:33 AM | FSH Fan ]

And just as everything seemed good after winning first two against the Giants, they decided to lose the next four. Suddenly third place A rank drops back to last place in the Central League.

Man Swallows are feasting on everything they see.
Re: It was too Good to Last
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: May 17, 2011 9:46 AM | YBS Fan ]

An inability to keep Balentien under control cost that series. He hit pretty much everything that the BayStar pitchers threw to him.

It would have been nice if I had time to write while riding that 5 game winning streak. It was the happiest time I've had watching baseball for years. (OK. That's a slight exaggeration.) But even our losses have been close for the most part. There's always been hope that we could have that one break out inning and turn things around. Those innings came during the winning streak, and didn't during the losing streak.

So close, so often!

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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