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Friday, May 10, 2019

Series Wrap: Dragons vs Swallows @Nagoya Dome, 3 May - 5 May; Swallows too chirpy for lethargic, mythic lizards.

The Reiwa era would continue to be a painful one as the Dragons went in search of their first series win during the reign of the new emperor. One would have hoped a return to home against the Swallows would have yielded a win, but this was not to be the case. The first win of the era would come in third game despite a shaky close to proceedings.
  • Game 28: Swallows 7-2 Dragons 
  • Game 29: Swallows 8-4 Dragons
  • Game 30: Swallows 5-6 Dragons
A steady flow of runs from the Swallows throughout the first game of the series aided by a complete game from Yasuhiro Ogawa guaranteed a somewhat comfortable win. Katsuki Matayoshi made his first start of the year which ended as to what was to be expected, in a short, 5 IP for 5ER. His first inning was a bases loaded jam in no time before he gave up a 2 RBI single to Tetsuto Yamada. While he escaped the inning with no further damage, the Swallows were 5-0 up care of a Yuhei Nakamura 2RBI double in the top of the 6th. The Dragons were able to avoid a shut-out in the 9th  through a 2RBI single off the bat of Shuhei Takahashi. Viciedo has the only multi-hit game for the Dragons while Hiroto Fuku had his first appearance of he year, striking out two and giving up a 2-run homer to 19 year-old Munetaka Murakami.

A big 5th inning from the Swallows would knock the Dragons flat on their backs as Yuya Yanagi took on 8 earned runs for his first loss of the season. The Dragons had evened up the scores through Toshiki Abe in the 2nd following the Swallows scoring on a wild-pitch. It would all come tumbling down in the 5th inning however as the Swallows kept slugging, claiming 7 runs where Yoda just stood by and watched Yanagi take a beating. Nobumasa Fukuda would give the home team some heart with a massive back-screen homerun in the 6th but apart from a dribble in the 8th where the team got their 4th run of the night, it wasn't one to write home about.
Fukuda and Abe both had 2-hit games while Toshiya Okada's first appearance of the season went unscathed. 

The final game of the series would be a slightly better one to reflect on as Takuma Achira claimed his first career win in a 6-5 victory. Up against veteran and former draft target, Hayato Terahara, the Dragons took the initiative when Yohei Oshima singled to send Ryosuke Hirata home. Toshiki Abe, the RBI machine, would make further damage in the 2nd while Achira also batted one in to improve his chances of a W. Yuhei's 2-run homer in the 4th would put pressure on the Dragons to step up and it was effort from Ryosuke Hirata in the 4th and 5th that gave his team further cushion. 
It would come down to 2 runs in hand come the 9th following good mop up work from Raidel Martinez and Joely Rodriguez. Hiroshi Suzuki secure the win the hard way as he was luck to escape with only one run conceded after loading up the bases with Tetsuto Yamada at the plate. Suzuki was however able to take a grounder off Murakami to end the game in a close, 6-5 victory.
The bats came alive in this one with Hirata and Oshima both claiming modashos while the latter also picked up two steals to push him into double figures for the year.

Overall, the Swallows packed more of a punch when it was needed. I'm concerned that the match-ups have been a problem. Matayoshi was not a good match-up for Ogawa just like Yamai wasn't a good match-up for Sugano in the previous series. Hopefully the rotation can be worked on a bit better to give the team a better chance to win. Better yet, not starting Matayoshi would be a plus. I like him as a player and as a personality but he does not have any outstanding pitches to put away batters. Stamina he might have, but quality to turn over the order twice, he does not.

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