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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Series Wrap: Dragons vs Swallows@Nagoya Dome, 19 April - 21 April; THIS IS NAGOYA DOME.

Next up, a weekend series against the Swallows. At home, Yakult are a formidable force but away they are far more mortal. This was to be the case in this series where the Dragons would be able to pick up 2 more wins to continue their hot start to the season. A 2-run concession from Hiroshi Suzuki late in the second game would be just about the only sour note in an otherwise successful series.

  • Game 17: Swallows 2 - 4 Dragons
  • Game 18: Swallows 5 - 3 Dragons
  • Game 19: Swallows 5 - 7 Dragons
A Shotaro Kasahara start would begin the series up against the Swallows probably best pitcher, Yasuhiro Ogawa. It would be the Swallows who would strike first through a Munetaka Murakami dribbler, but the Dragons would immediately answer through in the bottom of the second and take the lead in bottom of the 4th both care of the red hot Toshiki Abe. That would be just about all she wrote as the Dragons and Swallows traded a run a piece in the latter innings before Hiroshi Suzuki closed out the game for his 6th save of the season on the back of another solid bullpen performance from Keisuke Tanimoto, Joely Rodriguez and Raidel Martinez. 

The second game of the series would be a very typical loss where the Swallows are involved. The Dragons had put the game on level pegging in the bottom of the 8th through a walk with bases loaded but would be made to pay for not taking advantage of their chances as after Suzuki loaded the bases, Yuhei would force in 2 RBIs to give the Swallows the lead in the top of the 9th. Taichi Ishiyama would clean up the Dragons top order in 8 pitches to end the game 5-3 to the Swallows. Viciedo would have a modasho game including one of the team's RBIs while Zoilo Almonte had multi-hit game as well. 

The series would end on a happier note despite Kazuki Yoshimi only going 3 innings deep before being replaced after he gave up 4 runs. Luckily for him, Yuki Takanashi had similar issues for the Swallows as he was replaced after 2 innings after an onslaught from Dayan Viciedo, Ryosuke Hirata and Yoshei Oshima. The Dragons would hold on to a 3-run lead going into the 8th where a Takahiro Araki solo homerun would keep the team on its toes, but a steadfast Hiroshi Suzuki would make-up for his previous night's mishap by taking down 3 of Yakult's top 4 batters to end the game. 

Yoshimi blowing up was certainly not part of the plan, but once again the bullpen showed that it can hold on to games. No less than 7 pitchers were used in this game with Yu Sato, Katsuki Matayoshi, Keisuke Tanimoto, Raidel Martinez, Joely Rodriguez and Hiroshi Suzuki holding the line. Viciedo would be the man with the bat as his 3 RBIs and 3 hits have him a consecutive modasho. Zoilo Almonte would also make 5 hits in 2 games as he had a modasho day of his own knocking in one run.

One thing that can be said, the starters really aren't giving the bullpen a rest. Kasahara, Yanagi and Yoshimi all barely got through 5-6 innings which will need to improve if the team want to keep moving forward. Luckily, it seems that Ono and Romero can consistently put up 7 quality innings before leaning on the bullpen.

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