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Balentien is Back - April 29, 2013

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

Welcome to the Bayside West: Yokohama Blog

Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.

Balentien is Back - April 29, 2013

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Does anybody else remember how Wladimir Balentien has a tendency to crush the ball when playing in Yokohama? I know I do. It's hard to forget when he hits three home runs in the first game at your home in all three years he's been in Japan.

The first three game series that Yakult played in Yokoham in 2011 was on May 13-17. Balentien hit 3 home runs and drove in 5 of Yakult's 6 run in the visitor's 6-4 victory, leading to a three game sweep. In 2011, Balentien hit a total of 11 home runs against the BayStars, more than against any other team. 7 of those home runs were hit in Yokohama, half the total of 14 that he hit at Jinju, regardless of playing 5 times as many games in the Swallows' nest.

His first game in Yokohama in 2012, Balentien hit 3 home runs in Yakult's 7-0 pounding of Yokohama, driving in 4 runs that game. In all, he only hit 5 of his 31 home runs against Yokohama, all 5 being hit in Yokohama. So things weren't nearly as bad last season.

Balentien has only faced Yokohama once this season, that being in Yokohama. And he hits a line drive into the left field stands followed by two home runs that clear the rim of the rice bowl shaped stadium. That's 3 monster shots to account for 5 of Yakult's 12 runs in an old fashioned romping of their hosts in Yokohama, Yakult taking the first game of the series 12-3.

Balentien was absent from the Yakult lineup the first time we met them at Jingu, taking 2 of the 3 game series. But he's back from the injury he sustained in the World Baseball Classic, and he's clubbing the ball hard. In fact, he's responsible for a good portion of the runs that Yakult has scored on their current 6 game winning streak, including a 3 game home run hitting streak. Watch out, Blanco, Balentien is on a charge.

And speaking of Tony Blanco, he managed to hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to alleviate the pain of a blowout a little bit. The blast hit off a billboard on the top rim of the stadium, just barely staying in.

Nonetheless, the home run, combined with a solo shot by Keijiro Matsumoto in the 5th inning, weren't nearly enough, Yokohama dropping this one 3-12.

[Edited by: westbaystars on May 1, 2013 10:22 PM to correct Balentien's name spelling.]
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