Blinded by the Ties

NPB is considering a tie-break system for this year’s Japan Series, Sponichi Annex reported Monday, citing a source. So far, with one exception, NPB has resisted introducing the “Manfred Man” tie-break runner on second in extra innings. Instead, we have seen an explosion of ties as the best relievers are now out in force from the sixth inning.

Because Japan is accustomed to ties, that are ignored in winning percentage calculations used to determine the standings, they are more of an aesthetic issue than a practical one. I guarantee fans hate them, but we deal with it. The Japan Series, however, is different, since it demands one team win four games, and could conceivably go 14 games — if the first seven result in ties. Thankfully, it’s never gone past eight.

The possibility was raised at an online executive committee meeting discussing Japan Series rules. The current rules allow for up to 12 innings through Game 7, with no inning limit after Game 7 for games necessitated when neither team has won four games due to ties. Due to the spread of COVID-19, local governments are continuing to request teams limit game lengths. A tie-break is being considered as a reasonable option to deal with these circumstances.

Although regular-season games last year were limited to 10 innings rather than 12, the Japan Series rules were not modified. If the series were unable to continue before one team had four wins, the championship was to be determined by the highest TQB: (Runs scored / Offensive innings) / (Runs allowed / Defensive innings).

Due to this year’s Olympic break, Game 7 of the Japan Series is now scheduled for Nov. 28. But it needs to be completed by the end of November, the final month covered by NPB player contracts. Since the coronavirus shows no sign of easing by November, local governments may ask games begin earlier, and if a Japan Series nine-inning limit is required, tie games are expected to increase.

Atsushi Ihara, NPB’s secretary general, said game-shortening measures are expected for the Japan Series. A tie-break system was used for Japan’s one-game farm championship but was not needed. The meeting considered how fans would react to having TQB decide the Japan Series champion if seven games were played with both teams tied 1-1 with five ties.

Through Sunday’s games, there had been 79 ties this season, and for that reason, a Manfred Man tie-break is expected to be on the table as a possibility for next year’s regular-season games.

Tuesday’s starting pitchers

Fighters vs Eagles: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hiromi Ito (8-5, 2.54) vs Takahisa Hayakawa (7-4, 3.64)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Kona Takahashi (9-5, 3.20) vs Nao Higashihama (3-3, 3.68)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hiroya Miyagi (11-1, 1.99) vs Manabu Mima (5-4, 5.60)

BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Ryosuke Miyaguni (-) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (3-5, 3.27)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Koyo Aoyagi (10-2, 2.22) vs Yasunobu Okugawa (5-3, 3.89)

Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masato Morishita (6-6, 2.63) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-7, 3.23)

Active roster moves 9/6/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/16

Central League




BayStarsP43Takuya Shindo

Pacific League




EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa
FightersOF5Taishi Ota
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui
BuffaloesP28Ryoga Tomiyama
BuffaloesP65Taisei Urushihara

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