Category Archives: News

NPB games of May 25, 2019

While the biggest news of the day centered around SoftBank’s announcement that it had signed 19-year-old American pitcher Carter Stewart, the Hiroshima Carp need to bring back their red-hot chili uniforms, because they are on fire!

Kris Johnson in the Carp’s spicy red outfits. The Carp are currently NPB’s spiciest outfit.

Central League

Carp 7, Giants 5

At Tokyo Dome, Kris Johnson (4-3) handled the Yomiuri Giants for seven innings before they knocked him out, but Hiroshima still held on for the win, as Johnson singled in a run off Cristopher Mercedes (4-3), and Xavier Batista went deep for the third time in two games.

“They put enough of the the bat on the ball when they needed to. I kept them quiet for a while, but then in the eighth inning their bats came alive,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to give to them, but we still came away with the victory.”

I can’t do simultaneous interpretation or any other kind of interpretation, but this was rendered in Japanese as: “The Giants are a good hitting team, and they really made that inning hard on us, but I had confidence in my teammates after I left the mound.”

If I tried it, I’d do much, much worse.

Johnson, however, is getting steadily better. He continues to do well in day games this season, although the three runs without an out in the eighth will put a dent in his day-game ERA.

There was an article the other day about how well he pitches in day games because he entered Saturday’s game 3-0 in the afternoon and 0-3 at night, so I thought I’d check how he’s done over his career in Japan, where his win total increased to 50.

Since arriving in 2015, Johnson is 36-17 at night, with a 2.65 ERA. In day games, he’s now 14-7 with a 2.60 ERA.

BayStars 6, Tigers 5

At Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars came close to blowing a six-run ninth-inning lead after starter Taiga Kamichatani (2-3) allowed the first four batters to reach.

Randy Messenger (2-5) walked a career-high eight batters, the most in NPB since Hiroshima’s Kazuki Yabuta walked eight Tigers hitters in April 2018. Jose Lopez drove in three runs for the BayStars.

Dragons 10, Swallows 3

At Jingu Stadium, a trio of Dragons had three hits apiece, including rookie Kosuke Ito, who scored four runs as Chunichi handed Yakult it’s 10th straight loss.

The game was close until David Huff allowed a run in the sixth and Scott McGough allowed four over 1-2/3 innings.

Pacific League

Buffaloes 4, Eagles 2

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten welcomed back veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi for his first game since he injured his left hamstring on Opening Day. Kishi allowed a run in seven innings, but got no decision as Sung Chia-hao (1-2) surrendered three runs in the eighth inning.

To give the game something of an old-timers feel, lefty Yoshihisa Naruse allowed a run in 5-2/3 innings in his second start for the Buffaloes, who got two RBIs apiece from young slugger Masataka Yoshida and Stefen Romero.

Lions 7, Fighters 5

At MetLife Dome, it was an ugly day for starting pitchers as both Johnny Barbato of Nippon Ham and Shinsaburo Tawata of Seibu surrendered five runs. The Fighters’ bullpen cracked first, with lefty Mizuki Hori (2-1) walking three batters after Sosuke Genda‘s leadoff single.

The Lions have now won five straight, the PL champs’ longest winning streak of the season. Shogo Akiyama, who has expressed his desire to play in the majors next season as a free agent, homered twice off Barbato.

The Lions announced after the game that Tawata would be sent to the farm to regain his form.

Marines 4, Hawks 3

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte’s Ikuhiro Kiyota homered for the fourth straight game, hitting a two-run shot off the third pitch Ryoma Matsuda (0-1) threw in relief of SoftBank starter Rei Takahashi.

The Marines’ Mike Bolsinger allowed three runs, one earned over 5-1/3 innings, but the win went to the bullpen, as four relievers delivered 3-2/3 innings of spotless work.

In other news

  • The Carp became the first team in CL history to ever go from eight games under .500 to 10 games over in the same season. They are now one game shy of the franchise record for consecutive wins, 12 set by the 1984 CL champions, who were the last Carp team to win the Japan Series.
  • Chunichi veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka is slated to work his first rehab game in the minors on Tuesday. after being injured in spring training by a fan. It will be his first game action since September.
  • The Fukushima Red Hopes of the Route Inn Baseball Challenge League have announced that Justine Siegal, the first woman to work as a coach for a major league team, will coach the independent minor league club over the coming weeks on a temporary basis. The Red Hopes are managed by former major leaguer Akinori Iwamura.

NPB games of May 24, 2019

Central League

Carp 8, Giants 3

At Tokyo Dome, Xavier Batista hit a pair of solo home runs, giving the former Cubs farmhand 11 on the season as Hiroshima rolled to its 10th straight win.

Seiya Suzuki hit his 14th for Hiroshima as the Carp overcame three solo home runs by the Giants, including two by shortstop Hayato Sakamoto, who took over the league lead with his 14th and 15th.

Taylor Jungmann (3-1) gave up four runs on four hits and a hit batsman over five innings, while striking out three for the Giants. Rookie Hiroki Tokoda (5-2) allowed three runs over five innings, but five Carp relievers allowed just three base runners over the final four innings.

Dragons 6, Swallows 1

At Jingu Stadium, rookie Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-1) allowed a run over 6-1/3 innings as Chunichi handed Yakult its ninth straight loss. Yohei Oshima went 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Shuhei Takahashi drove in three more for the visitors.

Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-6) allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out eight over six innings, but Wladimir Balentien accounted for Yakult’s only run, with his 11th home run of the season.

Tigers 3, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, Hanshin cashed in its scoring opportunities, while DeNA put runners on but could only manage a two-run, first-inning homer by cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The Tigers broke a 2-2, seventh-inning tie on a triple by rookie Koji Chikamoto and an RBI double by 24-year-old cleanup hitter Yusuke Oyama, who reached base three times.

The BayStars’ Neftali Soto reached four times, but Hanshin starter Yuki Nishi twice struck Tsutsugo out with runners in scoring position. Rafael Dolis worked the ninth for his 11th save.

Pacific League

Eagles 3, Buffaloes 2

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Manabu Mima (3-3) allowed two runs over six innings, and rookie Ryosuke Tatsumi drove in one run with a triple and scored the other in a two-run fifth inning.

Orix starter Taisuke Yamaoka (4-1) allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out nine on 96 pitches over the eight-inning complete game loss.

The Buffaloes’ struggling offense wasted a golden opportunity in the seventh against reliever Alan Busenitz, but the right-hander escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam and the Eagles bullpen retired the last eight batters to close it out. Sung Chia-hao worked the eighth, while Yuki Matsui recorded his 12th save.

Lions 10, Fighters 5

At MetLife Dome, seibu came from a run down in a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by Sosuke Genda’s game-tying RBI double and Shuta Tonosaki’s two-run homer.

Tonosaki also doubled, tripled, walked, scored three runs and drove in four. Fighters starter Takayuki Kato (1-4) and Lions starter Daiki Enokida (2-1) each gave up five runs, but Seibu’s bullpen delivered four scoreless innings.

Hawks 6, Marines 3, 10 innings

At Zozo Marine Stadium, SoftBank starter Kodai Senga, working on five days rest, allowed two runs over eight innings, while striking out nine, but failed to win his sixth straight start.

Hawks closer Yuito mori (2-3) allowed a solo homer in the ninth to Ikuhiro Kiyota as Lotte tied it. But Marines reliever Naoya Masuda (2-3) gave up three runs for the second-straight game, surrendering Alfredo Despaigne’s second two-run homer, and a solo shot to Nobuhiro Matsuda.

Yurisbel Gracial had four hits and scored three runs, while Cuban compatriot Livan Moinelo worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.


  • The Orix Buffaloes’ position players spent their day off Thursday taking extra batting practice after the club failed to record 10 hits in 20 consecutive games. That hadn’t happened to the franchise since the Hankyu Braves failed to reach double digits in hits for 28 straight games in 1963.
  • The Chunichi Dragons have not cleared 38-year-old Daisuke Matsuzaka to begin pitching in rehab games, noting that the condition of his right shoulder has not improved. He was hurt in February when a fan gave him a particularly strong high five during a fan event in Okinawa.
  • The Dragons called up Steven Moya on Friday, and put him in the starting lineup for the first time this season, batting sixth and playing right field in the absence of injured regular Ryosuke Hirata. In 42 farm games, Moya has posted a .372 OBP and a .559 slugging average in the pitcher-friendly Western League.
  • The Nippon Ham Fighters activated Kotaro Kiyomiya for the first time this season after he broke the hamate bone in his right hand on March 3. Kiyomiya, who will turn 20 on Saturday, hit seven home runs in 53 games last season.
  • Chunichi center fielder Yohei Oshima became the 76th NPB player with 200 career steals on Friday, when he stole his 13th of the year, in the fifth inning against the Hanshin Tigers. Oshima led the Central League in steals in 2012, and started the day with 12, one back of Yakult’s Tetsuto Yamada and Hanshin rookie Koji Chikamoto.

Active stolen base leaders (through 5/23/2019)

  1. Yoshio Itoi (Fighters, Buffaloes) 290 in 1,446 games
  2. Haruki Nishikawa (Fighters) 232 in 884 games
  3. Kensuke Tanaka (Fighters) 203 in 1,555 games
  4. Yohei Oshima (Dragons) 199 in 1,214 games
  5. Takashi Ogino (Marines) 172 in 642 games