NPB games, news of July 10, 2019

The horror. The horror.

Kris Johnson throws seven scoreless innings and drives in the tie-breaking run, and still the Carp can’t win. They have now lost 11 of their last 12, with one tie mixed in there. That 11-game losing streak is the franchise’s longest since 1999.

The Carp of darkness

Just when it seemed like it was safe for the Carp to go back in the water, reliable Kyle Regnault relieved Kris Johnson with a one-run lead in the eighth and simply couldn’t get the third out.

After walking six batters in his first four innings in Japan, Regnault (4-1), had walked 16 over his next 37-1/3 innings. After giving up two singles to open the inning, the Dragons gifted him an out with a sacrifice. An intentional walk to Dayan Viciedo loaded the bases and allowed for a force out at home on the next play.

Then the wheels came off. Atsushi Fujii battled drew a walk on a 3-2 count, but Yota Kyoda didn’t swing at any of Regnault’s four pitches and that was the ballgame.

Enny Romero had been on the hook for the loss after allowing one run on three hits and no walks over seven innings. With the lead in hand Raidel Martinez avoided giving up the tying run in the top of the ninth thanks to a nifty fielding play at first base by Dayan Viciedo that ended the game.

Giants 4, Tigers 1

Hanshin’s Randy Messenger (3-7) lasted a season-low two innings, while allowing four runs and four Yomiuri relievers saved the day after starter Nobutaka Imamura (3-1) ran into trouble in the sixth at Koshien Stadium.

The game’s highlights are HERE.

Swallows 7, BayStars 2

Rookie Yakult lefty Keiji Takahashi allowed two runs over six innings, and relievers Kazuki Kondo (3-1), David Huff and Scott McGough helped the hosts cruise at Jingu Stadium against DeNA.

Lions 7, Hawks 3

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2) game crumbled in the fifth inning on solo homers from the bottom of the Seibu order. The lefty issued a two-out walk and surrendered a single before leaving the mound with stiffness in his leg.

His relief, right-hander Masayoshi Tanaka, surrendered a two-run triple to Shuta Tonosaki, and the Lions iced the game in the seventh inning on back-to-back home runs from Hotaka Yamakawa and Takeya Nakamura.

The game’s highlights are HERE.

Buffaloes 7, Eagles 6, 10 innings

Yuma Mune singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning off Yuki Matsui (1-5) after the Eagles sent it to extra innings by tying it in the eighth off Tyler Eppler. Brandon Dickson (2-0) worked a scoreless ninth to earn the win and finished the game off with a scoreless 10th to close it out.

Given the way relievers are used these days, a case could be made for the same pitcher to earn a win AND a save in the same game. Certainly, Dickson earned one of each, by winning it in relief and then saving it. He did what is normally the job of two pitchers. He deserves double credit.

The game’s highlights are HERE.

Marines 5, Fighters 0

The opener-happy Nippon Ham Fighters got opened, with Yuki Karakawa throwing a scoreless first for Lotte, followed by three goose eggs from Chen Kuan-yu (1-0) at Zozo Marine Stadium.

Toru Murata (0-1) was tasked with going through the Marines lineup twice, but surrendered three runs, one earned in his 3-2/3 innings on the mound as the Fighters fielders made four errors in the game.

The game’s highlights are HERE.

News

Seibu spends to keep up with the SoftBanks

In a bid to reclaim it’s golden age, the Seibu Lions have revealed the team has spent about 18 billion yen, roughly $160 million, to upgrade its facilities surrounding MetLife Dome, their 40-year-old park just across the border from Tokyo.

The Sankei Sports story is HERE.

The article suggests the new indoor training facility will be the largest in NPB, and will be open so that fans can watch as players work out. The project also expands the number of dorm rooms on site from 20 to 28, expanded physical training space, more meeting rooms and includes a new merchandise shop.

The Lions last year won the Pacific League for the first time in 10 years, although they lost in the playoff to the SoftBank Hawks, who since 2010 have won either the league or the Japan Series in six seasons since.

The Hawks have invested heavily in their minor league and rehab facility in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture, and their efforts have been rewarded this season with a sizable PL lead despite missing a number of their best players.

The Lions won the PL seven straight seasons from 1982 to 1988, another five time from 1990 to 1994, but only six times since. Since 2010, the Hawks have won five pennants, the Nippon Ham Fighters two, and the Lions and Rakuten Eagles one each.

Hawks’ Yanagita, Imamiya not ready for early return

The SoftBank Hawks will be without star center fielder Yuki Yanagita and starting shortstop Kenta Imamiya through July 26 at least, following their withdrawal from this weekend’s All-Star Game series.

Players picked for their league’s All-Star team who fail to appear are prohibited from playing in their team’s first 10 games after the All-Star break. The Hawks are scheduled to play their 11th game after the break on July 27 at home against the Orix Buffaloes.

Yanagita suffered a muscle tear behind his left knee on April 7, while Imamiya was deactivated on June 22 after spending much of the season with left hamstring issues.

Both were voted onto the PL squad by fans. Some have called for the 10-day suspension to only be applied to those selected in the fan ballot, since an opposing manager could select a rival team’s star who is nearly fit for duty to keep him out of action for 10 more games.

Seibu Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda and Hawks outfielder Yurisbel Gracial were chosen as replacements.

Stewart sees 1st game action

Carter Stewart Jr, the eighth pick in MLB’s 2018 amateur draft, took the mound in his first game since arriving in Japan over a month ago.

The 19-year-old right-hander allowed a leadoff double against the first batter he faced but retired the next six and left after two innings and 24 pitches in a practice game between SoftBank’s third team and corporate league club Mitsubishi Motors Kyushu.

He touched 151 kph (93.8 mph) when he struck out the opposing cleanup hitter to end the first inning.

According to the Nikkan Sports, Stewart said he was excited and nervous, but was able to throw at about 90 percent of full strength at the Hawks’ minor league park, Tama Home Stadium.

All NPB teams are required to enter a farm team in either the Eastern or Western league. Third teams are a different breed that play independent minor league teams, corporate league and university teams.

Kawasaki to coach in Taiwan

Former major league utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki, who has put his playing career on hiatus since developing a nerve disorder, is reportedly going to coach on a three-month basis this summer with the Wei Chuan Dragons according to the CPBL Stats website.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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