There were two makeup games on Monday in the Pacific League, the league that is serious about finishing its schedule in a timely fashion.
Marines 11, Hawks 5
At Yafuoku Dome, Lotte completed its season series against SoftBank with its 17th win of the year against the Hawks behind six innings from an effectively wild Kota Futaki (7-9).
The right-hander had good movement on his slider and splitter and worked quickly. Futaki, whose average four-seamer velocity this season ranks 33rd out of 39 NPB pitchers with 90 or more innings, only touched 140 kph. He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the first 19 batters he faced and 11 of those were taken.
When he did miss, and he missed a fair amount, the Hawks miss-hit the ball or lined out. Futaki allowed four hits without a walk, while striking out five. Against a bullpen day led off by Ryoma Matsuda (2-2), the Marines led 5-0 after the top of the third inning.
Hiromi Oka doubled in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly, and hit a two-run homer to open the scoring in the third.
Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi was ejected in the fourth inning after going out to ask if the Hawks’ Yurisbel Gracial had swung on a pitch that home plate umpire Tetsuya Shimata ruled had hit the Cuban.
Although NPB managers have long had maximum leeway in discussing balls, strikes, balks and whatnot, Shimata gave Iguchi no time at all.
“You’re not allowed to leave the bench to dispute a checked swing. I just applied the rules,” said Shimata, who explained to the crowd that Iguchi’s first ejection as a manager was for a “forbidden act.”
Game highlights are HERE.
Eagles 6, Buffaloes 4
At Rakuten Seimei Park, Hideto Asamura homered, tripled, singled, scored two runs and drove in three as Rakuten handed last-place Orix its eighth-straight loss.
Game highlights are HERE.
Tateyama, Hatakeyama join Jingu exodus
Over the weekend, news broke that Yakult Swallows veterans Shohei Tateyama and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama would make this their last season. The club announced both players’ decisions on Monday. The announcements come in the week the Swallows were eliminated from postseason contention. Since then, both manager Junji Ogawa and head coach Shinya Miyamoto said they will step down.
Tateyama a 38-year-old side-armer who led the Central League in wins in 2009, is also a veteran of three Tommy John surgeries. He pitched once this season, allowing three runs in three innings on June 12. In 278 career games, Tateyama has an 85-68 record with 10 saves and a 3.32 ERA — fairly impressive for a guy who spent his career in one of Japan’s best hitters’ parks.
Hatakeyama, a 36-year-old first baseman led the CL in RBIs in 2015, when Yakult won its first pennant in 14 years, has not played this season due to fitness issues.
There goes your Spiderman
Hiroshima Carp outfielder Masato Akamatsu, who has been unable to earn first-team playing time since coming back from cancer surgery, announced this past week he is retiring.
Akamatsu was the last active player from a group of solid outfielders who were marooned for several years on the Hanshin Tigers farm team. The group included Osamu Hamanaka, Lin Wei-chu and Go Kida.
After Kida was traded to Hiroshima in May 2007, Akamatsu said he was so envious because he knew there was no future for him with the Tigers.
Akamatsu, however, got his wish, however, six months later. When Takahiro Arai moved to the Tigers as a free agent in 2008, the Carp selected Akamatsu as part of their compensation package. The speedy outfielder had his 15 minutes of fame when the catch below went viral and it became known as the “Spiderman catch.”