NPB news 11-18-21

We’re two days away from the start of the Japan Series, and on Thursday, both teams announced their 40-man series rosters. During the Japan Series, players can be activated or deactivated on a day-by-day basis from among those listed.

The chief omission here is Yakult right-hander Cy Sneed, who was very effective for the Swallows, but has already returned to the States, while the Buffaloes have not added rookie outfielder Ryota Kita, who had a few big hits and made a few big catches in his 23 games in the majors.

The real news is that Orix has added not only league batting champ Masataka Yoshida, since he played in the Foreplay Series, but starting pitcher Taisuke Yamaoka. Yamaoka, was one of the Buffaloes’ best pitchers until a couple of years ago, when they were REALLY bad.

He lost his first two games this year, then was superb in three starts before things went off the rails in May and June, when he finally was deactivated due to elbow discomfort.

His big pitches are a changeup and slider, and he’ll try to set those up with a fastball that’s not great.

The Swallows have Seiichi Uchikawa on their roster, and if Yakult wins, that would be five straight for him. If Yakult loses it will be three straight losses for entertaining lefty Kazuto Taguchi.

Other Japan Series stuff

The Japan Series will open at Kyocera Dome Osaka, move to Tokyo Dome and if Games 6 or 7 or 8 are necessary, those will be played at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, the former home of the Orix BlueWave.

If it goes that far, it will become the first series since the Toei Flyers beat the Hanshin Tigers in 1962 to have games in three different ballparks. The Flyers hosted Games 3 and 4 at Jingu Stadium and Game 5 at the Giants’ Korakuen Stadium., while the Tigers’ four home games were at Koshien.

Nine years earlier, the Nankai Hawks hosted one of their games at Koshien instead of Osaka (Namba) Stadium, while the inaugural 1950 series was split between five different venues.

Lots of teams, however, have opted to–or were forced to–play their series games in parks other than their main stadium, most recently last year, when the Giants’ home games were at Kyocera Dome.

Comings and goings

I’ll admit it, after the playoffs ended I tried to catch up on other things and haven’t been hot on the player movements and other things.

  • The Seibu Lions and Hiroshima Carp, have both said they will clear their rosters of last year’s import players.
  • The second season of manager Daisuke Miura in Yokohama will be a reunion, with three members of the 1998 CL and Japan Series champion BayStars back as coaches. Takuro Ishii leaves as Giants batting coach ostensibly to hold that position in Yokohama, while Takashi Saito, who has one year of coaching experience with the Swallows pitchers in 2020, also comes aboard as does their former batting champ Takanori Suzuki.
  • Kazuhisa Ishii, who was moved into a dual role as GM and manager last year because the Rakuten Eagles decided Hajime Miki wouldn’t do but had no one to replace him with, will be back for Season 2, ostensibly because they still don’t know where to turn for a permanent replacement.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada kind of quietly retired. I’ve been such a big fan of his since he came back from Tommy John surgery short on velocity but long on smarts and good mechanics.

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