It’s Monday, which in addition to being my brother’s birthday, means no games and a look forward to this week’s games, where the Yakult Swallows will get six games against three of the CL’s non-pennant contenders.
This presents a situation where one Central League contender could pick up two or three games against its two rivals and make a huge dent in the pennant race.
In the Pacific League, with four playoff contenders, it’s never that easy. This week’s first head-to-head matchup will be the first-place Lotte Marines hosting the Orix Buffaloes, who won’t have Yoshinobu Yamamoto available since he started on Saturday. Roki Sasaki will also not be around since he has been deactivated due to lower-back stiffness. But Masataka Yoshida is back, while Leonys Martin is gone. Should be interesting–and a chance for the third-place Eagles and fourth-place Hawks to gain some ground.
Projections and rants
I’ve published more projections, and based on a comment from my podcast partner, John E. Gibson, I considered the difficulty of each team’s schedule.
After ragging on Tatsunori Hara a lot for his quick hook this season, I found out on Monday that others have taken exception with what they see as an absurd use of Sho Nakata, which in my mind is further evidence that the Hall of Fame skipper is really venturing into wonderland.
I have always been a huge fan of Hara’s ability to find talent in an organization that turns up its nose at no-name players whose only pedigree is playing extremely well on the farm — by giving those guys opportunities and not being a hard-ass all the time: Rule 21.2 B in the Japan Baseball Managers Handbook.
That huge ability, and the organization’s deep pockets and status, have gone a long way toward his winning nine pennants. The thing about him is, he absolutely loves to taunt his doubters with doing quirky and weird stuff.
Tuesday’s starting pitchers
Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT
Dragons vs Giants: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Active roster moves 9/27/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/7