NPB news: July 2, 2022

For the second straight day, Hiroshima’s Ryan McBroom lowered the McBoom on the Giants, while both league leaders came from behind in the late innings to win, causing some sports desk editors to wet themselves across Japan.

We’ve also got Japanese pro baseball’s longest hit streaks, including an homage to the great Tom Lehrer, and the late-inning records of all NPB teams this year. Some of you can guess what this has to do with the Yomiuri Giants.

There were also a ton of deactivations on Saturday, including Masahiro Tanaka and Roki Sasaki after their duel on Friday, so let’s get to it.

Carp 2, Giants 0: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Ryan McBoom accounted for both runs with his ninth home run, with no outs in the ninth off Ryuta Heinai (3-3) to pull Hiroshima to within a half-game of second-place Yomiuri.

The Giants are now 3-8 when tied after seven innings, the worst record in NPB.

Masato Morishita struck out 11 over eight innings, striking out Adam Walker to end the eighth with the bases loaded. Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano went seven innings. With the game tied after seven, Giants manager Tatsunori Hara, whose logic escapes me, sent Nobutaka Imamura (4.14 career ERA, 1.44 career WHIP) to the mound in the eighth.

Imamura got out of trouble, but Heinai didn’t.

Swallows 2, BayStars 1: At Jingu Stadium, it was two for the price of one night as DeNA lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi and Yakult right-hander Cy Sneed each benefitted from three double plays. Taishi Ota opened the scoring with a seventh-inning leadoff homer, his fifth, off Sneed.

Yasutaka Shiomi had three of Yakult’s nine hits. He chased Hamaguchi with a two-out RBI singled in the eighth. Edwin Escobar ended the threat and worked a 1-2-3 ninth for DeNA.

Scoreless innings from Naofumi Kizawa, closer Scott McGough and setup man Noboru Shimizu (5-1) kept it tied till the ninth, when Shiomi’s bouncer to third plated the winning run with one out.

Magic number mumbo jumbo

The win gave the Swallows a magic number, which I’m not certain why but is a big thing in Japan, perhaps because it requires elaborate computation, and is only a relative of the magic numbers people from the States are accustomed to.

Japanese magic numbers are kind of like spells in Harry Potter. They follow strict rules. One can’t just count the number of games needed to clinch the pennant, since they only appear when the rules say they do, and they can disappear. The Swallows’ magic number is the earliest to appear in history.

It doesn’t mean squat, but it will be the headline story in Sunday’s papers.

Tigers 5, Dragons 3: At Nagoya Dome, Yusuke Oyama’s three-run triple highlighted a four-run third off Chunichi lefty Takahiro Matsuba (3-3). Masashi Ito (5-2) allowed two runs over seven innings to pick up the win, and Suguru Iwazaki got his 15th save.

Streaky math

I apologize if there’s any confusion about Koji Chikamoto’s hitting streak, which he extended to 28 games today.

I’m confused as all hell, because 1) the records of hitting streaks are absurdly hard to find, and the 2) the stories about Chikamoto’s streak are not very simply written, as if writing things clearly would defeat the purpose of informing the public.

Stories explaining rankings and orders in Japan remind me of Tom Lehrer’s “New Math,” such as “A leads, after an increase of 75 from last year’s figure of 206. That increase is the largest except for third-place C which increased by 80 from last year’s sixth-place figure of 25. B is second at 250.”

As a public service, I’ll do a more thorough job tonight.

The records for hit streaks are as follows, the detailed dates are courtesy of Pro Yakyu Data Kanrishitsu, although that site is years out of date. I supplemented it with information from SPAIA.

133Yoshihiko TakahashiCarp1979/6/6-1979/7/31
232Tokuji NagaikeBraves1971/5/28-1971/7/6
331Jiro NoguchiBraves1946/8/29-1946/10/26
331Shogo AkiyamaLions2015
530Isao HarimotoGiants1976/5/13-1976/6/20
530Yutaka FukumotoBraves1977/5/18-1977/7/10
530Matt MurtonTigers2011
829Glen BraggsBayStars1993/6/2-1993/7/15
928Tony BernazardHawks1988/7/31-1988/9/16
928Shinjiro HiyamaTigers2001/7/3-2001/8/12
928Koji ChikamotoTigers2022/5/28-2022/7/2

Hawks 3, Lions 2: At Seibu Dome, SoftBank came out of its coronavirus break that scrubbed its games on Wednesday and Friday, and squeaked out a win against Seibu on Akira Nakamura’s two-out two-run single in the ninth off Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda (1-1).

Burch Smith allowed a run on a walk and five hits over six innings in his first game since he suffered an oblique muscle strain in the second inning of his start on April 28. Nao Higashihama allowed a run on four hits and two walks over five innings, and was relieved by Yuito Mori, who last pitched on April 16.

Sosuke Genda put Seibu up in the eighth with his first home run, off Katsuki Matayoshi (3-3). Taisei Makihara and Yuki Yanagita singled to open the ninth to set up Nakamura’s game winner.

Marines 3, Eagles 1: At Chiba Marine Stadium, rookie Sora Suzuki (0-1) blew up an eighth-inning tie by allowing a single and issuing three walks, and following his bases-loaded free pass with a wild pitch.

Wataru Karashima gave the Eagles a solid start, allowing a run on two walks and three hits.  Koki Yamgaguchi led off the fifth with a double and scored the tying run via a Akito Takabe sacrifice and a Hiromi Oka squeeze.

Note: I normally would put the Marines-Eagles highlights here, but I’ll be skipping those that include Lotte’s latest import.

Fighters 2, Buffaloes 1: At Sapporo Dome, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (8-4) struck out eight but also allowed nine hits over 6-2/3 innings.

Hiromi Ito (6-6) allowed five hits and four walks in a 119-pitch shutout. He got a first-inning lead on a groundout after one-out singles by Kensuke Kondo and Yuki James Nomura.

The Buffaloes ran into the third out on the bases in the third inning when they trailed 1-0, and the Fighters widened their lead in the sixth on singles by Kondo and Go Matsumoto and a Daigo Kamikawabata double. Shingo Usami homered in the seventh and Nomura doubled in Kazunari Ishii to complete the scoring.

Late-inning blues

This bit started as a twitter post by John E. Gibson saying how many times the SoftBank Hawks had lost games in which they once led.

Since then, I’ve been keeping records of each team’s leads and deficits at the end of every half inning. For today, I’ll present a table of each team’s records when they:

  • Lead by one to three runs in either the eighth or ninth inning.
  • Trail by one to three runs in either the eighth or ninth inning.
  • Are tied after seven innings.

The standard differential for late leaders is .054, the smallest of any of the three categories. For late trailers, it’s .095, almost double, and for teams that are tied, it’s almost double that .160.

Some of the difference is going to be accounted by teams’ offenses ability to score, but the most likely explanation is managers’ willingness to use their better relievers in non-save situations and reducing their availability over the next few days.

TeamLeadingLeading pctTiedTied PctTrailingTrailing pct

Starting pitchers

Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Toshihiro Sugiura (3-5, 4.66) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (2-6, 2.84)

Lions vs Hawks: Seibu Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Kaito Yoza (5-2, 2.17) vs Shuta Ishikawa (2-3, 3.23)

Marines vs Eagles: Chiba Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Manabu Mima (4-4, 3.59) vs Takahisa Hayakawa (4-5, 2.94)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Reiji Kozawa (0-0, 4.50) vs Masaya Kyoyama (0-0, 2.08)

Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuya Yanagi (5-5, 3.43) vs Hiroto Saiki (-)

Carp vs Giants: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Allen Kuri (3-5, 3.28) vs Kenshin Hotta (1-2, 7.02)

Active roster moves 7/2/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/12

Pacific League


EaglesP13Kohei Morihara
EaglesP64Hiroyuki Fukuyama
EaglesIF67Yasuhito Uchida
HawksP38Yuito Mori
HawksP39Shuto Ogata
HawksP60Ryota Nakamura
HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
HawksC79Riku Watanabe
HawksOF13Masahiro Nakatani
LionsP54Burch Smith
LionsC37Sena Tsuge
LionsIF63Shinya Hasegawa


MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
EaglesP18Masahiro Tanaka
EaglesP20Tomohiro Anraku
EaglesP43Sung Chia-hao
EaglesOF54Ren Wada
HawksP20Hiroshi Kaino
HawksC19Takuya Kai
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
LionsC2Masatoshi Okada
LionsIF52Haruka Yamada

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