NPB news: Sept. 10, 2022

We’ve had some beatings this week, but the Yakult Swallows had a full game’s worth of a hiding in one inning on Saturday, when Hiroshima beat the living Carp out of them. Yakult still leads the Central League by 6-1/2 games over DeNA, but we have a new leader in the Pacific League.

Masahiro Tanaka was on the mound trying to keep the Rakuten Eagles from falling behind the third-place, Orix Buffaloes, who sent Yoshinobu Yamamoto out in their big matchup with the SoftBank Hawks, so here’s a breakdown of his arsenal:

Yoshinobu Yamamoto arsenal

Here’s a breakdown of Yamamoto’s pitches with the average Runs Created with every pitch thrown, the rate of swings that miss bats, and the rate of taken pitches called strikes.

PitchRCTotalMiss rateCalled rate
Data through Sept. 6, 2022

Of pitches thrown at least 400 times by a single pitcher this season, Yamamoto’s forkball and curve are tied for ninth most valuable this season in Japan. His fastball ranks 68th out of 122.

Batters have missed his forkball 39 percent of the time, sixth best in Japan. The top two are Kodai Senga’s forkball (.56) and Roki Sasaki’s (.51). Yamamoto’s curve is ranked 26th and is tied for fourth among the pitches most looked at for called strikes.

Carp 15, Swallows 7: At Jingu Stadium, Hiroshima scored 12 runs in one inning for the first time since the 1984 CL champions beat down the Swallows, also at Jingu, that May.

With a 1-0 lead, Cy Sneed (8-6) left pitches in the heart of the zone to the first three Carp batters, who just made contact, two grounders finding holes, and one fly dropping in for three straight singles to tie it up. Sneed walked Shogo Sakakura to load the bases. Third baseman Murakami’s throw home on a grounder pulled the catcher off the base, and could have been ruled a fielder’s choice but an error was charged to Murakami.

Sneed retired the next two batters and was poised to get out of the inning against Carp starter Yusuke Nomura with two outs, the bases loaded and trailing just 2-1, but the pitcher’s bat ran into a straight pitch and the flare to right plated two runs. Shota Dobayashi followed with a three-run homer to end Sneed’s evening.

Then it was rinse and repeat. Takayoshi Noma and Ryoma Nishikawa, whose little singles opened the inning, set the table again with back-to-back singles off the next pitcher, and Ryuhei Matsuyama repeated hit his second RBI single of the inning. Sakakura hit a three-run home run, his14th, and Takashi Uemoto hit the first homer of his 10-year-pro career.

The Swallows chased Nomura in a six-run fourth, when all three outs were made by Jose Osuna, who struck out after Munetaka Murakami’s leadoff double, swung at Ball 4, hitting into an inning-ending double play on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded.

BayStars 7, Tigers 0: At Yokohama Stadium, Kenta Ishida (5-4), unlike Cy Sneed, got out of his biggest jam by retiring the opposing pitcher with two outs and the bases loaded. The lefty struck out six, walked three and allowed two hits over six innings.

With a 1-0 lead in the third against 19-year-old Daichi Moriki (), DeNA had two on and two out, when Hanshin opted to walk former batting champ Toshiro Miyazaki to pitch to Taishi Kusumoto, who doubled in two. Miyazaki then scored to make it 5-0.

The shutout was the 25th of Hanshin’s season, breaking a single-season franchise record set in 1963. The Tigers don’t have a viable chance of tying the NPB record of 31 set in 1956 by the Taiyo Whales and Tokyu Flyers.

Dragons 5, Giants 2: At Tokyo Dome, Shinnosuke Ogasawara (8-8) retired 20 of the first 22 batters he faced, Ariel Martinez homered in the fifth to open the scoring off C.C. Mercedes (4-3). An infield single and a Dayan Viciedo double set up a Takuya Kinoshita’s first sac fly of the game. A Viciedo RBI single, Kintoshita’s second sacrifice fly, and a Martinez RBI double made it 5-0 in the eighth.

Takumi Oshiro’s one-out two-run single chased Ogasawara, but Yariel Rodriguez retired both batters he faced to end the inning, and closer Raidel Martinez stranded two runners in the ninth to secure his 33rd save.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Buffaloes 5, Hawks 2: At Osaka Dome, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (13-5) allowed an unearned run in the first, struck out Yuki Yanagita on a beauty of a forkball, got a bases-loaded inning-ending double play and was never challenged for the remainder of his seven innings. He struck out nine, walked one and allowed four hits, including a seventh-inning solo homer by Kenta Imamiya.

The Buffaloes scratched out a dodgy run in the second against Yugo Bando (2-2) on a walk, a sacrifice and a single that could have been ruled an error. Masataka Yoshida broke the tie in the third with a towering home run, his 15th. The Buffaloes had Bando on the ropes, when he couldn’t throw strikes in the fourth, but bad swings and bad base running, allowed SoftBank to pitch to Haruto Watanabe with two outs, and the rookie responded with his first pro hit, a two-run single.

Shota Abe and Jacob Waguespack finished up for Orix, with Waguespack saving his fourth game.

Fighters 2, Lions 1, 10 innings: At Seibu Dome, Kensuke Kondo untied a scoreless pitchers’ duel in the eighth inning off reliever Kaima Taira, and after Seibu came back to tie it in the ninth off the Fighters’ bullpen, slammed a Tatsushi Masuda (2-4) curveball deep into the right field stands for his seventh home run.

Nippon Ham’s Hiromi Ito threw eight sharp scoreless innings, and Lions right-hander Wataru Matsumoto struggled a bit but matched Ito for seven innings. Flame-throwing Kaima Taira walked PL batting leader Go Matsumoto and he scored on a booming double when Kondo teed off on a hanging slider.

Fighters reliever Naoya Ishikawa walked two in the ninth and surrendered Takeya Nakamura‘s game-tying RBI single before walking the bases loaded. Kazutomo Iguchi got the final out in the ninth (2-0). Bryan Rodriguez left after allowing a one-out single, and lefty Ryusei Kawano needed two pitches to get an inning-ending double play and his first career save.

Masuda has 29 saves this season but has allowed three home runs in his last two games.

Marines 6, Eagles 4: At Miyagi Stadium, Lotte scored six runs off Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) in five innings. A booming lsecond-inning eadoff double by Seiya Inoue off a hanging forkball, an RBI flare single by Katsuya Kakunaka and another RBI single by Kenta Chatani gave Lotte a 2-0 lead.

Koki Yamaguchi hit a fat slider from Tanaka three-run homer, his 11th, in the third, and Lotte added another when Hisanori Yasuda tripled n the fifth and scored on a two-out infield single.

Lotte starter Fumiya Motomae surrendered a three-run fifthg-inning homer to Hideto Asamura, his 25th. Six relievers finished up with the unrepentant domestic abuser getting the save.

Sunday’s starting pitchers

Eagles vs Marines: Miyagi Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takayuki Kishi (7-9, 3.38) vs Kazuya Ojima (3-10, 2.97)

Lions vs Fighters: Seibu Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kaito Yoza (9-6, 2.81) vs Cody Ponce (3-4, 3.28)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Osaka Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (5-7, 3.24) vs Kodai Senga (9-5, 1.98)

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (10-6, 2.71) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (6-8, 3.18)

Tigers vs Dragons: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Junya Nishi (5-3, 3.18) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (0-3, 3.63)

Carp vs Giants: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Atsushi Endo (4-6, 3.32) vs Yuji Akahoshi (4-5, 4.24)

Active roster moves 9/10/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League


TigersP20Daichi Moriki
GiantsOF38Yuki Okada
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
BayStarsP47Yoshiki Sunada


SwallowsOF51Taiki Hamada
GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
CarpOF9Shogo Akiyama
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani

Pacific League


BuffaloesP57Nobuyoshi Yamada
BuffaloesOF99Yutaro Sugimoto
MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
EaglesOF27Takero Okajima


BuffaloesOF27Kendai Gen
MarinesOF1Kyota Fujiwara

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