NPB Wrap 5-19-21

Don’t call him “Junior”

I was informed tonight by my colleague that in Japanese, “junior” is pronounced “junia,” and not “Junya” – like the name of Hanshin’s starting pitcher on Tuesday, Junya Nishi. The Japanese language does that a lot, bases its transliterations on spellings rather than on pronunciation, so my name “James” in Japanese is written so that it end in “su” rather than “zu,” since the only consonant allowed to end a word in Japanese is “n.”

I was hoping Mel Rojas Jr would do something in this game then we could have had a “junia”- “junya” hero interview, since it is customary to refer to players by their last names AND the junior. Do people call Jackie Bradley Jr. “Bradley” or “Bradley Jr.?” I have no idea.

Tigers 3, Swallows 1

At Koshien Stadium, the aforementioned Junya Nishi (1-0) walked four but allowed no hits over five scoreless innings despite a first inning that caused Hanshin to warm up a reliever: Two straight walks followed by three straight three-ball counts to the meat of the Yakult Swallows order. But hard-hit lineout on a 3-2 pitch to Munetaka Murakami and a borderline 3-2 strike to Jose Osuna, and just like that, the 19-year-old was out of trouble.

Koji Chikamoto homered to open the scoring off Kazuto Taguchi (1-3) in the fifth. Another run was charged to the lefty on a throwing error by catcher Yuhei Nakamura. Nakamura singled home the Swallows’ only run in the eighth after two straight two-out hits off Yuzuru Iwazaki.

Yakult’s first hit career .238 hitter Naomichi Nishiura’s pinch-hit single, caused the announcer to say, “Of course, we should have expected Nishiura to get the first hit.” This was probably news to everyone beside Nishiura’s fans and his family.

Jerry Sands made an unsung play by cutting off Nakamura’s ball before it went for a two-run double, and followed that with a sung play, his 10th home run in the bottom of the inning to complete the scoring. Robert Suarez retired Tetsuto Yamada, Murakami and Osuna to end it in the ninth and notch his Japan-best 13th save.

Carp 10, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, new Hiroshima Carp import Kevin Cron drew a leadoff walk in the eighth, scored the go-ahead run and capped the nine-run outburst with a grand slam, his fourth home run. Carp starter Allen Kuri (5-3) threw a 124-pitch complete game, giving up six hits, including Kazuma Okamoto’s 11th home run, while striking out four.

The Giants’ Zelous Wheeler went for 0-for-4 as his 22-game hitting streak came to an end.

Yuki Takahashi (5-1), the CL’s pitcher of the month for March and April, allowed five runs on five walks and five hits over 5-1/3 innings.

Giants-Carp highlights

BayStars vs Dragons: Rained out.

Eagles 3, Fighters 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Hideto Asamura hit his fourth home run,his second in two games, and drove in all three Rakuten runs to make a winner out of Takahiro Norimoto (4-1), who allowed two unearned runs over six innings while striking out nine.  He allowed the only two hits the Fighters managed.

Tomohito Saki, Alan Busenitz and Yuki Matsui hamstrung the Fighters over the final three innings with Matsui earning his 12th save.

Takayuki Kato (3-1) went six for the Fighters, allowing three runs, two earned, over six innings in which he struck out six. Wang Po-jung singled in both of Nippon Ham’s runs in the sixth after an error by Asamura at second prolonged the inning.

Hawks 6, Lions 5

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Aito Takeda tied it 5-5 with a two-out two-run seventh-inning single only for SoftBank’s Nobuhiro Matsuda to hit a leadoff ninth-inning double that set up the go-ahead run to score on a Yuya Hasegawa pinch-hit sac fly off Reed Garrett (0-1). Hawks’ lefty Livan Moinelo, their sixth pitcher, worked around two walks in the ninth for his fifth save.

Marines 6, Buffaloes 4

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Lotte’s Brandon Laird went 3-for-3 with a walk, scored twice and hit his eighth home run, while Yudai Fujioka reached base three times and scored three runs as the Marines took no prisoners against Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-5), who gave up six runs, four earned, over six innings.

Lotte’s Daiki Iwashita (4-2) allowed three runs over six innings to earn the win. Naoya Masuda earned his 10th save. Orix’s Yutaro Sugimoto hit a pair of solo home runs, his ninth and 10th, with eight coming against the Marines.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (2-2, 6.27) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-4, 3.31)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Zach Neal (0-1, 6.00) vs Shuta Ishikawa (2-2, 2.73)

Central League

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Shota Imanaga (-) vs Yariel Rodriguez (0-0, 1.35)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (3-2, 2.00) vs Rick van den Hurk (-)

Active roster moves 5/19/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/29

Central League


TigersP15Junya Nishi
TigersP37Masaki Oyokawa
TigersP48Yukiya Saitoh
TigersP69Daichi Ishii
TigersOF25Taiga Egoshi


GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
TigersP28Taiki Ono
TigersP43Koki Moriya
TigersP64Kentaro Kuwahara
TigersIF33Kento Itohara
SwallowsP54Cy Sneed

Pacific League


LionsP15Tetsu Miyagawa
LionsP34Yasuo Sano


LionsP29Ryuya Ogawa
LionsP36Sho Ito
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko

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