Interleague final day: CL 49, PL 48
A day after rescuing the Central League’s reputation by clinching an overall winning record in interleague, the Hiroshima Carp fell 8-1 to the Pacific League’s doormats, the Nippon Ham Fighters, leaving the CL record this year at 49-48-11 while being outscored 475-433.
Wins are the purpose of the exercise, so congratulations CL and keep moving in the right direction. I’m curious how this is going to play in the media, but remember, nobody seemed to think that the interleague dominance from say 2010 to 2019 meant anything until the CL’s Giants were swept in two straight Japan Series, then it was like, “Hey what’s been going on here? This isn’t supposed to happen.”
So I suppose that some will take this year’s results to indicate that the CL is now on a par with the PL, but if the CL loses the Japan Series for a ninth straight year — equaling the nine straight the PL lost to the Giants from 1965 to 1973, then those people will stop pointing to this year’s interleague as an indicator of success.
Fighters 8, Carp 1
At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, a close game for five innings, a couple of balls were hit hard in a two-run Fighters third inning of Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (5-4) and rookie right-hander Hiromi Ito (4-4) struck out eight and walked two over six innings while allowing an unearned run.
It was a pretty good game until the final innings. Both starting pitchers worked ahead in counts and challenged batters. The Fighters blew it open in a two-run sixth off reliever Robert Corniel. After back-to-back no-out singles, a sacrifice advanced the runners and a passed ball brought one in. With the pitcher on-deck, Fighters catcher Ryo Ishikawa squeezed home the runner from third on the next pitch.
Japan names its Olympic squad
Masahiro Tanaka was named to pitch for Japan in the Tokyo Olympics. He’s the only holdover from the powerful all-star stocked team that went to Beijing in 2008 and came back empty.
Japan may have gotten the better of South Korea in two final-round WBC games, but the Olympics have historically turned Japan’s biggest stars to jelly. Japan’s amateurs won a bronze and a silver before pros were allowed.
Since 2000, they’ve won one bronze, in the 2004 games when South Korea was eliminated in Asian qualifying by Taiwan. In both 2000 and 2008, Japan’s losses to South Korea meant their Asian rivals won medals and Japan didn’t.
The pressure will be intense on Japan. Even in the last Premier 12, only Seiya Suzuki looked like the stud he usually is. The other guys looked like they had all been swapped out for their less-talented twins. I mean, who knows for sure if that was actually Nobuhiro Matsuda batting .125 or his twin brother, Noriaki? Did anyone check?
Anyway, here’s Japan’s roster, as announced Wednesday by manager Atsunori Inaba. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that two-thirds of the players chosen come from the CL, because well, the leagues are equally talented, right?
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather have Yuki Matsui than either Kota Nakagawa or Yasuaki Yamasaki. I’d also have Ryutaro Umeno rather than Tsubasa Aizawa as my other catcher, but it’s hard to fault the rest of the choices.
Active roster moves 6/16/2021
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/26