NPB wrap 7-27-21

Practice, practice, practice

Tigers 6, marines 4: At Koshien Stadium, the game was like a try-out camp for top draft picks. Lotte’s Roki Sasaki (2019) started for the Marines, and hit 156 kph in his three innings but surrendered a two-run home run to Hanshin’s Teruaki Sato (2020).

Shintaro Fujinami (2012) opened for the Tigers and surrendered a solo homer in the second to Takuya Takahama (Hanshin 2007), and an RBI single to Takashi Toritani (Hanshin 2003).

Sasaki’s stuff was a mixed bag. He threw some good splitters and some good fastballs, but most of the four-seamers were too straight. Fujinami’s big issue was his location. He threw strikes but hung some fat pitches.

In the two other practice games, the SoftBank Hawks beat the DeNA BayStars 4-3, with Richard Sunagawa and new Hawks Masahiro Nakatani and Dariel Alvarez doing the damage, while the Yakult Swallows beat the Orix Buffaloes 5-2.

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In “safe and secure” fantasy land

Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures hosting the “safe and secure” Olympics, experienced a huge surge in coronavirus infections on Tuesday. Tokyo hit a record high of 2,848. Saitama Prefecture, which will host the golf, experienced a record one-day total of 593 confirmed infections.

Chiba Prefecture, host to a number of events, hit a new high of 509 on Monday, while Kanagawa Prefecture, where baseball and football are scheduled, reached 758 new infections, also a new high.

In Olympic softball…

Small-ball Japan defeated the power-oriented U.S. in the Olympic softball final 2-0 in a tremendous defensive game by both teams.

I wonder what the cricket equivalent of small-ball tactics are, because if you give Japanese a bat and a ball, you’re going to see sacrifice bunts and showy but meaningless head-first slides.

Japan opened the first with an infield single (head-first slide). Facing a pitcher who couldn’t throw strikes, Japan sacrificed on a 3-2 pitch with no outs and then ran out of outs.

On Shohei Ohtani

John E. Gibson and I taped a TV program on Tuesday with host Steve Zurcher on the subject of Shohei Ohtani. I really wanted to discuss Steven J. Gould’s discourse on how social Darwinism confuses people and encourages the kind of belief that led people in Japan and the U.S. to believe that Japanese stars couldn’t compete in the majors, but there wasn’t time.

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