More issues for Fighters
The Nippon Ham Fighters, who last week suspended cleanup hitter Sho Nakata indefinitely after he assaulted a teammate prior to an exhibition during the Olympic break, are facing fresh scrutiny after someone dug up a PR video shared by the team in which a teammate hurls a racist insult at outfielder Chusei Mannami, whose father is from the Congo.
“Dude you’ve spent too much time at the tanning salon,” a teammate is heard saying in Japanese on a tweet originally sent in April.
Swallows muscling up
Although the Yakult Swallows became solid contenders for a playoff spot early in the summer, they simultaneously looked a lock for a two-and-out first stage exit, having started the season 0-7 against the Hanshin Tigers and finished June 3-8-1 against the Yomiuri Giants.
Since May 5, Yakult is 3-4-2 against Hanshin and has scored 10-plus runs in their last three games against the Giants. I don’t know what this indicates, but it does suggest I was premature in saying the Swallows seemed overawed by this season’s two CL heavyweights.
Wednesday will see Zach Neal start for the Lions, while Glenn Sparkman makes his Japan debut for the Orix Buffaloes. There will also be a matchup between rookie Rakuten lefty Takahisa Hayakawa and Hawks ace Kodai Senga, whose only strong effort this year was two innings in relief during the Olympics. So stay tuned.
Swallows 13, Giants 3
At Matsuyama Botchan Stadium, Yakult reliever Ryuta Konno (4-0) pitched out of a tough spot with the game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, helped when center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi threw Zelous Wheeler out at the plate for the final out.
Tetsuto Yamada broke the tie with his 26th home run in the bottom of the sixth as the Swallows then exploited Giants’ mistakes and ran through four relievers in a 13-batter nine-run inning.
Munetaka Murakami made it a 2-0 game in the fourth with his 27th home run for the Swallows, only for the Giants to tie it in the sixth when Yoshihiro Maru hit a two-run shot of lefty Keiji Takahashi. It was Maru’s 13th homer and his third in three games. Giants cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto retained a two-home run lead over Murakami with his 29th in the eighth.
Jose Osuna went 4-for-5 with a double, reached on an error, scored a run and drove in three.
Tigers 6, BayStars 2
At Tokyo Dome, Teruaki Sato singled in the game’s first run, made it 2-0 with his 21st home run in the third, and broke a 2-2 tie with his 22nd home run, a sixth-inning solo shot. Koyo Aoyagi (9-2, 1.87) allowed just two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out seven over six innings. In the eighth, Ryutaro Umeno RBI single and two-run Koji Chikamoto double put the game away with all three runs being charged to Yasuaki Yamasaki.
DeNA lefty Haruhito Hamaguchi (5-6, 3.28) walked six as he gave up three runs over 5-2/3 innings.
Dragons 3, Carp 0
At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Koji Fukutani (5-9, 4.43) allowed four hits and hit a batter while striking out five over seven innings. Rookie Masaru Watanabe started in left and singled in a run in the third and hit his maiden first-team home run in the eighth. Raidel Martinez earned his 10th save as the Dragons won for the first time after the Olympic break.
Masato Morishita (6-5, 2.31) who won two games pitching for Japan in the Olympics including the gold medal game, allowed two runs over seven innings. He surrendered a two-out walk to Yota Kyoda, who stole second and scored on Watanabe’s single. Ariel Martinez made it 2-0 with a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh.
Lions 8, Marines 2
At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Kona Takahashi (9-4, 3.14) scattered nine hits and a walk to allow two runs over seven innings. Tomoya Mori went 5-for-5 with a double and two runs, two other Lions had RBI doubles, and Shuta Tonosaki hit his fifth home run, a two-run shot in Seibu’s five-run fifth.
Daiki Iwashita (8-5, 3.98) also allowed nine hits. He walked two as he surrendered seven runs over four-plus innings.
Eagles vs Hawks
At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, rained out.
Buffaloes vs Fighters
At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, rained out.
Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Takahisa Hayakawa (7-3, 3.39) vs Kodai Senga (1-1, 10.80)
Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Kazuya Ojima (5-3, 4.69) vs Zach Neal (1-3, 4.10)
Buffaloes vs Fighters: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT
Glenn Sparkman (-) vs Ryusei Kawano (2-1, 1.38)
Swallows vs Giants: Botchan Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT
Masanori Ishikawa (3-2, 2.84) vs Daisuke Naoe (0-1, 1.59)
BayStars vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Shinichi Onuki (3-5, 5.74) vs Masashi Ito (5-5, 2.70)
Dragons vs Carp: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT
Takahiro Matsuba (1-2, 4.91) vs Shogo Tamamura (2-3, 3.26)
Active roster moves 8/17/2021