This will be the first time since 2007, that teams will be meeting in the Japan Series for the second straight year. That last series in 2007 ended in dramatic fashion as journeyman Daisuke Yamai and future Hall of Famer Hitoki Iwase combined on a 1-0 perfect game clincher to beat Yu Darvish.
The time before that, the Yakult Swallows beat the Seibu Lions to win the 1993 series after losing the year before. The Dragons did that in 2007 as well, coming back to win after losing the first time.
This will be the 13th time for a Japan Series rematch the following year, and the Yomiuri Giants may be hoping that recent history points in their favor. Prior to the Swallows and Dragons winning the rematch, the previous year’s runners-up were 0-10 against the previous year’s champs.
This will be the Giants’ 10th rematch in franchise history, and the Hawks’ fourth — and their fourth rematch against Yomiuri. The teams last faced off in the infamous 2000 “brain surgeon” series — the schedule had to be juggled after Daiei rented out their home park to a neurosurgeon’s convention.
The Giants’ lead their Japan Series series 9-2, with the Hawks’ only win prior to 2019 coming in 1959. The Hawks’ 2019 sweep was the sixth in series history, with both the Hawks’ championships over the Giants coming in four games. The Giants are the first team in the 71-year history of the competition to return to the Japan Series after being swept the previous year.