Tag Archives: Adam Jones

NPB 2020 8-25 games and news

Senga wins marquee matchup vs Yamamoto

Kodai Senga got a late start to the season, and has struggled to consistently command his splitter and four-seamer, but things came together for him on Tuesday in the SoftBank Hawks’ 4-0 win against the Orix Buffaloes at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

“Today is the first day I’ve pitched the way one would expect from a starting pitcher,” said Senga, who had been relying more on his slider this year due to his inability to locate his fastball or get his splitter to tumble.

Senga (5-2) struck out nine over seven scoreless innings in a matchup of aces against Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-2), who continued to struggle on the road. The Buffaloes’ loss was their first since Norifumi Nishimura stepped down on Thursday night and was replaced by farm skipper Satoshi Nakajima.

On this week’s Japan Weekly Baseball Podcast, Fighters pitcher Drew VerHagen talked about how well some hitters in Japan can wear pitchers down, spoiling good pitches by fouling them off and running up pitch counts. That’s what the Hawks did to Yamamoto, who allowed two runs over six innings.

The bottom of the Hawks order forced the right-hander to throw 27 pitches in a three-walk fourth inning despite his ability to end it by getting catcher Takuya Kai to ground into an inning-ending double play on two pitches.

Taisei Makihara opened the Hawks’ fifth by hitting a first-pitch fastball off the end of the bat and finding a hole for a leadoff single. He took second on a wild pitch that catcher Kenya Wakatsuki kept in front of him, and went to third on a groundout. Makihara and scored when Yuki Yanagita lined a low 0-2 splitter to center for a sacrifice fly, proving once more that Yanagita can do pretty much anything.

Yurisbel Gracial, who rejoined the Hawks’ first team last week after he and Alfredo Despaigne arrived in Japan from Cuba in July, followed with his first home run to make it 2-0. Yamamoto tried to go outside with an 0-1 fastball, his 91st pitch of the game, and Gracial nearly hit one of the Boston Dynamics Spot dogs that decorate the center field stands at the Casa de PayPay.

Yamamoto started the day having struck out one batter in 22 consecutive innings, one shy of the Japan record set by Yutaka Enatsu in 1968 with the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers. The Buffaloes 22-year-old ran the record to 25 innings before the Hawks fouled him silly in the fourth.

At home, Yamamoto has struck out 54 batters and walked four over 37 innings. On the road, he’s now struck out 24 and walked 15 in 29-2/3 innings.

Buffaloes officially need help

One stat that goes hand in hand with Japanese baseball’s perverse magic number calculating system is the “jiriki-V” the ability of a team to clinch a “V” for victory under its own power “jiriki” by winning enough of its remaining games regardless of its opponents’ results in other games.

Tuesday’s loss eliminated the Buffaloes’ chances of clinching by running the table. Like asking players what they intend to do in May when they compile the service time necessary to file for free agency, one of the duties of reporters in NPB is to ask the manager about such things as magic numbers and the jiriki-V.

“I don’t think we’re finished yet,” Nakajima said. “It’s something that happens in the final stages, too, when it comes and goes day by day. We’ll keep playing.”

Jones pulled

Adam Jones, who hit four home runs in Orix’s previous three games, was removed for a pinch-hitter prior to his second at-bat. He’s been dealing with discomfort in his right heel and on Aug. 16 he skipped the Buffaloes’ last game in Fukuoka on Aug. 16.

NOTE: This story originally incorrectly identified Jones as not being on the game-day roster.

Marines blow up against Eagles’ Chargois

J.T. Chargois (0-3) hit the first batter he faced in a five-run seventh inning, allowing the Lotte Marines to overturn a one-run deficit en route to an 8-4 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Leonys Martin was plunked for the second time to open the seventh when a 1-2 back-foot slider became a front-knee breaking ball. Although pitchers are expected to tip their cap to batters they hit, Chargois didn’t although did have a word as Martin walked to first.

A hanging slider was hit for a single and Seiya Inoue hit a high fastball to tie it with a single for his second RBI of the game. Shuhei Fukuda, who also had an RBI in Lotte’s three-run first inning, doubled in the go-ahead run.

Mariners starter Manabu Mima, who left the Eagles as a free agent over the winter, allowed four runs over six innings to improve to 5-2.

“That was a bit of a hard game, a little frustrating,” Eagles manager Hajime Miki said afterward. “It became a game where there’s really nothing to say about it. We owe the fans an apology.”

Taking 11 for the team

By getting hit twice, Martin moved into a tie with Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa for the unenviable Japan lead in being hit by pitches with 11 this season. Martin’s sleeve was brushed by a pitch from Tomohito Sakai to open the fifth. Like Chargois, Sakai did not appear to tip his cap.

Fighters’ Uwasawa beats Lions’ Takahashi

Go Matsumoto walked twice, scored twice and had an RBI triple for the Nippon Ham Fighters, allowing Naoyuki Uwasawa (4-2) to overcome a solid start from Seibu Lions right-hander Kona Takahashi (3-6) in a 4-3 win at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Matsumoto drew a one-out walk in the first and scored after two-out singles by Sho Nakata and Ryo Watanabe. Christian Villanueva, who missed nearly a month after fouling a ball off his foot, doubled in his first at-bat back and scored on Takuya Nakashima’s perfectly executed suicide squeeze. With two outs, Taishi Ota doubled and scored on Matsumoto’s triple to make it 3-0.

Uwasawa spent his last four innings on the mound getting himself out of trouble.

“My form wasn’t all that good today,” he said after walking four and hitting a batter. “I’m glad I could keep them off the board as well as I did.”

The Lions, who most often wear variations of blue or occasionally red or green, came dressed a little early for Halloween, wearing white uniforms with orange trim that made it look they were being sponsored by Starbucks’ pumpkin spice drinks,

Sugano’s season-opening streak rolls on

Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano remained unbeaten on the season, improving to 9-0 after allowing two runs over eight innings in an 8-4 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

The franchise record is 13 winning decisions to open the season, set by Tsuneo Horiuchi in 1966. It’s the longest by an Opening Day pitcher since Hall of Famer Victor Starffin’s nine straight in 1938. The Japan record for consecutive victories is the 28-0 stretch by former Rakuten Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka spanning the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons.

Sugano struck out six without issuing a walk, while allowing five hits. He allowed two runs on four first-inning singles but only one hit the rest of the way.

“To be honest, I was wondering just how many runs they might score off of me (in the first),” said Sugano, who got a huge boost from a one-out double play before veteran Yuhei Takai singled in the second run.

The Giants tied it against 40-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa on a Hayato Sakamoto homer and a Zelous Wheeler RBI single but broke the game open against Swallows rookie surprise Hiroki Hasegawa (1-1) in a five-run seventh.

BayStars overcome Yamasaki blowup

Yamato Maeda’s two-out sayonara single won it for the DeNA BayStars 5-4 over the Hiroshima Carp at Yokohama Stadium after closer Yasuaki Yamasaki blew a two-run lead in his current role as the BayStars’ seventh-inning man.

Jose Pirela fueled Hiroshima’s comeback with two hits and two runs, while Ryuhei Matsuyama drove in two runs off the bench for the Carp.

Edwin Escobar took over in the seventh with one out and two in scoring position but couldn’t strand either one.

With Tatsuhiro Shibata on base in the ninth with two outs and first base open in a 4-4- game, the Carp opted to walk Takayuki Kajitani who was 4-for-4 with a double. Maeda followed with a booming single to the wall to end it.

The BayStars snapped a 23-inning scoreless streak in the second on a Keita Sano single and a Toshiro Miyazaki homer off Allen Kuri. Afterward Miyazaki had to say his only intent was contributing to the rally.

“I was only trying to set the table for the hitters behind me, ” he said, dutifully reading the orthodox script for describing most home runs hit in Japan.

Tiger Takahashi slays Dragons

Lefty Haruto Takahashi reeled off his third-straight solid start, allowing a run over eight innings as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Chunichi Dragons 5-1 at Koshien Stadium.

Takahashi (2-1) allowed six hits and struck out five while walking one, and Jerry Sands drove in the go-ahead run in a two-run third inning against lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara.

Ogasawara (1-2) allowed five runs, four earned, over six innings, snapping a solid run by the Dragons’ pitchers, who allowed one run in their weekend series against DeNA.

Justin Bour hit his 10th home run, a two-run shot in the sixth.

Active roster moves 8/25/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/4

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
TigersC39Kenya Nagasaka
SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa
SwallowsOF41Yuhei Takai

Dectivated

GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
BayStarsP43Takuya Shindo

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP48Shota Takekuma
EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo
FightersIF44Christian Villanueva

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Aug. 25, 2020

Pacific League

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

Hideaki Wakui (8-0, 2.21) vs Kazuya Ojima (3-4, 4.62)

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Enokida (0-0, 4.20) vs Toshihiro Sugiura (4-2, 2.63)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (4-1, 3.05) vs Daiki Tajima (1-3, 2.89)

Central League

Swallows vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Keiji Takahashi (1-2, 3.82) vs Nattino Diplan (-)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-2, 3.78) vs Yusuke Nomura (2-1, 2.05)

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

Onelki Garcia (1-5, 3.83) vs Koji Fukutani (2-1, 2.28)

NPB 2020 8-23 Games and news

Jones goes deep as young Buffaloes deliver

Adam Jones struck pay dirt for the third-straight game as the Orix Buffaloes cashed in on a 6-5 win over the Seibu Lions on Sunday at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Jones broke a 3-3, eighth-inning tie with his ninth home run, a one-out solo shot off setup man Reed Garrett (3-1) and the Buffaloes added on two more runs in the inning. Acting skipper Satoshi Nakajima gave rookie Taisei Urushihara the ball for his top team debut. Urushihara, who saved 23 games last year for Nakajima in the Western League, allowed two runs but earned his first save.

Jones said he wasn’t looking to break the tie with a home run.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive. I’m not trying to hit the ball out of the park. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and put a good swing on it and the last couple of days it’s been working so hopefully it can continue,” Jones said.

Two of his last four home runs had put the Buffaloes in front and another had tied a game.

“I like the pressure of tough situations. In the last couple of days, it’s been good to come through for the team. We’re just going to play the game hard and live with the results. The last couple of days they’ve been good.”

It looked like the Buffaloes had met their match in Lions right-hander Wataru Matsumoto, who retired Jones in the second on three-straight high fastballs. Matsumoto allowed a solo homer in the first to diminutive slugger Masataka Yoshida and left with a 3-1 lead.

The Lions got to lefty Andrew Albers in the fifth, when two scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s two-out double. Takumi Kuriyama made it 3-1 in the sixth with his seventh homer. But Lions rookie Tetsu Miyagawa let the hosts back into it in the home half. Singles by Keita Nakagawa and Ryoichi Adachi set the table, and Yutaro Sugimoto, whom Nakajima brought up with him from the farm team singled both home.

“Keita and I had both been working hard on the farm, and it’s good that we could both produce up here,” Sugimoto said. “The farm games are played outside, and it’s really hot. We all bond under the shared hardship. I didn’t hit the ball well, but got lucky in where it went.”

“Urushihara gave his all on the farm alongside me, so it is only natural that he gets results up here.”

VerHagen, relievers shut out Eagles.

Drew VerHagen (5-1) worked six innings, and his teammates broke the ice with two outs in the sixth inning en route to an 11-0 Nippon Ham Fighters win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

VerHagen pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth, scattered five hits and two walks while striking out eight. He set the tone for the game in the first inning, when he got four ground balls, including a single when he failed to properly cover first. The only ball the Eagles managed to elevate off him in six innings was a foul out to his catcher.

Eagles right-hander Yuya Fukui (0-3) had allowed three runners through five innings. He made his pitches in the sixth, but good swings by Go Matsumoto and Haruki Nishikawa produced a single and a double that put two in scoring position with one out. J.T. Chargois struck out Sho Nakata, who leads both leagues in home runs and RBIs, but allowed the tie-breaking run to score on an infield single and an RBI single by Kotaro Kiyomiya.

Kiyomiya added a three-run home run, his fourth, in the Fighters’ six-run seventh.

Yanagita, Ishikawa lead Hawks’ victory

Yuki Yanagita’s third home run in three games, a towering two-run shot, opened the scoring and Shuta Ishikawa (6-0) allowed an unearned run over six innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 6-4 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The win moved the Hawks one game ahead of the Marines at the top of the PL standings.

A day after he hit the bottom of the stadium’s big screen over 100 feet above the playing surface, Yanagita launched another towering shot off lefty Toshiya Nakamura (1-1). His 18th home run hit off the facade that towers above the ballpark’s right-field stands.

Nobuhiro Matsuda and Ryoya Kurihara each added a two-run shot for the three-time defending Japan Series champs.

Ono goes distance again with 1st shutout

Lefty Yudai Ono (4-3) threw a five-hitter for his first shutout and his fourth-straight complete-game victory as the Chunichi Dragons beat the DeNA BayStars 3-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Ono, who had struck out 10 in each of his three previous starts only notched seven, while scattering five hits and two walks. He also walked and scored a run.

Dragons leadoff hitter Yohei Oshima singled three times and scored twice. He reached with one out in the third, stole second, and scored on Zoilo Almonte’s two-out single. Oshima followed Ono’s fifth-inning one-out walk and scored on a double off the wall by Ryosuke Hirata. The Dragons veteran had been recalled that morning after rehabbing for a month with the farm team.

Sakaguchi pushes Swallows past Tigers

Tomotaka Sakaguchi homered and hit a tie-breaking RBI infield single to drive in two runs as the Yakult Swallows beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-2 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

A week after throwing his first no-hitter, Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings. After Sakaguchi tied it 1-1 in the first with his fifth home run, Ogawa singled in the go-ahead run in the second. He earned the win after Noboru Shimizu and Taishi Ishiyama finished up with one scoreless inning each.

Tigers starter Takumi Akiyama allowed two runs over six innings and squeezed in the tying run in the fifth, but setup man Joe Gunkel (0-2) took the loss after allowing two singles and hitting a batter in the seventh.

Sakakura blast lifst Carp over Giants

Shogo Sakakura’s second home run in two games, an eighth-inning pinch-hit shot off former Carp Kan Otake (1-1) lifted the Hiroshima Carp to a 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Carp cleanup hitter Seiya Suzuki tied it 1-1 in the fourth with his 13th home run, while 21-year-old right-handed starter Atsushi Endo held the Giants to a run over seven innings.

Lefty Atsuya Horie worked a scoreless eighth. Closer Geronimo Franzua loaded the bases with a single and a pair of two-out walks but hung on to earn his sixth save. Zelous Wheeler lined a 3-2 pitch from Franzua to left, but left fielder Jose Pirela was able to make the catch.

Harimoto heaps praise on rookie Rodriguez

Hall of Famer Isao Harimoto, Japan’s favorite Sunday morning baseball curmudgeon, this week heaped praise on Chunichi Dragons rookie pitcher Yariel Rodriguez, the Daily Sports reports.

Speaking remotely in his usual spot on the TBS network’s “Sunday Morning,” Harimoto called the 23-year-old, who has made three impressive starts, “ominous.”

“He’s got good stuff. He’s 23. You can’t hit those pitches, they are heavy and move. If you aren’t really good, he’s awfully hard to hit. You get the sense, like you do with (Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki) Sugano that if this guy is on the mound, the team feels like it’s going to win.”

Isao Harimoto, on TBS’ Sunday Morning, Aug. 23, 2020

Dragons rush Hirata up to replace Fukuda

The Chunichi Dragons on Sunday deactivated outfielder Nobumasa Fukuda and rushed veteran outfielder Ryosuke Hirata back from his rehab assignment to take his place according to the Hochi Shimbun.

Fukuda left Saturday’s game at Nagoya Dome against the DeNA BayStars in the fourth inning due to stiffness in his leg and was examined at a local hospital.

Hirata was deactivated on July 20

Active roster moves 8/23/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/2

Central League

Activated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Dectivated

GiantsP31Seishu Hatake
GiantsOF36Shingo Ishikawa
DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesIF23Ryo Miki
BuffaloesP28Ryoga Tomiyama
BuffaloesP65Taisei Urushihara

Dectivated

LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
BuffaloesP39Keisuke Kobayashi
BuffaloesP57Nobuyoshi Yamada

NPB 2020 8-22 games and news

Jones ruins Utsumi’s Cinderella comeback

Adam Jones homered twice, taking a bat to Tetsuya Utsumi’s hopes of winning his first game in two years, by driving in four runs in the Orix Buffaloes’ 5-2 Pacific League victory on Saturday afternoon.

Jones, who homered and drove in all of Orix’s runs on Friday, when they won their first game under acting skipper Satoshi Nakajima, broke open a scoreless pitching duel between the 38-year-old Utsumi (0-1) and unheralded 26-year-old Taiwan right-hander Chang Yi (1-1).

Chang, who went to school in Japan following in the footsteps of his cousin, Yang Dai-kang, joined Orix in 2017 on a non-roster developmental contract. Since he went to school here, he is still known by how the Chinese characters in his Mandarin name are read in Japanese “Cho Yaku.” After a tough start in his season debut nine days before, Chang’s fastball was crisp and hard for the Lions to handle.

The right-hander pitched out of jams in the third and fourth innings, and he left after allowing five hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

“Honestly, I was resigned to giving up runs (in the fourth inning), but even so I was going to fight them,” Chang said.

Nakajima, who has seen a lot of Chang during his time as the Buffaloes’ farm manager said Saturday’s performance is in line with his skill level.

“You saw what he does well,” Nakajima said. “He had late life on his fastball and attacked hitters. He had an elbow issue that delayed him getting to this point, but he’s going to contribute.”

Never a flame-thrower, Utsumi long thrived on precision and movement, getting foul strikes and soft contact. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced. With one out in the fourth, Buffaloes slugger Masataka Yoshida miss-hit a fastball and chopped it through the infield for a one-out single, Orix’s first hit.

Utsumi nearly got himself out of trouble, but instead set himself up for a fall. He fielded a one-hop comebacker but his uncatchable throw to second spoiled any chance for an out, let alone a double play. Utsumi’s next throw also missed by the smallest of margins, a first-pitch changeup to Jones just above the knees, that he lofted over the left-field wall.

“I just wanted in that situation to get a ball up and drive the runner in and I was fortunate enough to drive the ball out of the ballpark,” Jones said.

Seibu’s Takeya Nakamura, a six-time PL home run champ, hit his sixth of the year in the top of the sixth off reliever Keisuke Sawada.

Jones struck again in the sixth. With two outs and none on, Utsumi missed up just a little with a slider and Jones lined it into the second deck.

“The second one, that was a little more fun. I tried to be aggressive and not let the pitcher get ahead with a strike and just try to be aggressive in the zone. And I didn’t miss it at all,” Jones said.

After three home runs and seven RBIs in two games following a slow start to the season, Jones was asked the obligatory question about whether he was seeing the ball better or not.

‘I’ve been seeing the ball the same,” Jones said. “I am just trying to play the game the way I know how to play.”

“Our pitchers were terrific. Cho battled his butt off and gave us a great opportunity to win the game. And when the opportunity arose to drive some runners in, we did a good job.”

“Home runs are always fun to hit. The bench was going crazy. There’s been a lot of energy the last couple of days. We want to continue to play the game hard and have fun.”

The Lions added a run in the seventh against lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada, forcing setup man Tyler Higgins into the game with two outs and two on to preserve Orix’s lead. Nakamura lined a shot over short, but Koji Oshiro leaped to make a catch, end the inning and save at least a run.

After Higgins worked a scoreless eighth, defensive substitute Yuya Oda doubled in the Buffaloes’ fifth run. Oda, who made a big catch in the ninth on Friday, made another big play on Saturday.

After a Tomoya Mori single to lead off against closer Brandon Dickson, Hotaka Yamakawa drilled a liner to left that Oda short. Mori assumed the ball would be caught and was retreating to first when Oda forced him at second for 7-4 force. A double play followed and it was over.

It was a decent start for Utsumi, if not a winning one for the former ace of the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants. Utsumi joined Seibu after the 2018 season as part of the compensation package for the Giants signing free agent catcher Ginjiro Sumitani. The loss saw Utsumi’s career record against Orix to 2-3 with the previous four games coming in interleague play.

Ironically, Utsumi’s PL debut came against Orix, who drafted him first in 2000 out of high school. Utsumi turned them down out of desire to play for his grandfather’s old team, the Giants. After three seasons in corporate league ball, he turned pro with the Giants.

Yanagita puts on show against Marines

Yuki Yanagita hit a mammoth two-run homer to open the scoring and doubled in the tie-breaking run as the SoftBank Hawks moved back into a tie for first place in the Pacific League with the Lotte Marines, who they beat 3-2.

The camera’s at Zozo Marine Stadium were not prepared for the lunar launch trajectory of Yanagita’s 17th home run, and viewers on TV could only see it drop down and strike the top of the center-field fence, ostensibly after hitting high up on the scoreboard.

Akira Nakamura slashed a leadoff single in the eighth against Frank Herrmann (3-1) for his third hit of the game. Yanagita followed by finding the gap in left center for an RBI double.

Imamiya could be out for up to 2 months

SoftBank Hawks shortstop Kenta Imamiya is expected to miss between six to eight weeks due to a left calf injury. The club announced Saturday that an MRI revealed damage to the soleus muscle in his left leg.

Imamiya, a two-time Best Nine shortstop with five Golden Gloves, complained of pain in the leg on Aug. 19.

Arihara sharp again for Fighters

Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (3-5) produced his second-straight solid start, allowing a run over six innings, while Sho Nakata homered and drove in three runs in a 5-1 over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

Arihara gave up six singles and a walk while striking out six, and he quickly had three runs to work with after his teammates opened the scoring in the bottom of the first off Takahiro Shiomi (3-4).

Haruki Nishikawa’s single, the third straight to open the inning, made it 1-0, and Nakata followed with a two-run double. Shiomi allowed four runs over five innings, and Nakata hit his Japan-best 20th home run in the fifth.

Dragons rookie Rodriguez blots out ‘Stars

Cuban rookie Yariel Rodriguez improved to 2-0 in three impressive starts for the Chunichi Dragons, who beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Rodriguez allowed two singles and two walks over six innings, while striking out just three batters over six innings. The 23-year-old, who is eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award, has now allowed three runs over 19-1/3 innings.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi opened the scoring in the first against DeNA rookie Kosuke Sakaguchi (0-1) with a one-out bases-loaded single. Takahashi added a two-run home run in the fifth.

Osera goes 8 as Carp walk past Giants

Hiroshima Carp ace Daichi Osera (5-2) allowed two runs over eight innings in a 10-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants, who issued nine walks in the game at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Osera allowed former Carp teammate Yoshihiro Maru to tie it 1-1 in the second with his 12th home run.

But Giants starter Seishu Hatake (0-3) didn’t survive the third inning. He opened it by walking Osera, and by the time the dust had settled, six runs were in and 12 batters had come to the plate.

Israel Mota, who the Giants signed this year from their developmental roster, had his first hit in Japan, a two-run ninth-inning home run.

Tigers survive Swallows ambush

Robert Suarez got Norichika Aoki to fly out with two on and two outs in the ninth to nail down his ninth save as the Hanshin Tigers held on to beat the Yakult Swallows 7-5 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Aoki, whose eighth-inning grand slam brought the Swallows within two runs. Facing Suarez, he did his best to elevate a low 1-0 pitch but his high fly to center was held up by a stiff wind and died at the warning track along with the Swallows’ chances of a come-from-behind win.

Yusuke Oyama belted a three-run first-inning homer off Matt Koch (0-1), who allowed six runs over four innings in his Japan debut for the Swallows.

Tigers starter Yuki Nishi (4-3) allowed a run over seven innings and doubled in a run in Hanshin’s three-run fourth inning only for relievers Yuya Nakao and Yuta Iwasada to let the hosts get back in the game.

Setup man Joe Gunkel allowed a hit and a walk before getting the final out in the inning and turning it over to Suarez in the ninth.

Active roster moves 8/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/1

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP12Kousuke Sakaguchi
SwallowsP33Matt Koch

Dectivated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
FightersP59Yuki Yoshida

Dectivated

LionsP23Shogo Noda
FightersP27Nick Martinez

Starting pitchers for Aug. 23, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Eagles: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Drew VerHagen (4-1, 3.72) vs Yuya Fukui (0-2, 5.54)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (1-0, 3.86) vs Shuta Ishikawa (5-0, 2.08)

Buffaloes vs Lions: Kyocera Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Andrew Albers (2-5, 4.04) vs Wataru Matsumoto (1-3, 5.10)

Central League

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

Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-2, 3.43) vs Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.80)

Dragons vs BayStars: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yudai Ono (3-3, 3.02) vs Hiromu Ise (0-0, 1.80)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.77) vs Daisuke Naoe (-)

NPB 2020 8-21 Games and news

Jones drives in 3 to give new skipper 1st win

Adam Jones results have mirrored those of his Orix Buffaloes this season. But on Friday, their first day after manager Norifumi Nishimura stepped down and was replaced by farm skipper Satoshi Nakajima, things clicked for Jones and his teammates in a 3-1 win over the Seibu Lions at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Jones tied it 1-1 in the seventh inning off Zach Neal (2-3) with his sixth home run of the season. Neal left with two on and one out in the eighth. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa walked the bases loaded on four pitches to bring up Jones.

“I have not been swinging the bat too well, but that’s the game of baseball. You have to continue to play the game hard, and be prepared,” he told the fans in the on-field postgame interview. “Underneath the stands in the tunnels, I’ve been getting my work in and trying to be as professional as possible. I’m glad the hard work paid off tonight.”

Buffaloes lefty Sachiya Yamasaki allowed a run on two hits, including Hotaka Yamakawa’s 16th home run in the fourth, and one walk while striking out seven over seven innings.

Neal allowed 10 hits and a walk while striking out one. With the lead in the bag, Orix’s back-of-the bullpen one-two punch of first-year import Tyler Higgins and eight-year Japan veteran Brandon Dickson each worked a 1-2-3 inning. Higgins struck out the tail-end of the Lions order. Dickson got help on a good catch from left fielder Yuya Oda for the second out before recording his seventh save.

Marines march past Hawks into 1st place

Ayumu Ishikawa (4-2) allowed three runs over seven innings, and the SoftBank Hawks pitchers served up a seven-walk, three hit-batsmen, 14-hit parade in the Lotte Marines’ 7-3 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium that moved them past the Hawks into first place.

The Marines won 10 of the 12 games the teams played there last year, and now are 3-0 with one tie in this year’s four games on the shores of Tokyo Bay.

Alfredo Despaigne, playing in his first game since returning from Cuba in July, went 0-for-3 with one walk. He was activated Friday, taking the place of Wladimir Balentien, who was deactivated.

Norimoto finds stuff as Eagles’ beat Fighters

Rakuten Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto (4-3) had better consistent pitches than he has for much of the year as he carried a shutout bid into the ninth inning in a 4-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

The right-hander’s fastball and splitter were both effective as he struck out nine in eight-plus innings, while allowing no walks and six hits, including three no-out singles in the ninth as he ended a six-start winless streak.

Alan Busenitz came on and nailed down his sixth save on seven pitches.

Hiroaki Shimauchi, whose three-run homer tied Thursday’s game in the ninth inning when the Eagles were down to their last strike, doubled in Hideto Asamura to break a scoreless tie in the sixth. Asamura iced the game in the ninth with a two-run home run.

Carp rookie Morishita slays Giants

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (5-2) allowed a run over eight innings for the Hiroshima Carp in their 7-5 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium that snapped the Yomiuri Giants’ three-game all-shutout win streak.

Morishita allowed five hits and a walk while striking out five after the Carp broke the game open in the bottom of the first with a five-run inning against lefty Kazuto Taguchi (2-3).

Bour thunders as Fujinami, Tigers end droughts

Justin Bour hit two home runs, scored three runs and drove in three, while Shintaro Fujinami (1-4) won for the first time since September 2018 as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Yakult Swallows 7-4 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Fujinami’s one-out RBI infield single in the first opened the flood gates on a four-run inning that snapped a streak of 37-consecutive scoreless innings for the Tigers. To be nit-picky it was a single because third baseman Munetaka Murakami couldn’t get it out of his glove but wasn’t charged with an error.

At that point it was like the fates that had been spurning the Tigers for days suddenly decided their practical joke had run its course. Koji Chikamoto, who’d doubled in the first when he missed a home run by a few feet, got another double on a hard chopper to first that took a fluke bounce and drove in two.

Fujinami pitched out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the second inning after the Swallows scored two unearned runs and threatened to turn the game around. But Bour made it a 6-2 game in the third with his eighth home run in Japan.

Joe Gunkel and Robert Suarez threw scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to close it down with Suarez recording his eighth save.

Swallows rookie Daiki Yoshida (1-3) allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out five.

Dragons burn BayStars bullpen

Takahiro Matsuba allowed a run over seven innings, and the Chunichi Dragons broke up a gie game in the eighth to beat the DeNA BayStars 3-1 at Nagoya Dome.

BayStars starter Shinichi Onuki allowed a run over six innings, and closer Yasuaki Yamasaki, currently the seventh-inning guy, extricated himself from a no-out bases-loaded pickle to keep it tied. The Dragons again loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against lefty Kenta Ishida (1-1). Ishida hadn’t allowed an earned run since his first game of the season on June 20, but Issei Endo’s sac fly scored Toshiki Abe, and Yohei Oshima plated Yota Kyoda with his second RBI single of the game.

Onuki made a spectacular escape in the third. After Oshima’s one-out single opened the scoring, the Dragons loaded the bases with two outs. Shuhei Takahashi hit a bullet back through the box that Onuki somehow knocked down and picked up, and still managed to nail the runner at first.

Dragons lefty Hiroto Fuku (4-2) earned the win in relief after pitching the eighth, while Cuban right-hander Raidel Martinez notched his eighth save.

Active roster moves 8/21/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/31

Central League

Activated

GiantsOF44Israel Mota
BayStarsP13Hiromu Ise
TigersIF38Ryuhei Obata

Dectivated

TigersIF4Takahiro Kumagai

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP14Ren Kajiya
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
BuffaloesIF9Koji Oshiro
BuffaloesOF99Yutaro Sugimoto

Dectivated

HawksP34Arata Shiino
HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
BuffaloesP14Kazumasa Yoshida
BuffaloesIF64Shinya Hirosawa

Starting pitchers for Aug. 22, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Eagles: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kohei Arihara (2-5, 4.25) vs Takahiro Shiomi (3-3, 3.78)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Kota Futaki (1-2, 6.86) vs Akira Niho (3-4, 5.17)

Buffaloes vs Lions: Kyocera Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Chang Yi (0-1, 5.40) vs Tetsuya Utsumi (-)

Central League

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

Matt Koch (-) vs Yuki Nishi (3-3, 2.42)

Dragons vs BayStars: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yariel Rodriguez (1-0, 2.03) vs Kousuke Sakaguchi (-)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daichi Osera (4-2, 3.12) vs Seishu Hatake (0-2, 4.15)

NPB 2020 8-16 games and news

Dragons’ Ono has got this 10-K complete game thing down

For the third straight Sunday, Yudai Ono delivered a 10-strikeout complete-game victory, as the Chunichi Dragons lefty beat the Yomiuri Giants for the second week in a row, this time 4-1 at Tokyo Dome.

Ono (3-3) was asked if he had done anything differently after going 0-3 in his first six starts.

His answer: “I pitched well, but wasn’t getting wins because I’d give up the early lead and couldn’t stick around long enough for my team to score, so that has been my goal.”

Ono, who throws from a three-quarter arm slot, has the highest average fastball velocity among left-handed starters in Japan this season (146.3 kph or 90.9 mph). His fastball appeared to have more spin than usual, making it especially dangerous in combination with his two-seam sinker.

(One has to be careful in Japan with the expressions two-seam and sinker, the first is sometimes applied to a “shoot” a running fastball that is not intended to sink, and sometimes to a major-league style two-seamer, which is really Ono’s sinker, rather than a Japanese-language sinker, which is actually a screwball.)

The Dragons opened the scoring on Toshiki Abe’s fifth home run, a second-inning solo shot off Seishu Hatake (0-2), and Yoshihiro Maru tied it with his 10th homer in the home half. The two-time MVP uppercut a high 1-1 splitter from Ono and really launched it.

Chunichi completed the scoring in the fifth on a two-run double by shortstop Yota Kyoda, who scored on catcher Takuya Kinoshita’s single.

Hatake missed with a high straight 1-0 fastball and Shuhei Takahashi hammered it on the ground through the infield for a leadoff single. Abe did the same with a straight 2-1 fastball in the heart of the zone, hitting it between first and second to put runners on the corners.

The right-hander left a first-pitch changeup up in the zone to Kyoda, and he also slammed it, this time just over the bag at first and into the right-field corner for a double. Kinoshita fouled off a high fat slider for Strike 1, but hit lined a better 0-1 slider to right to make it 4-1.

Hatake went six, but the way Ono was pitching it didn’t matter.

After last week’s win, Ono said, “I’m not a very good pitcher so I just try to execute each pitch as well as I can.”

This week’s self-deprecating remark was: “I’m not one of those pitchers who go to the mound to start the game thinking, ‘I want to throw a perfect game.’ I kind of see how things go, and if it looks like it, I’ll give it a shot.”

Ono after his Sept. 14, 2019 no-hitter.

Ono praises no-hit Ogawa

Ono said he was inspired by Yasuhiro Ogawa’s no-hitter on Saturday night in Yokohama, the first one since Ono’s on Sept. 14 against the Hanshin Tigers.

“For him to pitch his way out of a no-out, two-on jam in the eighth inning after a teammate made an error? As a pitcher myself, I thought that was simply amazing,” Ono said.

Submariner Yamanaka torpedoes BayStars

Submarine right-hander Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1) allowed two runs over five innings for the 34-year-old journeyman’s first win in nearly two years as the Yakult Swallows beat the DeNA BayStars 7-4 at Yokohama Stadium.

Tetsuto Yamada and Norichika Aoki propelled the Swallows’ offense combining for four runs and five RBIs. BayStars starter Kentaro Taira (3-3) allowed six runs over 3-2/3 innings.

Swallows closer Taishi Ishiyama worked a scoreless ninth to record his seventh save.

のらりくらりとつかみどころがない。ヤクルトの山中が右下手から持ち味の緩急を利かせた投球で、DeNA打線を手玉に取った。5回2失点で2018年9月15日以来、約2年ぶりの勝利。34歳のベテランは「久しぶりすぎて、実感が湧かない」と照れ笑いを浮かべた。

Carp, Tigers tie in ugly contest

Beauty pageants in Japanese are referred to as “miss contests” and that would be a suitable description for the Hiroshima Carp and Hanshin Tigers’ 2-2 10-inning tie at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Tigers starting pitcher Takumi Akiyama survived a first-inning error that contributed to a one-out bases-loaded jam, but 21-year-old Carp right-hander Atsushi Endo failed to catch a break.

Veteran shortstop Kosuke Tanaka bobbled a grounder to put the leadoff man on. A single and a walk to Jerry Sands loaded them up. The youngster got cleanup hitter Yusuke Ono to hit into a double play and broke Justin Bour’s bat, but his stick died a hero as the ball got over the infield for an RBI single.

Akiyama worked five scoreless inning. First-year importJoe Gunkel gave up one run over two innings of relief on a pair of mistakes to Seiya Suzuki and Ryuhei Matsuyama. Suzuki drove a triple off the center-field wall and scored on a a hard-hit single by Matsuyama.

Carp leadoff man Ryoma Nishikawa scored the tying run after a single, a sacrifice, an error and a wild pitch and the game ended in a tie when it was called after 10 innings.

Effectively wild Ishikawa beats Buffaloes

Right-hander Shuta Ishikawa had as much trouble hitting the glove as the Orix Buffaloes did hitting his pitches over 5-2/3 scoreless innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 6-2 win on Sunday at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The Hawks beat up lefty Andrew Albers (2-5) for four runs over two innings. Albers gave up five hits, walked one and hit one. Three of his losses this season have come against the Hawks.

Ishikawa (0-5) allowed two hits but walked six and hit a batter while striking out six. The Buffaloes scored both their runs off submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi in the seventh.

Marine recruit leads Lotte’s charge

Koshiro Wada made the most of his first starting assignment on Sunday, scoring three times from the Lotte Marines’ leadoff spot to fuel a 6-5 victory over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Wada, a 21-year-old who played in the independent Baseball Challenge league before signing with the Marines as a non-roster developmental player in 2018, struck out in his debut on Friday. But given a chance to start against right-hander Drew VerHagen, the left-handed hitter took some aggressive cuts.

He singled, stole second, and was sacrificed to third by Shogo Nakamura and scored in the first, third, and fifth innings. Leonys Martin also stole three bases for Lotte.

“I was so nervous before today’s game, I couldn’t eat,” he said.

Wada struck out in his last two at-bats.

Seiya Inoue drove in three runs for Lotte and set up the final go-ahead run in the eighth with a leadoff walk, while No. 3 hitter Leonys Martin drove in one run and scored twice.

Sho Nakata put the Marines in front briefly with his 17th home run, a third-inning shot off lefty Toshiya Nakamura.

VerHagen, who had won his three previous starts, allowed five runs over 4-1/3 innings. The Fighters tied it in the sixth off new Marine Jose Flores, who like Wada joined the Marines after a stint with the independent Toyama Thunderbirds.

Frank Herrman (3-0) struck out the bottom of the Fighters’ order in the eighth. He earned the win in after Tatsuhiro Tamura doubled in pinch-runner Hiromi Oka against veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi (1-1) in the home half of the inning. Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth against the top of the Fighters’ order to earn his 15th save.

Old-timer Kuriyama sparks Lions

Takumi Kuriyama, his speed and arm dented by wear and tear, sparkled in a rare outfield start with his glove and bat to boost the Seibu Lions to an 11-1 plucking of the Rakuten Eagles at MetLife Dome.

With two outs and two on in the top of the first Kuriyama made a leaping grab of a Stefen Romero drive headed for the wall to end the inning and save two runs.

The 34-year-old singled to lead off the second and hustled home to score the first run in the two-run inning. After Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-2) walked the first two batters he faced in the third, Kuriyama blasted a three-run homer. Kuriyama finished with three hits and a walk.

Lions starter Keisuke Honda (1-4) scattered five hits and three walks to allow one run over five innings and earn the win.

Jones returns to Osaka early

Adam Jones, who joined the Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes from this season, returned home to Osaka on Sunday from Fukuoka prior to his team’s afternoon game against the SoftBank Hawks, according to the Sankei Sports.

It marked the second time Jones, who turned 35 on Aug. 1, has been omitted from Orix’s game-day roster. He was also sidelined on Aug. 9 with discomfort in his right heel. Jones has played in 48 games and so far has a .313 on-base percentage and a .362 slugging average.

Marines’ Laird returns to U.S. for treatment

Lotte Marines third baseman Brandon Laird has returned to the United States for treatment on his lower back the Pacific League club said Sunday according to website Full-Count.

Laird was deactivated on Aug. 5 due to lower back stiffness. In 147 plate appearances over 39 games he has six home runs with a .299 on-base percentage and a .391 slugging average.

Active roster moves 8/16/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/26

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF00Daiki Yoshikawa
GiantsOF94Shuhei Kato
BayStarsP43Takuya Shindo

Dectivated

GiantsIF51Shunta Tanaka
GiantsOF88Gerardo Parra
BayStarsP21Shota Imanaga
BayStarsP68Yoshiaki Fujioka
SwallowsOF49Daiki Watanabe

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF51Manaya Nishikawa
HawksP29Shuta Ishikawa

Dectivated

LionsOF73Wataru Takagi
HawksP11Yuki Tsumori

NPB 2020 8-13 games and news

Otake frustrates Buffaloes in season debut

Kotaro Otake made a lot out of a little on Thursday as his low-velocity deliveries frustrated hitters and helped earn him the win in his belated season debut as the SoftBank Hawks beat the Orix Buffaloes 3-1 to remain in a tie for first place in the Pacific League.

Otake, who has been with the minor league squad since feeling stiffness in his left elbow in camp and was 4-0 in the Western League, allowed five hits and a walk while striking out three over 5-2/3 innings. Although it was an impressive effort, Otake got off to a rocky start.

In the first inning, he challenged leadoff hitter Tatsuya Yamaashi with a 1-0 fastball down the pipe. But it wasn’t a very good one, and the light-hitting reserve showed what a professional hitter can do when giving a cookie, driving it well back in PayPay Dome’s left-field stands for his third career home run.

But otherwise, the Buffaloes hitters struggled to time Otake’s speeds: slow, slower, and molasses, as he mixed his 136-kph (84.5 mph) fastball with a two-seamer, a changeup and a curve. His occasional high misses didn’t hurt him as much as they perhaps changed batters’ eye levels. The end result was a lot of soft contact. Orix didn’t hit anything reasonably hard until Jones doubled with two outs in the fourth.

The Hawks wasted two walks in the first inning against Taiwanese right-hander Chang Yi but made up for it in the second. Kenta Imamiya led off with his fifth home run, Takuya Kai walked with one out and scored on leadoff man Ukyo Shuto’s two-out triple. Akira Nakamura singled and scored an insurance run in the fifth after a Ryoya Kurihara single and a Kenji Akashi double.

Chang (0-1) allowed six hits and three walks over his five innings. The right-hander, a cousin of NPB veterans Yang Dai-kang and Yang Yao-hsun, was taken by the Buffaloes in the first round of the 2016 developmental draft out of Japan University of Economics.

Otake issued his only walk of the game in the sixth and after retiring slugging left-handed hitters Masataka Yoshida and Takahiro Okada, was pulled for a righty with Jones coming to the plate. Arata Shiino got out of the inning on five pitches, and Yugo Bando, Livan Moinelo and Yuito Mori finished up with a scoreless inning each. Mori earned his 12th save.

Eagles keep pace with win over Lions

Rookie Hiroto Kobukata reached base four times and scored three runs for the Rakuten Eagles in their 7-4 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo. The win kept the Eagles tied with the Hawks for the PL lead.

Former closer Yuki Matsui allowed three runs on six hits over three innings. He left the game with a 4-3 lead and right-hander Tomohito Sakai retired all six batters he faced over two innings to earn the win. Ryosuke Tatsumi broke a 1-1 tie in the third with his fifth home run, a leadoff shot off Lions rookie Kaito Yoza (2-4).

Yoza allowed four runs over 2-1/3 innings as the Lions needed eight pitchers to get them through the night.

J.T. Chargois worked a scoreless eighth for Rakuten, while submarine right-hander Kazuhisa Makita worked the ninth to earn his first save in Japan since he saved three in 2015 for the Lions.

Marines power past Fighters

Leonys Martin’s fifth home run in six games was one of three solo shot the Lotte Marines hit in a three-run fifth en route to overcoming a five-run deficit in their 8-5 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

After Tsuyoshi Sugano doubled home Seiya Inoue with the tying run in the sixth, Martin reached on an error in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run.

The Marines comeback made a winner out of Jose Flores (1-1). The 31-year-old right-hander from Venezuela spent 10 years in the minors with the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. The Marines acquired him from the Toyama Thunderbirds of Japan’s independent Baseball Challenge League.

Giants bang, bloop their way to comeback win

Yoshiyuki Kamei’s ninth-inning pinch-hit single lifted the Yomiuri Giants to a 4-3 walk-off win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Lefty Cristopher Mercedes allowed three doubles and a walk in a three-run first, and spent his remaining five innings on the mound pitching with me on base but allowing no more runs.

The Giants closed within a run on back-to-back two-out solo homers in the fourth inning from Yoshihiro Maru and Hiroyuki Nakajima. The hosts tied it in the fifth on a two-out bloop RBI single by cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto. Swallows right-hander Hirotoshi Takanashi allowed three runs over six innings, and two relievers kept it tied until right-hander Yuma Oshita (0-1) allowed a leadoff single.

After a stolen base, Kamei pinch hit and got enough of the first pitch thrown by Scott McGough to hit a fly into shallow center that won it.

ToSpo pandering to the populists

There’s always some writer somewhere who’ll put a populist or racist spin on something they probably don’t understand. The Tokyo Sports used to have a pretty sordid reputation for writing the most loathsome stuff and one writer of theirs seems keen to resurrect that image when he wrote a story titled “Manager Hara spills the real truth behind Parra’s substitution.”

Hara pulled Gerardo Parra out of the game during the top of the sixth inning, and Tokyo Sports would like us to think because he was solely because he wasn’t hustling on a foul fly that dropped safely.

The manager said, “You saw what happened. It looked he was favoring his leg,” although the Tokyo Sports neglected to mention that last bit. Instead, it implied Parra was fit because no trainer came out and didn’t look hurt. They then reminded readers of the time when a Japanese star was not hustling and was sent home by Hara, implying that was the reason here.

The real truth is the thing that story wasn’t interested in when a pile of made-up shit made a better headline.

Yamada rejoins Swallows

Yakult Swallows second baseman Tetsuto Yamada was activated on Thursday and practiced as usual with the team before their game against the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome, according to the Nikkan Sports.

He was deactivated on July 27, ostensibly due to lack of upper body fitness, whatever that means.

Despaigne, Gracial to start on farm

Big-hitting Cubans Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial practiced with the Hawks Western League farm team on Thursday, and are scheduled to play in Friday’s home WL game against the Hiroshima Carp, the Nishinihon Sports reports.

The pair had gone to Cuba train with the national team in March ahead of World Baseball Classic qualifying. After qualifying was canceled, they were unable to travel to Japan until Havana’s airport re-opened for international travel in July.

The two arrived in Japan last month despite Japan’s ban on foreign nationals entering the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. After they completed quarantine they were to train with the farm team until minor league operations were suspended after infections were discovered at the minor league facility. Instead, they traveled to Sendai last week and trained with the first team.

Tigers drop Fujikawa

The Hanshin Tigers have deactivated 40-year-old reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. According to the Hochi Shimbun, the move was made due to the dreaded “lack of upper body fitness” although the article specified the afflicted area to be the right side of his upper body.

Fujikawa, who converted every save opportunity he faced after being restored to the closer’s role last summer for the first time in seven seasons, has been largely ineffective this year. He was deactivated on July 12 due to right shoulder fitness.

Active roster moves 8/13/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/23

Central League

Activated

SwallowsIF1Tetsuto Yamada

Dectivated

TigersP22Kyuji Fujikawa
CarpP58DJ Johnson
DragonsP25Yu Sato
DragonsP59Takumi Yamamoto
DragonsIF7Akira Neo
SwallowsP24Tomoya Hoshi

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP10Kotaro Otake
MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi

Dectivated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
MarinesP41Kakeru Narita
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota

Starting pitchers for Friday, Aug. 14, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Zach Neal (2-2, 4.47) vs Takahiro Norimoto (3-3, 3.66)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ayumu Ishikawa (2-2, 3.83) vs Ryuji Kitaura (-)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Nao Higashihama (2-1, 3.02) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (2-1, 4.40)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shosei Togo (4-2, 2.86) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-2, 2.42)

BayStars vs Swallows: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (4-2, 1.91) vs Daiki Yoshida (1-1, 5.40)

Tigers vs Carp: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shintaro Fujinami (0-3, 2.57) vs Masato Morishita (3-2, 2.87)