It’s Tuesday and Japan, and though we had a game on Monday, one of those annual parties SoftBank Hawks owner throws for his employees at Tokyo Dome by holding a Hawks game there, this was the real start of the baseball week.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any showdown series like last week, but every game the Hawks or Eagles play has a chance to impact who is leading the Pacific League. The Hiroshima Carp, meanwhile, will see if they can snap Yakult’s streak of 12 straight series wins, while Adam Walker made a different kind of statement with his arm than he’s been making so far.
Another player tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and I’ll tag my pennant race projections at the bottom of the post. So let’s get to it.
Kai, Despaigne join Hawks COVID caravan
The SoftBank Hawks have postponed Wednesday’s game in Fukuoka against the Lotte Marines after five more positive tests. The cancellation is NPB’s 10th this year, surpassing the nine scratched last season.
Designated hitter Alfredo Despaigne and starting catcher Takuya Kai became the latest Hawks players to test positive for COVID-19, after the club sidelined pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, outfielder Yurisbel Gracial, pitcher Shinya Kayama and infielder Isami Nomura over the weekend as well as two other pitchers who were classified as close contacts.
The original group also included one coach and a member of the major league staff. Tuesday’s haul included coach Arihito Muramatsu and two more staffers.
Eagles 4, Buffaloes 2: At Kobe Green Stadium, I don’t hold with that “Orix going to Orix” stuff, like they’re doomed to make low-percentage moves on the ballfield, but man did the Buffaloes run into a pair of easy outs at the plate tonight.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Kenya Wakatsuki singled with two on and two out, and right fielder Takero Okajima was so shallow that he had time to make a slightly awkward catch, double clutch and still throw out Keita Nakagawa by six feet.Continue reading NPB news: June 28, 2022