Tag Archives: Arismendy Alcantara

NPB news: May 17, 2023

There were six games and a trade on Wednesday, which gave the Pacific League has a new league leader and a 42-year-old winner, while Shugo Maki arrested DeNA’s slide with a two-homer game.

Giants trade for pitching

In a story that could also be titled “trading in irony,” the Yomiuri Giants have shipped 26-year-old shortstop Taishi Hiraoka to the Orix Buffaloes for 29-year-old right-hander Kohei “formerly known as ‘K'” Suzuki. The Giants’ 4.31 ERA is Japan’s worst, and manager Tatsunori Hara has been vocal about his inexperienced relievers getting roasted the past few weeks.

The irony is that Hiraoka, acquired as cover for Hayato Sakamoto on March 1, 2021, cost the Giants a reliever they’d given up on, then 25-year-old Kazuto Taguchi. Since then, the lefty has turned his career around with the Yakult Swallows, where he has stepped into the closer’s role this season following the departure of Scott McGough to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Since that trade, Hiraoka has slashed .190/.263/.348 in 207 plate appearances over 115 games, while Taguchi has pitched in 93 games. The lefty’s 6-11. After going 5-9 in 100-2/3 innings in his first season at Jingu, Taguchi is 1-2 with 13 saves and 20 holds, striking out 48 in 49-2/3 innings while walking 12 and allowing one home run.

Wednesday’s games

Marines 7, Buffaloes 3: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Kazuya Ojima (4-1) allowed two runs over eight innings for his sixth straight quality start as Lotte edged into first place ahead of Orix on winning-percentage points.

Kenta Chatani and Hisanori Yasuda put Lotte on the board with back-to-back fourth-inning RBI singles. Chatani’s RBI double made it 3-0 in the fifth against Daiki Tajima (4-3). Marwin Gonzalez broke up Ojima’s shutout bid in the seventh with his seventh home run, a two-run shot.

Hisanori Yasuda doubles in his second run of the game in Lotte’s three-run fifth.

Continue reading NPB news: May 17, 2023

NPB news: Sept. 13, 2022

Tuesday in Japan began with some off-the-field news but ended with all the big bangs and extremes we deserved as well as all the racist-tinted hypocrisy the media could stir up.

The second retirement shoe dropped, when Yoshio Itoi revealed that he is not in fact superhuman, while Nippon Professional Baseball is open to the idea of allowing fans to chant, sing and cheer like the old days, although not exactly.

Munetaka Murakami contributed to an exodus of baseball’s leaving the field of play at Jingu Stadium, while another team was one-hit but scored the only run in their win. And if the battle for first place in the Central League is just warming up, the competition for the final playoff spot is boiling over.

In the Pacific League, the race for first continues to bubble as the Hawks and Lions go at it with Orix and Rakuten hot on their heels. Kotaro Kiyomiya, the BIG name in the same first round of the 2017 draft when Murakami was picked, also packed a punch, while Rakuten’s and Orix’s big boppers traded home runs.

And if that’s not enough, for the first time since Sept. 1, it’s Roki Eve in Japan, so let’s cross our fingers and hope we get some pitching presents or presence against the Fighters.

If any of you remember, the last time Sasaki pitched against Nippon Ham, Tsuyoshi Shinjo said, “Gee. I’d love to see him throw a no-hitter” after Sasaki pitched eight perfect innings against his team in April. Maybe he’ll get his wish.

Murakami didn’t tie no record

It’s hard to express the amount of moisture that needs to be mopped up across newsroom floors across Japan with Murakami’s two homers. Contrary to the headlines, Murakami didn’t tie any records, but Oh’s 55 home runs in 1964 for a team going nowhere close to the pennant, still have a hold on Japan’s imagination the way Babe Ruth’s 60 held sway in America, which is fitting. Ruth’s record lasted for 34 years, Roger Maris’ for 37, Oh’s lasted for 37 years before it was tied, but wasn’t surpassed for 49 years.

The irony of Oh’s record, of course, is that the reason people think more of that one than Balentien’s in Japan, at least for now, is that it is treated as the JAPANESE record, it’s a nationalistic racist kind of thing, in a country where Oh was not permitted to become a citizen as a child because his mother was Japanese, not his Chinese father.

And while Oh honors his father’s heritage, he is culturally Japanese through and through, but still experienced racism because he was not Japanese enough. Yet, as a Japanese baseball icon, that uncomfortable truth is brushed aside so that Oh can stand in as a symbol for the nation that tried to subjugate his father’s homeland, as a sign of domestic strength against those who are so visibly not Japanese.

Music the international language? Love? Forget about it. It’s hypocrisy.

Itoi to retire

Yoshio Itoi, who was acquired as a premium pre-draft signing by the Nippon Ham Fighters at the 2003 draft as a flame-throwing college pitcher, said Tuesday that this will be his last season. The 41-year-old became an outfielder when he was unable to throw strikes and who a decade ago was perhaps Japan’s best position player.

Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 13, 2022