Tag Archives: Brandon Dickson

NPB 2020 Oct. 24

Saturday’s games

Other news

Haraguchi does it again for Tigers

Fumihito Haraguchi delivered off the bench for the fourth straight game, his two-out seventh-inning pinch-hit single breaking a 1-1 tie in the Hanshin Tigers’ 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome on Saturday.

The Giants started the day with a magic number of five to clinch their second straight Central League championship.

Jerry Sands scored the go-ahead run after reaching on a leadoff single to decide a pitchers’ duel between Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (13-2) and tough Tigers lefty Haruto Takahashi (5-4).

Takahashi allowed a run on four hits and two walks while striking out three over six innings. Jon Edwards, Suguru Iwazaki and Robert Suarez kept the Giants from scoring over the remaining three innings with Suarez getting his CL-leading 23rd save.

Koji Chikamoto became the Tiger’s first base runner by smacking a hanging breaking pitch and beating out a one-out infield single in the fourth despite a good play from Giants shortstop Hayato Sakamoto.

Chikamoto, the CL stolen base leader, took second on a wild pitch even though catcher Takumi Oshiro was able to keep the ball in front of him, and then scored easily when Kento Itohara’s little fly to shallow right fell in for a single.

Sugano tied it in the sixth by scoring on a sac fly after reaching on a leadoff double. With the Tigers outfield playing him shallow, he flied over Chikamoto’s head for his third double of the season. Naoki Yoshikawa fell behind trying to sacrifice him, before grounding a mistake from Takahashi just past Jefry Marte at first for a single. Takahashi missed down the pipe to Seiya Matsubara, whose liner to right was caught, but allowed Sugano to score.

Giants-Tigers highlights

Sands was tossed in the eighth complaining about a couple of calls by home plate umpire Tetsuya Shimada. Sands took 1-0 pitch away and below the knees for a strike, and was called out on a pitch that the overhead camera showed was well beyond the outside corner. That drew some f-bombs and the ejection.

Morishita goes the distance

Right-hander Masato Morishita (9-3) allowed four hits over the distance and drove in the eventual winning run for the Hiroshima Carp in their 2-1 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

Morishita struck out five in his 135-pitch outing, and went 2-for- at the plate. Ryosuke Kikuchi singled with two outs in the eighth, stole second and scored on the pitcher’s single to break a 1-1- tie. BayStars right-hander Shoichi Ino allowed a run over six innings but left with nothing to show for it.

The loss dropped the fourth-place BayStars three games below .500 although they have outscored opponents 461-422.

Ogawa denies Dragons

Yasuhiro Ogawa (10-6) allowed two runs over six innings as the Yakult Swallows battered Takahiro Matsuba (3-7) and overcame a big night from Nobumasa Fukuda to beat the Chunichi Dragons 9-5 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Fukuda, who returned to duty on Friday after missing 1-1/2 months, took Ogawa deep in the fourth and doubled in two runs in the Dragons’ three-run seventh.

The highlight of the game, however, belonged to Dragons rookie Kaname Takino, who got perhaps the ultimate celebration of his first pro hit. As the ball was being returned from left field, fireworks erupted beyond the ballpark’s third-base stands and continued for about a minute due to an event going on at Tokyo’s National Stadium down the street that was built as the centerpiece of the 2020 Olympics to be held next year.

Later in the game, play was disrupted following a balloon release from the stadium.

Grand slam king Nakamura halts Hawks

Takeya Nakamura extended his record for career grand slams with his 21st, bringing the Seibu Lions from a run down in the eighth inning in a 4-1 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay dome that snapped the SoftBank Hawks’ 12-game winning streak.

Livan Moinelo (2-3) issued three walks for the first time since he came to Japan in 2017 and got his only out on a sacrifice before turning the ball over to right-hander Sho Iwasaki with the right-handed-hitting Nakamura coming up.

The six-time PL home run champ then launched a high straight 2-1 fastball out to center, spoiling a strong game from Hawks right-hander Nao Higashihama, who threw seven scoreless innings for his second consecutive start.

In the postgame hero interview, Nakamura was asked if the home run was a good present for Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji’s 62nd birthday.

“I wasn’t thinking about that when I batted, but I’m glad it worked out that way,” Nakamura said.

I love Nakamura’s straight-forward answers to some of those questions. Once, when asked what the mood on the bench was when he went to the plate, he answered, “I don’t know. I wasn’t on the bench. I was going to the plate.”

Albers deals Marines their 6th straight loss

Andrew Albers (4-7) allowed two singles and two walks over 6-2/3 innings, three relievers carried it the rest of the way and Takahiro Okada homered for the second straight game as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Lotte Marines 3-0 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome. Brandon Dickson worked around a two-out single to record his 16th save.

Fighters pen out-scrapes Eagles’

The Nippon Ham Fighters’ bullpen outlasted the Rakuten Eagles’ in a 5-4 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, when Sho Nakata homered to tie the game in the eighth inning and hit a two-out fly ball that wasn’t caught and brought home the go-ahead run in the ninth.

Nakata moved into a tie for the Japan home run lead with the Eagles’ Hideto Asamura when he drove a hanging 1-0 breaking ball well back into the stands in left field. Fighters took the lead in the ninth against closer Alan Busenitz (1-3), who allowed a two-out Kensuke Kondo single.

Busenitz missed up high with a 1-2 breaking ball that Nakata got underneath and skied down the left-field line. A pair of rookies converged on it, and shortstop Hiroto Kobukata backed off to let left fielder Yuya Ogo get it. But Ogo took his time, had to sprint to get to the ball and overran it. The ball landed fair, and Kondo beat the throw home. Ogo was harshly charged with the error and Busenitz ended up taking the loss.

Both Kobukata and Ogo singled in the bottom of the ninth before veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi escaped a two-out bases loaded jam when Steven Romero lined out to short. Kobukata, who appears to be running away with the PL’s rookie of the year award, went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer.

Active roster moves 10/24/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/3

Central League

Activated

TigersP29Haruto Takahashi

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesIF48Yoshiaki Watanabe
EaglesOF38Masaki Iwami
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

EaglesP31Yuya Fukui
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa

Starting pitchers for Oct. 25, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Ryota Takinaka (1-1, 3.76) vs Kohei Arihara (7-8, 3.40)

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

Chang Yi (2-2, 3.20) vs Daiki Iwashita (5-7, 4.46)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Kotaro Otake (1-0, 2.53) vs Wataru Matsumoto (5-5, 4.16)

Central League

Giants vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (3-3, 3.14) vs Takumi Akiyama (8-3, 3.10)

Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (4-2, 2.36) vs Yuya Yanagi (4-6, 4.26)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yuta Muto (0-1, 6.39) vs Yuta Nakamura (3-2, 2.20)

NPB 2020 OCT. 17

Saturday’s games

CL

  • BayStars vs Giants, postponed, rain
  • Tigers vs Swallows, postponed, rain
  • Dragons 5, Carp 2

PL

Other news

Higashihama wins 6th straight

Nao Higashihama struggled with his location but got enough on his pitches to keep the Rakuten Eagles from squaring him up over seven innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 5-0 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Higashihama (8-1) started on Opening Day for the Hawks, but was up and down over the first two months. He allowed four hits, walked two and hit while striking out seven en route to winning his sixth straight start.

Yuki Yanagita took Ryota Ishibashi (1-5) deep in the first inning for his 27th home run, and the game was still 1-0 when Higashihama’s lack of command allowed the Eagles to juice the bags with one out on two walks and a Stefen Romero single. But even though he missed up in the heart of the zone, Higashihama got two easy outs to end it.

Yurisbel Gracial homered in the home half and Ryoya Kurhihara doubled with the bases loaded in the fifth to complete the scoreline.

We’re only here for the beer

Postgame hero interviews run the gamut from completely inane to hilarious, and somedays it seems like the purpose of the exercise for SoftBank Hawks players is to be as campy as possible.

With Asahi brewers the sponsors for Saturday’s hero interview, Yuki Yanagita, Ryoya Kurihara and winning pitcher Nao Higashihama all spoke about their motivation for the day being to earn a one-year’s supply of Asahi beer.

Chang delivers on Lions’ Taiwan Day

Chang Yi (2-2) struck out eight over six scoreless innings, and the Orix Buffaloes got home runs from rookie Seiichiro Oshita and Steven Moya to beat the Seibu Lions 4-1.

The Lions were having one of their regular Taiwan Day promotions at their MetLIfe Dome ballpark across the border from Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture. Chang, a cousin of Yang Dai-kang and Yang Yao-hsun, who attended high school and university in Japan, ended up celebrating the day at his hosts’ expense.

Tyler Higgins worked a 1-2-3 eighth to preserve a two-run lead and Brandon Dickson recorded his 14th save in the ninth for the last-place Buffaloes.

Oblgatory lip service

Rookie Seiichiro Oshita broke up a scoreless game on Saturday when he led off the Orix Buffaloes’ fifth inning with his second career home run and then, as Ray Liotta’s character said in “Goodfellas,” he did the right thing, by denying he wanted to hit a home run.

The Nikkan Sports published a story based on the flash quotes distributed during the game by the team from every player who drives in a run.

“My plan going up to the plate first and foremost was to get on base,” Oshita said through the team. “The contact felt really good, so I thought it was gone the instant I hit it.”

“I so wanted to get in that first run, so I’m glad I could do that with a home run.”

Had he reversed that, and started talking about the home run, and then added the afterthought that his first thought was getting on base, Oshita would have been guilty of violating Japanese baseball norms, by suggesting he was trying to hit a home run.

Carp bullpen blows up again

For the second straight day the Hiroshima Carp bullpen surrendered four late runs, this time allowing the Chunichi Dragons to turn a one-run deficit into a 5-2 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Rookie of the year candidate Masato Morishita was rock solid through seven, allowing a run on five hits and no walks while striking out eight. But setup man Atsuya Horie (3-4) left with two on and one out in the eighth.

Geronimo Franzua, who has often been called on to get four outs, came in to get five. He got ahead of Yohei Oshima 1-2 but couldn’t get a called strike and walked him to load the bases.

With two outs, Franzua made a decent first pitch to Toshiki Abe, but the Dragons second baseman got the end of the bat on it and bounced it through the infield for a two-run single. Dayan Viciedo then iced the game with another two-run single.

Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi (4-6) scattered eight hits and two walks over seven innings to earn the win. The damage would have been worse but Moises Sierra made a couple of tricky catches in left when he appeared to struggle with the sun.

Raidel Martinez struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 21st save.

Hanshin forms women’s club

The Hanshin Tigers announced Saturday it was forming a women’s hardball club that will begin play next year, according to the Nikkan Sports.

The club will be the second operated by a Nippon Professional Baseball team following the announcement in April that the Pacific League’s Seibu Lions had established a club.

The Tigers’ club is an offshoot of the organization’s outreach programs to make the game more accessible to women. The Tigers said its purpose was three-fold:

  1. To cultivate the desire among women to play baseball
  2. To create an environment where it is easier for women to start in baseball.
  3. To increase the number of women players, women fans and Tigers fans.

The Tigers will begin accepting applications this month, with practices to be held once a week in the area around the club’s home base in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Some practices may take place at the Tigers’ home park, historic Koshien Stadium, or its minor league facility in Naruohama.

Active roster moves 10/17/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/27

Central League

Activated

CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
DragonsP17Yuya Yanagi

Dectivated

DragonsP13Yuki Hashimoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP21Ken Togame
HawksP34Arata Shiino
EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo

Dectivated

LionsP47Koki Matsuoka
HawksP11Yuki Tsumori
EaglesP17Takahiro Shiomi

Starting pitchers for Oct. 18, 2020

Pacific League

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

Wataru Matsumoto (4-5, 4.34) vs Hiroya Miyagi (0-0, 3.60)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Manabu Mima (9-3, 4.28) vs Kohei Arihara (6-8, 3.53)

Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (7-1, 2.99) vs Ryota Takinaka (1-1, 3.63)

Central League

BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Taiga Kamichatani (2-3, 4.02) vs Seishu Hatake (3-3, 3.16)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (7-3, 2.96) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-5, 4.09)

Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (2-2, 2.91) vs Tatsuya Shimizu (1-0, 1.84)

NPB 2020 Oct. 9

Friday’s games

Other news

2 trees, 1 run, 0 games behind

Lotte Marines right-hander Kota Futaki (6-2) improved to 3-0 this season against the SoftBank Hawks in a 3-1 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The Marines, who improved to 11-4-1 this season against the Hawks, pulled into a virtual tie with the league leaders, trailing only by winning-percentage points.

Futaki struck out nine, walked one and allowed three hits. The Hawks’ only run came when Akira Nakamura connected with a high straight fastball in the first inning and launched his sixth home run into the home run terrace in right field.

The right-hander located his fastball and had a particularly nasty slider that he used to change speeds and stay ahead of the game.

Hawks lefty Matt Moore (4-3) fought a gutsy rearguard action after fate conspired against him in the Marines’ two-run first. He allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits, three walks and a hit batsman.

He notched three of his eight strikeouts in the third after Leonys Martin was on third with no outs in a bad night for Hawks catcher Takuya Kai, who gave up three steals and bobbled a throw to the plate that allowed a run to score in the first.

Marines rookie Kyota Fujiwara, their first pick out in the 2018 draft, singled in an insurance run in the sixth after catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura singled and stole his first base of the year.

Hirokazu Sawamura dialed his fastball up to 157 kph in a 1-2-3 eighth and Naoya Masuda worked an easy ninth to record his league-best 29th save. Yuki Yanagita, who struck out three times against Futaki, completed a nightmare evening by grounding into a double play.

Neal hangs in to earn win

Zach Neal and the Seibu Lions did some expert damage control, keeping the first inning from blowing up on them in a 5-2 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Neal (4-6) allowed two runs over six innings on five hits, two walks and a hit batsman, while Eagles starter Takahiro Shiomi (4-7) gave up three runs in the third, when he allowed three hits and a walk.

The Eagles’ D.J. Johnson struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth, but Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda ended the game with the tying run at the plate to record his 26th save.

Tajima holds off Fighters

Lefty Daiki Tajima (4-4) allowed two runs over six innings as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Tajima gave up three hits and two walks while striking out two. Kensuke Kondo accounted for both of the hosts’ runs off him with a two-run sixth-inning homer.

Adam Jones drove in two runs for the Buffaloes with a walk and a single, while Takahiro Okada homered and drove in three. Tyler Higgins worked a 1-2-3 eighth before the Fighters scored twice off Brandon Dickson in the ninth.

Swallows outlast Carp

Twenty-year-old rookie Taiki Masuda broke a sixth-inning tie by leading off a six-run sixth with a home run in the the Yakult Swallows’ 12-7 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Each team used seven pitchers in the 4-hour, 16-minute game that saw the teams combine for 31 hits.

Active roster moves 10/9/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/19

Central League

Activated

SwallowsC52Yuhei Nakamura

Dectivated

GiantsP41Kota Nakagawa
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP65Takuro Furuya
BuffaloesOF6Yuma Mune
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Oct. 10, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kohei Arihara (5-8, 3.83) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (2-3, 2.51)

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 5.94) vs Daiki Enokida (0-1, 7.13)

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

Nao Higashihama (6-1, 2.66) vs Toshiya Nakamura (2-4, 4.79)

Central League

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

Yariel Rodriguez (2-3, 3.38) vs Seishu Hatake (2-3, 3.79)

Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Joe Gunkel (1-3, 3.62) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-5, 4.56)

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

Masato Morishita (7-3, 2.43) vs Albert Suarez (4-1, 2.34)

NPB 2020 Sept. 26

Shuto gains redemption

Ukyo Shuto made up for a dropped ball that contributed to a loss the night before by driving in four runs to help lift the SoftBank Hawks to a 7-3 win over their nemeses, the Lotte Marines, at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

With two outs in the second and runners on second and third, Shuto singled off Toshiya Nakamura (2-4) to put the Hawks up by two. The speedster took second when the ball got past center fielder Takashi Ogino and scored on a Keizo Kawashima single.

Shuto then capped a three-run third with his second RBI single of the game to make it 6-2. He added to his day with a good play at second base to deny the Marines a fifth-inning leadoff single.

Nao Higashihama (5-1) allowed three runs over six innings, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced after Leonys Martin hit his 23rd home run of the year in the third to make it 6-3 Hawks.

The Hawks win improves their record against Lotte this season to a dismal 4-9-1.

Kiyomiya saves day for Fighters

Kotaro Kiyomiya’s three-run double tied it in the ninth off Buffaloes closer Brandon Dickson. Taishi Ota drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th and scored an insurance run for Nippon Ham Fighters in their 6-5 win over Orix at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Four of Orix’s runs came on solo homers. Two by Takahiro Okada, one by Steven Moya and one by Hayato Nishiura in the bottom of the 10th, when Katsuhiko Kumon stranded two runners to earn his first save.

Lefty Andrew Albers started for the Buffaloes and allowed a run on six hits and no walks over 5-1/3 innings. He struck out six.

Fighters ace Kohei Arihara allowed three runs over six innings, and though neither bullpen was lights out, the Fighters scored five late runs to come from behind. Dickson got one out before loading the bases on a singled and two walks for Kiyomiya, who went down for a low pitch and found the gap to tie it.

Steven Moya drew a leadoff walk in the ninth from veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi (2-1), He was pulled for a pinch-runner but the Buffs left the bases loaded in the eighth.

Trailing by a run in the 10th, Moya, who’d hit four homers in the last six games, was out of the game when his spot came up with one out and one on against Kumon.

Lions survive loss of starter

Seven relivers picked up after the Seibu Lions lost starter Sean Nolin after one inning in a 5-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles at MetLife Dome with Sosuke Genda tripling in two runs to break a 1-1 seventh-inning tie.

Nolin worked a 1-2-3 first but left due to severe tightness in his left shoulder. The Eagles took the lead in the second on a Stefen Romero RBI single. With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth, Lions center fielder Fumikazu Kimura threw out a runner trying to score from second on a two-out single.

Eagles starter Ryota Ishibashi allowed a run over five innings, and D.J. Johnson worked a 1-2-3 sixth before the roof caved collapsed in the seventh with Tomohito Sakai on the mound. Corey Spangenberg, who reached base three times, singled in Genda to make it 4-1.

Swallows hold off Tigers

Munetaka Murakami singled in one run and broke a 1-1 tie with his 18th home run, making a winner out of Albert Suarez (4-0) in a 2-1 win over the virus-hit Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

The Swallows loaded the bases from the get-go against Joe Gunkel with a hit batsman, a Norichika Aoki double and a walk to Tetsuto Yamada. Murakami singled in one run. Gunkel, however, caught a break on a line out to second before striking out the next two hitters.

Suarez issued a walk in the first but it could have been a disaster as the first two balls were squared up bit hit straight to Swallows defenders. The right-hander gave up the tying run in the third.

Gunkel was pulled for a pinch hitter after allowing a run over four innings, and Murakami homered off Shintaro Fujinami in ( 1-6) in the sixth.

The Tigers came within a hair of scoring the tying run in the seventh but were thwarted when left fielder Norichika Aoki reacted well to a ball coming off a teammate’s glove and reserve catcher Akihisa Nishida made a good tag for the third out at the plate.

Relievers Nobuhiro Shimizu held Hanshin scoreless in the eighth and closer Taichi Ishiyama did the same in the ninth to earn his 13th save.

More Tiger trouble

A day after the Tigers dropped nine players from the active roster after four of them tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanshin’s Western League farm team, played Saturday’s game with just 17 players.

On Saturday evening, the team said Naomasa Yokawa, one of the infected players, had been admitted to a Tokyo hospital with a high fever. This is the most serious symptom yet reported by an NPB player. The worst symptoms reported so far was in March when pitcher Shintaro Fujinami lost his sense of taste.

Kinoshita lifts Dragons over Giants

Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita homered to break a 2-2 eighth-inning tie off reliever Kan Otake (1-2), lifting the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-2 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.

Yota Kyoda hit a two-run homer for the Dragons in the fifth, but Chunichi starter Koji Fukutani allowed the hosts to tie it in the seventh.

Hayato Sakamoto drew his second walk, Kazuma Okamoto doubled, and both scored on a single by the rejuvenated Hiroyuki Nakajima to chase Fukutani. Daisuke Sobue (1-0) retired both batters he faced to close out the seventh and earn the win.

Hiroto Fuku worked the eighth and Raidel Martinez earned his 14th save in the ninth, when he got an assist from Kinoshita, who gunned down pinch-runner Daisuke Masuda trying to steal second.

Giants-Dragons highlights

BayStars beat rookie Morishita

Toshiro Miyazaki went 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple an RBI and three runs to lead the DeNA BayStars attack against Hiroshima Carp rookie Masato Morishita (6-3) in a 5-2 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-4) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the wins. Edwin Escobar, Kenta Ishida and Kazuki Mishima picked up the pieces over the final three innings. Mishima collected his 10th save.

Jose Lopez had four hits scored a run and drove in one, while Tyler Austin hit his ninth home run for the BayStars.

Active roster moves 9/26/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/6

Central League

Activated

TigersP27Yuya Onaka
DragonsOF31Masaru Watanabe

Dectivated

DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Pacific League

Activated

FightersC64Yua Tamiya
BuffaloesC33Masato Matsui

Dectivated

FightersIF44Christian Villanueva
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota

Starting pitchers for Sept. 27, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (3-3, 4.06) vs Ryota Takinaka (0-0, 1.69)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Manabu Mima (7-2, 4.50) vs Akira Niho (4-4, 4.09)

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

Sachiya Yamasaki (3-4, 4.55) vs Kosei Yoshida (0-0, 3.60)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shosei Togo (7-4, 2.97) vs Takahiro Matsuba (3-4, 3.33)

Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Daiki Yoshida (1-4, 4.81) vs Takumi Akiyama (5-2, 2.75)

Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (0-1, 5.79) vs Shinichi Onuki (6-4, 2.45)

NPB 2020 Sept. 22

Asamura barrage routs Marines

Hideto Asamura homered three times, walked, hit an RBI single and drove in seven to power the Rakuten Eagles to 12-4 come-from behind win over the Lotte Marines at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Asamura homered to lead off the Eagles’ third against Ayumu Ishikawa (6-3) and trim Lotte’s lead to a run. Daichi Suzuki’s RBI single tied it in the fifth, and Asamura followed with a two-run shot.

His RBI single opened the scoring in the Eagles’ three-run seventh, and his three-run shot in the eighth capped the scoring.

Johnson gets Sendai hero’s welcome

One day after he was acquired by the Eagles K.J. “Bearded Thunder” Johnson walked off the mound after one inning of relief to the kind of reception teammates normally reserve for pitchers throwing complete-game victories.

Perhaps, the Eagles players knew something the rest of us didn’t. Johnson (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 fifth to keep the game tied and ended up the winning pitcher one day after he moved over from the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp on a cash deal.

The last three Eagles relievers kept the Marines off the board as the game turned into a rout. Kazuhisa Makita worked a scoreless seventh. Journeyman right-hander Hiroaki Fukuyama, signed from the developmental roster following his release last winter, worked a scoreless eighth to protect a four-run lead.

Yamamoto beats Senga in 4th matchup

In a pitchers’ duel worthy of the hype Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6-3) beat SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (6-5) 1-0 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The only run came, fittingly on a home run by the Buffaloes’ best hitter, Masataka Yoshida in the second inning. Senga allowed five hits without a walk while striking out nine over eight innings.

Yoshida, who now has 12 homers, had three of the Buffaloes’ six hits in the game.

Yamamoto allowed three singles and two walks over seven innings and struck out seven. Tyler Higgins got out of a tight spot in the eighth after a leadoff double and a sacrifice put the tying run at third with one out. Pinch-hitter Keizo Kawashima lined out to first and pinch-runner Taisei Makihara was doubled off third to end the inning.

Closer Brandon Dickson retired the heart of the Hawks order–thanks to a nice catch by shortstop Ryoichi Adachi to rob Akira Nakamura of a hit — and earn his 10th save.

Uwasawa tames Lions

Two inning-ending double plays helped Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-3) hold the Seibu Lions to a run over seven innings in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 5-1 win at MetLife Dome.

Uwasawa scattered six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Sho Nakata hit a two-run first-inning homer off Kona Takahashi (5-7) and Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu, who helped give away a Fighters victory on Sunday, hit a two-run home run in the second.

Ono throws 3rd shutout, 7th complete game

Yudai Ono (6-5) responded to the end of his complete-game streak last week by starting another, striking out 11 in a two-hitter as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Yakult Swallows 3-0 at Nagoya Dome.

In his previous start, the lefty got the hook after allowing four runs over four innings. He allowed a two-out singled and a walk in the first, and a two-out single in the second before retiring the last 22 batters he face in a 122-pitch effort.

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-5) hung in for six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Matt Koch, pitching for the first time since Aug. 29, allowed a run in the seventh, before Scott McGough finished up for the visitors.

For the second day in a row, Zoilo Almonte drove in Chunichi’s first run with a home run, making it 1-0 in the fourth.

Itoi wrecks BayStars

Yoshio Itoi swung a hot bat for the second straight day with three hits and three RBIs to lead the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Koshien Stadium on Tuesday.

Although the 39-year-old’s power numbers dropped off precipitously last season, he continues to walk a lot and rarely strike out, so even when he’s batting an unusually low .256, he has an on-base percentage over .360. His two-run double broke a 3-3 eighth-inning tie when both teams were trying their best to play for one-run and failed.

After a leadoff single, Koji Chikamoto, who had homered and singled so far, sacrificed. Normally reliable lefty Kenta Ishida (1-2) failed to get the force at second. The ensuing sacrifice put runners on second and third. With the BayStars outfield pulled in, Itoi easily found the gap for a two-run double.

Tigers starter Haruto Takahashi allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out eight over six innings. He pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth after Austin’s home run, and the BayStars managed just two infield singles over the final four innings.

Giants walk off against Carp

Geronimo Franzua (2-3) allowed the winning run to score in the ninth on two singles and an errant pickoff throw as the Yomiuri Giants took a 5-4 see-saw game against the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo Dome.

Giants starter Tomoyuki Sugano’s streak for consecutive winning decisions from Opening Day remained at 11 after he allowed three runs over eight innings.

Hisayoshi Chono, taken by the Carp last year from Yomiuri as free agent compensation for the Giants signing two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru, belted a three-run homer in the fourth off his former teammate.

Giants cleanup hitter, Kazuma Okamoto, however, put the hosts ahead 4-3 in the fifth with his 22nd home run.

Giants closer Rubby De La Rosa (2-0) allowed the Carp to tie it. A leadoff single set the table and Ryuhei Matsuyama singled home pinch-runner Kaisei Sone, who had been running with the pitch.

A leadoff single and a wild two-out pickoff throw by Franzua in the bottom of the inning set the table for Naoki Yoshikawa to win it with a single.

Active roster moves 9/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/2

Central League

Activated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
TigersP61Atsushi Mochizuki
SwallowsP33Matt Koch
SwallowsIF46Kengo Ota

Dectivated

GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
TigersP21Minoru Iwata
SwallowsP20Kazuki Kondo
SwallowsP68Hirofumi Yamanaka

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
EaglesP42DJ Johnson
EaglesP64Hiroyuki Fukuyama
MarinesC39Yuta Yoshida
FightersP39Ryo Akiyoshi

Dectivated

FightersP47Kenya Suzuki

Starting pitchers for Sept. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Hideaki Wakui (8-3, 3.07) vs Kazuya Ojima (5-6, 3.66)

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

Shota Hamaya (1-0, 6.14) vs Drew VerHagen (6-3, 3.69)

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

Shota Takeda (2-0, 2.95) vs Daiki Tajima (2-4, 3.57)

Central League

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

Kazuto Taguchi (4-3, 4.50) vs Yusuke Nomura (5-1, 3.72)

Dragons vs Swallows: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuichiro Okano (2-2, 5.17) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (0-0, 3.60)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (6-5, 3.95) vs Taiga Kamichatani (1-1, 3.69)

NPB 2020 Sept. 6

There will be no talk of getting high today, although there is some discussion of changing scoring conventions, and an anecdote about how Japan’s official scorers can be extremely flexible in their decision making.

Futaki flummoxes Hawks

The Lotte Marines completed a three-game sweep of the SoftBank Hawks on Sunday, beating them 4-2 behind a solid six-inning effort from Kota Futaki (3-2). The win moved the Marines to within a half-game of the Pacific League-leaders and improved Lotte’s record this season against SoftBank to

Futaki kept the hosts’ hitters off balance for five innings and scraped by for one more, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings. He hit one batter and struck out six.

The right-hander had a mediocre splitter and occasionally filthy slider and by using them a lot, he kept the Hawks from zeroing in on a fastball with good life. The number of fastballs the Hawks took down the pipe suggested a lot of them were waiting on the splitter, which because it didn’t tumble was more of a change of pace that Futaki didn’t command well.

“As usual, we tried to establish a rhythm and get ahead in counts. I think I pitched really well through the fifth inning, but when they got to me in the sixth, it reminded me how much more I have to be able to do,” Futaki said.

Hawks starter Shuta Ishikawa is, at times, a picture-dictionary description of “effectively wild,” a right-hander with good stuff whose pitches are randomized by his annoying inability to locate consistently. Through four innings, he’d allowed no hits while striking out four, walking three and hitting one.

But in the fifth, the Marines took him down in textbook fashion.

 After a leadoff walk and a sacrifice on the next pitch, Ishikawa left a fastball up, and Shohei Kato stayed on it, chopping it up the middle for a single. Kato took second when center fielder Yuki Yanagita missed the cutoff man and scored when Tsuyoshi Sugano lofted a hanging curve over third base for an opposite-field single.

Hisanori Yasuda upper-cut another hanging curve and pulled it into the right-field stands for 4-0 Lotte lead.

Akira Nakamura and Yanagita, the engines that power the Hawks offense, had come close to getting to Futaki in the fourth inning when they saw him for the second time. Nakamura finally timed a fastball and smashed it – straight at a defender, while Yanagita who had been fooled badly by some superior sliders in the first inning, drove a high hanger to the warning track in center.

Futaki hit the leadoff hitter in the sixth, and Ukyo Shuto drilled a low splitter for a one-out single. Nakamura lined a hanging slider for an RBI single and Yanagita again barely missed a home run, but this time hit a hanging splitter off the wall in center for an RBI double. With one out and runners on second and third, Futaki put all he had into some great fastballs and got out of the inning.

Two relievers, Taiki Tojo and Fumiya Ono combined to work a scoreless seventh, Yuki Karakawa got past the heart of the order in the eighth, and Frank Herrmann pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save with the Marines. He’d saved 19 over three seasons with the Rakuten Eagles but none since 2018.

Lions KO VerHagen, punchless Fighters

The Seibu Lions seized both of their scoring opportunities and starting pitcher Wataru Matsumoto seven runners over six innings a 4-2 win against the Nippon Ham Fighters, who left the bases loaded twice at Sapporo Dome.

Matsumoto (2-3) allowed five singles, three in the Fighters’ two-run second, and five walks while striking out five. Ryosuke Moriwaki, Kaima Taira and Tatsushi Masuda each put up one more zero on the board with Masuda earning his 16th save.

Drew VerHagen (5-3) issued a leadoff walk in the first, retired the next eight batters, and finished his seven innings by setting down the last 11 he faced. In between, however, was trouble.

The Lions tied it in the third on a two-out walk followed by back-to-back doubles by Shuta Tonosaki and Sosuke Genda, whose slicing drive landed just fair to make it 2-2.

Things took another wrong turn for the Fighters in the fourth.

Takumi Kuriyama was credited with an infield single when Christian Villanueva dove to stop his smash down the line and his good one-hop throw to first was in time but not caught by first baseman Sho Nakata. Ernesto Mejia followed with an opposite-field double to the gap in right.

With the infield in, reserve Lions catcher slashed a grounder past Nakata. He was playing even with the bag and nearly came up with it. VerHagen gave Yuji Kaneko a high fastball and he did his duty, bringing Mejia home with a sacrifice fly.

To score is human

The scoring on the single that opened the Lions’ fourth seems to be really common this season. Has anyone else noticed this?

Balls that require good stops, where the throw was in time but is uncaught because it either bounces or is off target, would – it seems – have generally been called errors in the past, punishing fielders for making good stops.

From time to time, it seems, NPB has quietly adjusted its scoring and it seems to me like this is one of those times.

When I first arrived in Japan, very few errors were given. Outfielders who misplayed bouncing balls were rarely charged, with balls going between their legs being scored doubles and triples.

This practice stopped sometime over the past 20 years, and I’ll be damned if I know when or why. It could largely be the influence of watching MLB games and becoming accustomed to how they are scored. The outfield single-and-error scoring used to be very, very rare. Now it happens a few times a week.

We still don’t have the scoring convention of crediting a pitcher with an assist when a batted ball deflects off his body to an infielder, but who knows.

Willing to make exceptions

There was a time when former Carp first baseman Gail Hopkins said he couldn’t make an error to save his life. Locked in a battle for the 1976 Central League batting title with the Chunichi Dragons’ Kenichi Yazawa and the Yakult Swallows’ Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Hopkins said his team encouraged him to hit less. The CL had not had an import win the batting title since Wally Yonamine did it with the Giants in 1957, and no non-Asian had ever done it.

Hopkins said he botched two plays in a late summer series against the Swallows on grounders hit by Wakamatsu only to have his rival for the batting title get hits for his mistakes.

The next day, Hopkins tracked down the official scorer, who unlike in MLB, is an employee of the league, said his peace and backed off. Hopkins had a lot to do before games as he was studying to finish his PhD in biology, and often hit the books as much as possible in the spare time afforded him. He said he was willing to let it go, but that his interpreter ended up duking it out in the dugout with the unfortunate scorer.

Streaking Yoshida overpowers Eagles

Masataka Yoshida ran his hitting streak to 24 games with three hits, including two home runs and five RBIs to power the Orix Buffaloes’ 9-6 come-from-behind win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

The franchise and PL record is Atsushi Nagaike’s 32 games for the Hankyu Braves in 1971. The bigger news in Japan was that he has surpassed the mark of 23 that Ichiro Suzuki managed twice in 1994, his breakout season with the Orix BlueWave.

Yoshida’s 10th homer capped a six-run third inning as the Buffaloes overcame a 3-0 deficit against Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-4). His 11th, off Taiwan’s Sung Chia-hao, drove in three and provided the final margin for victory.

The Eagles scored twice in the bottom of the eighth off setup man Tyler Higgins, but Brandon Dickson worked a scoreless ninth to earn his ninth save.

Miyazaki blasts Carp

Toshiro Miyazaki went 3-for-5 with a home run, a sacrifice fly and four RBIs in the DeNA BayStars’ 8-5 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, where Monday’s scheduled game has been postponed in advance due to an advancing typhoon.

Carp starter Atsushi Endo, a nice surprise in their rotation this season, allowed four runs over three innings. The Carp took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on Hisayoshi Chono’s 11th home run, a two-run shot off BayStars starter Masaya Kyoyama (1-0), but the Carp bullpen could not keep up.

Neftali Soto’s sacrifice fly tied it in the sixth and Miyazaki’s one-out single plated his fourth run of the game and put the visitors ahead for good.

Ogawa rains on Dragons’ parade

Yasuhiro Ogawa (8-2) shook off a 30-minute rain delay at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, allowing one run over eight innings while the Yakult Swallows pounded Yariel Rodriguez (2-2) after the break in a 10-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons.

Rodriguez was dominant through five innings, but when play resumed and Ogawa needed just 11 pitches to work the top of the sixth, Rodriguez was unable to command his breaking pitches. The Swallows started shooting them around the ballpark.

Six pitches into the inning the game was tied on three-straight singles.

“When play resumed, perhaps it was a little thing about my rhythm,” Rodriguez said. “Things started going wrong and stayed wrong.”

Active roster moves 9/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/16

Central League

Activated

GiantsP42Cristopher Mercedes
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui
SwallowsP54Masato Nakazawa

Dectivated

GiantsP92Shohei Numata
BayStarsIF64Hiroki Momose
CarpP14Daichi Osera
CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura
SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi

Pacific League

Activated

LionsIF0Daichi Mizuguchi
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe

Dectivated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
LionsOF46Shohei Suzuki
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Central League

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

Haruto Takahashi (2-1, 0.93) vs Cristopher Mercedes (2-4, 3.66)