Tag Archives: Brandon Laird

NPB wrap 5-28-21

Interleague Day 4 — Sato makes it rain

The Pacific League teams returned home after going 5-9-2 during the week at the Central League parks, and though the PL won the three blowouts, the CL escaped with three wins on Friday, thanks to the heroics of rookie Teruaki Sato.

In Japan, a teru teru bozu, is a kind of talisman, made of cloth or paper in the shape of a Halloween ghost figure that kids hang from windows in hopes of bringing good weather.

In this case, Tigers fans must have been crossing an awful lot of fingers, because the rookie rained home runs, pulled into a tie for the CL home run lead with 13 and became the first CL rookie to hit three in a game since Hall of Famer Shigeo Nagashima in 1958.

Fighters 10, Dragons 1

At Sapporo Dome, the big matchup appeared to be Nippon Ham rookie Hiromi Ito (2-4, 3.67) against Chunichi’s Sawamura Award-winning lefty Yudai Ono (2-3), but that pitchers’ duel turned one-sided in a hurry as the Fighters outhit the Dragons 16-5.

Ono struck out two walked one and allowed 11 hits over four innings as he surrendered six runs. Only two Fighters starters didn’t score, and those two, Kensuke Kondo and Ryo Watanabe, combined to drive in seven runs.

Dayan Viciedo had three hits, including a double, that set up Chunichi’s only run.

BayStars 7, Eagles 6

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Yamato Maeda chased Hideaki Wakui (5-3), who allowed two two-out sixth-inning singles before Maeda’s second home run made it a 5-4 game.

DeNA rookie Shugo Maki scored twice, and his eighth-inning solo homer, his ninth, turned out big after closer Kazuki Mishima surrendered a run in the ninth and ended the game with the go-ahead run on base to record his seventh save.

Lions 10, Tigers 7

At MetLife Dome, Sato crashed this party with his three homer night to send the Tigers to their third interleague win, Jerry Sands also homered for Hanshin, while Jefry Marte and Yusuke Oyama each had one-out RBI singles in the ninth that made it a 7-7 game against Reed Garrett (0-2), who served up Sato’s third.

Robert Suarez struck out the side in the ninth for his Japan-best 15th save.

Wu Nien-ting had three hits. His RBI double tied it 2-2 it 4-4 in the sixth. After the Tigers moved ahead in the seventh on an Oyama RBI single, Takeya Nakamura two-run homer was the big blow in Seibu’s three-run seventh.

Carp 10, Marines 8

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, it was open season on pitchers as Lotte scored four runs with the help of five walks off Takuya Yasaki, and Hiroshima did the same against rookie Shota Suzuki (1-3), who allowed nine hits in his four innings.

Alejandro Mejia had four hits and scored twice for the Carp, who got four RBIs from Ryuhei Matsuyma. Brandon Laird led Lotte’s offense with a two-run first-inning homer and an RBI on a flyout to second, with Leonys Martin walking and scoring both times.

Carp rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save and remained unscored upon in 19 games.

Buffaloes 9, Swallows 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Masataka Yoshida hit his 11th homer, a two-run shot in the first off Rick van den Hurk (0-1), while Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-5) had the kind of game we associate with him, two runs on three walks, five hits and nine strikeouts over seven innings. Kotaro Kurebayashi and Stefen Romero also homered for the Buffaloes.

Hawks 9, Giants 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Wladimir Balentien hit two of the SoftBank Hawks’ four home runs as the defending Pacific League champs crushed the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants 9-3 in interleague play on Friday.

Balentien’s first home run of the season, a solo shot off Seishu Hatake (2-3) broke a 2-2 tie in the second. His two-run shot in the fourth capped four-run rally and iced the game at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

“From the first home run, I felt, I was able to get good swings and hit them both on the button,” Balentien said.

The Giants opened the scoring on a two-run error in the first before Ryoya Kurihara tied it in the home half of the inning with a two-run homer, his fifth. Yuki Yanagita’s 11th home run, a third-inning, two-run shot made it 5-2.

SoftBank right-hander Shuta Ishikawa (3-3)  gave up three runs over six innings. He walked four, hit one and allowed five hits while striking out eight.

The Hawks and Giants have played the last two Japan Series, with the Hawks winning all eight games. The win was SoftBank’s 10th straight against Yomiuri, having won their final interleague game in 2019 and with no interleague last season.

Starting pitchers


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

Drew VerHagen (1-4, 6.38) vs Kodai Umetsu (0-1, 0.00)

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

Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 2.84) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-4, 3.29)

Lions vs Tigers: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (2-2, 2.62) vs Masashi Itoh (3-1, 2.57)

Marines vs Carp: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Manabu Mima (2-2, 3.51) vs Shogo Tamamura (0-2, 5.40)

Buffaloes vs Swallows: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (2-2, 3.69) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (4-1, 3.47)

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

Nick Martinez (3-1, 1.44) vs Angel Sanchez (4-2, 3.96)

Active roster moves 5/28/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/7

Central League


DragonsIF63Naomichi Donoue
BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto
BayStarsP49Kevin Shackelford
BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
CarpP41Takuya Yasaki


DragonsIF1Yota Kyoda
BayStarsP42Fernando Romero
BayStarsIF0Daisuke Nakai
BayStarsOF33Tomo Otosaka
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa

Pacific League


HawksP39Shuto Ogata
HawksP42Tomohisa Ozeki
LionsC78Masato Saito
LionsIF31Ryusei Sato
LionsIF63Ryusei Tsunashima
LionsIF99Ernesto Mejia
LionsOF68Junichiro Kishi
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe
BuffaloesP52Tyler Higgins


HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
LionsP34Yasuo Sano
LionsP54Zach Neal
LionsC37Sena Tsuge
LionsIF6Sosuke Genda
LionsOF7Yuji Kaneko
LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
LionsOF53Aito Takeda
LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi

NPB wrap 5-22-21

Saturday is Tanaka day

Not that it’s been that big a story every week. He’s pitching really well, being crafty with his fastball, but still not settled in against teams that are really pumped to solve him.

It was also a big day for Nick Martinez and Yuki Yanagita of the Hawks, while Cory Spangenberg had a magical day for the Lions, Brandon Laird hit homered for his third straight game, Scott McGough made a hell of a tough save, while Angel Sanchez and Zelous Wheeler helped the Giants earn a win. So let’s roll.

Marines 3, Eagles 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Lotte’s Manabu Mima outpitched his former teammate Masahiro Tanaka even though both starter had similar pitching lines with two walks and a run over seven innings. Mima missed barrels from start to finish, while the Marines did a good job on Tanaka’s few mistakes but were denied more runs through a handful of big plays from the Rakuten Eagles defense.

Tanaka continued to feel his way around pitch combinations, this time throwing mostly sliders, which has been his best pitch so far. Once again, Eagles pitching coach Shinjiro Koyama praised Tanaka’s lively fastball, and it was on occasion. But much of the game was about the Marines sitting on sliders, laying off most of those he threw out of the zone and smashing the ones Tanaka missed with.

In addition to Mima, who made the win possible, second baseman and captain Shogo Nakamura had three hits, including an RBI double in the third and an eighth-inning leadoff home run against reliever Hiroyuki Fukuyama (0-2). Brandon Laird followed Nakamura’s second homer with his 10th and his third in three games.

Leonys Martin walked and Nakamura singled in the first but both were stranded, but the tag team did the job in the third. Martin singled and took off for second on a run-and-hit and scored on Nakamura’s double.

The Eagles’ lone run against Mima came after Adeiny Rodriguez was ridiculed for making a reasonable play that didn’t work out on a grounder to short with a runner on second. This is a tricky play in Japan, and we heard a few different opinions of the optimal choices and odds. I wrote about this in detail, with a data-driven explanation of how often runners and fielders should take the third-base gamble.

Lions 8, Fighters 1

At MetLife Dome, Nippon Ham’s Drew VerHagen (1-4) held Seibu in check for four innings before two walks and Cory Spangenberg happened. After two swinging strikes and five fouls – including a dribbler VerHagen let roll foul that Spangenberg was going to beat out for a base hit, Spangenberg took a center-cut fastball to left for an opposite-field homer.

The Lions scored twice more in the inning and that was the ballgame.

Wataru Matsumoto (4-3) allowed eight hits and a walk, but stranded eight and allowed one run on Haruki Nishikawa’s third home run.

Hawks 7, Buffaloes 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, it was the Nick and Gita show for the SoftBank Hawks as

Nick Martinez (3-1) lowered his ERA as a SoftBank Hawk to 1.44 with nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, and Yuki Yanagita hit his ninth home run, a three-run first-inning monster off Daiki Tajima (2-2) and singled in another run in the third.

Gita doing Gita stuff

Nick of time

The Gita and Nick postgame show

Swallows 1, BayStars 0

broke out. Yakult’s Yasuhiro Ogawa (4-1) allowed three singles and a walk over eight innings, Yasutaka Shiomi hit a solo homer off DeNA’s Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-4), and Scott McGough worked around a leadoff double and a WILD pitch to record three outs with the tying run at third and earn his second save. Edwin Escobar worked a 1-2-3 eighth for the BayStars. Shiomi’s homer was his second.

Giants 5, Dragons 4

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Yomiuri’s Angel Sanchez (4-2) allowed two runs over seven innings and for the second straight game Giants manager Tatsunori Hara used three pitchers in the ninth in addition to the two who worked the eighth to close it out.

Kazuma Okamoto did most of the damage off Yariel Rodriguez (0-1) with his 12th home run, a three-run third-inning shot that moved him into a tie for the league lead with Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami and one back of Lotte’s Leonys Martin for the most in Japan.

Zelous Wheeler doubled twice for the Giants, scoring on Okamoto’s homer and driving in a run in the sixth, while Dayan Viciedo drove in three of Chunichi’s runs.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Fighters: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Katsunori Hirai (3-1, 3.83) vs Robbie Erlin (0-0, 7.20)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (1-1, 4.24) vs Takahisa Hayakawa (5-2, 2.82)

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

Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2, 5.03) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (1-4, 3.72)

Central League

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (1-2, 4.40) vs Shota Imanaga (-)

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

Koji Fukutani (1-4, 4.31) vs Nobutaka Imamura (2-1, 2.31)

Active roster moves 5/22/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/1

Central League





Pacific League


MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
MarinesP64Yuta Omine


MarinesP58Tokito Kawamura
MarinesP69Hideto Doi