Tag Archives: Brandon Laird

NPB news: May 26, 2022

It’s Roki Eve in Japan, the final day of the first CL home interleague series, and the announced starters are out for Friday, while the Tigers deactivated Jefry Marte due to “lack of fitness” in his right leg. Marte will be sorely missed in Chiba, where the Tigers get their first look this year at Sasaki.

But before we get to that, the Swallows and Fighters completed an unforgettable series at Jingu with Chusei Mannami and Arismendy Alcántara doing their version of the John Lee Hooker classic, “Boom Boom,” with Brandon Laird doing his “sushi” cover of the tune in Hiroshima.

Thursday’s games

Fighters 9, Swallows 6, 10 innings: At Jingu Stadium, the late-inning fireworks continued for the third straight night as Arismendy Alcántara homered in the ninth to tie it and iced it in the 10th with a two-run shot for his ninth of the season.

Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, Chusei Mannami hit closer Scott McGough‘s first pitch for his eighth home run, and Alcántara followed to tie it, as the Swallows wasted their best start of the series, 7-2/3 innings from Yasuhiro Ogawa.

Go Matsumoto followed his leadoff homer from the night before with a two-run first-inning shot, his second, off Ogawa after Daiki Asama reached on a leadoff double. The Swallows got a run back off Hiromi Ito in the second on a leadoff walk to Munetaka Murakami and a two-out Kengo Ota double.

Kotaro Yamasaki, whose three-run walk-off homer decided Wednesday’s game, robbed Alcántara of an RBI double in the top of the fourth, leaping to snag his drive before it hit the fence above the right-field wall, and the Swallows took the lead after Ito walked the first two batters in the Swallows’ fourth.

Ota squeezed home run and reached safely when the Fighters failed to get the runner at the plate. Hideki Nagaoka‘s bullet to first went for an RBI single. Ogawa’s squeeze bunt failed, but Yasutaka Shiomi doubled in a run to make it 4-2.

Matsumoto chased Ogawa in the eighth, when he plated Asama after the leadoff man singled and went to second on an error by Yamasaki. But Yakult scored in the home half on a Nagaoka double and a Shingo Kawabata pinch-hit single.

The Swallows threatened to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth, but Naoya Ishikawa (1-0) pitched struck out Tetsuto Yamada and got an inning-ending double play to send the game to extra innings.

The Fighters’ closer, rookie Koki Kitayama, who surrendered sayonara home runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, allowed the tying runs on base and let in a run before ending it.

Buffaloes 3, Giants 2: At Tokyo Dome, Orix leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda reached base and scored in his first three plate appearances, although Tomoyuki Sugano (5-4) was able to strand a runner in the second and fourth, when Yutaro Sugimoto opened those innings with singles.

Lefty Sachiya Yamasaki (1-4) retired the first nine batters he faced before Yoshihiro Maru opened the fourth with his ninth home run. Soichiro Tateoka doubled to open the Giants’ eighth against Hitomi Honda and scored on a Maru single. Yoshihisa Hirano worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save.

Giants-Buffaloes highlights

BayStars 5, Hawks 1: At Yokohama Stadium, DeNa took two out of three from SoftBank, only losing the game where the Hawks starter was knocked out of the game early by a batted ball on Wednesday.

Isami Nomura hit a first-inning solo home run, his fourth, off Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-0), who walked seven, then extricated himself from one jam after another as he threw 99 pitches through five innings. Five relievers, however, completed the six-hitter.

The BayStars took the lead against Kazuki Sugiyama (1-2) in the fourth. Shugo Maki led off with his 12th home run, Neftali Soto doubled for his second hit and scored on a Daiki Sekine sac fly. Keita Sano‘s fourth homer made it 3-1 in the fifth. Sekine hit his second double of the game and scored in the BayStars’ two-run sixth.

Dragons 6, Lions 3: At Nagoya Dome, Chunichi earned its first interleague win, Takahiro Matsuba (2-1) allowing a run over five innings.

Chunichi broke through in a three-run fourth inning against rookie Chihiro Sumida (1-5), a Yuki Okabayashi walk and a one-out Dayan Viciedo single setting the table for RBI singles from Toshiki Abe and catcher Takuya Kinoshita, and a Shuhei Takahashi double.

An Aito Takeda leadoff single and a two-out Takumi Kuriyama single set up Shuta Tonosaki, who doubled in a run with his second hit of the game to make it 3-1 in the top of the fifth, before veteran Dragons leadoff man Yohei Oshima restored the three-run lead. He drew a leadoff walk, took second on a passed ball and scored on a single from rookie Kosuke Ukai off reliever Tetsu Miyakawa. Takahashi singled in Takaya Ishikawa and Abe in the sixth off new Lions reliever Ryosuke Moriwaki.

Raidel Martinez faced three batters in the ninth and allowed an inherited runner to score but held on for his 11th save.

Eagles 1, Tigers 0: At Koshien Stadium, Rakuten left fielder Haruki Nishikawa threw out his Japan best eighth runner of the season, nailing Koji Chikamoto at home to end Hanshin’s eighth, and allowing the Eagles to open the scoring in the tenth on singles by Yoshiaki Watanabe, Ginjiro Sumitani and pinch-hitter Ginji Akaminai off Suguru Iwazaki.

Hanshin’s Joe Gunkel and Rakuten’s Takayuki Kishi dueled for seven scoreless innings, with Gunkel’s double one of just three hits allowed by the Rakuten right-hander.

Marines 6, Carp 3: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Takayoshi Noma doubled and scored on Ryoma Nishikawa‘s first-inning single off right-hander Tokito Kawamura. Brandon Laird, however, homered with a man on in the second, his second in two nights and his eighth of the season, off Allen Kuri (2-3).

Kuri got some measure of revenge, striking him and Katsuya Kakunaka out to end the third with the bases loaded after Leonys Martin singled home Akito Takabe.

Ryosuke Kikuchi doubled and scored for the Carp in the third, and Noma doubled in reserved catcher    Yoshitaka Isomura in the fourth to tie it, but Kuri couldn’t prevent more runs.

Shogo Nakamura drew a leadoff walk, Toshiya Sato singled and Laird put Lotte in front for the second time with an RBI single. Kakunaka singled in another and Adeiny Hechavarria plated Laird with a sac fly to complete the scoring.

Lotte right-hander Kenta Onuma (1-1) allowed a run in two innings to get the win, and four more relievers each contributed a scoreless inning, with Naoya Masuda getting his ninth save.

Shinjo flips on Kiyomiya

One of the things I really like about Fighters manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo is that he pretty much says whatever he thinks. He gets excited, he gets down. He’s like a fan. But unlike those of a fan, the manager’s words can actually have consequences.

On Thursday, he said of Kotaro Kiyomiya’s poor timing on the bases on a double steal, “You’ll never get anywhere in life making mistakes like that.”

Friday’s starting pitchers

Fighters vs Giants: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (3-4, 3.27) vs Shosei Togo (5-2, 3.19)

Eagles vs Swallows: Miyagi Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (1-3, 2.81) vs Keiji Takahashi (3-1, 3.20)

Lions vs BayStars: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kona Takahashi (4-3, 2.24) vs Shinichi Onuki (2-2, 3.15)

Marines vs Tigers: Chiba Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Roki Sasaki (5-0, 1.47) vs Aaron Wilkerson (3-2, 1.78)

Buffaloes vs Dragons: Osaka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (1-2, 2.42) vs Yudai Ono (2-4, 3.40)

Hawks vs Carp: Fukuoka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Colin Rea (2-2, 5.81) vs Daichi Osera (5-1, 2.90)

Active roster moves 5/26/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/5

Central League

Activated

TigersIF00Yasuhiro Yamamoto
DragonsC68Iori Katsura
BayStarsP26Haruhiro Hamaguchi

Dectivated

TigersIF31Jefry Marte
GiantsP19Iori Yamasaki
DragonsC58Kota Ishibashi

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

Shinjo flips on Kiyomiya

One of the things I really like about Fighters manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo is that he pretty much says whatever he thinks. He gets excited, he gets down. He’s like a fan. But unlike those of a fan, the manager’s words can actually have consequences.

On Thursday, he said of Kotaro Kiyomiya’s poor timing on the bases on a double steal, “You’ll never get anywhere in life making mistakes like that.”

Friday’s starting pitchers

Fighters vs Giants: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (3-4, 3.27) vs Shosei Togo (5-2, 3.19)

Eagles vs Swallows: Miyagi Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (1-3, 2.81) vs Keiji Takahashi (3-1, 3.20)

Lions vs BayStars: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kona Takahashi (4-3, 2.24) vs Shinichi Onuki (2-2, 3.15)

Marines vs Tigers: Chiba Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Roki Sasaki (5-0, 1.47) vs Aaron Wilkerson (3-2, 1.78)

Buffaloes vs Dragons: Osaka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (1-2, 2.42) vs Yudai Ono (2-4, 3.40)

Hawks vs Carp: Fukuoka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Colin Rea (2-2, 5.81) vs Daichi Osera (5-1, 2.90)

Active roster moves 5/26/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/5

Central League

Activated

TigersIF00Yasuhiro Yamamoto
DragonsC68Iori Katsura
BayStarsP26Haruhiro Hamaguchi

Dectivated

TigersIF31Jefry Marte
GiantsP19Iori Yamasaki
DragonsC58Kota Ishibashi

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

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NPB news: May 25, 2022

Day 2 of interleague saw a 3-3 split with the top three teams in each league winning. The Central League now leads the competition 7-5 although the Pacific League teams outscored them again, -27-21 and now have outscored the CL 48-38.

There was a brief spirited debate about this on Twitter this morning, with my podcast partner coming out on the side that wins matter and runs don’t, which is true since baseball is a game. People play to win, not to be better than their opponent.

If you can win the most games without being better than your opponents, more power to you. But anyone who tells you that the champion is the best team by virtue of winning the most games, is defining quality in extremely narrow terms.

The problem with that is the quality needed to produce more wins is not evident in actual team win totals, which in some respect are analogous to pitching wins.

If you have two starting pitchers on the same team, one who goes 10-12 with a 2.00 ERA and another who went 15-8 with a 4.00 ERA, very few people these days would argue the second pitcher was the more likely to win 10-plus games the following season. Same thing. The guy who pitches the best often doesn’t win nor does the team that plays the best.

Shall we get to the games?

Wednesday’s games

Hawks 8, BayStars 2 : At Yokohama Stadium, the sky fell on BayStars starter Fernando Romero (3-4) in the fifth inning. With the game tied 2-2,  Takuya Kai singled, a one-out error, and a Hikaru Kawase single loaded the bases. Romero hit Yuki Yanagita to break the tie, and Yurisbel Gracial‘s two-run single chased him, but three more runs scored in the inning.

Hawks starter Nao Higashihama was struck by a batted ball near his left ankle, stayed in the game after receiving treatment, but left after allowing a third-inning run, his first in 24 innings.

Continue reading NPB news: May 25, 2022