Tag Archives: C.C. Mercedes

Olympic tourney Day 1

A higher, faster, stronger virus

The “safe and secure” Tokyo Olympics announced their 169th infection less than a week into the games, while Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture and Japan as a whole set record single-day infection totals.

Japan topped 9,000 for the first time, while Tokyo broke the 3,000 barrier a day after a record 2,848, and Kanagawa broke 1,000.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympic bid committee’s promised “mild and sunny summer” has forced the tennis to start its matches late because what might be “mild” for the liars who pulled off this heist, it’s unbearably hot and humid for athletes.

Japan 4, Dominican Republic 3

At Fukushima Azuma Stadium: Hayato Sakamoto capped a three-run ninth-inning rally with a one-out bases-loaded fly to the wall that broke a 3-3 tie and earned Samurai Japan a walk-off win in their Group A opener.

Japan and the Dominican Republic took turns melting down after six scoreless innings from starting pitchers Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Cristopher Mercedes.

Japan’s pros, who have an abysmal record in the Olympics, appeared ready to boot this one. Manager Atsunori Inaba pulled Yamamoto after 88 pitches, having allowed two hits and a walk while striking out nine, and Koyo Aoyagi promptly surrendered two runs on three hits, including a leadoff single by infamous former Giants, Juan Francisco.

Inaba, who chose not to include Rakuten Eagles closer Yuki Matsui in his roster and who won’t have another game until Saturday, could have stuck longer with Yamamoto before going to his best relievers, but went to an inclusive team-building plan with Aoyagi and Yasuaki Yamasaki that nearly cost him the game.

Afterward, pitching coach Yoshinori Tateyama said the plan was for Yamamoto to go seven innings or 100 pitches, whichever came first.

The Dominicans’ bullpen got Mercedes out of a sixth-inning jam when Hideto Asamura singled and Yuki Yanagita doubled with no outs. Asamura scored on a groundout, but reliever Luis Castillo protected the lead.

Tetsuto Yamada walked to open the eighth, and was sacrificed to second by Sakamoto but was gunned down at the plate by left fielder Johan Mieses when trying to score on Masataka Yoshida’s single. Inaba asked for a reply and argued obstruction, but it was a picture perfect play by catcher Charlie Valerio, who doubled in the Dominican’s first two runs.

The Dominicans got an insurance run in the ninth, when Kansas City Royals farmhand Erick Mejia doubled and scored his second run of the game on a Gustavo Nunez double off Ryoji Kuribayashi. But with one out and runners on second and third, the Carp rookie extricated himself with back-to-back swinging strikeouts.

With one out in the ninth against Jairo Asencio, Yanagita, pinch-hitter Kensuke Kondo and Munetaka Murakami delivered a run on three straight singles. Sosuke Genda, running for Kondo at third, was safe at home on Takuya Kai’s safety squeeze to tie it. Yamada singled to load the bases, and Sakamoto cracked Jhan Marinez’s first pitch to the wall in center.

The Olympic tournament

The six teams are split into two groups, with the DR, Japan and Mexico in Group A, and Israel, South Korea and the United States in Group B. After that, it becomes a complicated double-elimination style knockout tournament.

The two first-place teams skip the first round, while the second-place teams play off against each other and the third-place teams do the same. The loser of the third-place playoff finishes last.

In the next round, the first-place teams face each other, as do the winners of the two first-round games. The winners of those two games go into the first semifinal. The loser of the first semifinal goes into the second semifinal, whose winner will go into the gold medal game against the first finalist.

And I thought cricket was complicated.

In practice…

The Lotte Marines beat the Hanshin Tigers 9-2, the Yakult Swallows beat the Orix Buffaloes 4-3, while the SoftBank Hawks walked off, literally, 5-4 over the DeNA BayStars, Masahiro Nakatani drawing a ninth-inning bases-loaded walk.

NPB wrap 6-18-21

Revenge of the cellar dwellers

The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes and Central League’s Yakult Swallows came out of interleague on a roll and both won Friday, leaving two teams who finished last in each of the last two seasons in sole possession of second place.

Friday’s games had an old-school look with all 12 starting pitchers getting a decision. I’ll bet that doesn’t happen too often anymore.

Eagles 5, Buffaloes 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Yutaro Sugimoto hit his 14th home run and doubled in a run, while Steven Moya drove in two with his seventh and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-5) allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings. Three relievers each worked a scoreless inning for the Buffaloes, with Tyler Higgins doing the job in the eighth and Yoshihisa Hirano earning his sixth save.

Hideaki Wakui (6-5) allowed five runs over four innings to take the loss as the Eagles’ PL lead shrank to a run over the Buffaloes, who jumped from third to second by winning their seventh straight decision.

Fighters 2, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-2) allowed three hits and four walks over the distance, while Daiki Asama and Kazunari Ishii homered for last-place Nippon Ham.

Shuta Ishikawa (3-6) allowed both runs over six-plus innings.

Marines 5, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome, Daiki Iwashita (5-4) struck out seven over six innings, while Katsuya Kakunaka and Yudai Fujioka each scored two runs for Lotte. Hisanori Yasuda had a pair of RBI singles, while Shogo Nakamura hit his fourth homer.

Kona Takahashi (5-3) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.

Swallows 5, Dragons 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s 41-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (3-1) delivered his third straight solid start, allowing two runs over six innings, while allowing five hits and no walks. Munetaka Murakami hit a two-run homer in the first, his Japan-leading 21st, and Jose Osuna hit a three-run homer in the sixth, his fourth. Three Swallows relievers worked 1-2-3 innings with Scott McGough striking out two in the ninth as he earned his 12th save.

Yuya Yanagi (5-3) after a nearly flawless start to the season, allowed five runs in back-to-back starts. Naomichi Donoue hit his second homer and Shohei Kato hit his first in the CL after the Dragons acquired him in a mid-week trade from Lotte.

Tigers 7, Giants 1

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Jerry Sands cracked open the scoring in a three-run second inning with the second of four Tigers doubles off Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (2-1). Sands also hit his 13th home run, a grand slam, to ice it in the third inning, as Yuki Nishi (4-3) scattered four walks, a hit batsman and five hits to allow just one run over seven innings.

Carp 7, BayStars 4

At Tokyo Dome, 20-year-old rookie Hiroshima lefty Shogo Tamamura (1-3) allowed two runs over seven while striking out 10 and singled in a run in the second to tie it 1-1 as he earned his first pro win in a game hosted by DeNA at Tokyo Dome as their home park is being prepared to host the Olympic baseball and softball tournament.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Masahiro Tanaka (2-4, 2.90) vs Hiroya Miyagi (6-1, 2.31)

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

Tatsuya Imai (4-2, 2.53) vs Toshiya Nakamura (0-1, 3.15)

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

Nick Martinez (5-1, 2.20) vs Kazuaki Tateno (0-0, 1.80)

Central League

Swallows vs Dragons: Jingu Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yasuhiro Ogawa (6-1, 3.33) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (4-2, 2.22)

BayStars vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Michael Peoples (2-2, 4.66) vs Masato Morishita (3-4, 2.35)

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

Masashi Ito (4-3, 2.52) vs Shosei Togo (6-3, 4.22)

Active roster moves 6/18/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/28

Central League


GiantsIF93Hayato Hirama
GiantsOF8Yoshihiro Maru
TigersP13Suguru Iwazaki
DragonsOF52Shohei Kato
CarpOF55Ryuhei Matsuyama



Pacific League


HawksC65Ryuhei Kuki
MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma
MarinesC66Takuma Kato
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe
LionsIF6Sosuke Genda
EaglesP31Yuya Fukui
EaglesIF34Tsuyoshi Yamasaki


LionsIF4Kakeru Yamanobe