Tag Archives: Daichi Osera

NPB wrap 4-2-21

Wakui solid again

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Hideaki Wakui (2-0) struck out nine without a walk as he allowed two runs over seven innings in the Rakuten Eagles’ 4-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Friday.

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-1), the fourth left-handed starter the Eagles have faced in seven games, allowed two runs over five innings to take the loss in his season debut. He struck out seven.

Daichi Suzuki singled in a run in the Eagles’ two-run first, and doubled and scored in the sixth.

Wakui took a three-run lead into the seventh but gave up back-to-back doubles to Masataka Yoshida and Steven Moya and a pinch-hit RBI single to Adam Jones. Eagles leadoff hitter Kazuki Tanaka led off the first with a single and scored, and then scored an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh after leading off with a walk off Tyler Higgins.

Right-hander Tomohito Sakai worked around a pair of two-out walks in the eighth, and closer Yuki Matsui worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.

For the second straight week, Wakui established his fastball early and then mauled batters with his slider, sinker and curve, although he did use the heater more this time around as the game progressed.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Kona Takahashi (2-0) was sharp for the Seibu Lions, striking out eight over eight innings, while Shuta Ishikawa (1-1) had an uncharacteristic start for the SoftBank Hawks in their 6-2 loss.

Ishikawa tends to have so much movement on his pitches that he walks three or four batters a start but rarely gives up a lot of hits. But this time out, when he walked two and hit one, the Lions teed off on straight pitches in the zone, scoring six runs on nine hits, the biggest a three-run Takeya Nakamura homer.

At Sapporo Dome, the PL needs to start thinking about a delay of game penalty to keep the Nippon Ham Fighters from taking at least 3-1/2 hours to play every one of their games.

That’s how long this one took as the Lotte Marines hammered former high school baseball star Kosei Yoshida (0-1) for seven runs over two innings.

Hisanori Yoshida homered, doubled and drove in four runs, while Shogo Nakamura had four hits, scored two and drove in three, while Leonys Martin walked twice, homered and scored three runs.

Kota Futaki (1-1), Lotte’s Opening Day starter, scattered four walks and two hits over seven innings.

Carp run over winless BayStars

At Yokohama Stadium, Daichi Osera (1-0) struck out seven over seven innings, and Ryuichi Matsuyama drove in three runs as the Hiroshima Carp continued the DeNA BayStars’ winless streak with a 4-0 victory in the Central League.

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-1) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.

At Tokyo Dome, Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0) worked 7-2/3 innings and Munetaka Murakami hit his third home run, a two-run shot off Ryoma Nogami (0-1) in the Yakult Swallows’ 2-0 win over the Yomiuri Giants.

Zelous Wheeler hit two balls to the wall, one went for a double, and the other a single after he over-slid second base and was tagged out.

Swallows reliever Scott McGough retired the top of the Giants’ order 1-2-3 in the ninth to earn his first save.

Giants-Swallows highlights

At Koshien Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers’ bullpen wasted a good start from enigmatic right-hander Shintaro Fujinami in a 6-3 loss to the Chunichi Dragons.

Fujinami allowed a run on seven hits and two walks while striking out six, but new Tiger Ren Kajiya allowed three runners to reach with out in the eighth. Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita drove him from the mound with a two-run double and scored on a Yohei Oshima single.

Kinoshita doubled in two more in the ninth to ice it for the visitors.

Minor goings on

Sasaki pitches

Hard-throwing Lotte Marines teenager Roki Sasaki pitched in his first official pro game on Friday, allowing an infield single and a stolen base in two scoreless innings in an Eastern League game against the Yakult Swallows, Nikkan Sports reported.

The 19-year-old, who was clocked at 163 kph (101.3 mph) in a national team training camp in 2019, touched 153 kph (95.1) in the game at the Swallows’ minor league park in Toda, Saitama Prefecture.

Swallows suck it up

The Swallows have been forced to improvise in the wake of a number of staff members and No. 2 catcher Akihisa Nishida testing positive for the coronavirus. The subsequent deactivation of players considered to have had close contact with those testing positive has forced the Swallows to cancel Saturday’s and Sunday’s Eastern League games with the Marines.

On Thursday, thanks to the heads up from Deanna Rubin @marinerds, we learned that the short-handed minor league squad was forced to skip the DH at the Nippon Ham Fighters’ park and used a pitcher as a substitute outfielder.

Tigers Girls put on hold

The Hanshin Tigers’ cheerleading squad, the Tigers Girls, not to be confused with the organization’s amateur baseball club, the Tigers Women, will not appear in games at Koshien Stadium for the time being after more than one of the club’s cheerleaders tested positive for the coronavirus, Daily Sports reported.

Starting pitchers

Taguchi gets 1st shot at old team

So Taguchi, traded from the Yomiuri Giants to the CL rival Yakult Swallows in March, will get his first crack at his old team on Saturday when the Giants host the Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

The lefty got hammered in his first outing against the Tigers last weekend, giving up six runs in 2-1/3 innings.

Pacific League

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

Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-1, 11.57) vs Manabu Mima (0-0, 1.50)

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

Hayato Yuge (-) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-1, 6.00)

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

Rei Takahashi (0-0, 2.84) vs Shota Hamaya (0-1, 5.79)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (1-0, 1.29) vs Kazuto Taguchi (0-1, 19.29)

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

Masaya Kyoyama (0-1, 6.75) vs Allen Kuri (1-0, 1.50)

Tigers vs Dragons: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Koyo Aoyagi (1-0, 4.76) vs Yuya Yanagi (0-1, 6.75)

Active roster moves 4/2/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/12

Central League

Activated

GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami
SwallowsP62Hiroaki Saiuchi

Dectivated

SwallowsP21Taichi Yamano

Pacific League

Activated

FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

Dectivated

HawksP10Kotaro Otake
EaglesP59Shu Sugahara
BuffaloesP58Kazuyuki Kaneda

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Spring wrap 3-13-21

At Koshien Stadium, Jefry Marte homered for his third straight game before Hotaka Yamakawa hit a sixth-inning grand slam for the Seibu Lions against Hanshin Tigers starter Koyo Aoyagi in a 6-2 win on Saturday.

The right-handed side-armer struck out seven, while walking two and giving up six hits over six innings. Right-hander Ren Kajiya, who was let go by the Hawks in December, contributed his third scoreless inning of the spring. Jon Edwards allowed a run in the ninth for the Tigers.

Jerry Sands had a hit and a walk for Hanshin as he continued to reach base in every game so far this spring.

Key Lions relievers Kaima Taira, Tatsushi Masuda and Tetsu Miyagawa each worked one scoreless inning.

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the Orix Buffaloes tagged 20-year-old Yomiuri Giants starter Shosei Togo for three runs over six innings in a 3-1 win.

Togo struck out eight without issuing a walk but surrendered seven hits and a home run. One of the runs was unearned. Key relievers Thyago Vieira and Kota Nakagawa each worked a scoreless inning. Giants slugger Kazuma Okamoto hit his first homer of the spring.

Orix’s top pick in the 2019 draft, 19-year-old Hiroya Miyagi, allowed his first run of the season in a five-inning outing. He struck out four but issued three walks. Taisuke Yamaoka, who started Opening Day for Orix in 2020, worked three scoreless innings.

At Mazda Stadium, Daichi Osera continued to work toward his third straight Opening Day start for the Hiroshima Carp in a 3-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters, striking out nine over five scoreless innings. Robert Corniel, a 25-year-old developmental-contract guy from the Dominican, worked a scoreless inning for the Carp.

The newest Fighter, right-hander Takahide Ikeda made his spring debut after arriving in a trade from the Rakuten Eagles last week, striking out two over three scoreless innings. Twenty-year-old Yuki James Nomura drove in the visitors’ only run with a ninth-inning single after striking out twice in three hitless at-bats.

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NPB 2020 Sept. 16

Lions’ rookie a winner in 1st start

Lefty Shota Hamaya (1-0) allowed a run over six innings without issuing a walk in his first career start, while veteran Takumi Kuriyama had four hits and two RBIs in the Seibu Lions’ 3-1 win over the Lotte Marines at MetLife Dome.

“I really tried to make good first pitches,” said the 21-year-old Hamaya, the Lions’ second-round pick last autumn. “When I got behind in the count, I just made sure I had good arm action on my pitches, and if they hit them, they hit them.”

Hamaya allowed a run on four this and three strikeouts.

The 37-year-old Kuriyama, playing in his 19th pro season, homered in the first off lefty Kazuya Ojima (5-6) to open the scoring and singled in the second run in the Lions’ fifth to chase the Marines starter.

“I think there is an image that left handers can bust us inside,” Marines manager Tadahito Iguchi said. “We have some work to do on that.”

Ojima allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk over 4-2/3 innings.

“This game turned on my giving up three hits to the same hitter,” Ojima said. “Obviously I need to take a hard look at that so I can do better next time.”

Tajima outduels Wakui

Daiki Tajima (2-4) threw his first career shutout, a two-hitter, to outduel Hideaki Wakui (8-3) in the Orix Buffaloes’ 2-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Hotto Motto Field Kobe.

Wearing the uniform of their predecessors, the Orix BlueWave, and playing in their former home park in the hills above the port city of Kobe, Yutaro Sugimoto broke open a scoreless game with fifth-inning home run, and Torai Fushimi homered against the Eagles’ bullpen in the seventh.

“From the first inning, I pounded them with my fastball,” said Tajima, who walked one while striking out eight. “I was able to really pitch my kind of game.”

The lefty, the top draft pick of the Buffaloes in 2017, didn’t allow a base runner after surrendering a one-out infield single in the fifth.

“I didn’t think about what was coming. I just took each batter head on,” Tajima said.

The complete-game shutout was Orix’s first of the season and came in its 76th game.

Despaigne lifts Hawks past Fighters

Alfredo Despaigne broke up a tie game with a two-run seventh-inning single after Fighters reliever Katsuhiko Kumon (0-2) loaded the bases with one out in the SoftBank Hawks’ 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Kumon left after getting only one out, on a sacrifice as the Hawks played to tie while a run down in the seventh. But they got much more as a single and a walk loaded the bases and slugger Yuki Yanagita forced in a run by walking against new pitcher Taisho Tamai, who then surrendered Despaigne’s single.

The blowup wasted a solid start from Toshihiro Nakamura, who allowed two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six. Hawks starter Akira Niho gave up three runs, one earned, over 4-1/3 innings, but five relievers held the Fighters to a run on two walks and one hit over 4-2/3 innings. Closer Yuito Mori allowed a run after a leadoff infield single but recorded his 21st save.

Saiuchi returns from wilderness in win

Hiroaki Saiuchi, signed nine days earlier from the independent Kagawa Olive Guyners — I’m not making this up — made his first NPB start in six years, and allowed two runs over five innings for the Yakult Swallows in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Saiuchi, a 27-year-old who was the second draft pick of the Hanshin Tigers in 2011, is still 0-2 in his career as a starter, although he allowed one run over five innings in his pro starting debut on Sept. 2, 2012. He was released for the second time by the Tigers last winter, and signed this season with Kagawa.

In nine games in the Shikoku Island League-plus, Saiuchi was 5-0 with three shutouts a 0.42 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 64 innings.

BayStars starting pitcher Taiga Kamichatani allowed one run over six innings when Munetaka Murakami victimized him by hitting a good slider at the bottom of the zone and driving it deep into the stands for an opposite-field homer in the fourth.

Kamichatani, however, singled with one out to start a two-run fifth-inning rally for a one-run lead that was overtaken by the Swallows bench on back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh.

Giants reserves beat Tigers

A day after lighting up their magic number the Yomiuri Giants rested a couple of stars, shortstop Hayato Sakamoto and cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto as a pair of reserves delivered the firepower in a 7-6 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome.

Shunta Tanaka and Soichiro Tateoka each homered and the pair combined to score four runs and drive in six, giving the Giants enough leeway to overcome a late Tigers fightback.

Giants-Tigers highlights

Carp clobber Dragons

Jose Pirela opened the scoring with a first-inning RBI single and added a late home run, his ninth, for the Hiroshima Carp in a 9-2 skewering of the Chunichi Dragons at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Ryuhei Matsuyama also homered and drove in two for the hosts, while Carp right-hander Yusuke Nomura (5-1) allowed two runs over 5-1/3 innings to earn the win.

Carp ace Osera has surgery

Daichi Osera, the Opening Day starter for the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp the past two seasons, has undergone right shoulder surgery the team announced Wednesday.

No timeline was given for the 29-year-old right-hander’s return, but he will likely miss the rest of the season after having arthroscopic surgery to clean out the joint at a hospital in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture.

Osera opened the season with back-to-back complete games for first-year manager and former Carp pitcher Shinji Sasaoka. He has twice been deactivated for “poor form.”

Marines’ Hermmann out of action

Lotte Marines reliever Frank Herrmann was deactivated Wednesday after he was diagnosed with tendon damage in his right index finger. He reportedly will refrain from throwing for two weeks.

Active roster moves 9/16/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/26

Central League

Activated

BayStarsIF4Yukiya Ito
CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura
SwallowsP91Hiroaki Saiuchi

Dectivated

BayStarsIF9Yamato Maeda
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP20Shota Hamaya
HawksP13Akira Niho
MarinesP49Chen Kuan-yu
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura

Dectivated

MarinesP42Frank Herrmann
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi

Starting pitchers for Sept. 17, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kenta Uehara (0-0, 1.00) vs Nao Higashihama (3-1, 3.02)

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

Tetsuya Utsumi (1-1, 4.20) vs Daiki Iwashita (4-5, 4.98)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirotoshi Masui (0-1, 3.68) vs Yuki Matsui (1-3, 4.10)

Central League

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

Angel Sanchez (4-2, 2.25) vs Yuki Nishi (6-3, 2.32)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-4, 4.95) vs Michael Peoples (2-1, 4.86)

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

Masato Morishita (6-2, 2.39) vs Koji Fukutani (3-2, 2.78)

NPB 2020 Sept. 5

Nishikawa, Arihara lead Fighters

Haruki Nishikawa broke up an eighth-inning tie with a two-out, three-run triple off Reed Garrett (3-2), lifting the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 6-2 win over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome on Saturday afternoon.

Sean Nolin allowed nine base runners but just two runs over six innings in his second start for the Lions, and Kaima Taira walked two in a scoreless seventh before the Lions’ luck ran out in the eighth.

With two outs, Takuya Nakashima fouled off three two-strike pitches before walking on nine pitches. Taishi Ota singled and Garrett hit Go Matsumoto to load the bases. A 1-1 splitter failed to tumble and Nishikawa hit a fly to the warning track. Center fielder Yuji Kaneko, was playing Nishikawa to pull and the ball fell just out of reach.

Sho Nakata followed with a drive near the top of the imposing center-field wall to drive in Nishikawa but was held to a single when he stumbled rounding first.

Kohei Arihara (4-6) who started the season 1-5 with three quality starts in his first eight games, has now rolled off four-straight solid outings. Some big plays from Nakashima at shortstop helped Arihara hold Seibu to two runs on six hits over eight innings.

Sean Nolin, making his second start since joining the Lions in the offseason, brought a very good fastball, but inconsistent location cost him. He allowed two runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batsman, while striking out 10.

Kensuke Kondo singled in both of the Fighters early runs, while the Lions answered with Ernesto Mejia’s eighth home run, in the second, and a Hotaka Yamakawa RBI single in the sixth.

Japanese baseball 101: Don’t get high

Nearly every Japanese language description of a good pitching effort will include the phrase, “he was consistently low in the zone,” while the kneejerk reaction to nearly every hit is, “he left that up,” whether the pitch was actually well-located or even up in the zone.

The reason for this is that the Japanese game is so rooted in the way young kids are taught to hit grounders to the left side of the infield. They are taught this way because young children don’t field well and hitting the ball to the left side increases the batter’s chance of reaching on an error.

So instead of trying to launch pitches that miss up, the first instinct of many players trained here is to chop down on those balls and smash through the left side of the infield. The “best” pitchers are those who keep batters from hitting hard ground ball singles.

The Fighters’ first illustrated this. Nolin got slugger Sho Nakata to wave at a high fastball for Strike 3, but three other high pitches were chopped between third and short in textbook fashion: back-to-back one-out singles and a two-out chopper to the hole to bring in a run.

“Forrest Gump” Nakamura stars for Marines

Even when the Lotte Marines can’t get it right, they somehow still manage to compete against the SoftBank Hawks. On Saturday, Marines second baseman had a kind of Forrest Gump box-of-chocolates game, since he seemed to be present at numerous junctures in their 5-4 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

The visitors squandered two good scoring chances, and Nakamura had as up and down a day as one can have. He homered to open the scoring, only for a couple of fielding near-misses on defense at second base contribute to two infield singles in the Hawks’ three-run sixth. He also literally knocked out the Hawks’ starting pitcher, and assisted in the final scene.

“The margin of victory was paper thin, because of my mistakes,” Nakamura said. “I played very aggressively even in the field. I messed up in the field so I’m glad I could contribute with my bat.”

The win improved the Marines’ record against the Hawks since the start of last season to 24-11-1. In three seasons as Lotte’s manager, former Hawk Tadahito Iguchi now has a 33-26-2 mark against the three-time defending Japan Series champions.

With two on and no outs in the first, Ikuhiro Kiyota bunted into a force out before a fluke 6-5-4 double play ended the Marines’ inning. Leading 1-0 in the third after Nakamura homered off Shota Takeda, Ikuhiro Kiyota was thrown out easily at the plate trying to score from first on a one-out double. With two on and two outs, rookie Toshiya Sato hammered a hanging breaking ball straight to first baseman Kenji Akashi.

Marines starter Manabu Mima (6-2) allowed four runs, three earned, over seven innings. Takeda was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning, when he was hit in the gut by a Nakamura line drive. Takeda threw him out at first as he collapsed to the turf. Yuta Watanabe, who made his first-team debut the night before, got the final out, and lefty Shunsuke Kasaya worked a perfect sixth.

Mima got three ground balls to open the sixth. Nakamura nearly made a tremendous play to retire the leadoff hitter but the ball stayed in his glove on an attempted flip to first. With one out and one on, he made a good play to pick a grounder up the middle but his throw to first was wide, resulting in another infield single.

Yurisbel Gracial, who’d hit his third home run in two days in the fourth, lined a pitch up the middle to tie it 2-2. With two more runs in the inning, Kasaya was in line for the win. Unfortunately, he only retired one batter in the seventh as the visitors got a run back on a Nobuhiro Matsuda error and two singles.

With one out, right-hander Yuki Matsumoto came on to face Nakamura, who missed his second home run by a few feet, driving in two with a two-out double high off the wall in left.

Mima worked a 1-2-3 seventh, and Yuki Karakawa did the same in the eighth. Matsuda earned some redemption with a leadoff single against closer Naoya Masuda. A sacrifice moved pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto to second and he took third on a wild pitch, but with the infield in, Keizo Kawashima hit a bullet to Nakamura at second and he sealed the win by doubling the stunned Shuto off third.

Tanaka, Asamura power Eagles

Kazuki Tanaka homered twice and Hideto Asamura hit his third in two games and the Rakuten Eagles beat the Orix Buffaloes 6-5 at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Tanaka hit a two-run shot in the first off Sachiya Yamasaki (2-4). Adam Jones singled to open the Buffaloes’ three-run second against Takahiro Shiomi (4-5), but Asamura turned the game around again by going deep with two on for his 21st home run.

Yamasaki left after five innings, but not before surrendering Tanaka’s second homer.

Shiomi allowed three runs over five innings. Kazuhisa Makita, the Eagles’ fourth pitcher, threw a scoreless eighth, catching a liner off Jones’ bat for the final out, while Alan Busenitz surrendered two runs in the ninth before locking down his 10th save.

Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 23 games in the Buffaloes’ third, nine short of Atsushi Nagaike’s Pacific League and franchise record and 10 short of Yoshihiko Takahashi’s NPB record.

Soto slugs Carp as Onuki goes distance

Two-time defending CL home run champ Neftali Soto homered twice and scored three runs as the DeNA BayStars took a hammer to the Hiroshima Carp 10-1 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Carp ace Daichi Osera (5-4) failed to make it through the fourth inning for his second start in a row, surrendering eight runs in 3-1/3 innings on nine hits.

In a season that started on June 19 following weeks of improvised preparations due to the coronavirus pandemic, most teams were talking about easing players into the season. Despite that, the Carp ace was allowed to throw back-to-back complete games in his first two starts. He has been deactivated once already due to lack of fitness after going just two innings in Yokohama on July 24.

Takayuki Kajitani doubled to open the game and scored on a one-out Soto single. A Keita Sano single and a groundout plated Soto with the visitors’ second run.

Shinichi Onuki (6-2) scattered eight hits over the distance while striking out four and walking none in his first career complete-game victory.

Soto made it 3-0 in the third with his 11th home run and his second in two days. He capped DeNA’s six-run fourth with a three-run shot.

Hard to Swallow

For the second time in three days, the key play for the Yakult Swallows was a tie-breaking two-run error as center fielder Kotaro Yamasaki raced to catch a fly in the gap for the final out of the 10th inning, only to have it hit off his glove in a 3-1 extra-inning loss to the Chunichi Dragons.

The Swallows had 15 hits but were being shut out until they tied it in the eighth with three singles off lefty Hiroto Fuku, who was pitching for the third-straight day.

Closer Raidel Martinez (2-0) worked out of a one-out bases-loaded pickle in the ninth by striking out the Swallows’ most productive hitter, Munetaka Murakami, and getting Norichika Aoki to ground out.

The Dragons opened the scoring in the fourth when Nobumasa Fukuda’s opposite-field drive to right went for a triple and he scored on a Dayan Viciedo single.

Fujinami comeback hits 11-run snag

For the first time since he returned to the mound this year, the story about Shintaro Fujinami was why he’s fumbling ground balls. Instead, the one-time elite pitching prospect allowed a career-high 11 runs in the Hanshin Tigers’ 11-2 loss to the Yomiuri Giants at Koshien Stadium.

Giants starter Nobutaka Imamura (3-0) got the win after allowing one run over eight innings.

Fujinami (1-5) allowed nine hits and six walks while striking out six. Fujinami’s career basically slid into the tank when Tomoaki Kanemoto became manager in 2016. The good news was that Tigers manager Akihiro Yano yanked him after he’d thrown 125 instead of letting him labor past 160 like Kanemoto once did when Fujinami displeased him.

The 11 runs was also the most ever allowed in one game by a Tigers pitcher.

Active roster moves 9/5/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/15

Central League

Activated

CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpIF45Tatsuki Kuwahara

Dectivated

CarpIF6Tomohiro Abe

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP68Kanji Teraoka
MarinesP15Manabu Mima

Dectivated

EaglesP14Takahiro Norimoto
MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Drew VerHagen (5-2, 4.04) vs Wataru Matsumoto (1-3, 4.42)

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

Yuya Fukui (0-3, 3.86) vs Chang Yi (1-2, 3.57)

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

Shuta Ishikawa (6-0, 2.36) vs Kota Futaki (2-2, 5.03)

Central League

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

Yasuhiro Ogawa (7-2, 3.27) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-1, 2.70)

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

Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.29) vs Cristopher Mercedes (2-4, 3.66)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.47) vs Masaya Kyoyama (-)

NPB 2020 8-22 games and news

Jones ruins Utsumi’s Cinderella comeback

Adam Jones homered twice, taking a bat to Tetsuya Utsumi’s hopes of winning his first game in two years, by driving in four runs in the Orix Buffaloes’ 5-2 Pacific League victory on Saturday afternoon.

Jones, who homered and drove in all of Orix’s runs on Friday, when they won their first game under acting skipper Satoshi Nakajima, broke open a scoreless pitching duel between the 38-year-old Utsumi (0-1) and unheralded 26-year-old Taiwan right-hander Chang Yi (1-1).

Chang, who went to school in Japan following in the footsteps of his cousin, Yang Dai-kang, joined Orix in 2017 on a non-roster developmental contract. Since he went to school here, he is still known by how the Chinese characters in his Mandarin name are read in Japanese “Cho Yaku.” After a tough start in his season debut nine days before, Chang’s fastball was crisp and hard for the Lions to handle.

The right-hander pitched out of jams in the third and fourth innings, and he left after allowing five hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

“Honestly, I was resigned to giving up runs (in the fourth inning), but even so I was going to fight them,” Chang said.

Nakajima, who has seen a lot of Chang during his time as the Buffaloes’ farm manager said Saturday’s performance is in line with his skill level.

“You saw what he does well,” Nakajima said. “He had late life on his fastball and attacked hitters. He had an elbow issue that delayed him getting to this point, but he’s going to contribute.”

Never a flame-thrower, Utsumi long thrived on precision and movement, getting foul strikes and soft contact. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced. With one out in the fourth, Buffaloes slugger Masataka Yoshida miss-hit a fastball and chopped it through the infield for a one-out single, Orix’s first hit.

Utsumi nearly got himself out of trouble, but instead set himself up for a fall. He fielded a one-hop comebacker but his uncatchable throw to second spoiled any chance for an out, let alone a double play. Utsumi’s next throw also missed by the smallest of margins, a first-pitch changeup to Jones just above the knees, that he lofted over the left-field wall.

“I just wanted in that situation to get a ball up and drive the runner in and I was fortunate enough to drive the ball out of the ballpark,” Jones said.

Seibu’s Takeya Nakamura, a six-time PL home run champ, hit his sixth of the year in the top of the sixth off reliever Keisuke Sawada.

Jones struck again in the sixth. With two outs and none on, Utsumi missed up just a little with a slider and Jones lined it into the second deck.

“The second one, that was a little more fun. I tried to be aggressive and not let the pitcher get ahead with a strike and just try to be aggressive in the zone. And I didn’t miss it at all,” Jones said.

After three home runs and seven RBIs in two games following a slow start to the season, Jones was asked the obligatory question about whether he was seeing the ball better or not.

‘I’ve been seeing the ball the same,” Jones said. “I am just trying to play the game the way I know how to play.”

“Our pitchers were terrific. Cho battled his butt off and gave us a great opportunity to win the game. And when the opportunity arose to drive some runners in, we did a good job.”

“Home runs are always fun to hit. The bench was going crazy. There’s been a lot of energy the last couple of days. We want to continue to play the game hard and have fun.”

The Lions added a run in the seventh against lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada, forcing setup man Tyler Higgins into the game with two outs and two on to preserve Orix’s lead. Nakamura lined a shot over short, but Koji Oshiro leaped to make a catch, end the inning and save at least a run.

After Higgins worked a scoreless eighth, defensive substitute Yuya Oda doubled in the Buffaloes’ fifth run. Oda, who made a big catch in the ninth on Friday, made another big play on Saturday.

After a Tomoya Mori single to lead off against closer Brandon Dickson, Hotaka Yamakawa drilled a liner to left that Oda short. Mori assumed the ball would be caught and was retreating to first when Oda forced him at second for 7-4 force. A double play followed and it was over.

It was a decent start for Utsumi, if not a winning one for the former ace of the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants. Utsumi joined Seibu after the 2018 season as part of the compensation package for the Giants signing free agent catcher Ginjiro Sumitani. The loss saw Utsumi’s career record against Orix to 2-3 with the previous four games coming in interleague play.

Ironically, Utsumi’s PL debut came against Orix, who drafted him first in 2000 out of high school. Utsumi turned them down out of desire to play for his grandfather’s old team, the Giants. After three seasons in corporate league ball, he turned pro with the Giants.

Yanagita puts on show against Marines

Yuki Yanagita hit a mammoth two-run homer to open the scoring and doubled in the tie-breaking run as the SoftBank Hawks moved back into a tie for first place in the Pacific League with the Lotte Marines, who they beat 3-2.

The camera’s at Zozo Marine Stadium were not prepared for the lunar launch trajectory of Yanagita’s 17th home run, and viewers on TV could only see it drop down and strike the top of the center-field fence, ostensibly after hitting high up on the scoreboard.

Akira Nakamura slashed a leadoff single in the eighth against Frank Herrmann (3-1) for his third hit of the game. Yanagita followed by finding the gap in left center for an RBI double.

Imamiya could be out for up to 2 months

SoftBank Hawks shortstop Kenta Imamiya is expected to miss between six to eight weeks due to a left calf injury. The club announced Saturday that an MRI revealed damage to the soleus muscle in his left leg.

Imamiya, a two-time Best Nine shortstop with five Golden Gloves, complained of pain in the leg on Aug. 19.

Arihara sharp again for Fighters

Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (3-5) produced his second-straight solid start, allowing a run over six innings, while Sho Nakata homered and drove in three runs in a 5-1 over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

Arihara gave up six singles and a walk while striking out six, and he quickly had three runs to work with after his teammates opened the scoring in the bottom of the first off Takahiro Shiomi (3-4).

Haruki Nishikawa’s single, the third straight to open the inning, made it 1-0, and Nakata followed with a two-run double. Shiomi allowed four runs over five innings, and Nakata hit his Japan-best 20th home run in the fifth.

Dragons rookie Rodriguez blots out ‘Stars

Cuban rookie Yariel Rodriguez improved to 2-0 in three impressive starts for the Chunichi Dragons, who beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Rodriguez allowed two singles and two walks over six innings, while striking out just three batters over six innings. The 23-year-old, who is eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award, has now allowed three runs over 19-1/3 innings.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi opened the scoring in the first against DeNA rookie Kosuke Sakaguchi (0-1) with a one-out bases-loaded single. Takahashi added a two-run home run in the fifth.

Osera goes 8 as Carp walk past Giants

Hiroshima Carp ace Daichi Osera (5-2) allowed two runs over eight innings in a 10-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants, who issued nine walks in the game at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Osera allowed former Carp teammate Yoshihiro Maru to tie it 1-1 in the second with his 12th home run.

But Giants starter Seishu Hatake (0-3) didn’t survive the third inning. He opened it by walking Osera, and by the time the dust had settled, six runs were in and 12 batters had come to the plate.

Israel Mota, who the Giants signed this year from their developmental roster, had his first hit in Japan, a two-run ninth-inning home run.

Tigers survive Swallows ambush

Robert Suarez got Norichika Aoki to fly out with two on and two outs in the ninth to nail down his ninth save as the Hanshin Tigers held on to beat the Yakult Swallows 7-5 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Aoki, whose eighth-inning grand slam brought the Swallows within two runs. Facing Suarez, he did his best to elevate a low 1-0 pitch but his high fly to center was held up by a stiff wind and died at the warning track along with the Swallows’ chances of a come-from-behind win.

Yusuke Oyama belted a three-run first-inning homer off Matt Koch (0-1), who allowed six runs over four innings in his Japan debut for the Swallows.

Tigers starter Yuki Nishi (4-3) allowed a run over seven innings and doubled in a run in Hanshin’s three-run fourth inning only for relievers Yuya Nakao and Yuta Iwasada to let the hosts get back in the game.

Setup man Joe Gunkel allowed a hit and a walk before getting the final out in the inning and turning it over to Suarez in the ninth.

Active roster moves 8/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/1

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP12Kousuke Sakaguchi
SwallowsP33Matt Koch

Dectivated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
FightersP59Yuki Yoshida

Dectivated

LionsP23Shogo Noda
FightersP27Nick Martinez

Starting pitchers for Aug. 23, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (4-1, 3.72) vs Yuya Fukui (0-2, 5.54)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (1-0, 3.86) vs Shuta Ishikawa (5-0, 2.08)

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

Andrew Albers (2-5, 4.04) vs Wataru Matsumoto (1-3, 5.10)

Central League

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

Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-2, 3.43) vs Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.80)

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

Yudai Ono (3-3, 3.02) vs Hiromu Ise (0-0, 1.80)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.77) vs Daisuke Naoe (-)

NPB 2020 8-8 GAMES AND NEWS

Dragon Fukuda toasts Giants

Nobumasa Fukuda’s second homer of the season, a three-run, seventh-inning shot off Yomiuri Giants starter Seishu Hatake (0-1) lifted the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-1 win at Nagoya Dome on Saturday.

Hatake got out of a first-inning jam when he loaded the bases with two outs on two walks and a hit batsman. The right-hander made his escape on two pitches against Ariel Martinez, getting the Cuban catcher to chase an 0-1 curve away and hit an easy grounder to third.

The Dragons got a leadoff single in the third only for Hatake to retire the next 13 batters.

Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno let the Giants score in the fourth on cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto’s 15th home run. Katsuno had allowed two runners through the first three innings, and caught a break to open the fourth, when Yoshihiro Maru hammered a low-inside fastball to first that Dayan Viciedo managed to catch.

After a fastball inside for a strike and two bounced sliders, Katsuno missed in the heart of the zone, and Okamoto put a good swing on it, launching it out to center. The pitcher left after six innings having allowed a run on three hits and two walks while striking out five.

Stocky lefty Hiroto Fuku, pitching for the first time in over a week, missed high with a fastball to Gerardo Parra, who hit it hard up the middle for a single. The lefty lucked out when Naoki Yoshikawa, who had been peppering the left field line with foul balls, hit a sharp grounder that third baseman Shuhei Takahashi dove for and got the force at second.

Fuku missed a 1-2 fastball up that light-hitting catcher Ginjiro Sumitani was able hammer through past first to put runners on the corners. Hatake struck out, and a first-pitch cutter on the hands of right-handed-hitting pinch-hitter Hiroyuki Nakajima got the Dragons out of the inning.

With one out in the seventh, Martinez grounded another low-away curve to third, but beat the throw for an infield single. Masataka Iryo put a good swing on the next pitch, a high changeup and drilled it past first to put runners on the corners for Fukuda, who walked up to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

Hatake missed down the pipe with a slider that Fukuda let go. When Hatake missed with a fastball in the same spot, Fukuda blasted it.

“He’d been throwing really good pitches, but his fastball had been his best, so that’s what I was looking for, nothing else,” Fukuda said, echoing the analyst who said that was probably the case after watching him pass on the first pitch.

The Dragons bullpen recorded six-straight outs, three by setup man Daisuke Sobue and three by closer Raidel Martinez.

Sano sinks Swallows with homer in epic at-bat

DeNA BayStars captain Keita Sano’s two-run, fifth-inning homer broke up a tie game en route to a 5-4 win over the Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium.

Sano, who singled in the tying run in the third after Yakult took the lead on Munetaka Murakami’s two-run first-inning homer, fouled off six 3-2 pitches from Yakult right-hander Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa (4-2). Sano leaned into Ogawa’s 12th pitch, a slider away, and knocked it out to center for his seventh home run and a 4-2 BayStars lead.

Kazuki Kamizato, who singled three times and scored three, came home on a Toshiro Miyazaki single in the seventh to make it 5-2, but then helped give away two runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and a runner on first, the BayStars center fielder misplayed Alcides Escobar’s single, and it rolled to the wall. Escobar wound up at third and scored on a groundout.

After back-to-back two out walks put the go-ahead run on, Escobar’s cousin, Edwin, took the mound and ended the inning with a strikeout.

DeNA lefty Shota Imanaga (5-2) allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out six, and Kazuki Mishima earned his fifth save.

Carp ace Osera bounces back to outlast Tigers

Daichi Osera (4-1) returned from his 10-day stint on the inactive list by allowing a run over seven innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

After an exchange of homers between Yusuke Ono of the Tigers and the Carp’s Hisayoshi Chono, the pitching duel between Osera and Nishi went on for six innings. The Tigers loaded the bases in the seventh with one out, but Osera got Kosuke Fukudome to hit into a double play and end it.

In the bottom of the inning, rookie Minoru Omori drew a leadoff walk from Kyuji Fujikawa (1-3) went to second on a wild pickoff throw and scored on Shogo Sakakura’s pinch-hit single.

The best moment of the game came after the game, when Carp closer Geronimo Franzua, who struck out two in the ninth to record his fourth save, tossed the ball from the final out, the “winning ball” into the crowd. This forced Chono to lead a posse of Carp players to the edge of the stands to plead for its return so Osera could keep it as a souvenir.

Afterward the Daily Sports bemoaned the Tigers’ mistakes, the pickoff throw and Jerry Sands getting caught off base in the top of the seventh. With runners on the corners and no outs after singles by Sands and Justin Bour, Ryutaro Umeno grounded back to the pitcher, who threw Sands out, costing the Tigers not an out, but a base, which became moot when Osera walked the next hitter.

It didn’t cost the Tigers an out or a run, and was only significant for writers of articles cataloging teams’ mistakes.

Romero rocks Hawks as Shiomi rolls for Eagles

Stefen Romero hit his 14th home run and his third in two nights while Takahiro Shiomi threw 6-2/3 shutout innings for the Rakuten Eagles in their 4-2 win over the SoftBank Hawks at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Romero also doubled twice and was hit by a pitch in the win that pushed the Eagles out of a tie for first place in the Pacific League with the Hawks. Shiomi (3-2) struck out six while hitting a batter and allowing three singles.

The Hawks might have taken the lead in the first but for this catch by Eagles center fielder Kazuki Tanaka, whose RBI double in the second made it 2-0 Rakuten.

Hawks starter Akira Niho (3-3) allowed three runs over seven innings to take the loss.

Martin leads charging Marines past Buffaloes

Leonys Martin homered and doubled twice, scored three runs and drove in four for the Lotte Marines in a 9-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The Marines torched Buffaloes starter Kohei “K” Suzuki (0-2) for seven runs in 3-1/3 innings, while the Marines’ Kota Futaki (1-1) gave up two over seven innings to earn the win.

Martin’s home run was his 10th of the year.

Fighters get past Lions guardian Garrett

Reed Garrett has been a pillar of the Seibu Lions’ bullpen but on Saturday, he got carried along by the tide as the third pitcher in a five-run seventh inning that lifted the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 7-6 come-from-behind win at Sapporo Dome.

Katsunori Hirai retired two of the first three batters he faced in the seventh but couldn’t get the fourth. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa (0-1) allowed four-straight runners to reach before giving way to Garrett. With the Lions’ lead down to a run, and two on, Garrett allowed an infield single that loaded the bases and a two-run single to Ryo Watanabe.

Watanabe hit a two-run home in the second to briefly give the hosts the lead only for Hotaka Yamakawa to hit his 14th homer, a two-run shot in the Lions’ three-run third.

Marte reinjures left calf in rehab game

Hanshin Tigers infielder Jefry Marte, who has been sidelined since injuring his left calf on July 4, reinjured the leg on Saturday during a Western League game.

The 29-year-old, playing in his second season in Japan, was unable to get as far as first base in the Tigers’ minor league game at the Hiroshima Carp’s minor league park in Yuu, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Blash deactivated due to neck pain

The Rakuten Eagles dropped Jabari Blash from the active roster on Saturday for the first time since the outfielder joined the Pacific League club a year ago

Blash, who turned 31 in July, is suffering from neck pain and has exhibited mild whiplash symptoms according to Jiji.com.

Active roster moves 8/8/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/18

Central League

Activated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
BayStarsP68Yoshiaki Fujioka
TigersP27Yuya Onaka
CarpP14Daichi Ohsera
CarpC31Yoshiyuki Ishihara

Dectivated

GiantsP92Shohei Numata
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
TigersP92Kazuo Ito
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
SwallowsP44Hiroki Onishi

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP61Masato Okumura
EaglesIF48Yoshiaki Watanabe
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
FightersP63Ryuji Kitaura
BuffaloesP30Kohei ”K” Suzuki

Dectivated

EaglesOF69Jabari Blash
MarinesP49Chen Kuan-yu
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
BuffaloesP61Tsubasa Sakakibara

Starting pitchers for Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Drew VerHagen (3-1, 3.38) vs Keisuke Honda (0-3, 3.92)

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Yuya Fukui (0-0, 1.80) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 5.93)

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

Andrew Albers (2-3, 3.78) vs Toshiya Nakamura (0-0, 4.58)

Central League

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirofumi Yamanaka (0-0, 0.00) vs Kentaro Taira (2-2, 1.99)

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

Yariel Rodriguez (-) vs Ryosuke Miyaguni (0-0, 2.81)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-1, 4.50) vs Takumi Akiyama (3-1, 4.83)