Tag Archives: Domingo Santana

NPB news: Aug. 27, 2022

A lot happened in Japan on Saturday.

We’ve been waiting for Japan’s fifth no-hit shutout since June, and we got it, although offense hasn’t really reverted to the dead-ball levels when there were also five in 1940. This one was by a guy who was the 55th overall pick in MLB’s 2015 draft, Cody Ponce, a veteran of 20 MLB games.

I’m guessing that was Ponce’s first no-hitter as a pro. In the other league, Patrick Kivlehan, the 131st player taken in MLB’s 2012 draft, who has 10 MLB home runs on his ledger, now has three in Japan, and said it was the first time in his life he’d ever hit three in one game. He had a lot of company as the new Yakult Swallow didn’t even account for half the souvenirs his team left in the outfield seats at Yokohama Stadium.

We also had the first career shutout by a former rookie of the year, and two straight winning starts for a couple of big-name pitchers, so let’s get to it all shall we?

Saturday’s games

Fighters 2, Hawks 0: At Sapporo Dome, Ponce (3-4) needed 113 pitches, when working with rookie catcher Yudai Yoshikawa for the first time, made good use of his two-seamer to keep the Hawks from getting the barrel on the ball. His fielders robbed SoftBank of three singles. Light-hitting veteran utility outfielder Fumikazu Kimura singled in one run off Shota Takeda (2-1) and Chusei Mannami, who made one of the big defensive plays in center field in the top of the second, homered in the bottom of the inning to complete the scoring.

Ponce said some neat stuff, and you can read about it at Kyodo News. If you’re curious what the Japanese media wrote about it, the headline of one Sankei Sports story reads: “No-hit pitcher Ponce is good at cooking and makes steak and avocado toast,” which sounds like the intro for a contestant on the Dating Game.

With this game the Hawks and Fighters have each had one of their pitchers throw a no-hitter and be no-hit. No team has done both since the Fighters managed that feat in 1985. Ponce became the first import to throw one since Yakult’s Rick Guttormson no-hit the Rakuten Eagles in 2006.

No-hitters then and now

As for how common no-hitters have been, Japan is still a long way away from where it was in 1940, when the league batting average was .206 and there were five no-hitters in 469 games. There’s been 1,392 games this year.

With a .240 average in the PL, no-hitters are generally about half as likely to occur as in 1940, and about a third as likely in the CL, where the league average is .249 this year. By the way, there hasn’t been a league average as low as the PLs in Japan since 1973, so this is a pretty weird season.

Eagles 11, Marines 3: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Masahiro Tanaka (8-9) won his second straight start, he allowed three runs over seven innings, but didn’t give up a run until he was leading 9-0 in the bottom of the fourth. The Eagles shelled lefty Enny Romero (8-8) for five runs, four earned in 3-1/3 innings, and it went downhill from there.

Buffaloes 6, Lions 0: At Osaka Dome, 2021 PL rookie of the year Hiroya Miyagi (9-6) threw a four-hitter for his first career shutout. He struck out just three without issuing a walk. Masahiro Nishino doubled and scored in the first on Yuma Mune’s fourth home run, off Kaito Yoza (9-6), and Masataka Yoshida capped a three-run fifth with a two-run double.

Swallows 16, BayStars 4: At Yokohama Stadium, Kivlehan put his manager in old fart jeopardy by hitting three home runs, with former players questioning Shingo Takatsu’s small-ball credentials by having the nerve to put a guy who might hit three homers in a game in the No. 2 spot.

Kivlehan tied it 1-1 with his first homer. With one out and a runner on second, and down in the count 2-0 to Munetaka Murakami, the BayStars opted to walk him, which didn’t work out since he came around to score on a two-run single by 20-year-old rookie catcher Soma Uchiyama.

Kivlehan went 4-for-5 was hit by a pitch, scored four runs and drove in three, but Murakami went 5-for-5 scored four and drove in four and hit his 48th home run. Jose Osuna, Domingo Santana and Uchiyama also went deep for the Swallows, who moved six games in front of DeNA.

It was fun listening to former Swallow Ryota Igarashi try to explain how you pitch to Murakami, and he did his best, “You just try to avoid giving up the home run. You try to make good pitches that stay out of the heart of the zone and if he gets a hit or you walk him, you live with it.”

Murakami is now on pace to hit 59.8 home runs this year, which probably won’t happen.

Shugo Maki and Toshiro Miyazaki homered for the BayStars, while Yasuhiro Ogawa (6-7) allowed three runs over six innings to get the win.

Tigers 5, Dragons 1: At Nagoya Dome, Shintaro Fujinami, who I’ll argue is still a big name if not a particularly big pitcher other than his 1.94-meter height, won his second straight start to improve to 2-2, but he’s allowed five runs in his last 27-1/3 innings and took a loss when he struck out 10 and gave up one run over seven innings on Aug. 13.

Mel Rojas Jr., Yusuke Oyama, and Yasuhiro Yamamoto each singled in a run in the first off Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-6), who struck out eight and allowed no more runs through six innings, with novice pitcher Akira Neo coughing up two runs in the eighth inning when he walked a bunch of guys.

Carp 6, Giants 4: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Minoru Omori tripled and broke a 4-4 tie on Ryosuke Kikuchi’s eighth-inning single off Ian Krol (1-1), who allowed another run on an error in the inning.

Sho Nakata put Yomiuri ahead against Carp starter Atsushi Endo with a two-run fourth-inning homer after Shogo Sakakura homered for Hiroshima in the second. Ryoma Nishikawa’s leadoff homer tied it for the Carp in the bottom of the fourth, when Ryan McBroom doubled and scored the go-ahead run.

Rookie Carp catcher Masaya Yano made it 4-2 in the fifth with a solo homer, but the Giants re-tied it on Kazuma Okamoto’s two-run eighth-inning single off reliever Ryuya Matsumoto. After Kikuchi gave the hosts the lead, Ryoji Kurihara closed it out in the ninth with his 25th save.

Sunday’s starting pitchers

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

Takayuki Kato (5-5, 1.91) vs Kodai Senga (8-4, 2.05)

Marines vs Eagles: Chiba Marine Stadium 4 pm, 3 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (2-9, 2.80) vs Takahisa Hayakawa (5-6, 3.32)

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

Ren Mukunoki (2-1, 1.10) vs Dietrich Enns (8-6, 2.72)

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

Masaya Kyoyama (2-1, 3.14) vs Juri Hara (7-4, 4.25)

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

Yuya Yanagi (7-9, 3.65) vs Daichi Moriki (-)

Carp vs Giants: Hiroshima Citizen’s Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Haruki Omichi (0-1, 5.63) vs Yuji Akahoshi (3-5, 4.28)

Active roster moves 8/27/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/6

Central League


GiantsP46Takuya Kuwahara
GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
CarpIF33Ryosuke Kikuchi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
BayStarsP45Robert Gsellman


GiantsP19Iori Yamasaki
CarpIF35Takumi Miyoshi
CarpIF54Yuya Nirasawa
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami

Pacific League


LionsP11Tatsuya Imai

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NPB news: Aug. 11, 2022

Thursday was “Mountain Day” in Japan, and a national holiday, so there were three indoor day game. And even as Munetaka Murakami scaled another mountain, the Yakult Swallows must be feeling that a mountain has fallen on them.

The Swallows are now seven games ahead of the BayStars against whom they open a three-game series on Friday. If the tailspin continues, the BayStars could enter next week four games out of first place.

With that in mind, I thought it might be instructive to run a pennant race projection for each league, so let’s get started!

Thursday’s games

Fighters 3, Lions 2, 10 innings: At Sapporo Dome, Yushi Shimizu prevented two straight 2-2 ties, the Fighters backup catcher who has spent most of the season on the farm bounced a 1-1 pitch from Lions starter Wataru Matsumoto (5-4) into left to win it.

Yuma Imagawa, who made the final out the night before, said he didn’t get to sleep ahead of the 2 pm start until it was nearly 4 am, but hit a two-run fifth-inning homer to give the Fighters a 2-1 lead. Yuki James Nomura tripled ahead of him and scored, and then doubled in the 10th to set up the winning run, after Imagawa was intentionally walked ahead of Shimizu with two outs.

The Lions took the lead on a first-inning on doubles by Sosuke Genda and Tomoya Mori, who said in the flash quote provided by the team, “It’s good we scored.”

Seibu tied it on Shuta Tonosaki’s RBI single set up by Brian O’Grady’s second double of the game, with one out in the seventh. Tonosaki said, “I went to bat thinking but nothing but getting the runner home.”

These are about par for the course for mid-game quotes released by the team, where the person who drives in a run is quotes as saying all sorts of silly things.

Kazutomo Iguchi (1-0) struck out two in a 1-2-3 10th to earn the win and may have employed some sort of Jedi mind control before going into his delivery.

Buffaloes 6, Eagles 1: At Osaka Dome, Hiroya Miyagi (7-6) allowed a run over eight innings, but Yuma Tongu hit a two-run third-inning homer, his fourth, and Yutaro Sugimoto hit a solo homer, his 15th in a two-run fourth as Orix ran over Rakuten.

Hideto Asamura hit his 19th homer in the eighth to account for the Eagles’ run as Orix moved into third place, 2-1/2 games back of the Lions.

Hawks 4, Marines 3: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Kenta Imamiya broke a 3-3 ninth-inning tie by hitting his second homer of the year, off Lotte closer Naoya Masuda (0-2) and Ukyo Shuto made a huge catch in center field for the first out of the ninth inning as Koya Fuji recorded his second save.

Shuto singled and Taisei Makihara doubled in the opening run in the first off Atsuki Taneichi, who gave up two more runs in his three-innings. Akira Nakamura homered in the second and drew the fourth walk issued by Taneichi in the third.

Leonys Martin hit a two-run home run, his ninth, off Colin Rea in the first. Teenage rookie catcher Kou Matsukawa reached base three times and scored the tying run on a Shogo Nakamura sac fly in the fifth.

Giants 6, Dragons 1: At Nagoya Dome, rookie Iori Yamasaki (4-3) delivered his second straight quality start, allowing a run over six innings, while going 2-for-3 with an RBI double in Yomiuri’s three-run sixth.

Sho Nakata, whose ninth-inning homer beat Chunichi Saturday, singled in a run in the first off Takahiro Matsuba (4-4). Takumi Oshiro’s RBI single made it 2-0 in the fourth, and Yamasaki’s double plated Adam Walker with the first run in the sixth. Naoki Yoshikawa, who singled and scored in the first, doubled in two more to put this one ice.

BayStars 4, Tigers 1: At Yokohama Stadium, Kenta Ishida (4-2) allowed a first-inning run on a single, a hit batsman and a wild pitch but gave up little else over seven innings. Keita Sano tied it with his 14th home run, in the fourth off Hiroto Saiki (2-1), and Hiroki Minei tattooed a two-run homer, his fifth, in the seventh. A single, a Tyler Austin double and some poor ball handling capped the three-run rally. Edwin Escobar worked the ninth to record his second save.

Carp 6, Swallows 3: At Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Cy Sneed (6-4) retired the first nine batters before a Takayoshi Noma leadoff double in the fourth, a one-out walk and Ryoma Nishikawa’s seventh homer. The Carp sparkplug early in the season, Nishikawa was sidelined from June 3 as a victim of Japan’s “insufficient conditioning” epidemic and only returned to duty last week, since which he is 8-for-20 with two homers, and six RBIs.

Carp starter Yusuke Nomura (2-1) allowed an unearned run over five innings. Domingo Santana’s sixth-inning homer, his 12th, made it a one-run game before Nishikawa sparked a three-run inning with a one-out sixth-inning single. Sneed struck out Takashi Uemoto with two on, but Kaito Kozono singled in one run and Tsubasa Aizawa chased him with a two-run double.

In the eighth inning, the 22-year-old Murakami became the youngest player in Japanese pro baseball to hit 40 home runs in a season, surpassing Hall of Famers Sadaharu Oh and Koji Akiyama, who achieved the feat at the age of 23.

Pennant race projections

Central League


Pacific League


Friday’s starting pitchers

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

Takayuki Kishi (7-5, 2.96) vs Tatsuya Imai (2-1, 3.30)

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

Ayumu Ishikawa (6-4, 2.38) vs Cody Ponce (2-3, 3.50)

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

Kazuki Sugiyama (1-3, 7.05) vs Daichi Takeyasu (1-0, 2.40)

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

Kenshin Hotta (2-2, 5.67) vs Daichi Osera (7-7, 4.18)

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

Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-6, 2.72) vs Shinichi Onuki (8-4, 2.40)

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

Yuki Nishi (8-6, 2.11) vs Yudai Ono (4-7, 2.92)

Active roster moves 8/11/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/21

Central League


SwallowsP48Yuto Kanakubo
TigersP35Hiroto Saiki
TigersOF63Yutaro Itayama
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
CarpIF10Ryan McBroom
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba
DragonsIF1Yota Kyoda
BayStarsOF63Taiki Sekine


SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi
SwallowsP24Tomoya Hoshi
TigersP37Masaki Oyokawa
TigersIF38Ryuhei Obata
CarpOF52Shota Suekane
DragonsP67Kotaro Ueda
DragonsOF51Kaname Takino
BayStarsOF0Taishi Ota

Pacific League


BuffaloesP95Kohei Azuma
MarinesP16Atsuki Taneichi
MarinesP42Roberto Osuna
MarinesOF51Koki Yamaguchi
EaglesP23Hayato Yuge
LionsP23Katsuhiko Kumon


MarinesP48Toshiya Nakamura
MarinesIF55Adeiny Hechavarria
EaglesP47Masaru Fujii

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