Tag Archives: Drew VerHagen

NPB wrap 9-18-21

There were two great pitching duels on Saturday and another superb performance from who else but Yoshinobu Yamamoto, whom Steven Moya accurately referred to as “a beast.”

Fighters 1, Marines 0

At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham’s  Drew VerHagen (4-7, 4.50) struck out 11 over six innings to win a duel between pitchers who started the day with ERAs on the wrong side of 4.50 against Daiki Iwashita (8-7, 4.33), who allowed four hits but no walks while striking out four.

Ryusei Sato doubled in the fifth and scored on a Haruki Nishikawa triple. The Fighters loaded the bases in the seventh but failed to score thanks to Leonys Martin’s arm. He kept the runner from going first to third on a one-out single to third, and that prevented a run on the Fighters’ third straight single in the inning.

Lefty Mizuki Hori worked a 1-2-3 seventh for Nippon Ham, Bryan Rodriguez escaped a bases-loaded predicament in the eighth and Toshiro Sugiura notched his 20th save.

Eagles vs Hawks

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, rained out. Masahiro Tanaka was scheduled to start but was pushed back so Takayuki Kishi could pitch on Sunday.

Buffaloes 4, Lions 0

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (14-5, 1.54) struck out 11, walked one and allowed five hits over eight innings to win his 11th straight decision and reach 500 career strikeouts faster than any pitcher in franchise history. 

Tatsuya Imai (7-6, 3.44) struck out nine, walked two and gave up six hits over six innings.

Steven Moya hit a two-run double in the fourth, and Rookie Kotaro Kurebayashi made it 4-0 in the fifth with his fifth home run. Tyler Higgins retired the side in the ninth to close it out.

Giants 6, Swallows 6

At Tokyo Dome, Yakult’s Yasutaka Shiomi became the 71st player in elite Japanese pro baseball to hit for the cycle, scoring four runs and driving in three, only for Yomiuri to come from behind and secure a tie.

The Swallows had base runners in every inning and nearly drove C.C. Mercedes from the game in the first inning with a couple of smashes off his body, the second plating Shiomi from third for the opening run.

Yakult starter Keiji Takahashi loaded the bases with no outs in the first but only gave up one run on a double play. Shiomi tripled and scored in the third. A night after hitting a grand slam courtesy of Tokyo Dome’s shallow power alleys, Shiomi made it 5-1 with his 12th home run. Takahashi gave up solo homers in the fourth to Hayato Sakamoto, his 16th, and Hiroyuki Nakajima’s sixth.

Takumi Kitamura fourth home run made it a one-run game in the fifth against Takahashi. Shiomi doubled and scored in the sixth, but Ryuta Konno allowed the tying runs to score on a two-run seventh-inning Sakamoto double.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Tigers 1, Dragons 0

At Koshien Stadium, Haruto Takahashi (1-1, 4.09) won a southpaw duel against Yudai Ono (6-9, 2.90) thanks to Kento Itohara’s third hit, a sixth-inning RBI double.

Both starting pitchers went seven innings without issuing a walk. Takahashi struck out 10 while allowing two hits, while Ono struck out seven while allowing six hits.

Robert Suarez allowed the first two runners to reach in the ninth, but Chunichi manager Tsuyoshi Yoda ordered his most reliable hitter, Yohei Oshima, to sacrifice, and he failed, helping the Tigers closer earn his 32nd save.

BayStars 4, Carp 2

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, DeNA broke a 1-1 eighth-inning tie with three runs against Hiroshima’s second pitcher, lefty Atsuya Horie (4-4) after strong outings by Carp ace Daichi Osera and DeNA’s Masaya Kyoyama.

Masayuki Kuwahara doubled to open the game and scored to put the BayStars in front. The visitors put two on with one out in the second but Osera was able to get out of the inning against Kyoyama.

The Carp tied it in the fourth on a Seiya Suzuki double and a pair of two-out singles. DeNA lefty Yoshiki Sunada (2-1) took over with two out and two on in the seventh and got out of the inning to earn the win.

Having bat for Osera in the seventh, Horie took over in the eighth and surrendered a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Yamato Maeda. A sacrifice and a single put runners on the corners. Keita Sano drove in a run with a grounder but reached on an error. Horie walked Tyler Austin to load the bases, Yasunori Kikuchi walked in a run, and surrendered a sac fly to rookie Keito Mori.

Suzuki hit made it 4-2 in the eighth with his 29th home run, off Edwin Escobar, and Yasuaki Yamasaki earned his first save since July 14, 2020.

Sunday’s starting pitchers

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

Takayuki Kato (4-6, 4.04) vs Kazuya Ojima (7-3, 4.57)

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

Takayuki Kishi (7-8, 3.62) vs Shuta Ishikawa (5-9, 3.36)

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

Sachiya Yamasaki (5-9, 3.80) vs Yutaro Watanabe (3-3, 4.02)

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

Juri Hara (1-1, 2.81) vs Koya Takahashi (3-5, 5.26)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Shota Imanaga (4-4, 2.96) vs Yariel Rodriguez (0-2, 4.26)

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

Joe Gunkel (7-2, 2.86) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (4-6, 3.72)

Active roster moves 9/18/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/28

Central League


TigersIF55Naomasa Yohkawa


GiantsP63Yuri Furukawa
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa

Pacific League


MarinesP46Daiki Iwashita
MarinesOF2Kyota Fujiwara
MarinesOF79Leonys Martin
FightersOF8Kensuke Kondo
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura


HawksP2Carter Stewart, Jr.
BuffaloesOF10Adam Jones

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NPB wrap 9-9-21

After merely ticking for much of the spring and summer and again during the Olympics, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki has become the time bomb that goes off on a daily basis. On Thursday, the Carp outfielder, who will likely move to the majors after this season via the posting system, went deep twice.

By homering in his sixth consecutive game, Suzuki is one game shy of the Japan record set by Hall of Famer Sadaharu Oh with the Yomiuri Giants in 1972 and equaled by Hanshin Tigers first baseman Randy Bass in 1986.

In two of the three games featuring pennant contenders, two closers blew leads in the top of the ninth and then watched as their teams wasted scoring opportunities in the bottom of the ninth.

On top of that, we had two wild plays, a runner tagged out at first after beating out an infield single, and a 3-2-5 double play, so all in all, it was a pretty good evening’s worth of baseball.

And if that didn’t whet your appetite, Nick Martinez, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Masahiro Tanaka, Yudai Ono and rookie rocket Roki Sasaki are all set to star for the teams in the weekend series openers.

Buffaloes 2, Marines 2

At Hotto Motto Field, the game between two teams separated at the top of the Pacific League standings by a few winning percentage points, couldn’t have been tighter. After a tremendous pitchers’ duel between Orix lefty Daiki Tajima and returning Lotte right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa, the Marines trailed by two but came back on home runs by Tetsuya Kokubo in the seventh and Takashi Ogino in the ninth.

Ishikawa, in his first game back since having shoulder cleaning surgery in June, was razor-sharp. A couple of good swings resulted in a fifth-inning Orix run. Masahiro Nishino singled off a two-seamer that got up a little too much, and Ishikawa threw one too many of his good changeup-sinkers to Shuhei Fukuda, who lined the fourth straight one he saw into center field for a two-out RBI single. Yutaro Sugimoto belted his 24th homer to lead off the fifth when Ishikawa tried to get a strike with a 3-0 fastball up and away.

Tajima allowed three hits and two walks but was extremely loose and sharp as he struck out 10 over eight innings. He threw a decent 1-1 inside fastball to Kokubo, and the former Carp pinch-hitting specialist, who’d been toiling in independent ball until Lotte signed him last week, hammered it for his first home run in two years.

Orix closer Yoshihisa Hirano, going for his 18th save, threw an 0-1 forkball low and in that Ogino upper-cut just over the fence in left for his eighth home run. In the bottom of the ninth, Lotte closer Naoya Masuda allowed two to reach with no outs and missed taking the loss by a few inches. Rookie Kotaro Kurebayashi hammered a low 1-2 slider toward the left-field corner, but Ryo Miki, an eighth-inning defensive replacement at third, jumped up to make the game-ending catch.

Eagles 4, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Drew VerHagen (3-7, 4.91) saw his string of solid outings snapped as he allowed four runs over six innings and Rakuten’s Takahiro Norimoto (9-5, 3.49) threw a three-hit shutout in which he struck out 11 and walked one.

Hiroaki Shimauchi’s two-run bases-loaded double opened the scoring in the third. The Eagles manufactured a run in the fifth after a leadoff walk, and Takero Okajima led off the sixth with his eighth home run.

When things go bad, sometimes they go so bad that one is forced to learn a rule to understand how it could possibly get worse.

One of the Fighters’ three singles, a leadoff infield single in the seventh, resulted in the inning’s first out. Yuki James Nomura beat out a grounder to second only to be tagged out. When the throw got past first baseman Daichi Suzuki, Nomura, in foul territory after over-running the bag, glanced at the ball and took a half step toward second before giving up and walking back to first. Before he could get back, Suzuki tagged him out and umpire Atsushi Fukaya ruled Nomura showed his intent to advance to the next base and was eligible to be put out.

BayStars 5, Giants 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Yomiuri rallied for three runs in the ninth off DeNA closer Kazuki Mishima, and then held on to secure the tie without closer Thyago Vieiara, who was deactivated earlier in the day for undisclosed reasons.

Yoshiyuki Kamei led off the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit double, but there were two down before Naoki Yoshikawa hit the first of four straight singles. Yoshihiro Maru’s tied it 3-3 before Mishima avoided blowing the lead.

Masayuki Kuwahara doubled to leadoff DeNA’s ninth but the BayStars couldn’t bring him home.

Tyler Austin and Toshiro Miyazaki homered back-to-back in the first inning off Shosei Togo. Austin’s two-run homer was his 23rd and Miyazaki’s his 12th. The Giants made it 3-2 in the fourth on an error, a Zelous Wheeler single, a groundout and an RBI single by rookie reserve catcher Yukinori Kishida.

The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against reliever Kevin Shackelford, but DeNA held onto the lead. Reliever Yoshiki Sunada served up a smash to first but got out of the inning on a slick play by Neftali Soto, who short-hopped the ball and fired home instead of touching the bag, and poor base running by the Giants allowed Tobashira to complete the 3-2-5 double play.

Tobashira doubled in two runs in the eighth to make it a 5-2 game, with starter Yuya Sakamoto set up to earn the win after allowing two unearned runs over five innings.

Swallows 13, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, Munetaka Murakami had a two-run single, and Domingo Santana a two-run double as Yakult gave Haruto Takahashi (0-1, 11.25) a five-run first-inning baptism of fire in his season debut. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first, but failed to score, and Norichika Aoki singled and scored his second run in the second on a Jose Osuna sac fly.

With two on and two out in the fourth, rookie Dan Onodera batted for the pitcher and singled in a run and Koji Chikamoto added a two-run double against Swallows starter Keiji Takahashi (3-1, 2.79). The lefty allowed three runs over six innings while striking out six to earnhis first pro win at Koshien, where seven years earlier he pitched Kyoto’s Ryukoku University Heian High School to the spring invitational championship.

Osuna singled in two runs in the sixth, and Santana capped a five-run seventh by drawing a bases-loaded walk. The win moved Yakult within a half-game of Yomiuri and 2-1/2 of the Tigers.

Carp 12, Dragons 5

At Mazda Stadium, Ryoma Nishikawa hit a two-run first-inning home run, his ninth, and Seiya Suzuki, the gift that keeps on giving, followed with his 26th. Nishikawa singled to open the Carp third, and Suzuki walked before a bases-loaded groundout made it 4-0.

The Dragons tied it in the fourth when four straight batters reached with one out. Journeyman reserve catcher Iori Katsura tripled in two runs, pinch-hitter Ariel Martinez walked and two more runs scored on a groundout and an error.

Nishikawa walked with two outs in the fourth off lefty Toshiya Okada, and Suzuki belted his 27th home run. The Dragons made it a 6-5 game in the fifth. Dayan Viciedo doubled and Shuhei Takahashi, whose single started the fourth-inning rally, singled him home.

The Carp came back for seconds against Okada in the fifth, with rookie Kota Hayashi singling in two with no outs before Nishikawa and Suzuki reached to open the Carp’s three-run sixth.

Atsuya Horie (4-3) preserved the Carp’s 5-4 lead by getting out of the fifth with a double play on one pitch. Horie was credited with the win by Japan rules that give it to the pitcher who inherits the lead before five innings provided no other pitcher works at least one inning more. He became the 21st CL pitcher to earn a win with one pitch.

I’ll leave you tonight with this catch by 44-year-old Kosuke Fukudome. And if one more person refers to him as an “old guy” this 61-year-old old guy will have some words for them.

Friday’s starting pitchers

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

Ryusei Kawano (2-3, 2.43) vs Nick Martinez (7-3, 2.03)

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

Wataru Matsumoto (7-6, 3.42) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (12-5, 1.61)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Roki Sasaki (2-2, 3.22) vs Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 2.86)

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuki Takahashi (10-3, 2.72) vs Yudai Ono (5-8, 3.10)

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

Daichi Osera (6-4, 3.18) vs Yuki Nishi (4-9, 3.55)

Active roster moves 9/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/19

Central League


TigersP29Haruto Takahashi
DragonsP41Akiyoshi Katsuno
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui


GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
CarpIF7Shota Dobayashi

Pacific League


MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
MarinesIF36Tetsuya Kokubo
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe
FightersP20Kenta Uehara
BuffaloesOF55Takahiro Okada


MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
MarinesC32Toshiya Sato
LionsP54Zach Neal
BuffaloesP48Koki Saito

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