Tag Archives: Frank Herrmann

NPB wrap 5-16-21

Let there be Roki, and Leonys Martin, too

People came to see Roki Sasaki, OK, and Takaki Ishibashi (Taka Tanaka of the “Major League” movie franchise) throw the ceremonial first pitch, but mostly Sasaki, who a third of the way through his second pro season, made his first-team debut at the Lotte Marines’ home ground.

But if those two were the star attractions, Leonys Martin was the star, and would have been a hero (on the postgame hero interview podium if his ninth-inning drive had gone over the fence instead of being caught for an out on the warning track. As it was, Sasaki showed off a good fastball (topping out at 96 mph) and splitter, and Martin hit two homers, drove in three runs, doubled and was hit by a pitch and leads both leagues with 12 home runs.

Marines 6, Lions 6

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Sasaki allowed four runs, two earned, over five innings. He gave up six hits and two walks, while striking out five. He missed some pitches that were hit, but you have to give credit to the Lions hitters for adjusting and hitting some tough pitches as well.

Seibu starter Katsunori Hirai gave up a first-inning leadoff homer on his second pitch of the game to Takashi Ogino, and another on his third pitch to Martin, and allowed four runs in four innings. Ogino singled in a run in Lotte’s two-run second and singled ahead of Martin’s fifth-inning home run.

Frank Herrmann, Lotte’s third pitcher, recorded his 100th hold in Japan, but Yuki Karakawa issued two one-out walks in the eighth and a two-out two-run single to Cory Spangenberg.

Reed Garrett returned to his ninth-inning role by surviving Martin’s drive to the wall to nail down the 6-6 tie when pinch-runner Koshiro Wada was thrown out to end the game trying to steal second. The Lions stole five bases.

Fighters 2, Hawks 2

At Sapporo Dome, SoftBank’s Kenji Akashi singled in two seventh-inning runs off Nippon Ham starter Naoyuki Uwasawa, and both closers, Toshihiro Sugiura for the Fighters and Livan Moinelo for the Hawks, stranded three runners in a scoreless ninth.

Eagles 1, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Rakuten’s top draft pick last autumn, lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (5-2) threw his first shutout and first Maddux, with Hiroaki Shimauchi ruining the win-loss record of Orix’s Sachiya Yamasaki (1-4) with a second-inning solo home run, his fifth of the year. Hayakawa allowed three hits and two walks while striking out eight.

Yamasaki walked one, hit one and gave up five hits in his 6-2/3-inning effort.

Tigers 6, Giants 5

At Tokyo Dome, Hanshin’s Raul Alcantara (1-0), who went 20-2 last year for KBO’s Doosan Bears, nearly let this victory in his Japan debut slip away in a three-run sixth after four straight singles to start the inning, but retired the last three batters he faced and three relievers shut the door to hold off Yomiuri.

Tigers leadoff hitter Koji Chikamoto doubled and singled twice, scored twice and drove in two runs, while Naomasa Yokawa hit a two-run homer for the visitors, while Robert Suarez recorded his Japan-best 12 saves. Kazuma Okamoto hit his ninth home run for the Giants, and Zelous Wheeler extended his hitting streak to 21 games.

Giants-Tigers highlights

Dragons 2, Swallows 2

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami hit his Central League-leading 11th home run, a two-run shot in the first inning but that was all the offense the visitors’ could muster against Yuya Yanagi, who pitched yet another marvelous game, allowing four hits and walking two over seven innings while his nine strikeouts raised his Japan-best total to 67.

Swallows rookie Yasunobu Okugawa also pitched well. The other big pitcher out of high school in 2019 along with Roki Sasaki, Okugawa allowed a run on seven hits over six innings while striking out seven and walking none. Dragons leadoff man Yohei Oshima had two hits and a sac fly, while, Yota Kyoda singled in the game-tying run in the ninth after Kosuke Fukudome opened the inning with a pinch-hit single off Yakult closer Taichi Ishiyama.

The game, which could also be confused by a defensive highlight reel, saw two big plays from the Swallows outfield . Rookie reserve Hidetaka Namiki prevented a loss by robbing Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita of an RBI eighth-inning double. In the ninth, center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi prevented the game-winning run from scoring with a game-ending throw to the plate.

Carp 3, BayStars 3

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, it was perhaps a good thing this game could only go nine innings, otherwise who knows how many base runners the DeNA BayStars would have squandered. As it was they entered the seventh trailing Hiroshima 2-0 having put 14 on through six innings, largely thanks to four double plays. But that changed in the seventh, when Neftali Soto homered after singles by Tyler Austin and Keita Sano.

Michael Peoples allowed two runs over five innings for the BayStars. Ryuma Nishikawa twice singled in runs for the Carp, including one in the eighth off former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki to tie it. Both closers, rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi of the Carp and Kazuki Mishima of the BayStars, stranded two runners in the ninth to end this game in a tie.

Active roster moves 5/16/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/26

Central League

Activated

TigersP44Raul Alcantara
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP13Akira Niho
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
FightersC10Yushi Shimizu
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo

Dectivated

FightersC30Shingo Usami
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami

NPB wrap 4-15-21

6 of one half dozen of the other

I don’t know what’s more surprising, the Yomiuri Giants starting pitchers allowing any runs this past week against the Chunichi Dragons and Hiroshima Carp, or those two teams managing to score at all.

Through their first 17 games, the Dragons are last in runs in Japan with 39, while the Carp, who have not scored for 31 consecutive innings, are 10th. The Nippon Ham Fighters have scored 45 to the Carp’s 47 but have played one less game.

Giants 5, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri lefty Yuki Takahashi (3-0) allowed his only earned run of the season in eight innings. Seiya Matsubara opened the Giants’ first with a homer off Koji Fukutani (0-1), who allowed five runs four innings. Hayato Sakamoto doubled and scored on a Takyuki Kajitani double. Matsubara singled in two runs in the second and Kajitani doubled and scored in the third and that was the ballgame.

With Rubby Da La Rosa having returned to the United States to complete his citizenship process, Brazilian flame thrower Thyago Vieira surrendered Ariel Martinez’s second hit of the game but struck out two and stranded two in the ninth.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Tigers 4, Carp 0

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin Tigers right-hander Takumi Akiyama (2-1) delivered his second straight solid start with seven innings against the Carp, who as mentioned above haven’t scored since April 10.

Yusuke Oyama cracked a two-run first-inning homer and rookie Teruaki Sato blasted his second two-run homer in two days in the fourth to account for the scoring.

Jefry Marte and Jerry Sands each singled twice and scored on the two home runs off Hiroki Tokoda (1-1), who was yanked after the fourth. Sato doubled and struck out twice in four trips to the plate.

Swallows 2, BayStars 1

At Jingu Stadium, DeNA lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-3) struck out 10 over six innings, but surrendered first-inning homers to Yuhei “He’s too good to be batting second in Japan” Nakamura and cleanup hitter Munekata Murakami.

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-0) put together a good start for Yakult, escaping one jam when he loaded the bases after two were out and surrendered just one run in the fourth. Takanashi left in the sixth with one out. Hiroki Kondo, however, survived a two-one, one-out jam to get out of the inning. Noboru Shimizu, Scott McGough and Taichi Ishiyama each delivered a scoreless inning with Ishiyama getting his fifth save.

Neftali Soto and Tyler Austin were in the starting lineup for the first time, allowing us to answer the question: Who makes room for them? Speedy left-handed hitter Taiki Sekine was bumped into center, where he’ll likely platoon with Masayuki Kuwahara, so Austin could start in right. Rookie Shugo Maki, who’s been tearing up the league, surrendered first base to Soto and moved to second, where he played a lot in the spring.

Hawks 4, Buffaloes 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Kenta Imamiya made a terrific play to end a fortunate Orix Buffaloes’ three-run fifth-inning rally of Shota Takeda (1-1) who has done well this season pitching against the Pacific League’s two worst clubs.

The Hawks came back in the bottom of the fifth against Hirotoshi Masui (1-2), who had pitched well twice this season and beat SoftBank on March 31. In contrast to the Buffaloes’ string of scratch hits, the Hawks stung the ball in their four-run rally, culminating in a two-run Ryoya Kurihara double when he put a good swing on a 1-2 pitch.

After the game, Kurihara said Hawks head coach Hiroki Kokubo told him to not sweat batting cleanup, which may or may not have been a thing with Kurihara, but definitely is with the media, who treat batting fourth with the same idiotic solemnity they do batting practice home runs in spring training.

Takeda left after five and without right-handed closer Yuito Mori–expected to miss a handful of games while they figure out what’s what what with his swollen left elbow—lefty Livan Moinelo gave the Buffaloes hope with two one-out singles before crushing those dreams and notching his first save.

Marines 7, Eagles 3

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Lotte Marines right-hander Daiki Iwashita (2-1) delivered his third solid start despite the four walks. He left the bases loaded in the first and finished with five scoreless innings but now has has 11 walks in 17 innings.

Rakuten starter Ryota Takinaka (1-2), who was overrun and taken prisoner by Marines on April 1, fell somewhere between that outing and his sterling April 8 start against Seibu, allowing two runs over five innings. Shogo Nakamura walked and scored the first of his two runs when Brandon Laird broke the ice with a fourth-inning sac fly. Yudai Fujioka then doubled in Hisanori Yasuda and it was 2-0 Marines until the ninth.

Frank Herrmann and Yuki Karakawa worked scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth for Lotte before the visitors crushed out five runs in the top of the ninth on a three-run Leonys Martin double and a two-run Laird single. That made it 7-0 to all but ensure the Eagles wouldn’t play their fourth tie in six games.

Starting pitchers

Friday will see Drew VerHagen make his season debut for the Fighters against the Eagles’ Hideaki Wakui at Tokyo Dome, while a pair of Opening Day starters will go at it at MetLife Dome as the Seibu Lions send Kona Takahashi against the SoftBank Hawks’ Shuta Ishikawa.

In the Central League, Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano will see if he can keep their streak of superb starts going against the BayStars in Yokohama. At Koshien Stadium, Shintaro Fujinami will go for his second straight win against Masanori Ishikawa, who will make his season debut for the Yakult Swallows against the Hanshin Tigers, with both clubs having swept their weekday series.

Pacific League

Fighters vs Eagles: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Drew VerHagen (-) vs Hideaki Wakui (2-0, 1.23)

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

Kona Takahashi (2-0, 3.80) vs Shuta Ishikawa (1-1, 3.60)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Taisuke Yamaoka (0-2, 3.94) vs Kota Futaki (1-1, 2.84)

Central League

BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuya Sakamoto (-) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (0-1, 3.46)

Dragons vs Carp: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Matsuba (0-1, 3.27) vs Atsushi Endo (-)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-0, 2.50) vs Masanori Ishikawa (-)

Active roster moves 4/15/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/25

Central League

Activated

GiantsP50Chiaki Tone

Dectivated

GiantsP12Rubby De La Rosa

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

FightersP43Ryota Hasegawa
FightersOF12Go Matsumoto