Tag Archives: Glenn Sparkman

NPB wrap 8-29-21

The Central League race is getting real tight.

The Tigers started Sunday with a 1-1/2 game lead, but they now lead the Giants by a half game, with the Swallows a half game further back. Forget about fourth, fifth and sixth — at least as far as the pennant goes — since those guys are done like dinner.

The top four teams in the Pacific League all appeared headed toward ties but that didn’t work out.

Live chat with former NPB star Leon Lee

Monday, Aug. 30, 11 am Japan; Sunday, Aug. 29, 7 pm Pacific Daylight Time.

Lee, who played 1,255 games over 10 years in Japan from 1978 to 1987 for the Lotte Orions, the Taiyo Whales, and Yakult Swallows. In addition to his accomplishments, Lee is a keen observer with a knack for explaining complicated things simply. 

Bring your questions and enjoy.

Exclusive for jballallen.com and newsletter subscribers.

Buffaloes 6, Hawks 3

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Yuma Mune singled in the go-ahead run in a four-run seventh inning, when three SoftBank relievers combined to give up four straight two-out hits. Cesar Vargas (1-0), who just signed with Orix and made his first-team debut on Saturday, earned the win after a scoreless seventh before allowing a consolation home run to the Hawks, Ryoya Kurihara’s 13th, in the eighth.

Carter Stewart Jr. (0-1) took the loss. He survived an eight-pitch walk to open a scoreless sixth by striking out Adam Jones and getting a double play. With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh, he collided with his catcher on a one-out bunt single. After a sacrifice, Stewart threw a good 1-2 fastball at the bottom of the zone but was foiled by a good swing from Shuhei Fukuda, who ripped a single past first.

Lefty Shinya Kayama came in to face Mune, who – after Fukuda stole second — produced a good swing for his third hit of the game. Kayama missed with an 0-1 slider to Masataka Yoshida, who doubled to make it 5-2, and with the outfield, Sugimoto’s high fly to the center-field wall off Yuki Tsumori went for an RBI triple instead of the third out.

Another new Buffalo, Glenn Sparkman pitched out of a no-out bases-loaded predicament in the second and allowed two runs over five innings. SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada returned to duty after being scratched from a start two weeks earlier. He retired the first nine batters he faced before an error gave the Buffaloes a leadoff runner in their two-run fourth.

SoftBank tied it in the fifth on Dariel Alvarez’s first-homer for the Hawks.

Marines 1, Eagles 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Lotte catcher Tatsushi Tamura came on as a defensive substitute in a scoreless tie to face Rakuten’s stand-in closer Sung Chia-hao (1-2). Sung got two outs after runners reached second and third. Tamura fouled off four straight 3-2 pitches before knocking a changeup past short to drive in the game’s only run.

Sung issued a leadoff walk to Shogo Nakamura, and a Leonys Martin single and an error put him in serious jeopardy, that he eased by striking out Brandon Laird and popping up Toshiya Sato. Tamura, however, spoiled pitch after pitch until getting one he could handle.

Naoya Masuda worked around a leadoff infield single in the ninth to record his Japan-best 28th save.

Rakuten’s Ryota Ishibashi worked six solid innings in his season debut, while former Dragon Enny Romero struck out five while allowing a walk and two singles over six innings.

Fighters 6, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome 5 pm, Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Hiromi Ito (8-5, 2.54) bounced back from his dreadful first start after the Tokyo Olympics (6 runs, 5 IP) to strikeout nine while allowing four hits and three walks in his first career shutout.

Seibu’s Keisuke Honda (0-2, 3.57) gave up four runs over four innings, all in the fourth, when the first four batters reached. Wang Po-jung did most of the damage with a no-out three-run double.

Swallows 5, BayStars 2

At Tokyo Dome, Yakult’s Juri Hara (1-1, 1.69) outdueled Shota Imanaga (3-4, 3.49), who doubled and was thrown out on the bases in scoreless fifth before Yakult scratched out a run in the home half. Hara worked seven scoreless innings, while Imanaga gave up one run over six.

The Swallows put the game away against Kevin Shackelford in the seventh. The right-hander retired two batters before a single and a walk set the table for Yasutaka Shiomi’s ninth home run. Shackelford allowed four hits and two walks.

The BayStars’ Masayuki Kuwahara hit a two-run homer, his ninth, against former closer Taichi Ishiyama in the ninth.

Giants 5, Dragons 1

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Yomiuri’s Yuki Takahashi (10-3, 2.71) threw five scoreless innings and doubled in the Giants’ third run against Chunichi lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-7, 3.23). The Dragons’ lone run came in the seventh, when Naomichi Donoue singled to reach base for the third time and scored on Shuhei Takahashi’s pinch-hit double.

Carp 5, Tigers 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Seiya Suzuki and Shogo Sakakura continued to tear up opposing pitchers. They each went deep in the first off Takumi Akiyama (9-5, 2.70), Suzuki with a two-run shot, his 19th and second in two nights, and Sakakura his eighth.

All three runs in the first, the only ones charged to Akiyama, were unearned after an error charged to Jerry Sands prolonged the inning and put a man on in front of Suzuki. Akiyama allowed seven hits, walked one and hit one over six innings, but the Carp added two more against his relief, Masaki Oyokawa, in the seventh.

With one on and two outs, the Tigers walked Suzuki intentionally so that Sakakura could get two RBIs instead of one on his double.

Carp lefty Hiroki Tokoda (2-2, 3.47) struck out 10 over six innings in which he allowed five hits and a walk.

Active roster moves 8/29/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/8

Central League


TigersOF97Dan Onodera
CarpP28Hiroki Tokoda
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa


TigersP41Shoki Murakami
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura

Pacific League


HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksIF00Hikaru Kawase
LionsIF3Hotaka Yamakawa
EaglesP60Ryota Ishibashi


HawksP17Sho Iwasaki
HawksIF23Ukyo Shuto
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
LionsIF49Brandon Taiga Tysinger

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NPB wrap 6-23-21

Orix streak reaches 11

The Buffaloes became the first team owned by Orix to win 11 consecutive decisions on Wednesday, when their winning streak became the franchise’s longest since 1984, when the franchise, then known as the Hankyu Braves, were on their way to the PL pennant led by triple crown-winner Boomer Wells.

NPB ‘time off’ means ‘work’

Nippon Professional Baseball, which has no official games between July 14, the start of the all-star series break, and Aug. 12 after the end of the Tokyo Olympics, announced Wednesday that its teams have scheduled 58 exhibitions with fans in the stands during that time.

Buffaloes sign Sparkman

The Pacific League’s Orix Buffaloes announced the signing of 29-year-old right-hander Glenn Sparkman on Wednesday. Sparkman was 4-14 with a 5.99 ERA in 52 major league games, of which he started 26 with 23 of those coming for the Kansas City Royals in 2019.

Buffaloes 3, Fighters 1

At Osaka‘s Kyocera Dome, rookie Kotaro Kurebayashi broke up a scoreless tie by leading off the third inning with Orix’s first hit, his fifth homer of the year, off Takahide Ikeda (3-7), who surrendered Masataka Yoshida’s 13th with two outs in the inning. Yutaro Sugimoto hit his 15th in the sixth inning to make it a 2-1 game.

Lefty Daiki Tajima (4-4) allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings while striking out eight, walking one and giving up six hits. Yang Chi, Tyler Higgins, and Yoshihisa Hirano finished up with one scoreless inning apiece with Hirano earning his ninth save.

Eagles 6, Lions 4

At MetLife Dome, Masahiro Tanaka (3-4) allowed four runs over six innings and earned his first win since May 1 after the Rakuten Eagles came from behind with two runs in the seventh against Lions rookie Yutaro Watanabe (0-1).

Tomohito Sakai, Sung Chia-hao and Yuki Matsui finished up for the Eagles with Matsui notching his 19th save. Tanaka struck out seven, walked one, hit one, and gave up eight hits. Takero Okajima brought the Eagles from behind in the seventh with a two-run triple.

Marines 1, Hawks 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Nobuhiro Matsuda tied it up with his eighth home run in the third. Lotte’s Frank Herrmann struck out the side in the seventh, and SoftBank loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Chihaya Sasaki,, but the right-hander Olympians Yuki Yanagita and Ryoya Kurihara to escape the jam.

Lotte rookie Shota Suzuki went six innings, while SoftBank’s Nao Higashihama worked six-plus.

Dragons 6, Tigers 2

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Hanshin’s Teruaki Sato scored twice, tying the game 2-2 in the sixth with his 19th home run, which tied a record if you believe the nonsense Japan’s media pumps out. Unfortunately, Shintaro Fujinami (3-2) surrendered four runs in the seventh as Chunichi blew the game out of the water.

Fujinami walked Dayan Viciedo with the bases loaded before surrendering a three-run double to Naomichi Donoue. Chunichi’s Opening Day starter Koji Fukutani (4-6) was the fortunate winner after allowing two runs on twelve hits over seven innings. Hanshin’s Raul Alcantara gave up two runs, one earned, over six innings. He struck out six while walking one.

Giants 4, BayStars 2

At Toyama Alpen Stadium, Yomiuri’s Yoshihiro Maru hit a pair of home runs, his seventh and eighth, and drove in three runs for the second straight day to make a winner out of Shun Yamaguchi (1-0), who allowed a run in 5-2/3 innings in his first game back in Japan.

BayStars ace Shota Imanaga (1-2) gave up four runs over six innings. Kevin Shackelford and Edwin Escobar each gave DeNA a scoreless inning of relief. Thyago Vieira recorded his fourth save for the Giants.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Swallows 8, Carp 5

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Jose Osuna’s fifth home run, a three-run third-inning shot did most of the damage against Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (5-5), who allowed seven runs, five earned, over four innings. Norichika Aoki reached base four times, scored twice and drove in a run for the Swallows.

Shogo Sakakura was the big hitter for the Carp, reaching base three times, scoring a run and driving in two. Yakult starter Cy Sneed (2-1) got whacked for five runs, four earned, in 3-2/3 innings. Scott McGough worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 14th save.

The Swallows lost Munetaka Murakami after he fouled a pitch off his right knee in the fourth inning. Manager Shingo Takatsu said Murakami wouldn’t be deactivated.

The Carp were without Seiya Suzuki, who suffered from side effects after being vaccinated for his role on Japan’s Olympic team.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Roki Sasaki (1-0, 3.38) vs Shota Takeda (3-3, 2.43)

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

Hirotoshi Masui (2-4, 3.94) vs Hiromi Ito (4-4, 2.77)

Central League

Dragons vs Tigers: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuichiro Okano (0-1, 9.00) vs Joe Gunkel (5-0, 2.44)

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

Koya Takahashi (2-2, 5.02) vs Keiji Takahashi (1-0, 2.84)

Active roster moves 6/23/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/3

Central League


GiantsP99Shun Yamaguchi
TigersP44Raul Alcantara
BayStarsC10Yasutaka Tobashira
CarpOF59Minoru Omori
SwallowsP54Cy Sneed


BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama
BayStarsP93Koo Nakagawa
CarpOF1Seiya Suzuki

Pacific League


MarinesP35Shota Suzuki
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura
FightersP52Takahide Ikeda
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi


MarinesC32Toshiya Sato
BuffaloesP19Taisuke Yamaoka
BuffaloesP49Keisuke Sawada