It’s Saturday and was a rare night out with the missus, did some dancing, and said hi to some friends. It was fun, but full disclosure: It meant missing almost all of the games, so I won’t be able to report on anything I saw through careful observation of whole games because for the most part I didn’t.
There was some fun stuff, however, and
Yoshinobu Yamamoto stood in the way of the Hawks lowering their magic number, while the Chunichi Dragons are once more playing the role of the troll under the bridge the Yakult Swallows need to cross. The DeNA BayStars, meanwhile, were playing THEIR kryptonite team, the Hiroshima Carp.
The Rakuten Eagles sent Masahiro Tanaka to the mound with a chance to put Rakuten into third place, while the Hansin Tigers sent Yuki Nishi against the Yomiuri Giants’ Shosei Togo in their battle for the CL’s third-place spot in a game decided by home runs.
Elsewhere, a full crowd nearly brought one Fighters player to tears, while Chunichi skipper Kazuyoshi Tatsunami spills on Munetaka Murakami‘s failures.
The last two weeks I’ve been analyzing pitches, with batters’ runs created per pitch a key measure. I’m sticking with runs created per pitch but have switched to a fielding-independent model, that prevents the anomaly of Manabu Mima’s 85 mph fastball getting the highest rating of any starting pitcher’s fastball in Japan. It doesn’t miss many bats, doesn’t get called for strikes an unusual amount and is not hard to put in play, but when it has been put in play, very few have failed to find gloves this season.
With this new tweak, Hanshin reliever Atsuki Yuasa’s heater ranks as the most effective pitch thrown 400 or more times this season through Saturday, with batters creating .0113 runs per pitch he throws, to edge out Roki Sasaki’s .0117.
Let’s get to the games, shall we?
Buffaloes 2, Hawks 0: At Osaka Dome, Yamamoto (14-5) won a pitchers’ duel with Yugo Bando (2-3), with both starters allowing four hits over the distance. Yamamoto allowed four singles and a walk over nine while striking out seven. Bando Keita Nakagawa’s first-inning home run and walked three, two of which allowed Orix to load the bases in the third and score an insurance run on a Yuma Tongu sac fly.Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 17, 2022