Tag Archives: Hayato Sakamoto

NPB 2020 Sept. 26

Shuto gains redemption

Ukyo Shuto made up for a dropped ball that contributed to a loss the night before by driving in four runs to help lift the SoftBank Hawks to a 7-3 win over their nemeses, the Lotte Marines, at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

With two outs in the second and runners on second and third, Shuto singled off Toshiya Nakamura (2-4) to put the Hawks up by two. The speedster took second when the ball got past center fielder Takashi Ogino and scored on a Keizo Kawashima single.

Shuto then capped a three-run third with his second RBI single of the game to make it 6-2. He added to his day with a good play at second base to deny the Marines a fifth-inning leadoff single.

Nao Higashihama (5-1) allowed three runs over six innings, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced after Leonys Martin hit his 23rd home run of the year in the third to make it 6-3 Hawks.

The Hawks win improves their record against Lotte this season to a dismal 4-9-1.

Kiyomiya saves day for Fighters

Kotaro Kiyomiya’s three-run double tied it in the ninth off Buffaloes closer Brandon Dickson. Taishi Ota drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th and scored an insurance run for Nippon Ham Fighters in their 6-5 win over Orix at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Four of Orix’s runs came on solo homers. Two by Takahiro Okada, one by Steven Moya and one by Hayato Nishiura in the bottom of the 10th, when Katsuhiko Kumon stranded two runners to earn his first save.

Lefty Andrew Albers started for the Buffaloes and allowed a run on six hits and no walks over 5-1/3 innings. He struck out six.

Fighters ace Kohei Arihara allowed three runs over six innings, and though neither bullpen was lights out, the Fighters scored five late runs to come from behind. Dickson got one out before loading the bases on a singled and two walks for Kiyomiya, who went down for a low pitch and found the gap to tie it.

Steven Moya drew a leadoff walk in the ninth from veteran lefty Naoki Miyanishi (2-1), He was pulled for a pinch-runner but the Buffs left the bases loaded in the eighth.

Trailing by a run in the 10th, Moya, who’d hit four homers in the last six games, was out of the game when his spot came up with one out and one on against Kumon.

Lions survive loss of starter

Seven relivers picked up after the Seibu Lions lost starter Sean Nolin after one inning in a 5-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles at MetLife Dome with Sosuke Genda tripling in two runs to break a 1-1 seventh-inning tie.

Nolin worked a 1-2-3 first but left due to severe tightness in his left shoulder. The Eagles took the lead in the second on a Stefen Romero RBI single. With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth, Lions center fielder Fumikazu Kimura threw out a runner trying to score from second on a two-out single.

Eagles starter Ryota Ishibashi allowed a run over five innings, and D.J. Johnson worked a 1-2-3 sixth before the roof caved collapsed in the seventh with Tomohito Sakai on the mound. Corey Spangenberg, who reached base three times, singled in Genda to make it 4-1.

Swallows hold off Tigers

Munetaka Murakami singled in one run and broke a 1-1 tie with his 18th home run, making a winner out of Albert Suarez (4-0) in a 2-1 win over the virus-hit Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

The Swallows loaded the bases from the get-go against Joe Gunkel with a hit batsman, a Norichika Aoki double and a walk to Tetsuto Yamada. Murakami singled in one run. Gunkel, however, caught a break on a line out to second before striking out the next two hitters.

Suarez issued a walk in the first but it could have been a disaster as the first two balls were squared up bit hit straight to Swallows defenders. The right-hander gave up the tying run in the third.

Gunkel was pulled for a pinch hitter after allowing a run over four innings, and Murakami homered off Shintaro Fujinami in ( 1-6) in the sixth.

The Tigers came within a hair of scoring the tying run in the seventh but were thwarted when left fielder Norichika Aoki reacted well to a ball coming off a teammate’s glove and reserve catcher Akihisa Nishida made a good tag for the third out at the plate.

Relievers Nobuhiro Shimizu held Hanshin scoreless in the eighth and closer Taichi Ishiyama did the same in the ninth to earn his 13th save.

More Tiger trouble

A day after the Tigers dropped nine players from the active roster after four of them tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanshin’s Western League farm team, played Saturday’s game with just 17 players.

On Saturday evening, the team said Naomasa Yokawa, one of the infected players, had been admitted to a Tokyo hospital with a high fever. This is the most serious symptom yet reported by an NPB player. The worst symptoms reported so far was in March when pitcher Shintaro Fujinami lost his sense of taste.

Kinoshita lifts Dragons over Giants

Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita homered to break a 2-2 eighth-inning tie off reliever Kan Otake (1-2), lifting the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-2 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.

Yota Kyoda hit a two-run homer for the Dragons in the fifth, but Chunichi starter Koji Fukutani allowed the hosts to tie it in the seventh.

Hayato Sakamoto drew his second walk, Kazuma Okamoto doubled, and both scored on a single by the rejuvenated Hiroyuki Nakajima to chase Fukutani. Daisuke Sobue (1-0) retired both batters he faced to close out the seventh and earn the win.

Hiroto Fuku worked the eighth and Raidel Martinez earned his 14th save in the ninth, when he got an assist from Kinoshita, who gunned down pinch-runner Daisuke Masuda trying to steal second.

Giants-Dragons highlights

BayStars beat rookie Morishita

Toshiro Miyazaki went 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple an RBI and three runs to lead the DeNA BayStars attack against Hiroshima Carp rookie Masato Morishita (6-3) in a 5-2 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-4) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the wins. Edwin Escobar, Kenta Ishida and Kazuki Mishima picked up the pieces over the final three innings. Mishima collected his 10th save.

Jose Lopez had four hits scored a run and drove in one, while Tyler Austin hit his ninth home run for the BayStars.

Active roster moves 9/26/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/6

Central League

Activated

TigersP27Yuya Onaka
DragonsOF31Masaru Watanabe

Dectivated

DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Pacific League

Activated

FightersC64Yua Tamiya
BuffaloesC33Masato Matsui

Dectivated

FightersIF44Christian Villanueva
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota

Starting pitchers for Sept. 27, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Wataru Matsumoto (3-3, 4.06) vs Ryota Takinaka (0-0, 1.69)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Manabu Mima (7-2, 4.50) vs Akira Niho (4-4, 4.09)

Buffaloes vs Fighters: Kyocera Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (3-4, 4.55) vs Kosei Yoshida (0-0, 3.60)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shosei Togo (7-4, 2.97) vs Takahiro Matsuba (3-4, 3.33)

Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Daiki Yoshida (1-4, 4.81) vs Takumi Akiyama (5-2, 2.75)

Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (0-1, 5.79) vs Shinichi Onuki (6-4, 2.45)

NPB 2020 Sept. 25

Marines throw 1st punch

The Lotte Marines exploited a few bad pitches and a fumbled ground ball to put five runs off Matt Moore (3-2) in a 7-4 win over the SoftBank Hawks at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium on Friday.

The win moved the second-place Marines to within one game of the league-leading Hawks, who are now 3-9-1 against Lotte but have a winning record against the other four PL teams.

Former Marine Alfredo Despaigne popped the cork on this one in the second inning with a solo homer off Kota Futaki (5-2), who allowed four runs over 6-1/3 innings and earned the win.

Moore was hammered in one bad inning when the Marines hit their share of bad pitches, second baseman Ukyo Shuto dropped a ball after the first two runners reached and Leonys Martin hit a flare single when he was jammed inside with a good fastball.

Moore reasserted himself until he was finally pulled in the eighth inning after a leadoff single and a sacrifice with the Hawks trailing 5-4. Yuki Matsumoto allowed the inherited run and one more to score.

Marines right-hander Yuki Karakawa surrendered an inherited run in the seventh in relief of Futaki, but Hirokazu Sawamura and closer Naoya Masuda shut the door on their way out with Masuda earning his 24th save.

Spangenberg wins Padre challenge

Corey Spangenberg broke a 4-4 seventh-inning tie with a single off former San Diego Padres teammate Kazuhisa Makita (1-1) as the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Eagles 5-4 at MetLife Dome.

Ernesto Mejia drove in three runs with a pair of RBI singles for the Lions and took the Fighters by surprise with his baserunning and a great slide into home in the fifth inning. Lions starter Zach Neal, allowed four runs over five-plus innings but was taken off the hook by his teammates in a win that snapped the Eagles’ five-game winning streak.

Moya slams Fighters

Steven Moya homered for the third time in three games with a fourth-inning grand slam off Nick Martinez (1-5) as the Orix Buffaloes beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 9-2 at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Opening Day starter Taisuke Yamaoka (2-3) delivered his third straight solid start, allowing two runs over 6-2/3 innings to earn the win as Orix improved to 7-2-1 over the last 10 games.

Sakamoto, Giants march on

Hayato Sakamoto drove in two runs and had two hits to move within 37 of 2,000 in his career, while cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto hit his Central League-leading 23rd home run, drove in four and drew three walks in the Yomiuri Giants’ 8-4 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Tokyo Dome.

The Giants lowered their magic number to 26 to clinch their second straight pennant and the 47th league championship.

Giants-Dragons highlights.

Swallows beat Tigers

Jerry Sands and Justin Bour each drove in a run for the Hanshin Tigers, who twice blew leads in a 6-3 loss to the Yakult Swallows on a day in which Hanshin dropped nearly a third of its active roster due to novel coronavirus infections.

Bour homered in the second and doubled with a man on in the sixth, when Hanshin wasted a two-on, no-out opportunity with two strikeouts and an out on the bases.

Norichika Aoki homered for the Swallows, while his former Kansas City Royals teammate Alcides Escobar singled in two runs in the fourth to tie it 3-3. Naomichi Nishiura singled in Aoki in the sixth to put the Swallows ahead against Yuki Nishi (7-4).

Takahiro Araki hit a two-run homer off Atsushi Nomi, who had been called up that day, to ice it in the seventh.

Tokoda puts brakes on BayStars

Hiroki Tokoda (2-6) allowed a run over seven innings and the Hiroshima Carp bludgeoned Shoichi Ino (6-5) for five runs in five-plus innings in a 5-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Tokoda, who last won on July 11, snapped a streak of five straight losing starts. The southpaw struck out nine and walked one while allowing eight hits.

Carp shortstop Kosuke Tanaka delivered the big blow for the hosts with a two-run homer in the third following Tokoda’s leadoff single.

Tigers’ show goes on

The Hanshin Tigers announced Friday that teamwide testing in the wake of a positive coronavirus test on the farm team, four first-team players, including captain and second baseman Kento Itohara, and two first-team staff members have also tested positive.

A number of Tigers players were deemed to have been in close contact with those infected, resulting in nine players being dropped from the active roster on Friday.

Despite the result, Hanshin’s game against the Yakult Swallows went on as scheduled at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, where the plague cats lost 6-3 to the hosts, with two runs scoring off Atsushi Nomi, one of Friday’s nine call-ups.

On Sunday when the team was in Nagoya, two groups of players including those who tested positive dined out.

The team allows players to eat out provided they do so in private rooms with no more than four individuals, but one of the groups included eight people.

The Tigers’ Western League farm game against the Chunichi Dragons on Friday was called off. Meanwhile, the Hiroshima Carp canceled their Western League game on Saturday against the Orix Buffaloes after Wednesday’s report that one of Orix’s minor league pitchers had tested positive.

The Tigers were the first team with reported infections when pitcher Shintaro Fujinami and two others tested positive in March. The Yomiuri Giants also reported two infections just prior to Opening Day.

Active roster moves 9/25/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/5

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF68Kazuya Katsuki
TigersP14Atsushi Nomi
TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
TigersP34Masaki Tanigawa
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersIF00Hiroki Uemoto
TigersIF2Fumiya Hojo
TigersIF4Takahiro Kumagai
TigersOF9Shun Takayama
TigersOF53Kairi Shimada
CarpP30Ryuji Ichioka

Dectivated

GiantsOF9Yoshiyuki Kamei
TigersP17Yuta Iwasada
TigersP18Kosuke Baba
TigersP56Keisuke Kobayashi
TigersP66Ippei Ogawa
TigersP67Suguru Iwazaki
TigersIF0Seiya Kinami
TigersIF33Kento Itohara
TigersIF55Naomasa Yokawa
TigersOF8Kosuke Fukudome
TigersOF25Taiga Egoshi

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP57Tsubasa Kokuba
LionsOF51Manaya Nishikawa
EaglesP17Takahiro Shiomi
MarinesP18Kota Futaki
MarinesOF0Takashi Ogino

Dectivated

LionsP21Ken Togame
LionsP36Sho Ito
MarinesOF10Shohei Kato

Starting pitchers for Sept. 25, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Sean Nolin (1-2, 7.08) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 6.46)

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Toshiya Nakamura (2-3, 4.44) vs Nao Higashihama (4-1, 2.66)

Buffaloes vs Fighters: Kyocera Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Andrew Albers (3-6, 3.97) vs Kohei Arihara (5-7, 3.93)

Central League

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Seishu Hatake (1-3, 4.56) vs Koji Fukutani (4-2, 2.42)

Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Albert Suarez (3-0, 1.86) vs Joe Gunkel (1-2, 2.96)

Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masato Morishita (6-2, 2.40) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (5-4, 3.75)

NPB 2020 9-23 members notes

Talking the talk in Japan

One element of Japanese verbal communication is known as “tatemae.” Although it is a topic about which volumes have been written, in my experience it is noticeable when someone says something that is obviously not true that is not a lie so to speak but a signal. It indicates that pursuing a topic further might force one to confront awkward truths or accept responsibility in a public fashion that would be better hashed out in private or not at all.

I once made the mistake of asking my Japanese boss when I was teaching English at Pepsicola Japan 30 years ago if I could leave early since none of my last class had shown up. She was completely annoyed with me, and didn’t want the responsibility of having given me permission to go, so she taught me why I should never ask her that question again. She followed me around both floors of the office asking everyone we could find regardless of who they were if they would like an impromptu English lesson. After that embarrassing 10-minute shame tour, she made me swear I had no more students in the office, and then ordered me home, with steam coming out of her ears.

In the wake of the Fernando Tatis Jr, 3-0 grand slam, a Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast listener asked if there are unwritten rules in Japanese baseball. The one that first came to mind was how pitchers should indicate remorse when hitting a batter by tipping their cap. Another one, as Hideto Asamura showed on Wednesday after he hit his Japan-best 28th home run and his fourth in two days, is to act as if one wasn’t trying to hit the ball hard.

In the postgame on-field interview he did what guys without real power tend to say, “I was playing for the team, not trying to do too much – see tsunagaru.

“I was only trying to set the table for (Eigoro) Mogi and the great hitters coming up behind me,” he said describing a swing that was custom built to put a baseball into orbit.

Why home run hitters do this is a good question, but it is pretty common. He did say later that he was “prepared to put a good swing on a fat pitch, and that’s what you saw,” but it is perfectly in line with the expectation that one acts humbly. It doesn’t keep guys from flipping their bats or pumping their fists or pimping their home runs but when the moment is over, one is expected to remember one’s place.

Trey Hillman, currently the Miami Marlins bench coach, once expressed an opinion that Japan’s sacrifice bunt dogma was often just an out, a socially acceptable way for individuals to evade accountability for trying to put a good swing on the ball and risking failure.

Of course, Japanese small ball is much more than that. It does, however, share that notion with tatemae that says we’re going to play this in an approved manner and no one will be hurt by it. Asamura was reasserting the social need to play for the team in the prescribed fashion even while being praised for a big swing that left no doubt about his intention. When he said he wasn’t swinging for the fences, he wasn’t denying it, but rather delivering a public service announcement: “Don’t try this at home kids.”

Offsetting penalties

The Hawks-Buffaloes game had a first for me, a balk that was called a balk and then wasn’t. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Orix lefty Daiki Tajima was delivering a pitch to Yurisbel Gracial with runners on first and second, when instead of releasing the ball he held on to it.

Gracial had asked for time and stepped out of the batter’s box without the umpire calling for play to stop. Tajima saw it and stopped and was in the process of being charged with a balk until the umpires decided, reasonably enough, that since Gracial had also broken the rules by stepping out of the box, no balk would be charged.

Hayato Sakamoto in toyland

With three hits on Wednesday, Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto moved to within 39 hits of Japan’s iconic 2,000-hit milestone.

What no one mentions is that the 31-year-old Sakamoto has an outside chance of becoming the second player with 3,000 hits in Japan.

Bill James’ Favorite Toy formula for calculating the chances of achieving certain career numbers, Sakamoto entered the 2020 season with a 30 percent chance of joining Isao Harimoto in the 3,000-hit club. It didn’t say what the chances were of Sakamoto becoming a Sunday morning TV talking head, however.

NPB 2020 Sept. 11

Moore, Despaigne lead Hawks over Lions

Matt Moore (2-1) overcame one costly mistake to allow two runs over seven innings and Alfredo Despaigne, getting a rare start in the outfield, had three hits including a tie-breaking home run in the SoftBank Hawks’ 4-2 win over the Seibu Lions on Friday.

Lions starter Zach Neal (3-5) was victimized by good swings and good footspeed in the Hawks’ two-run second at Fukuoka’s Casa de Pepe. Takuya Kai lined a leadoff double to center. Ukyo Shuto brought him home from third with one out with a well-hit single. Shuto stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Lions tied it in the third on a Corey Spangenberg infield single and a two-out Ernesto Mejia home run. Moore missed up with a 1-2 changeup and Mejia drove it over the short fence in left for his ninth home run in his 90th at-bat this season. Moore was visibly displeased and might have been penalized at Wimbledon had lip readers called in to report him to the match officials.

With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the inning, the broadcasters quoted Lions pitching coach Fumiya Nishiguchi about Neal pitching well despite the two runs allowed. Within seconds, however. Neal caught the bad-pitch bug. The right-hander hung a changeup to Alfredo Despaigne that the Cuban slugger miss-hit but lofted over the fence in left.

Moore struck out nine and walked two, while allowing three hits. Other than a walk to Hotaka Yamakawa, Spangenberg, who walked in the first, and Mejia, who doubled in the second, were the only Lions to reach base against the lefty.

Neal struck out six, while allowing seven hits over seven innings, and would have been a winner with the stuff he brought against a slightly less-potent team.

Livan Moinelo and Yuito Mori each worked a scoreless inning of relief with Mori earning his 20th save.

Nakamura outduels Yamaoka

Lotte Marines lefty Toshiya Nakamura (2-2) took a no-hitter into the eighth, and his teammates scored two unearned runs off the Orix Buffaloes Opening Day starter, Taisuke Yamaoka, in a 2-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Marines managed just three hits against Yamaoka (0-3). Shohei Kato singled to open the Marines’ sixth for their first hit. An error put two on with no outs. Kato stole third, but Yamaoka struck out the next two batters and got ahead of Shogo Nakamura 1-2. The next pitch floated up in the zone and Nakamura did what most Japanese hitters are trained to do, hammer it up the middle. The ball got through the infield to make it 1-0, and Katsuya Kakunaka doubled in another run.

Ryoichi Adachi broke up Toshiya Nakamura’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the eighth, and Lotte skipper Tadahito Iguchi came and got his starter. Newly acquired right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura retired the next three batters, and closer Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 23rd save.

Mogi knocks out Fighters in 10th

Eigoro Mogi’s two-run 10th-inning home run overturned a one-run deficit and lifted the Rakuten Eagles to a 5-4 walk-off win over the Nippon Ham Fighters in a rain-soaked game at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz retired only one of the four batters he faced—on a sacrifice bunt–as the Fighters tied it in the ninth, but right-hander Tomohito Sakai retired both batters he faced to keep it tied. The visitors made it 4-3 in the 10th after a 30-minute rain delay.

Hideto Asamura opened the 10th with a single and Eagles manager Hajime Miki played for a tie by having hard-hitting Hiroaki Shimauchi sacrifice. Mogi, however, would have none of it.

Afterward, Mogi read the home run hitters’ post-game hero interview script to perfection.

“I have good hitters coming up behind me so I was just trying to get on base,” Mogi said, with some measure of honesty since Stefen Romero was on deck, although guys say that when anyone but the pitcher is following them.

Hara sets Giants managing record

Hayato Sakamoto’s eighth-inning home run broke a 1-1 tie as Tatsunori Hara earned his franchise-best 1,067th victory as Yomiuri Giants manager in a 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Hara first managed the Giants in 2002 and is in his third stint with the team after quitting twice. He had been tied for the franchise lead with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed 1,866 games. Friday’s game was Hara’s 1,927th. In addition to being one of the club’s first superstars as a hard-hitting first baseman, Kawakami managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series championships from 1965 to 1973.

The game marked right-hander Albert Suarez’s return from exile with the Swallows’ farm team in Toda, Saitama Prefecture. Suarez had been deactivated after walking seven betters over six scoreless innings on July 7 to “regain his form.” On the farm, he had an ERA over 10.00 so it is unclear whether he accomplished that.

At Tokyo Dome, he allowed a run over six innings on five hits and a walk. Giants rookie Shosei Togo worked seven innings and allowed a solo home run to Tetsuto Yamada.

Giants-Swallows highlights.

Nishi, Sands slaughter Carp

Yuki Nishi (6-3) struck out nine without a walk in a four-hit shutout, and Jerry Sands drove in a pair of runs for the Hanshin Tigers in their 4-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.

Sands went 3-for-4 to push his batting average above .300. He singled in Koji Chikamoto in the first to open the scoring. Chikamoto doubled in the third, stole third and came home on catcher Shogo Sakakura’s throwing error. Sands’ 18th home run made it 3-0 in the sixth.

Dragons squeak past BayStars

Cuban closer Raidel Martinez overcame a ninth-inning leadoff homer and two singles to hold the DeNA BayStars to one run and seal his 11th save in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

Neftali Soto, who has led the Central League in home runs in each of his two seasons in Japan, went after Martinez’s first pitch and launched his 13th home run. But the right-hander struck out two of the last three batters he faced to end it.

Active roster moves 9/11/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/21

Central League

Activated

TigersP36Masumi Hamachi
TigersP56Keisuke Kobayashi
TigersP64Kentaro Kuwahara
CarpP28Hiroki Tokoda
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez
SwallowsIF10Takahiro Araki

Dectivated

TigersP14Atsushi Nomi
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersP61Atsushi Mochizuki
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi
SwallowsIF5Shingo Kawabata

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP36Sho Ito
LionsOF73Wataru Takagi
EaglesP60Ryota Ishibashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Dectivated

LionsP25Katsunori Hirai
LionsOF65Daisuke Togawa
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa
FightersC60Takuya Kori
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu
BuffaloesOF41Kodai Sano

Starting pitchers for Sept. 12, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Shiomi (4-5, 4.60) vs Kohei Arihara (4-6, 3.43)

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

Manabu Mima (6-2, 4.84) vs Andrew Albers (3-5, 3.62)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Takeda (1-0, 2.31) vs Sean Nolin (1-0, 3.75)

Central League

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

Nobutaka Imamura (3-0, 3.04) vs Daiki Yoshida (1-4, 4.99)

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

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-4, 4.12) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-3, 2.68)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.29) vs Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.90)

NPB 2020 SEPT. 9

Wednesday could have been old timers day with both Tsuyoshi Wada (39) and Tetsuya Utsumi (38) going in the Pacific League, but Utsumi, who was only able to go five innings in his first PL win last week, was yanked after four in the Seibu Lions’ one-sided win over the Orix Buffaloes.

Wada pitches Hawks past Eagles

Wada (5-1), whose fastball touched 138 kph (85.7 mph) had too much of everything but speed for the Rakuten Eagles, going 6-2/3 scoreless innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 8-1 win at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

By working the corners with a lively fastball the Eagles were consistently swinging under, and staying low in the zone with his changeup and slider, Wada challenged hitters in the zone and gave up hits on good swings, but rarely looked challenged.

He allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six. He would have had seven had umpire Naoto Shikita noticed that catcher Hiroaki Takaya had caught a two-strike foul tip. Wada got Hiroaki Shimauchi to fly out on the next pitch, his 101st, before exiting stage right.

Wakui (8-2) got off to a solid start, retiring the first four batters, including Akira Nakamura. Perhaps the hardest player in Japan to strike out, Nakamura who rarely misses, Nakamura went down swinging at a changeup.

Alfredo Despaigne, who got a late start to the season due to his being in Cuba when travel restrictions were imposed, opened the scoring with a one-out solo homer off Wakui in the second. Nakamura went after Wakui’s first pitch in the third to single home Taisei Makihara, and Despaigne cracked a three-run homer in SoftBank’s six-run fifth.

Spangenberg lowers boom on Buffaloes

Corey Spangenberg homered, tripled, double and drove in six runs as the Seibu Lions crushed the Orix Buffaloes 13-5 at MetLife Dome despite starter Tetsuya Utsumi failed to go five innings.

Ernesto Mejia doubled in two runs in the bottom of the first off Daiki Tajima (1-4) and Spangenberg followed with his NPB-best sixth triple to make it 4-1. Shuta Tonosaki led off the Lions’ second with a homer and Spangenberg went deep with his ninth homer to finish the four-run frame.

Utsumi held it together until the fourth, when he surrendered three runs on four-straight one-out hits. A fifth, off his right thigh forced him off the field for treatment but he got out of the inning before calling it a night.

Ojima outduels Kaneko

Lotte Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima (5-5) out-pitched former Sawamura Award winner Chihiro Kaneko (1-3) to boost the Marines to 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Ojima got double plays in the third and fourth, one started by the slick-fielding southpaw, before escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. Kaneko also worked out of trouble in the third and fourth, but left after hitting Marines catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura on the hand while he trie to sacrifice.

With two on and one out, Yudai Fujioka drove a low pitch to the wall for a two-run double.

Fighters catcher Yushi Shimizu doubled home Taishi Ota in the seventh before Ojima left. Frank Herrmann and Naoya Masuda each pitched in with a scoreless inning to close it out.

3-HR Sakamoto blasts Dragons

Hayato Sakamoto belted three home runs from the leadoff spot and drove in four runs for the Yomiuri Giants in their 5-4 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Nagoya Dome.

The Giants’ Takumi Oshiro homered to lead off the top of the seventh and Sakamoto completed his hat-trick with two outs.

Swallows erase 7-run gap to tie Carp

Yasutaka Shiomi capped a three-run eighth-inning rally as the Yakult Swallows erased a seven-run deficit in their 10-inning, 7-7 with the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Swallows starting pitcher Hirofumi Yamanaka doubled in the game’s first run in the second, when the visitors took a 3-0 lead, but the submarine right-hander allowed seven runs in 2-1/3 innings.

Carp starter Yusuke Nomura left with no outs in the seventh after back-to-back home runs from Tetsuto Yamada and Munetaka Murakami made it a 10-7 game.

Sano, Kamichatani bag Tigers

DeNA BayStars cleanup hitter Keita Sano celebrated being named the CL’s player of the month for August earlier in the day by doubling twice and driving in three runs in a 6-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Yokohama Stadium.

The BayStars overturned an early 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first. A Takayuki Kajitani single and back-to-back doubles by Neftali Soto and Sano made it 2-1.

Kamichatani (1-1) allowed five hits and a walk while striking out three over seven innings. Kenta Ishida and Spencer Patton finished up. Tigers starter Koyo Aoyagi (6-4) allowed four runs over five innings to take the loss.

Sugano monthly MVP for 8th time

Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano set a team record for monthly honors on Wednesday, with his eighth pitcher of the month award, surpassing the seven monthly awards earned by Hall of Fame slugger Hideki Matsui. Sugano’s August award comes on the heels of his honor for June and July.

Sugano went 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA, which was second to Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono (3-0, who struck out 27 batters, one per inning over three complete games.

The CL hitter of the month award went to 25-year-old DeNA BayStars left fielder Keita Sano. Promoted to captain and dropped into the cleanup spot after less than 400 first-team plate appearances, the ninth-round draft led the Central League with 22 RBIs.

Sano’s .405 on-base percentage was second in the league to the .457 posted by the Yakult Swallows’ Munetaka Murakami, who won for June and July. Sano was also second to Murakami in slugging average by a smaller margin .598 to .576. It was Sano’s first monthly award.

The Pacific League winners were right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa of the Lotte Marines (4-0, 3.38 ERA) and Orix Buffaloes corner outfielder Masataka Yoshida.

Ishikawa won his second award over the Rakuten Eagles’ Hideaki Wakui (3-1, 1.47), whose only loss came in a 2-0 shutout and who won for June and July.

Yoshida, who won for the third time, led the PL with a .510 on-base percentage and was second in OPS to Yuki Yanagita of the SoftBank Hawks.

Active roster moves 9/9/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/19

Central League

Activated

DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano
DragonsIF32Masami Ishigaki

Dectivated

DragonsIF55Nobumasa Fukuda

Pacific League

Activated

FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko

Dectivated

MarinesP64Yuta Omine

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuki Matsui (1-2, 3.93) vs Nao Higashihama (2-1, 2.96)

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Katsunori Hirai (5-3, 4.37) vs Daichi Takeyasu (-)

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

Daiki Iwashita (4-4, 4.86) vs Kenta Uehara (0-0, 0.00)

Central League

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

Michael Peoples (2-1, 3.99) vs Yukiya Saito (-)

Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Koji Fukutani (3-2, 2.89) vs Angel Sanchez (4-2, 2.45)

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

Masato Morishita (5-2, 2.51) vs Keiji Takahashi (1-3, 4.15)

NPB 2020 Sept. 8

No cigar, but Takahashi smokes Buffaloes

Kona Takahashi (5-6) got three quick outs after losing his no-hit bid in the top of the ninth to throw a one-hit shutout Tuesday in the Seibu Lions’ 2-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes and their ace, Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

On a night when he rarely missed catcher Masatoshi Okada’s glove, the 23-year-old right-hander painted with his fastball and got swinging strikes with his splitter en route to seven strikeouts. Takahashi walked one and allowed one hit, although he needed a couple of good plays from first baseman Ernesto Mejia and shortstop Sosuke Genda to hold the Buffaloes hitless through eight.

Yamamoto (4-3) struck out nine and walked two while allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings. Corey Spangenberg singled and scored the first run in the fifth after a Mejia walk, a sacrifice and a ground ball off the bat of reserve Lions catcher Masatoshi Okada.

“Against one of the best pitchers in Japan, I thought I’d need to keep them from scoring first. I’m grateful to Okada for his quality hitting,” Takahashi said of his catcher, who moments earlier had said he was just happy to get the bat on the ball since his batting average was “on the verge of disappearing.”

Genda, who back-handed a ball in the hole at shortstop to rob Orix catcher Torai Fushimi of a two-out single and end the sixth, singled with one out in the home half, stole second and scored on a Hotaka Yamakawa single.

In his previous start, Takahashi threw seven scoreless innings against the Lotte Marines.

“At that time, I knew I had to make my next outing a good one,” he said. “I was able to establish a good rhythm today.”

Acting Buffaloes manager Satoshi Nakajima said Takahashi proved too hard for his hitters to solve.

“We came into the game with plans in mind, but his quality tonight did not allow us to execute them,” Nakajima said. “I think it shows that we still have a way to go in making adjustments.”

When Buffaloes pinch-hitter Masahiro Nishino lashed a high fastball up the middle for a ninth-inning leadoff single, Lions pitching coach Fumiya Nishiguchi rushed to the mound to check on the right-hander.

Nishiguchi, who knows as much about losing no-hitters as anyone, having lost one perfect game with two outs in the ninth and another with two outs in the 10th, and whose No. 13 Takahashi inherited, must have said the right thing, because Takahashi went back to work and took out the next three hitters with little fanfare, ending the game on an easy comebacker.

Before Takahashi took the mound in the ninth, Nishiguchi had some encouragement.

“I said, ‘Pitch the same way I did until I had two outs,'” Nishiguchi said.

Yamamoto’s loss was the 22-year-old’s first against the Lions.

“Because my opponent pitched so well, I was the one who gave up the first run,” said Yamamoto, Japan’s hardest-throwing starting pitcher. “I have to take hard look in the mirror.”

Senga goes 8 as Hawks shut out Eagles

Softbank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (6-3) struck out 13 over eight innings and Yurisbel Gracial hit his seventh home run and his fifth in six games in a 2-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Veteran Eagles lefty Wataru Karashima (2-1) made his second-straight start after beginning the season in the bullpen. He allowed both runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three.

Senga allowed three hits and three walks in a 108-pitch outing, and closer Yuito Mori allowed one hit in the ninth before recording his 19th save.

Martin,Sawamura star against Fighters

Leonys Martin hit another massive bomb, off the façade high above the right-field stands at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium and singled in two runs in the fifth inning to lift the Lotte Marines to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Martin opened the scoring in the first with his 20th home run, off right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-3), although he had to share the spotlight with reliever Hirokazu Sawamura. Acquired in a trade from the Yomiuri Giants the same day, Sawamura went to the mound in the sixth and struck out all three batters he faced in his Pacific League debut.

Fumiya Ono (2-2) earned the win for a scoreless fifth in relief of Yuta Omine. Yuki Karakawa, Frank Herrmann and Naoya Masuda each worked one scoreless inning to preserve the slim lead with Masuda earning his 21st save.

Giants ace Sugano runs win streak to 10

In the Central League’s marquee matchup, Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (10-0) failed to match his previous results against the Chunichi Dragons, but still managed to best lefty Yudai Ono (5-4) in a 2-0 win at Nagoya Dome.

Ironically, this was Sugano’s worst result of the season against the Dragons, his first two starts having produced complete-game shutouts. Sugano allowed five hits and a walk, and hit a batter while striking out six.

Ono, who entered having won five-straight complete games, including two against the Giants, went the distance again, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out five. His six complete games matches his career high.

The Giants opened the scoring in the third. With one out, Naoki Yoshikawa lined a high 2-0 fastball to center, was sacrificed to second and scored on a Hayato Sakamoto double. Ono hung a 2-0 splitter up and over the outside corner and Sakamoto put a great swing on it, missing a home run by a few feet, but easily bringing Yoshikawa home from second.

Yoshikawa doubled to lead off the eighth with his third hit. A pinch-hitter sacrificed in place of Sugano, and Yoshikawa scored on a Yoshiyuki Kamei’s sacrifice fly.

Giants lefty Kota Nakagawa worked a 1-2-3 eighth, while Rubby De La Rosa pitched the ninth to earn his 10th save.

BayStars ambush Tigers in 7-7 tie

Yusuke Oyama hit a grand slam and a two-run home run, and Jerry Sands added a solo shot to give the Hanshin Tigers a seven-run lead before the DeNA BayStars came back to earn a 10-inning 7-7 tie at Yokohama Stadium.

Tigers starter Onelki Garcia took a 7-0 lead into the sixth inning, but couldn’t limit the damage after Keita Sano’s three-run homer made it 7-4. The southpaw left with no outs and two runners on. Veteran lefty Atsushi Nomi allowed both to score and allowed one run of his own.

Kuri stops Swallows

Allen Kuri (3-4) walked five over six innings but allowed no runs in the Hiroshima Carp’s 5-1 victory over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Veteran Swallows lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-3) allowed four runs, two earned, to take the loss.

Active roster moves 9/8/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/18

Central League

Activated

GiantsP33Ryu Ota
BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto
BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina
DragonsP54Kento Fujishima
SwallowsP38Yugo Umeno

Dectivated

GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe

Pacific League

Activated

HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesOF38Masaki Iwami
MarinesP57Hirokazu Sawamura

Dectivated

MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Hawks: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hideaki Wakui (8-1, 2.43) vs Tsuyoshi Wada (4-1, 3.13)

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tetsuya Utsumi (1-1, 2.45) vs Daiki Tajima (1-3, 3.10)

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

Kazuya Ojima (4-5, 3.76) vs Chihiro Kaneko (1-2, 7.27)

Central League

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

Taiga Kamichatani (0-1, 4.85) vs Koyo Aoyagi (6-3, 3.23)

Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuichiro Okano (2-1, 4.82) vs Kazuto Taguchi (3-3, 4.40)

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

Yusuke Nomura (4-1, 2.86) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 3.13)