Tag Archives: Jerry Sands

NPB wrap 8-26-21

Injury to closer Matsui puts pressure on Eagles

Yuki Matsui is expected to be out for around a month after suffering pain in his right thigh in practice on Wednesday, Nikkan Sports reported Thursday. The Eagles started the day second in the Pacific League, three games back of the Orix Buffaloes.

“There’s no chance he’ll be back in 10 days (when he’ll first be eligible for reactivation),” Eagles skipper and general manager Kazuhisa Ishii said. “I think to return to full fitness, it’s going to be closer to a month.”

Matsui is 0-2 this season with 0.63 ERA. His 24 saves are second in the PL.

Without Matsui, Sung Chia-hao took over in the ninth on Thursday to secure the Eagles’ win over Orix.

In the Central League, a pair of butt kickings left the Hanshin Tigers two games ahead of the Yomiuri Giants ahead of the weekend’s games.

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.

Eagles 7, Buffaloes 6

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Orix and Rakuten had the first decision of what was to be a three-game top-of-the-table Pacific League clash, and it turned out to be pretty entertaining after Tuesday’s game was rained out and Wednesday’s ended in a tie.

The Eagles built a 5-0 lead for Takahiro Norimoto (8-4, 3.63), who worked around a pair of one-out first-inning hits. Orix rookie Soichiro Yamazaki (0-1, 5.63) did the opposite. The right-hander fell behind everyone and got punished for it in a four-run first inning, capped by Ryosuke Tatsumi’s two-run single that left fielder Masataka Yoshida came within a hair of catching for the final out.

After sending nine batters to the plate in the first, the Eagles loaded the bases with one out in the second, as Daichi Suzuki scored his second run, on a Takero Okajima sac fly.

Masataka Yoshida got Orix a fourth-inning run with his 20th homer, but Hideto Asamura and Hiroaki Shimauchi, who’d each singled in a run in the first, teamed up to make it 7-1 in the home half. Asamura walked and Shimauchi established a career high with his team-best 15th home run.

The home runs kept coming in the sixth, when Yutaro Sugimoto hit his team-best 21st, with Yuma Mune aboard, and Adam Jones hit his fourth, trimming the Eagles’ lead to three.

That was all for Norimoto. He left after 5-2/3 inning with a runner on, having allowed four runs on nine hits but no walks while striking out five.

The Buffaloes, however, only picked up the pace against the bullpen, scoring twice against Tomohito Sakai in the seventh. Okajima prevented that runner from scoring when he leaped in right field to make the final out and rob substitute catcher Masato Matsui of an RBI double.

The Buffaloes got the leadoff man on in the seventh, but were denied a knockout punch of an inning after Shuhei Fukuda surprised the Eagles with a beautiful bunt only to stumble and fall coming out of the box for the first out. Mune and Yoshida singled to drive in one run and Sugimoto plated another with a sacrifice fly.

Orix threatened again in the eighth. Kotaro Kurebayashi, singled with one out to reach base for the fourth time, and put two on against Tomohiro Anraku. Fukuda’s poor luck continued as he smoked a ball down the line, where Brandon Dixon was playing to snare it for the second out. With two outs, Mune drilled a liner to center that Tatsumi got a good jump on and just caught up with.

Sung then worked a 1-2-3 ninth, retiring Yoshida, Sugimoto and Jones to end it in style, but other than a disappointing final inning, these Buffaloes are scary.

Lions 3, Hawks 0

At MetLife Dome, the Seibu Lions also had to make due on Thursday without their MVPs from 2018, Hotaka Yamakawa, and 2019, Tomoya Mori, who were deactivated as suspected close contacts of Yamakawa’s personal assistant, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Rookie Yutaro Watanabe (2-2, 2.74) worked five innings, walking three, striking out five and allowing two singles. Four relievers held the Hawks to two walks and a hit the rest of the way. Closer Kaima Taira earned his 12th save.

The Lions got on the board in the first via the home run as 38-year-old Takeya Nakamura, a six-time PL home run champion, hit his 11th with 37-year-old Takumi Kuriyama aboard after a two-out single.

Brandon Taiga Tysinger, filling in at first for Yamakawa was hit by a pitch to open the Lions’ fourth and scored on a single by Toshihiro Okada, who’s filling in for Mori.

Hawks starter Shunsuke Kasaya (2-3, 5.40) allowed all three runs. He walked three and struck out six, while surrendering five hits.

The win moved the fourth-place Lions to within 4-1/2 games of the idle Hawks.

Carp 11, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima gave Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano (2-5, 3.72) a hot reception in his first game since the Carp shelled him for four runs in 2-1/3 innings on July 1. Seiya Suzuki hit a two-run first-inning homer on a hanging 3-2 breaking ball, his 16th, and Shogo Sakakura followed with a solo shot, his sixth.

Suzuki stuck a fork in this game after reliever Chiaki Tone took the mound for the Giants in the seventh with a three-run home run, and Sakakura, not to be outdone by his teammate, blasted his seventh home run in the ninth, also with two on.

Allen Kuri (8-6, 3.74) allowed a run over six innings in which he gave up two hits but walked five. Kuri battled with umpire Kazuhiro Kobayashi over the definition of the strike zone, leading to a pair of walks that loaded the bases in the Giants’ fifth before the right-hander lost it and missed badly to Yoshihiro Maru forcing in a run.

The Giants’ other run came on Akihiro Wakabayashi’s fifth home run, in the seventh.

The Carp made it 5-1 in the sixth on a Sakakura single and a homer by Ryosuke Kikuchi, his ninth. Sugano threw a high slider away on an 0-2 pitch and Kikuchi swatted it out.

Giants left fielder Yoshiyuki Kamei saved Sugano a run with an inning-ending catch in the second, and Carp left fielder Ryoma Nishikawa prevented two from scoring when he ended the seventh by leaping for a drive at the wall with two runners on.

Giants-Carp highlights

Tigers 9, BayStars 3

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Hanshin’s Joe Gunkel (7-1, 2.38), pitching for the first time since the BayStars tagged him for three runs over five innings in his July 14 loss, allowed two runs, one earned, over 6-1/3 innings and scored the eventual winning run in the third inning.

DeNA lefty Yuya Sakamoto (4-3, 4.58) allowed five runs over four innings to take the loss after going six innings and beating the Tigers in his previous start.

Koji Chikamoto hit Sakamoto’s first pitch of the game for his ninth home run, and Tyler Austin returned the favor. After Gunkel pitched a 1-2-3 first, Austin led off the second with his 21st home run.

Gunkel, however, opened the Tigers’ third with a single and scored the tie-breaking run on a groundout after Chikamoto doubled. Jerry Sands blasted a two-run home run, his 20th, and Yusuke Oyama tripled and scored on a Teruaki Sato sac fly.

Austin walked and scored from first in the sixth when left fielder Mel Rojas Jr. failed to stop a Toshiro Miyazaki single. That proved to be little more than a delaying action as rookie Takumu Nakano singled in one run in a three-run seventh and another in the eighth for good measure.

Friday’s starting pitchers

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

Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 2.84) vs Kota Futaki (4-5, 4.31)

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

Wataru Matsumoto (7-5, 3.32) vs Takahide Ikeda (3-9, 3.52)

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

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (10-5, 1.76) vs Nick Martinez (7-2, 2.05)

Swallows vs BayStars: Tokyo Dome 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Yasunobu Okugawa (5-2, 3.88) vs Masaya Kyoyama (1-3, 6.35)

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

Yudai Ono (3-8, 3.46) vs Shun Yamaguchi (2-2, 2.94)

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

Daichi Osera (5-3, 3.21) vs Yuki Nishi (4-8, 3.45)

Active roster moves 8/26/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/5

Central League


GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
GiantsP50Chiaki Tone
TigersP28Taiki Ono
TigersP36Masumi Hamachi
TigersP49Joe Gunkel


GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersP69Daichi Ishii

Pacific League


LionsP12Yutaro Watanabe
LionsC37Sena Tsuge
LionsIF49Brandon Taiga Tysinger
EaglesP13Kohei Morihara
EaglesP14Takahiro Norimoto
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki


LionsC10Tomoya Mori
LionsIF3Hotaka Yamakawa
EaglesP1Yuki Matsui

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NPB wrap 7-4-21

Sunday’s news

Sugano out of Olympics

Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano has dropped out of Japan’s team for the Tokyo Olympics and will be replaced on the roster by Nippon Ham Fighters rookie HIromi Ito.

Giants sell catcher Sumitani to Eagles

The Giants on Sunday were forced to acknowledge they have sold veteran catcher Ginjiro Sumitani to the Rakuten Eagles, who may be looking for a veteran catcher to pair with Masahiro Tanaka.

The strangest thing about the sale was not that it was made but that the Eagles made the announcement during their game, which reports have called “highly irregular.”

The thing is that sports teams in Japan like to announce news when it suits their schedules, regardless of how much is public knowledge beyond their control. This often results in international player movements that are common knowledge days or weeks before Japanese teams “announce” the news.

Buffaloes 3, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, there was a well-pitched duel between Zach Neal (1-3)and 19-year-old Hiroya Miyagi (9-1). For Neal, it was a case of no good deed going unpunished – or in this case good pitches. Neal’s most costly mistake was a high pitch that Masataka Yoshida knocked for a tie-breaking RBI single. Otherwise, it was a case of two bunt singles by Buffaloes leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda and Buffaloes hitters making enough good contact on tough pitches to hit them where Lions fielders weren’t.

Neal also got a big assist from his defense when second baseman Shuta Tonosaki and shortstop Sosuke Genda turned a slick first-inning double play that allowed the righty to avoid surrendering more than a run.

Miyagi made few mistakes, but two of them ended up in the seats: Takeya Nakamura’s seventh homer to tie it in the second and Tonosaki’s first, to tie it 2-2 in the third.

Yoshihisa Hirano took over in the ninth and recorded his 11th save.

Marines 8, Eagles 6

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the top third of Lotte’s order, Takashi Ogino, Kyota Fujiwara and Shogo Nakamura, combined for nine hits, two walks, three doubles, a home run (Fujiwara’s first), six runs and five RBIs.

Rakuten starter Ryota Takinaka (5-4) got beaten up for six runs over 2-1/3 innings. Brandon Dixon tied it 2-2 in the second with his third home run for the Eagles, but the Marines’ Shuhei Fukuda broke a 4-4 tie in the third with a two-run double.

Hawks 5, Fighters 0

At Naha’s Okinawa Cellular Field, SoftBank’s Colin Rea (2-1) worked five innings and the Hawks pounded out 12 hits and drew five walks.

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BayStars 3, Giants 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Toshiro Miyazaki’s two-run third-inning homer, his seventh, brought DeNA back from a 1-0 deficit against Yuki Takahashi (8-3), who had squeezed home the Giants’ first run. Shinichi Onuki (3-5) allowed one run over 5-2/3 innings despite giving up nine hits. He walked none and struck out five.

Takumi Oshiro hit his eighth home run in the ninth off closer Kazuki Mishima, who held on to record his 14th save.

The BayStars’ win was their first against the Giants this season.

Dragons 3, Swallows 3

At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi’s Dayan Viciedo’s 13th home run, a two-run shot off setup man Noboru Shimizu, tied it up for good.

Kozo Ota pointed out that when Yakult’s battery of41-year-old Masanori Ishikawa and 36-year-old Motohiro Shima pitched to 44-year-old Kosuke Fukudome, it probably represented the oldest possible battery vs batter trio in Japanese baseball this year. And since every oldest combination includes Fukudome, and interleague is now over, Kozo was right, since we can no longer hope to see 40-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada and 39-year-old Hiroaki Takaya take on Fukudome.

By virtue of their tie, the Swallows are now 3-1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers and two games back of the Giants.

Carp 4, Tigers 3

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Shogo Sakakura’s two-run two-out fifth-inning double capped a four-run Carp comeback against Hanshin. Jerry Sands’ two-run third-inning home run, his 14th, had made it 3-0 against Masato Morishita (5-4), who worked six innings to earn the win.

Active roster moves 7/4/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/14

Central League


GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsC38Yukinori Kishida


GiantsP90Natsuki Toda
GiantsC27Ginjiro Sumitani

Pacific League


MarinesP47Yasuhiro Tanaka
FightersP52Takahide Ikeda


LionsP34Yasuo Sano