Tag Archives: Joe Gunkel

NPB news: Aug. 14, 2022

Jesse Biddle made his Japan starting debut on Sunday against veteran Tsuyoshi Wada, the Nippon Ham Fighters ran into more than their share of base running outs and still came out smelling like manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s perfume of the day, while their opponents could have loaded the bases in every inning and still come up empty.

Gregory “El Coffee” Polanco supplied the Giants defense with the necessary buzz, Swallows manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo decided seven straight losses was the right time for some lineup juggling.

Let’s get to the games shall we?

Sunday’s games

Buffaloes 10, Hawks 2: At Fukuoka Dome, Biddle (4-4), making his first pro start since 2015, when he started all 24 of his games, 15 for Double-A Reading, and nine for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, threw five shutout innings, and Wada (3-4) melted down on a series of good swings against progressively worse pitches in a seven-run fourth inning.

Yuma Mune got the end of the bat on a decent low-and-away slider and lined it over short for a one-out single. On a run-and-hit, Kotaro Kurebayashi lined a high straight fastball for an RBI double. Wada floated a slider away but up and Joe McCarthy lined it to center. Tatsuya Yamaashi lined a first-pitch changeup to left for an RBI single. Torai Fushimi smashed a high flat fastball past short to load them up.

Shuhei Fukuda lined the first pitch he saw in the zone, another high straight fastball, to the wall in right for a two-run double. Reliever Arata Shiino surrendered a two-run double to Keita Nakagawa and walked Masataka Yoshida, and and RBI single to Mune.

Continue reading NPB news: Aug. 14, 2022

NPB news: July 31, 2022

Pride was the big word in Sunday’s headlines, when Munetaka Murakami went off, the Chunichi Dragons did something for the first time in 10 years.

Also, an analyst shocked an announcer by extolling the virtues of high fastballs in a media environment where virtually every bad pitch is customarily declared to be high, and that pitchers who fail to work low in the zone can’t succeed.

Shall we get to it?

Sunday’s games

Swallows 4, Tigers 2, 11 innings: At Koshien Stadium, Yakult was heading toward its third straight loss after Joe Gunkel pounded the zone and held the league leaders scoreless for six innings and left with a 2-0 lead. Munetaka Murakami, however, belted three home runs.

The CL home run leader became the first visitor to do so since Koshien’s home run-distance-shortening inner fences were removed 30 years earlier, and the only one to do it since a uniform deader ball was introduced in 2011. Murakami hit his 35th in the seventh with an opposite-field shot, tied it against closer Suguru Iwazaki in the ninth by pulling it into the wind off Osaka Bay, and went the other way again with a runner on in the 11th.

Continue reading NPB news: July 31, 2022