Tag Archives: Kazuhisa Ishii

NPB wrap 8-22-21

Sunday’s games saw Carter Stewart Jr. make his second start for the SoftBank Hawks, Enny Romero make his Pacific League debut two years after he left the Chunichi Dragons, and teammate abuser Sho Nakata slug his first Central League homer after getting a pre-game pep talk from Yomiuri Giants manager emeritus Shigeo Nagashima.

Hawks 4, Marines 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda lined a two-out, two-run tie-breaking double to left, as SoftBank salvaged the final game of its home series against Lotte.

Carter Stewart, Jr. made his second start for the Hawks, allowing a run over four innings, but poor location ratcheted up his pitch count. Stewart allowed three hits and walked three while striking out six. A walk to Takashi Ogino and a good swing by Kyota Fujiwara on a low-and-away fastball put the ball in the gap for a third-inning RBI double.

The Hawks did a poor job of turning lefty Enny Romero‘s five walks into runs and tied it on Ryoya Kurihara’s 12th home run in the fourth when they left the bases loaded.

SoftBank submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi walked two batters in the top of the fifth and Brandon Laird put the visitors on top with an RBI single. Two relievers each retired the only batter they faced to end the threat, and the Hawks retaliated against Romero in the home half.

Misaki Mori singled, stole second, was bunted to third and scored on Yuki Yanagita’s sac fly. Kurihara chased Romero with a double. With one out and runners on second and third, righty Yusuke Azuma came up big out of the bullpen, striking out Alfredo Despaigne and Akira Nakamura.

With the game tied after 8-1/2, Frank Herrmann (0-1), who struck out the side in his inning on Saturday, walked Despaigne to open the inning. Pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto took over the PL stolen base lead with his 21st. With two outs, the Marines intentionally walked pinch-hitter Yuya Hasegawa, and Matsuda leaned into a cutter away and drove it over speedster Takashi Ogino’s head in left.

The Marines outfield was playing in, but considering it was hit 10 meters past him, Ogino might not have caught it had he been playing at normal depth, but he would have had a chance of getting the third out or at least holding the Hawks to a run.

Lotte starter Romero was making his Pacific League debut two years after he went 8-10 with a 4.26 ERA for the Central League’s Chunichi Dragons. He’d spent the interim with Tijuana in the Mexican league.

Fighters 2, Eagles 1

At Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-5, 3.25) allowed a run over seven innings, while Nippon Ham scored a run in each of the first two innings against Hideaki Wakui (6-8, 5.17), who was yanked after allowing three hits and two walks over 41 pitches.

The first run scored on an error, a single and a fielder’s choice, before Ronny Rodriguez, who had two hits, tripled in the second and scored on a Yushi Shimizu single. Rakuten made it a one-run game in the fourth on a Hiroaki Shimauchi double and an Eigoro Mogi single.

Rodriguez had a chance to widen the Fighters’ lead in the fifth but fouled out to end the inning with two on.

Bryan Rodriguez worked a scoreless eighth for Nippon Ham, and Toshihiro Sugiura closed it out with his 17th save.

According to Chunichi Sports, Eagles skipper Kazuhisa Ishii said his starter was on a short leash with Wakui expected to focus on one inning at a time after he got shelled the week before against Seibu.

Lions 10, Buffaloes 3

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Orix’s Sachiya Yamasaki (5-7, 3.45) allowed three straight singles to open the game, and Takeya Nakamura improved on his NPB record for career grand slams with his 21st.

Kaito Yoza (1-1, 4.67) allowed two runs over five innings to win his season’s starting debut. A pair of one-out second-inning walks led to both runs, but I’m guessing Orix missed our last podcast and allowed former closer Hirotoshi Masui to be used in relief, and he coughed up four more runs, three on rookie Junichiro Kishi’s seventh home run and another on a fourth-inning Nakamura double.

Tigers 2, Dragons 0

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (9-4, 2.88) allowed four singles and a walk over seven innings. Mel Rojas Jr. broke the ice with a second-inning solo home run, his third, and two relievers, Suguru Iwazaki and Robert Suarez retired the last six Dragons batters with Suarez earning his 27th save.

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-6, 3.12) allowed two runs over eight innings on five hits and a walk. The Tigers got an insurance run in the sixth, when Koji Chikamoto drew a one-out walk, went to third on Takumu Nakano’s weakly hit hit-and-run single and scored on a weak groundout.

The Tigers win moved them two full games ahead of the Yomiuri Giants in the CL standings.

Giants 4, BayStars 4

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri hit four home runs, including Sho Nakata’s first in the Central League, and Zelous Wheeler’s 11th in a three-run seventh inning as the Giants came back to tie DeNA.

Yoshihiro Maru hit his 14th in the first inning off lefty Shota Imanaga, who struck out nine over seven innings and had a pair of hits.

Giants lefty Yuki Takahashi surrendered the lead in the fourth. Neftali Soto followed a leadoff walk with his second homer in two days and his 17th of the season to put DeNA in front. Toshiro Miyazaki doubled and scored, and Shugo Maki, whose three-run pinch-hit homer broke open Saturday’s win, singled him home.

Maki drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and scored an insurance run after Imanaga’s second single and a double by Masayuki Kuwahara.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Carp vs Swallows

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, rained out.

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Active roster moves 8/22/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/1

Central League


GiantsP41Kota Nakagawa
TigersP66Ippei Ogawa
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
SwallowsP16Juri Hara


GiantsP26Nobutaka Imamura
GiantsP59Toyoki Tanaka
TigersP34Akira Niho
CarpP12Haruki Omichi

Pacific League


MarinesP91Enny Romero
LionsP44Kaito Yoza


MarinesP76Jose Flores

Tanaka’s 2nd start

On Saturday, Masahiro Tanaka pitched in Sendai, and Carter Stewart Jr. made his second relief outing, so I figured I’d write about their games a bit.

Tanaka returned to Sendai, pitching there for the first time since he saved Game 7 of the 2013 Japan Series one night after he suffered a complete-game loss in Game 6. Tanaka’s second regular-season start, against the Seibu Lions, was a mirror image of his debut a week earlier against the Nippon Ham Fighters.

In that game, he couldn’t locate his fastball, and the Fighters hitters basically waited for him to miss with it in the zone, and hit a pair of home runs off him. He responded by not throwing the fastball, and threw only three of them in his 13-pitch first inning on Saturday in Sendai.

It looked, however, like he’d solved his fastball control issues, but had trouble locating his splitter and slider. The Lions’ hitters were apparently looking for the splitter and hit a couple of good ones. From the fourth inning, he began using his slider and cutter to set up his fastball, and it was essentially game over.

Before the game, there was talk of him throwing around 100 pitches, but Tanaka left the mound after throwing just 68 in six innings. Although he started throwing few fastballs, in the end, Tanaka threw his four-seamer 34 percent of the time — the same as he had a week earlier.

Manager Kazuhisa Ishii was asked about Tanaka’s outing.

“I didn’t think he looked that good at the start, but as he showed more variation halfway through. That got him going, and allowed him to establish a rhythm,” he said.

“You’d have to ask him about how he felt coming back, but as for pressure, his mission here is to meet expectations, and I’m sure he’s happy about meeting them in such a diligent fashion.”

“He’s got his 100th win (in Japan), but that’s sort of expected. He’ll do more, reach higher numbers in Japan and in the majors. He’s such an extraordinary athlete.”

“As for his pitch count, he worked well and he did go six innings, and we decided that was a good place to cut him off today and hand it over to the bullpen.”

Tanaka pitching log

Key: f-fastball, s-slider, k-split, v-curve, c-cutter, hanging pitches marked with an asterisk.

1st inning
  1. Wakabayashi s,s,s,f,k,s* —hangs and lined to center good catch by CF Tatsumi
  2. Genda f,s,f,s —swinging K
  3. Mori v,k,k — weak grounder 4-3

2nd inning

  1. Nakamura v,f,k* — hangs splitter lined into LF corner, single
  2. Kuriyama s* — hanging slider lined to 1st $mart play by Dixon 3DP
  3. Takeda f,f,s — swinging K

3rd inning

  1. Spangenberg f,k,s,s — backfoot slider hits back foot on bounce after video request.
  2. Wu k*,f,k,s,s,k — Spangenberg steals on 0-1 pitch, good swing on split RBI single
  3. Yamada f — sacrifice 1-3, 1 out
  4. Wakabayashi k,f,f,fs — good swing on slider away line to RF, 2 outs
  5. Genda f,f,f,k — another good swing on a splitter, infield single, R13, 2 outs
  6. Mori k – Mori grounds splitter to second, 4-3g

4th inning

  1. Nakamura c,c,f — 3 foul fly
  2. Kuriyama k*,f — 7F
  3. Takeda s,f,k — Swinging K out of zone

5th inning

  1. Spangenberg s,s,s,f,c,k — 6-3g
  2. Wu k,s,s,k — 9F
  3. Yamada c,c,s,k — Swinging K

6th inning

  1. Wakabayashi f — 3 Foul fly
  2. Genda k*,s — 4-3g
  3. Okada s,s — 1-3g

Carter Stewart Jr.

Stewart, who made his debut in the final inning of a 7-1 Hawks win against the Seibu Lions a week earlier, got some meaningful mound experience in the fifth inning on Saturday with the Hawks holding a 6-5 lead against the Marines in Chiba.

He allowed two runs on four walks and a double, and struck out one, but it was hardly a disaster. This inning could easily have gone the other way, and when the broadcast crew crowed about Stewart’s potential, they weren’t talking out of their butts.

The leadoff hitter, Hisanori Yasuda, hit a flare that bounced over left fielder Yurisbel Gracial for a fluke double. With one out, he missed badly on four pitches to Koki Yamaguchi. He threw some good pitches to the next batter, particularly his change before walking him, too, to load the bases.

Stewart struck out pinch-hitter Tsuyoshi Sugano, then the weird stuff really began.

Catcher Takuya Kai began calling for fastballs on the outside corner that Kengo Iwashita, umpiring in his 113th top-flight game, had called earlier in the inning. Stewart hit the glove twice, and hopped a bit on the mound when Iwashita saw these pitches as balls.

Kai moved his glove over the plate and Stewart missed it, 3-0. Another target over the plate and Stewart caught the outside corner, a better pitch than the first two and a strike, 3-1. Another target over the plate, and Stewart was over the inner half, but Iwashita didn’t call it and the tying run scored.

At that point, it looked like Stewart lost confidence in his mechanics as he went from missing ever so little to a lot. Five more pitches to veteran leadoff hitter Takashi Ogino and the Marines had the lead and Stewart was gone.