Tag Archives: Kensuke Kondo

Tanaka Episode 4

I wasn’t planning to write much about Masahiro Tanaka’s fourth start, in some ways his worst so far, although he did manage to go a season-high seven innings in his second loss of the season to the Nippon Ham Fighters. Tanaka, who is from western Japan but went to high school in Tomakomai, an hour or so from Sapporo, lost his first game at Sapporo Dome since he was a rookie in 2007.

He couldn’t locate the splitter at all and although he threw a lot of really good sliders as he usually does, one of the ones he missed got hammered, and his changeup was also problematic.

A week after his fastball command was really poor, he was throwing hard, but everybody was able to square it up. So either it wasn’t spinning as much or without his split the Fighters hitters were sitting on it the way they had in his April 17, when the ones he threw dead center got hit over the wall.

He mixed in some two-seam fastballs, which for a while had been a bread-and-butter pitch with the Yankees, but one he’s admitted he’s never had a great feel for. It did make the broadcast crew go nuts since the two-seamer has had kind of a cult status since Japan’s hitters struggled against it at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Anyway, the reason I gave in and did a Tanaka post was I saw this on Youtube, and translated the bulk of his comments below.

“The Fighters beat me last time, so I came out wanting to get them back, but they got me again. I gave up early runs and put my team in a bad situation.”

“I want to thank you for so many comments.
Among those was a request about the pitch that was the turning point and hitters who impressed me.”

“Today, it was the first run, in the first inning.”

“There’s no mistaking (Kensuke Kondo) is a really good hitter. In the first inning, I had to throw good pitches to get him out. But he doubled off me when my control was poor and I left a pitch in the heart of the zone.”

“(In the third) there were no outs runners on second and third and then I loaded the bases with a walk. I got an out and then two. I was thinking that if If I can get out of that and hold them scoreless, things might turn around. My first pitch to (Shingo) Usami got more of the plate than I wanted it to, and he hit it for an RBI single.”

“Having gotten two outs, that was really a wasted opportunity for me. Had we gotten out of it, the game could have gone differently, but it turned out the way it did.”

“Then my teammate hit a home run and the lead was cut to 3-1. And then then Kondo hit a home run in the next half inning. Was that a bad way to allow runs? Well in order to win, there are points when you have to prevent them from scoring. Today, that’s when they hit me. So that was the reason my pitching lost us the game. After a game like this, it’s really hard to talk to anyone.”

“I changed my approach a bit, used my two-seamer, changed the axis of the spin. I think the best thing today was my in-game adjustment.”

“Until today, I’d only thrown six innings, but today I threw seven and was around 100 pitches. Of course, I felt I could have gone eight. I need to build up my strength, and go deeper. Of course, allowing fewer runs is important, but so is beinga able to throw more innings, and hand it over to my teammates in good fashion or even go the distance. That’s what I want.”

“Today was unfortunate. I can’t just leave it with them getting the best of me. Next time I pitch against the Fighters, I want to get them back. My next opponent will be a different team, but starting tomorrow I want to prepare my best so that I can do well in that game.”

NPB 2020 8-7 games and news


The iconic David Bowie song should have been Kensuke Kondo’s walk-up music against Zach Neal. The Nippon Ham Fighters on-base machine blasted a low changeup for a solo homer and one high and away for a two-run double in a 3-0 win over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.

Kondo broke up the scoreless game in the fourth with his second home run of the season. With wo on and one out in the sixth, his double made it 3-0 against Neal (2-2), who worked six.

Right-hander Toshihiro Sugiura (4-1) walked four batters but struck out six and allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings. The moment of truth came in the seventh. After walking the bases loaded, he fell behind Ernesto Mejia before striking him out on a 3-2 splitter.

Side-arm closer Ryo Akiyoshi and left-hander Mizuki Hori nearly blew the game up in the ninth. Hori entered with two on and two outs in a one-run game. He walked two straight batters before getting Cory Spangenberg to strike out swinging at a 3-2 pitch to earn the save.

Romero powers Eagles past Hawks

Stefen Romero hit his 12th and 13th home runs of the season for the Rakuten Eagles and drove in five runs in a 7-4 come-from-behind win over the SoftBank Hawks at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto was all about the fastball in the first inning, and Seiji Uebayashi and Yuki Yanagita treated them like the batting-practice variety with long solo homers to open the game for the visitors. Akira Nakamura made it 3-0 in the third with a double to the warning track that scored Yanagita from first. Norimoto, however, pitched out of tight spots in the fifth and sixth to keep his team in the game.

Romero homered in the sixth after a Daichi Suzuki leadoff single to make it a 3-2 game against the Hawks’ Opening Day starter, Nao Higashihama (2-1). The right-hander issued a pair of walks in the seventh before rookie Hiroto Kobukata put the Eagles in front with a triple and drove Higashihama from the mound. Shinya Kayama hit Suzuki and submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi served up Romero’s 13th homer.

Ishikawa scrapes by for 2nd win

Ayumu Ishikawa scattered 12 hits over seven innings to earn his second win as the Lotte Marines made the most of their early chances in a 6-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Ishikawa (2-2) struck out two, walked none and struck out two while getting two double plays en route to allowing just one run. Buffaloes starter Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-2) gave up four runs over three innings on three walks and six hits.

Seiya Inoue homered to open the scoring for the Marines in the second, when Yudai Fujioka tripled with one out and scored on a Tatsuhiro Tamura single. Two more runs scored in the third after two were down starting with singles by Inoue and Tsuyoshi Sugano, a walk and a two-run Tamura single.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda entered in the ninth with no outs, the bases loaded and a 6-1 lead. He issued a walk and surrendered an RBI single before getting out of the inning. He became the 32nd pitcher to earn 100 saves in Japan.

“Not-very-good” Ono too good for Giants

Lefty Yudai Ono threw his second-straight 10-strikeout complete game victory, and drove in the winning run with his first hit of the season in a 7-1 Chunichi Dragons win over the Yomiuri Giants at Nagoya Dome.

Ono (2-3) had better than usual velocity on his fastball, which looked straight but gave the Giants fits in combination with his two-seamer and slider. He gave up five hits and walked one.

“I’m not a very good pitcher,” he told the fans at Nagoya Dome in the postgame hero interview. “I have to just stick with those things I can do and execute my pitches.”

With two outs and two on in the second, he singled up the middle to open the scoring and went to second on a throwing error.

“I was looking for a slider, but I recognized it was a fastball,” he said.

When asked if he was able to react to the fastball, Ono said, “No. I don’t really have that much ability. It just worked out well.”

Yota Kyoda tripled in two, and Yohei Oshima, who also doubled, walked and scored two runs, followed with another triple off lefty Kazuto Taguchi (2-1) to make it 4-0.

Yoshida shines as Swallows beat Kamichatani

Daiki Yoshida, the Yakult Swallows’ second pick in last Autumn’s draft, produced his third-straight solid start en route to an 8-2 win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Yoshida (1-1) allowed two runs over six innings, while the Swallows tagged Taiga Kamichatani (0-1) for four runs, three earned, over three innings. Kamichatani went 7-6 games as a rookie last year but was 3-6 against teams not named the Yakult Swallows.

Takeshi Miyamoto, the 25-year-old reserve infielder who is filling in while superstar second baseman Tetsuto Yamada drove in three runs for the Swallows, while Munetaka Murakami and Yasutaka Shiomi both scored twice.

Hatsuki makes most of pro debut in Carp win

Ryutaro Hatsuki went 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs in his first top-flight game for the Hiroshima Carp, who beat the Hanshin Tigers 11-6 at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Side-armer Koyo Aoyagi, one of the Tigers’ more reliable starters this summer, allowed six runs over three innings to fall to 4-2, while Carp rookie Masato Morishita (3-2) gave up four runs, three earned, over six innings to earn the win.

Active roster moves 8/7/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/17

Central League


GiantsP45Nobutaka Imamura
CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki


GiantsP95Hayato Horioka
TigersP29Haruto Takahashi
CarpIF6Tomohiro Abe
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi

Pacific League


LionsP19Hiromasa Saito


LionsP29Ryuya Ogawa

Starting pitchers for Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Kohei Arihara (1-5, 4.18) vs Wataru Matsumoto (1-3, 6.53)

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

Takahiro Shiomi (2-3, 4.37) vs Akira Niho (3-2, 4.91)

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

Kohei “K” Suzuki (0-1, 9.82) vs Kota Futaki (0-1, 12.86)

Central League

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yasuhiro Ogawa (4-1, 3.71) vs Shota Imanaga (4-2, 2.86)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-2, 4.05) vs Seishu Hatake (0-0, 2.08)

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

Daichi Osera (3-1, 2.92) vs Yuki Nishi (2-3, 2.55)