Tag Archives: Masato Morishita

NPB wrap 6-12-21

Interleague Day 17: Cutting it close

With nine games remaining in 2021 interleague play, the Orix Buffaloes clinched their second interleague title and their first since 2010. The leagues split Saturday’s games, leaving the CL leading 42-40 with 11 ties, and the PL still leading in runs scored 433-404.

I incorrectly said the CL had never led interleague in runs scored. That was incorrect. The CL led in 2006, although they lost more than they won that year.

The CL-leading Hanshin Tigers continued to look untouchable, smashing the Eagles bullpen in a six-run ninth after rookie Masashi Ito outpitched Masahiro Tanaka through seven innings.

Tigers 9, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Masahiro Tanaka (2-4) was tooling along in high gear retiring the first 11 batters with little trouble until drama struck in a good plate appearance by Jefry Marte, a bad call by umpire Hidetomo Ashihara, and an ugly fastball to Yusuke Oyama, who made it 2-0 Hanshin.

Oyama’s home run was his eighth, and rookie Tigers lefty Masashi Ito (4-3) allowed a run on four hits and a walk to make that lead stand up. Rookie Teruaki Sato hit his 16th homer in the seventh off Tanaka, while Seiya Kinami hit his first, a two-run shot in a six-run Tigers ninth.

Tanaka worked seven innings. He gave up three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five. Eagles cleanup hitter Hiroaki Shimauchi hit his 10th homer in the bottom of the fifth. Ito pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the inning but retired the last 10 batters he faced.

Buffaloes 3, Carp 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix clinched the interleague championship as Shuhei Fukuda’s second-inning bases-loaded triple provided all the Buffaloes offense against Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita (3-4), Daiki Tajima (3-4) threw five scoreless innings and four relievers protected a one-run lead after the Carp twice on three walks and a single in the sixth.

Tyler Higgins worked a 1-2-3 eighth for Orix, while Yoshihisa Hirano, who recorded 32 holds the last year the Buffaloes won the interleague title, saved his fifth game.

Fighters 4, BayStars 3

At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham’s March acquisition Takahide Ikeda (3-6) allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings. Wang Po-jung had the first of three one-out fourth-inning singles off Masaya Kyoyama (0-3) and scored on a wild pitch, and Ryo Ishikawa’s two-out single made it 2-0.

Haruki Nishikawa walked and scored on Yuto Takahama’s fifth-inning double, and singled in Ishikawa in the sixth. Bryan Rodriguez got five outs to get the Fighters to closer Toshihiro Sugiura, who recorded his 12th save.

Giants 11, Marines 4

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yomiuri hit a hat-trick of three-run homers, with Kazuma Okamoto hitting two, his 18th and 19th, and Hiroyuki Nakajima hitting his fourth, all off Lotte starter Manabu Mima (3-4), who gave up 10 runs in two-plus innings. Giants starter Shosei Togo (6-3) cruised through seven after allowing two runs in the first.

Lions 7, Dragons 3

At MetLife Dome, Cory Spangenberg’s three-run triple highlighted Seibu’s six-run first-inning against Chunichi’s Yuichiro Okano (0-1), while Lions starter Tatsuya Imai (4-2) allowed two runs over seven innings despite walking five and allowing seven hits. He gave up two runs in the second, but got out of a one-out bases-loaded pickle with a double play but had little trouble after that.

Swallows 4, Hawks 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Tetsuto Yamada went 4-or-4, hit his 15th and 16th home runs of the season and drove in three to power the Yakult Swallows to a come-from-behind victory after starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (6-1) allowed two runs over seven innings.

Yuki Yanagita’s 14th homer, leading off the Hawks’ fourth, made it 2-0 SoftBank. Nick Martinez, who got out of two-out jams in the first and third, surrendered a Yamada solo shot in the sixth and a run in the seventh after a Domingo Santana leadoff double and a Yuhei Nakamura single. Martinez was pulled after 113 pitches to give the Pro Yakyu News crowd something to complain about and Yamada hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Yugo Bando (0-1).

Right-hander Yugo Umeno faced one batter in the eighth, retiring the dangerous Akira Nakamura with two out and two on, and Scott McGough worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 10th save.

Starting pitchers


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

Drew VerHagen (1-4, 6.30) vs Shota Imanaga (0-1, 4.41)

Eagles vs Tigers: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Takahisa Hayakawa (7-2, 3.15) vs Joe Gunkel (5-0, 2.35)

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

Zach Neal (1-1, 3.75) vs Koji Fukutani (3-5, 3.90)

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

Kazuya Ojima (2-2, 4.41) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (2-3, 2.11)

Buffaloes vs Carp: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Hirotoshi Masui (2-4, 4.07) vs Koya Takahashi (2-2, 2.73)

Hawks vs Swallows: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3, 4.06) vs Keiji Takahashi (-)

Active roster moves 6/12/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/22

Central League


DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano


DragonsP22Yudai Ono

Pacific League


BuffaloesOF69Stefen Romero


MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko

Ono wins sawamura award

Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono was named the winner of the 2020 Eiji Sawamura Award on Monday in Tokyo. As predicted, the 32-year-old made the five old pitchers’ hearts on the selection committee flutter with his 10 complete games and six shutouts, despite a pedestrian win-loss record of 11-6.

The award goes to the most impressive starting pitcher from Japan’s two leagues, thus it is similar to but not quite analogous to MLB’s Cy Young Award.

“Getting an award like this is something that seemed beyond my grasp both as an amateur and even after I turned pro. It feels like it can’t be happening.

–Chunichi Dragons pitcher Yudai Ono on winning the Sawamura Award.

Ono led the Central League in strikeouts with 148, one shy of tying for the Japan lead with SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga and Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Ono led both leagues in innings pitched, ERA, complete games and shutouts.

There was a lot of sentiment for Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano because of the committee’s parallel obsession with win totals as the right-hander went 14-2 and set this year’s stupidest Japan record — the most consecutive decisions won from the start of the season by an Opening Day starter.

Several voters were willing to name both Ono and Sugano, but the sentiment toward picking “the best one” prevailed. Other pitchers were considered, but they lacked the sexy win total of Sugano and complete game total of Ono.

The other pitchers named were Hiroshima Carp rookie Masato Morishita and three 11-game winners from the Pacific League, Senga, his Hawks teamamte Shuta Ishikawa, and Rakuten Eagles veteran Hideaki Wakui.

This year’s Sawamura Award selection committee members were: Tsuneo Horiuchi, Manabu Kitabeppu, Choji Murata, Hisashi Yamada and Masaji HIramatsu.

The award has been open to players from both leagues since 1990, when Hideo Nomo became the first PL pitcher to win. Sugano won in 2017 and 2018, but no winner was named in 2019 for the first time since 2000.

Although the PL has dominated competition between the two leagues over the previous 16 years, no PL pitcher has won since 2014. From 2005 to 2014 however, nine of the 10 winners were PL pitchers.

Here’s the Kyodo News story.