Tag Archives: Neftali Soto

NPB wrap 6-3-21

Interleague Day 9

The leagues split Thursday’s games, two wins, two losses and one tie after the Carp and Fighters were rained out in Hiroshima with Nippon Ham leading 5-2.

The Central League leads this year 24-20-7 at approximately the half-way mark, while being outscored 211-197. The Chunichi Dragons lead the interleague standings 6-1-2, with the CL’s last-place club, the DeNA BayStars, right behind at 5-2-2.

The BayStars’ win over the Hawks knocked SoftBank out of the PL lead, preventing Friday’s opener at Koshien, where the Hanshin Tigers will play SoftBank, from being a clash between league leaders.

Giants 4, Lions 4

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri right-hander Seishu Hatake loaded the bases with two outs and veteran Takumi Kuriyama tied the game with a two-run single. Hiroyuki Nakajima and Ginjiro Sumitani staked Angel Sanchez to a four-run lead. Sanchez left with two outs and two on in the sixth after surrendering a leadoff homer to Tomoya Mori.

Yomiuri shredded its former ace Tetsuya Utsumi (-) in his return to his old park, with Giants catcher Sumitani getting in the big blow. Going to the plate to the sound of Utsumi’s old walk-up music, Sumitani, whose free-agent signing by the Giants allowed Seibu to grab Utsumi as compensation, belted a two-run second-inning homer against his old team that made it 3-0.

Utsumi allowed only three run over two innings in which he walked four and surrendered five hits, including a home run, thanks to two double plays and a Giants runner stumbling on the bases.

Career minor leaguer Seiji Kawagoe homered for the Lions in the seventh to narrow the gap.

Giants-Lions highlights.

Eagles 4, Swallows 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Daichi Suzuki doubled, walked, scored one run and singled in the go-ahead run as Rakuten came from behind to beat Yakult. The Swallows took the lead on third-inning homers by Yasutaka Shiomi, his seventh, and Norichika Aoki, his first, off Ryota Takinaka (4-2).

Cy Sneed (1-1) allowed the tying runs to score in the fourth, when he issued two walks, allowed two singles and hit a batter. Hiroto Kobukata singled with one out in the sixth, stole second and scored on Suzuki’s single. Kobukata scored an insurance run in the ninth with his second home run. Takinaka went five innings, and the bullpen did the rest of the heavy lifting to close it out with Yuki Matsui striking out three of the four batters he faced to record his 16th save.

BayStars 4, Hawks 3

At Yokohama Stadium, new SoftBank import Colin Rea got a rude awakening in his Japan debut, surrendering a three-run first-inning home run to Tyler Austin, his ninth, but allowed just three more base runners through six, when he left with the game tied 3-3.

Yuya Sakamoto worked six scoreless innings for DeNA, but Nobuhiro Matsuda tagged Edwin Escobar for a three-run homer in the seventh that took Rea off the hook for the loss. Rea threw 74 pitches, walked one and hit one while striking out five, but was pulled for a pinch-hitter after Matsuda’s seventh home run.

Reliever Keisuke Izumi (1-2) surrendered a run on doubles by Neftali Soto and Yamato Maeda. Yasuaki Yamasaki got past the heart of the Hawks order in the eighth, and Kazuki Mishima closed it out in the ninth to earn his ninth save.

Dragons 4, Marines 3

At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi tied the game 3-3 in the seventh inning, Toshiki Abe plating Dayan Viciedo with a squeeze bunt, Yohei Oshima homered off Yuki Karakawa (3-2) in the bottom of the eighth and Katsuki Matayoshi worked the ninth to record his fifth save.

Naomichi Donoue, starting for the first time this season, homered in the first, while journeyman reserve Masataka Iryo homered for the first time in five years to make it 2-0 in the second against Fumiya Motomae.

Akiyoshi Katsuno allowed a run through six for the Dragons, who blew the lead in the seventh with Hiroto Fuku on the mound. Katsuya Kakunaka drew a leadoff walk, and Brandon Laird followed with his 12th home run.

Buffaloes 7, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, 19-year-old rookie Orix shortstop Kotaro Kurebayashi’s third home run of the season, a two-run shot, broke a 3-3 eighth-inning tie off reliever Suguru Iwazaki (1-3).

The Tigers jumped in front on a two-run first-inning Yusuke Oyama off Sachiya Yamasaki and rookie Teruaki Sato hit his 14th homer in the second. Masataka Yoshida doubled and scored in the Buffaloes’ two-run fourth off Raul Alcantara, who allowed three runs over seven innings. Orix leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda walked and scored in the fourth and singled in the tying run in the fifth.

Carp vs Fighters, rained out

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, the rain washed out a game Chihiro Kaneko might have won with Nippon Ham leading Hiroshima 5-2 after Kaneko singled in two runs.


Starting pitchers

Giants vs Fighters: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (-) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-5, 2.85)

Swallows vs Lions: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Masanori Ishikawa (0-1, 3.60) vs Kona Takahashi (5-0, 2.77)

BayStars vs Marines: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Masaya Kyoyama (0-2, 7.43) vs Shota Suzuki (1-3, 3.30)

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

Yudai Ono (2-3, 3.50) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-5, 2.39)

Tigers vs Hawks: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Koyo Aoyagi (3-2, 2.50) vs Shuta Ishikawa (3-3, 2.74)

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

Yuta Nakamura (0-2, 11.00) vs Hideaki Wakui (5-3, 3.75)

Active roster moves 6/3/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/13

Central League


GiantsP59Toyoki Tanaka
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
SwallowsP54Cy Sneed


GiantsP62Kai Yokogawa
CarpC32Yuta Shirahama
CarpOF55Ryuhei Matsuyama

Pacific League


HawksP26Colin Rea
MarinesP49Fumiya Motomae
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
FightersP19Chihiro Kaneko
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki


HawksP40Kazuki Sugiyama
MarinesIF44Seiya Inoue
FightersP36Drew VerHagen

NPB Wrap 5-25-21


In Japan’s six-team leagues, teams understandably spend a lot of energy analyzing and preparing for their league opponents — and then spend three weeks playing the other league’s six teams, and there is an impression, if not objective evidence, that players who are able to keep the task of hitting at its simplest level, due better in interleague.

If that is a trait more common to imported hitters, which I don’t know it is, we’d expect to see something like we saw on Tuesday with home runs from Justin Smoak, Zelous Wheeler, Neftali Soto, Jefry Marte, Jerry Sands and Leonys Martin, although Japanese hitters accounted for four more at Yokohama Stadium in addition to Soto’s two.

The study says

No such effect occurs. I compared the performances of teams’ domestic and imported players with 300-plus plate appearances in a given season and looked to see whether each group produced better or worse wOBAs during interleague. I then did a weighted average of the difference for each team and found the domestic players have done ever so slightly better in interleague than their import teammates. The margin in wOBA was .0065 better in wOBA, almost nothing.

Dragons 2, Hawks 0

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi right-hander Yuya Yanagi (4-1), who’s quietly been posting the Central League’s best numbers this season, leading the league in strikeouts and ERA, shutdown the SoftBank Hawks for seven innings, while the CL’s weakest offense managed one rally against Shota Takeda (3-3) scoring twice and having a runner barely thrown out at the plate on a walk and four straight one-out hits.

Nobumasa Fukuda doubled twice, drove in the Dragons’ first run and scored on Dayan Viciedo’s RBI single. Yanagi struck out six and walked two, while allowing six hits. His control was fairly sharp and his fastball lively and it seemed like he was needlessly falling behind in counts trying to get hitters to chase, but that’s kind of a CL thing.

Lefty Hiroto Fuku worked the eighth and, with closer Raidel Martinez off to join the Cuban national team ahead of Olympic qualifying, right-hander Katsuki Matayoshi worked around a one-out double to record his first save.

Giants 9, Eagles 4

At Tokyo Dome, former Eagle Zelous Wheeler, who joined Yomiuri last year in an early-season trade overturned a two-run deficit with a three-run fourth-inning home run, his sixth, off Takayuki Kishi (3-3). Hiroaki Shimauchi had brought the Pacific League leaders from 2-1 down in the top of the inning with a three-run homer, his fifth, off Shosei Togo (4-2).

New import Justin Smoak put the Giants up a run in the second with his fifth homer and singled in another in the third. The game was close until the eighth when Eagles reliever Alan Busenitz surrendered four innings.

Giants-Eagles highlights

Swallows 4, Fighters 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Nippon Ham’s Naoyuki Uwasawa (4-2) allowed a run over six innings, while Yakult rookie Yuto Kanakubo (3-1) returned to the mound for the first time since being struck in the chest by a line drive 11 days earlier.

RBI singles by Wang Po-jung and Ryo Watanabe put the Fighters up 2-0 in the third, and another run would have scored on a Ronny Rodriguez single, but Norichika Aoki ended the inning at the plate with a throw from left.

BayStars 10, Buffaloes 3

At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA’s Michael Peoples (2-1) allowed a run over seven innings and his teammates hit five home runs, Toshiro Miyazaki opening the scoring with his two-run second-inning homer off  Taisuke Yamaoka (2-4).

Miyazaki’s homer was his fifth, Yamato Maeda capped the inning with his first, a solo shot, while Neftali Soto hit his sixth and seventh and drove in three runs and Keita Sano hit a two-run homer, his fifth, in the fifth.

Marines 5, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, Lotte came behind against setup man Suguru Egoshi (1-1) on a two-run Leonys Martin homer, his Japan-best 15th. Shogo Nakamura, who also singled, and tripled, chased Egoshi with a double and scored on a Brandon Laird double to complete the scoring.

Yuki Nishi allowed two runs, one earned, for the Tigers over seven innings, the game’s first run scoring on a wild pickoff throw. Hanshin up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Jefry Marte homer, his ninth, and a solo shot by Jerry Sands, his 11th, both off Kota Futaki, who left after four. Four relievers finished up with Naoya Masuda recording his 12th save.

Takashi Toritani, a future Hall of Famer whom the Hanshin Tigers couldn’t push out the door fast enough two years ago that they had apparently planned his retirement ceremony, returned to Koshien with the Lotte Marines and cut the visitors’ deficit to 3-2 with a seventh-inning pinch-hit RBI single.

Carp vs Lions

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, postponed coronavirus

Starting pitchers


Giants vs Eagles: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuki Takahashi (5-1, 2.55) vs Takahiro Norimoto (4-1, 2.56)

Swallows vs Fighters: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Kazuto Taguchi (1-3, 3.02) vs Takayuki Kato (3-1, 2.35)

BayStars vs Buffaloes: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (1-4, 6.75) vs Hiroya Miyagi (4-0, 2.05)

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

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (3-2, 2.72) vs Nao Higashihama (-)

Tigers vs Marines: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (3-2, 3.13) vs Daiki Iwashita (4-2, 3.23)