Tag Archives: Raidel Martinez

NPB news: Aug. 13, 2023

Japan had a special game Sunday that had nine hitless innings from a starter, a 10th-inning homer as one team took the lead against Japan’s most dominant closer and a come-from-behind extra-inning walk-off.

Before that, I have a brief explanation. There were no blogs Friday or Saturday, because I’ve decided to take family holidays and podcast recording days off from the daily blogs. Friday, Teruyo and I walked up Takaozan to enjoy eating at the beer garden with her friends and Saturday I went to Tokyo Dome during the day to talk to players and coaches before the DeNA-Yomiuri game and then did a podcast so that was that.

On Friday, the Seibu Lions, DeNA BayStars and SoftBank Hawks all got off to good starts in their weekend series, while the Dragons and Carp decided to get a head start on what was to be a weekend full of nail-biting early in a 3-3 tie, with Takahiro Matsuba allowing the only run given a Dragons starter would allow entire weekend and end with a bang.

The Hanshin Tigers eked out a tense 1-0 win over the Swallows for their eighth straight win in what was also a harbinger of the games to come, while in Sendai, Takayuki Kishi threw his first shutout in two years to beat Orix.

After their bright starts, the Hawks and BayStars got hammered Saturday, by the Fighters, and Giants, respectively, while Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda (4-2) surrendered two ninth-inning runs in Chiba in a 3-2 loss to the Marines. Hanshin beat the Swallows again by one run, 4-3 for their ninth straight win, while Yuki Okabayashi hit safely in his 25th straight game, tying Chunichi’s franchise record, set by Hall of Famer Michio Nishizawa in 1949, in a 3-2 win behind seven scoreless innings from Hiroto Takahashi (5-7), who out-dueled Masato Morishita (6-3).

That brings us to Sunday, when the Dragons and Carp resumed their drama, big time. Meanwhile, the Tigers may be winning like nobody’s business, but they lost regular catcher Ryutaro Umeno for the foreseeable future when a pitched ball fractured his left ulna.

Sunday’s games

Dragons 2, Carp 1, 10 innings: At Nagoya Dome, Yuki Okabayashi hit safely in the first inning off Atsushi Endo, who threw seven scoreless innings for Hiroshima, but Yuya Yanagi threw nine hitless innings for the Dragons with nothing to show for it but being able to crack jokes on the hero-interview podium.

The Carp broke the deadlock in the 10th on Shota Dobayashi’s two-out home run off Raidel Martinez (2-1), but the lead didn’t last long. Carp closer Takuya Yasaki (4-1) took over in the home half to close it out and gave up back-to-back homers to Takaya Ishikawa and Shingo Usami.

“I was up there trying to get on base, and in the process, I hit a home run, so that was good. In the end, I expected Usami to do something and he did, so it worked out like I expected,” Ishikawa said of his new teammate.

Usami joined Chunichi this summer in a trade from the Fighters after regular catcher Takuya Kinoshita went out hurt. The 30-year-old now has three homers this season, two shy of his career high in 2022. It was the 16th of his career. Hero interviews, of course, are an exercise in white lies, so that’s exactly where someone says they expect real offense from a reserve catcher with a .599 career OPS in 827 plate appearances.

Okabayashi is now seven games shy of the Japan pro baseball record of 33 straight games with a hit, set by Hiroshima’s Yoshihiko Takahashi in 1979.

As pointed out by Jason Coskrey, Yudai Ono last year saw his no-hitter evaporate in the 10th inning against Hanshin in Nagoya, when Teruaki Sato, of all people, doubled with two outs. Ishikawa, was also a hero that day, singling in the winning run in the 10th with one out and the bases loaded.

Dragons-Carp highlights
Continue reading NPB news: Aug. 13, 2023

NPB news: June 28, 2023

A bunch of pitchers, including Carter Stewart Jr., did really well only to not figure in their team’s decisions, while two others were benefactors of unlikely home runs. Rain hit the Giants and Swallows Tohoku series for the second straight day, but not quickly enough for one of those clubs.

In Hiroshima, the once ubiquitous “jet balloons” made their first appearance at a Japanese park since they were banned during spring training as COVID was becoming a thing.

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Wednesday’s games

Hawks 3, Eagles 2: At Fukuoka Dome, two pitchers looking for their first pro win each did muxh of the heavy lifting needed to bring that about but neither reaped ny reward.

Rakuten right-hander Kosei Soji, one of two players in last year’s draft to be named as two teams’ first pick, allowed two runs over five innings, while Carter Stewart Jr. surrendered one unearned run but allowed only one hit, a sixth-inning Yuya Ogo infield single.

The Eagles took a third-run lead set up by Stewart’s wild throw to first that put leadoff man Tsuyoshi Yamasaki on second, and completed with two sacrifices, only for Yuki Yanagita to tie the game with his 250th career home run.

Stewart walked the bases loaded in the top of the fourth but two strikeouts got him off the hook.

Textbook small ball gave the Hawks the lead in the bottom of the inning with Tatsuro Yanagimachi singling and scoring via a sacrifice and a Takuya Kai single.

Livan Moinelo (3-0) blew the Hawks’ lead in the eighth, but a walk, a sacrifice and a Kenta Imamiya single set up the go-ahead run to score on a wild pitch.

In Stewart’s two starts this year, he’s allowed one run on seven hits and six walks while striking out 14 in 11-1/3 innings.

Buffaloes 10, Marines 0: At Kyocera Dome, rookie Shumpeita Yamashita (7-1) pitched out of a bases-loaded predicament in the first, found his rhythm and then got outs, while the meat of the Buffaloes’ batting order beat Kazuya Ojima (5-3) like nobody’s business after he cruised through the first four innings.

PL batting leader Yuma Tongu went 3-for-4 with his eighth homer and scored three runs, while 104-kilogram Yutaro Sugimoto had the maximum fun with two doubles and an inside-the-park home run. His seventh-inning drive off the wall in left got a good bounce that led center fielder Kyota Fujiwara on a merry chase as Sugimoto circled the bases.

“He’s very slow so I never expected it, but it bounced about 100 meters,” Marwin Gonzalez said, to which Sugimoto replied. “Rounding the bases about killed me, so I’ll do my best to get it over the wall after that. I personally think I’m fast, so I ran from the start with the belief I could score.”

Marwin Gonzalez’s two-run single.

Carp 6, Deniers 2: At New Hiroshima Citizens Stadium, Masato Morishita (4-1) was Shohei Ohtani for the day, allowing two runs over seven innings and breaking a 2-2 fifth-inning tie with a three-run home run, the first of his career.

Matt Davidson’s eighth home run, a two-run shot to the upper deck in left-center, brought the Carp from behind in the second, only for Shugo Maki to tie it with his 12th homer in the fourth. Another Davidson drive, off the wall in left for a fifth-inning leadoff double, got the Carp started. After a hit batsman by DeNA starter and Hiroshima native Kenta Ishida (2-4), Morishita reached the upper deck in left.

“It really carried,” he said.

Dragons 4, Tigers 2, 10 innings: At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Kotaro Otake and Chunichi’s Hiroto Takahashi pitched to a seven-inning 2-2 stalemate, with Takahashi striking out 10. That left it to the bullpens, with Chunichi getting a one-out runner via a hit batsman, with two runs coming in via a Yuki Okabayashi two-out triple and a Dayan Viciedo single.

Chunichi took a second-inning lead. Seiya Hosokawa doubled, Takaya Ishikawa walked, and both scored after a sacrifice and a single by reserve catcher Kota Ishibashi. Takahashi escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Yusuke Oyama grounded a splitter into a double play.

Seiya Kinami’s two-out fluke single made it 2-1 in the seventh. Takahashi hit Sheldon Neuse and Koji Chikamoto’s smash past third tied it. But that was it for Hanshin as three relievers held them to one walk over the final three innings with Raidel Martinez getting his 17th save.

Tigers-Dragons highlights

Lions 2, Fighters 0: At Naha Okunoyama Stadium, another pitchers’ duel broke out, with Seibu submariner Kaito Yoza and Nippon Ham’s Kenta Uehara, each from Okinawa, throwing seven scoreless innings. Uehara, who previously dabbled with being a two-way player, struck out nine. Two-out RBI singles by Shuta Tonosaki and Takeya Nakamura plated the Lions’ eighth-inning runs.

Tonosaki’s RBI single

Tatsushi Masuda recorded his 12th save thanks to some excellent defense from his middle infielders, shortstop Sosuke Genda and Tonosaki at second.

Swallows 6, Giants 0, 6 innings: At Morioka’s spanking new ballpark, in a pouring rain, Tetsuto Yamada and Hideki Nagaoka hit three-run home runs off Foster Griffin (4-4). Reiji Kozawa (3-1) went the (middle) distance for the Swallows.

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