Tag Archives: Raidel Martinez

NPB 2020 OCT. 17

Saturday’s games

CL

  • BayStars vs Giants, postponed, rain
  • Tigers vs Swallows, postponed, rain
  • Dragons 5, Carp 2

PL

Other news

Higashihama wins 6th straight

Nao Higashihama struggled with his location but got enough on his pitches to keep the Rakuten Eagles from squaring him up over seven innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 5-0 win at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Higashihama (8-1) started on Opening Day for the Hawks, but was up and down over the first two months. He allowed four hits, walked two and hit while striking out seven en route to winning his sixth straight start.

Yuki Yanagita took Ryota Ishibashi (1-5) deep in the first inning for his 27th home run, and the game was still 1-0 when Higashihama’s lack of command allowed the Eagles to juice the bags with one out on two walks and a Stefen Romero single. But even though he missed up in the heart of the zone, Higashihama got two easy outs to end it.

Yurisbel Gracial homered in the home half and Ryoya Kurhihara doubled with the bases loaded in the fifth to complete the scoreline.

We’re only here for the beer

Postgame hero interviews run the gamut from completely inane to hilarious, and somedays it seems like the purpose of the exercise for SoftBank Hawks players is to be as campy as possible.

With Asahi brewers the sponsors for Saturday’s hero interview, Yuki Yanagita, Ryoya Kurihara and winning pitcher Nao Higashihama all spoke about their motivation for the day being to earn a one-year’s supply of Asahi beer.

Chang delivers on Lions’ Taiwan Day

Chang Yi (2-2) struck out eight over six scoreless innings, and the Orix Buffaloes got home runs from rookie Seiichiro Oshita and Steven Moya to beat the Seibu Lions 4-1.

The Lions were having one of their regular Taiwan Day promotions at their MetLIfe Dome ballpark across the border from Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture. Chang, a cousin of Yang Dai-kang and Yang Yao-hsun, who attended high school and university in Japan, ended up celebrating the day at his hosts’ expense.

Tyler Higgins worked a 1-2-3 eighth to preserve a two-run lead and Brandon Dickson recorded his 14th save in the ninth for the last-place Buffaloes.

Oblgatory lip service

Rookie Seiichiro Oshita broke up a scoreless game on Saturday when he led off the Orix Buffaloes’ fifth inning with his second career home run and then, as Ray Liotta’s character said in “Goodfellas,” he did the right thing, by denying he wanted to hit a home run.

The Nikkan Sports published a story based on the flash quotes distributed during the game by the team from every player who drives in a run.

“My plan going up to the plate first and foremost was to get on base,” Oshita said through the team. “The contact felt really good, so I thought it was gone the instant I hit it.”

“I so wanted to get in that first run, so I’m glad I could do that with a home run.”

Had he reversed that, and started talking about the home run, and then added the afterthought that his first thought was getting on base, Oshita would have been guilty of violating Japanese baseball norms, by suggesting he was trying to hit a home run.

Carp bullpen blows up again

For the second straight day the Hiroshima Carp bullpen surrendered four late runs, this time allowing the Chunichi Dragons to turn a one-run deficit into a 5-2 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Rookie of the year candidate Masato Morishita was rock solid through seven, allowing a run on five hits and no walks while striking out eight. But setup man Atsuya Horie (3-4) left with two on and one out in the eighth.

Geronimo Franzua, who has often been called on to get four outs, came in to get five. He got ahead of Yohei Oshima 1-2 but couldn’t get a called strike and walked him to load the bases.

With two outs, Franzua made a decent first pitch to Toshiki Abe, but the Dragons second baseman got the end of the bat on it and bounced it through the infield for a two-run single. Dayan Viciedo then iced the game with another two-run single.

Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi (4-6) scattered eight hits and two walks over seven innings to earn the win. The damage would have been worse but Moises Sierra made a couple of tricky catches in left when he appeared to struggle with the sun.

Raidel Martinez struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 21st save.

Hanshin forms women’s club

The Hanshin Tigers announced Saturday it was forming a women’s hardball club that will begin play next year, according to the Nikkan Sports.

The club will be the second operated by a Nippon Professional Baseball team following the announcement in April that the Pacific League’s Seibu Lions had established a club.

The Tigers’ club is an offshoot of the organization’s outreach programs to make the game more accessible to women. The Tigers said its purpose was three-fold:

  1. To cultivate the desire among women to play baseball
  2. To create an environment where it is easier for women to start in baseball.
  3. To increase the number of women players, women fans and Tigers fans.

The Tigers will begin accepting applications this month, with practices to be held once a week in the area around the club’s home base in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Some practices may take place at the Tigers’ home park, historic Koshien Stadium, or its minor league facility in Naruohama.

Active roster moves 10/17/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/27

Central League

Activated

CarpIF69Ryutaro Hatsuki
DragonsP17Yuya Yanagi

Dectivated

DragonsP13Yuki Hashimoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP21Ken Togame
HawksP34Arata Shiino
EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo

Dectivated

LionsP47Koki Matsuoka
HawksP11Yuki Tsumori
EaglesP17Takahiro Shiomi

Starting pitchers for Oct. 18, 2020

Pacific League

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

Wataru Matsumoto (4-5, 4.34) vs Hiroya Miyagi (0-0, 3.60)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Manabu Mima (9-3, 4.28) vs Kohei Arihara (6-8, 3.53)

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

Tsuyoshi Wada (7-1, 2.99) vs Ryota Takinaka (1-1, 3.63)

Central League

BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Taiga Kamichatani (2-3, 4.02) vs Seishu Hatake (3-3, 3.16)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (7-3, 2.96) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-5, 4.09)

Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Yuta Nakamura (2-2, 2.91) vs Tatsuya Shimizu (1-0, 1.84)

NPB 2020 OCT. 16

Friday’s games

Other news

BayStars pull it out late

The DeNA BayStars made up for their failure to cash in early scoring opportunities by coming from a run down in the eighth inning in their 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama Stadium.

Keita Sano tied the franchise record by homering in his fifth straight game, while tying the game 1-1 with his 20th home run. Jose Lopez singled with one out off Brazilian flame thrower Thyago Vieira (0-1), pinch-runner Tomo Otosaka stole second and Yamato Maeda doubled him home.

Closer Kazuki Mishima surrendered a leadoff triple before striking out the next three batters to lock down his 15th save.

While right-hander Shoichi Ino kept the Giants on-base and the visitors wasted their best chance through seven innings, a second-inning Takumi Oshiro leadoff double, the BayStars hitters got on base but couldn’t score, stranding seven runners from the third to the fifth against lefty Nobutaka Imamura.

The Giants broke through for a run against Spencer Patton (3-2) on a double, a single and a Hayato Sakamoto sac fly. Patton walked Kazuma Okamoto to put two on with one out but then foreshadowed Mishima’s big finish by striking out the next to batters to set the stage for the final fireworks.

Dragons survive Suzuki’s wrecking ball

Seiya Suzuki hit his 22nd and 23rd home runs and drove in five runs, but the Hiroshima Carp bullpen failed to keep it close enough for him to make a difference in an 8-6 loss to the Chunichi Dragons at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Yariel Rodriguez (3-4) allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings on seven hits and a walk while striking out six. The Dragons took a comfortable 8-3 lead into the ninth but Kento Fujishima faced three hitters, and all scored on Suzuki’s second home run. Raidel Martinez came in and earned his 20th save.

Nishi shuts out Swallows

Yuki Nishi (10-4) threw a five-hitter for his second shutout of the season and catcher Ryutaro Umeno homered and had an RBI double in the Hanshin Tigers’ 5-0 win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

Hawks pour it on early

Matt Moore (5-3) allowed three runs, two earned, over seven innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 7-3 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Moore struck out eight and walked one while giving up six hits. After facing just three batters in the first, his teammates scored four runs on six straight one-out hits in off Takahiro Shiomi (4-8). Shiomi got ahead in counts and executed most of his pitches, but it didn’t matter.

He took the first step down a slippery slope with a fat 1-2 pitch to Keizo Kawashima, who smashed it into left to start the hit parade.

Yuki Yanagita was fooled on a 1-2 pitch away but got it off the end of the bat for an opposite-field single. Yurisbel Gracial chased an 0-2 forkball at the knees but got the barrel on the ball and singled to left. Ryoya Kurihara hit a tricky inside 1-2 pitch for a single, and on and on it went until the third-place Eagles were nearly out of the game from the get-go.

Marines overcome errors

Kota Futaki (7-2) allowed an unearned run over six innings and Leonys Martin hit a tie-breaking two-run home run as the Lotte Marines overcame four errors to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-1 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Futaki allowed three hits and a walk while striking out one. For the second time this week, rookie Kyota Fujiwara opened the Marines’ first with a home run, only for the Fighters to tie it in the third with the help of an error by first baseman Seiya Inoue.

Fujiwara singled with two outs in the third and scored on Martin’s 25th home run.

Kuriyama lifts Lions past Buffaloes

Takumi Kuriyama’s two-run two-out sixth-inning double brought the Seibu Lions from a run down against Taisuke Yamaoka (2-5) in a 2-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes at MetLIfe Dome.

The Buffaloes broke up a scoreless game in the sixth against Lions starter Tatsuya Imai on an error, a one-out Masataka Yoshida single and a Steven Moya RBI single off rookie Tetsu Miyagawa (2-1).

Sosuke Genda, who was charged with the costly error in the top of the inning, started the Lions’ fightback with his second hit of the game. Tomoya Mori followed with a one-out walk, and both scored on Kuriyama’s second hit of the game.

Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda struck out the first two batters in the ninth, but the Buffaloes made things interesting by loading the bases before he escaped with his 27th save.

Active roster moves 10/16/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/26

Central League

Activated

GiantsP45Nobutaka Imamura
TigersOF63Yutaro Itayama
CarpP43Sotaro Shimauchi
CarpP57Norihiko Tanaka
DragonsOF51Kaname Takino

Dectivated

BayStarsP43Takuya Shindo
TigersIF58Fumiya Araki
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
CarpP46Mikiya Takahashi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
DragonsOF42Zoilo Almonte

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesOF46Ko Shimozuru
MarinesIF00Takashi Toritani
MarinesOF1Ikuhiro Kiyota
MarinesOF3Katsuya Kakunaka
MarinesOF63Koshiro Wada

Dectivated

EaglesOF54Ren Wada
MarinesC45Yuito Munetsugu
MarinesIF50Shin Matsuda
MarinesIF59Kei Hosoya
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe

Starting pitchers for Oct. 17, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Ken Togame (1-0, 8.10) vs Chang Yi (1-2, 3.78)

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

Takuro Furuya (0-0, 3.00) vs Kohei Arihara (6-8, 3.53)

Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Nao Higashihama (7-1, 2.52) vs Ryota Ishibashi (1-4, 5.94)

Central League

BayStars vs Giants: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masaya Kyoyama (1-1, 6.19) vs Seishu Hatake (3-3, 3.16)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Joe Gunkel (1-4, 3.74) vs Albert Suarez (4-2, 2.66)

Carp vs Dragons: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masato Morishita (8-3, 2.28) vs Yuya Yanagi (3-6, 4.47)

NPB 2020 Oct. 12

Monday’s games

PL

  • Eagles vs Lions, postponed, rain

Other news

Fukutani bats, pitches Dragons to victory

Right-hander Koji Fukutani, a former first-round pick who spent his first six pro seasons as a reliever, allowed two runs over six innings and doubled in the go-ahead run for the Chunichi Dragons in their 3-2 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Nagoya Dome.

Fukutani (6-2) allowed six hits but no walks while striking out two, came up in the second with the game tied 2-2 after Toshiki Abe’s 10th homer of the season. Catcher Takuya Kinoshita walked, and Fukutani doubled him home.

“He is a good hitter,” Dragons manager Tsuyoshi Yoda said of Fukutani, whose first career double improved his career batting to 3-for-21. “He was really working hard before the game in BP.”

Fukutani said he went up looking for a first-pitch fastball from Toshiki Sakurai (2-4).

“I was looking for one but I didn’t imagine I was going to hit it,” Fukutani said of an inside-out swing that drove a low pitch into the gap in right-center. “I’ve been swinging the bat a lot recently, but I was beginning to think I was incapable of squaring a pitch up.”

“The instant I hit, I felt, ‘I’ve never hit a ball so well in my life.'”

The right-hander surrendered back-to-back hits in the Giants’ third, but got a double play to defuse the would-be rally. Zoilo Almonte prevented the Giants from tying it in the sixth when he robbed Yoshihiro Maru of a two-out RBI double in left.

“The way Almonte and (second baseman) Abe were picking it today, gave me courage. They made me feel that all I had to do was make my pitches and things were going to work out,” Fukutani said.

Lefty Hiroto Fuku, and right-handers Daisuke Sobue and Raidel Martinez protected the lead over the final three innings, with Martinez turning in an electrifying ninth as he struck out three and walked one to earn his 18th save.

Active roster moves 10/12/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/22

Central League

Activated

TigersP17Yuta Iwasada
TigersP67Suguru Iwazaki

Dectivated

TigersP20Kenichi Nakata
TigersC39Kenya Nagasaka

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

HawksC12Hiroaki Takaya
MarinesOF61Kazuma Mike
BuffaloesP17Hirotoshi Masui

Starting pitchers for Oct. 13, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-4, 2.30) vs Kona Takahashi (6-8, 4.21)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ayumu Ishikawa (7-4, 4.17) vs Takahiro Norimoto (5-5, 3.95)

Buffaloes vs Hawks: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (8-3, 2.26) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (2-3, 3.29)

Central League

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (13-0, 1.89) vs Allen Kuri (5-5, 3.65)

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-4, 4.74) vs Shinichi Onuki (8-4, 2.26)

Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-4, 3.78) vs Haruto Takahashi (4-3, 2.07)

NPB 2020 Oct. 7

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Dragons 4, Swallows 1: Ono CG a no go

In an era when complete games are rare, the news on Wednesday was that Yudai Ono didn’t throw one. For the first time this season, the lefty won a game without going the distance, laboring through six shutout innings in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Nagoya Dome.

Ono (8-5), announced as the Central League’s pitcher of the month for September earlier in the day, lacked the pin-point command that his been his calling card for much of the season. The Swallows loaded the bases with one out in the first, and he needed 26 pitches in the inning to keep them off the board.

“When I got to 26 pitches I knew at that point that it was going to be tough to finish up tonight,” said Ono, who handed a lead over to the Dragons bullpen for the second time this season.

On July 24, he left with a 2-1 lead at home after throwing 103 pitches over five innings, and the bullpen surrendered four runs in a 5-2 loss to the Dragons that left him 0-3 on the season. He then took things out of his relievers’ hands with five straight complete game victories followed by a complete game defeat.

“His pitching was all you could expect of an ace,” Dragons manager Tsuyoshi Yoda said.

Forty-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (1-6) also pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first but surrendered two runs on three third-inning singles by the Dragons import trio of Zoilo Almonte, Dayan Viciedo and Moises Sierra.

Almonte, who had three hits, homered in the seventh, and Tetsuto Yamada hit his 12th homer of the season in the eighth for the Swallows.

Dragons closer Raidel Martinez struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 17th save.

BayStars 6, Giants 3: Lopez strikes back

Jose Lopez broke a 2-2 tie with his second two-run home run in two nights at Tokyo Dome in the DeNA BayStars’ 6-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants.

Neftali Soto followed with his 19th homer. Shingo Hirata (1-0), the team’s second draft pick in 2013, allowed two runs for the BayStars over five innings to earn his first career win.

Lefties Edwin Escobar and Kenta Ishida pitched the seventh and eighth for the visitors, and Kazuki Mishima worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 12th save.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Carp 9, Tigers 3

Tsubasa Aizawa’s two-run fifth-inning double brought the Hiroshima Carp from a run down in their 9-3 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Lions 4, Hawks 3

Takumi Kuriyama’s second RBI single tied it 3-3 in the seventh inning before the Seibu Lions took the lead against the SoftBank Hawks in a 4-3 win at MetLife Dome.

Eighth-inning doubles by Hotaka Yamakawa and Fumikazu Kimura off Livan Moinelo (1-2) completed the comeback.

The Hawks opened the scoring in the first inning on Yuki Yanagita’s 26th home run. Yanagita walked twice and singled and scored twice. Ernesto Mejia opened the Lions’ sixth with his 11th home run to make it a one-run game.

Marines 4, Buffaloes 1

Seiya Inoue hit a three-run first-inning homer off Andrew Albers (3-7) and Kazuya Ojima (7-6) allowed an unearned run over six innings as the Lotte Marines beat the Orix Buffaloes 4-1 at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The win was the Marines’ first since they switched out 11 members of the active roster on Tuesday and another on Wednesday due to a spate infections within the club.

The win moved the Marines to within one win of the Pacific League-leading Hawks.

Eagles 2, Fighters 2

Nippon Ham Fighters starter Drew VerHagen and Rakuten Eagles right-hander Hideaki Wakui each went six innings as their teams finished in a 2-2, 10-inning tie at Sapporo Dome.

Both pitchers juggled runners on base, with VerHagen allowing a run on five hits and four walks, and Wakui two runs on six walks and six hits.

The visitors tied it in the seventh on Hideto Asamura’s second RBI single of the game.

mvp

Dragons’ Ono a surprise winner

September’s monthly award winners were named on Wednesday, with Chunichi Dragons lefty Yudai Ono the Central League’s pitcher of the month despite his having lost two games.

Ono, who went 3-2, was joined by CL player (read “hitter”) of the month Takayuki Kajitani of the DeNA BayStars, and the PL’s honorees, Rakuten Eagles second baseman Hideto Asamura and Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Ono did everything except post a good win-loss record. His three wins were all two-hit shutouts, and that struck a chord with whoever it is who makes the selections, something unheard of in recent years.

I don’t think we should ignore wins, but if you did, it would be hard to see that any CL pitcher had a month in Ono’s league. Ono led the league in strikeouts, led the league in innings. His strikeout total of 42 was twice his combined hits and walks allowed.

The trouble over the past 15 years or so that I’ve been paying attention to these things is that they used to start with wins and pretty much ended there.

For years, my pitcher of the month search started by finding pitchers with three-plus wins with no more than one loss and an ERA under 3.50. If nobody qualified, then go through the relievers and see who didn’t allow a run, while getting eight or nine saves or holds. One month, Shohei Ohtani didn’t win despite going 2-0 with a 0.27 ERA in four starts with over 30 strikeouts.

I was surprised to find, however, that such wasn’t always the case. In June 2000 for example, the CL pitching honor went to Nate Minchey, after going 3-3 with a 2.02 ERA, when other candidates went 3-0 and 3-1 with worse ERAs.

Minchey also had a kicker in that we threw four of his starts on four-days rest, something not unheard of like it is now, but uncommon. The other two were on five days.

To get back to Ono, the award blurb mentioned that he was the first pitcher to throw three shutouts while allowing two or fewer hits in each since Hall of Famer Jiro Noguchi in October 1943.

Lotte OF Oka added to watch list

The Lotte Marines on Wednesday deactivated outfielder Hiromi Oka after determining that he too had been in close contact with pitcher Daiki Iwashita, the first player to test positive in the Pacific League team’s novel coronavirus cluster.

The Marines deactivated 11 players on Tuesday, seven who had tested positive and another four who had been in close contact with Iwashita on Friday’s flight back from Hokkaido, where they had traveled for a three-game series with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Iwashita is so far the only player to exhibit any symptoms. He was tested Saturday night after falling ill and developing a fever.

Active roster moves 10/7/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/17

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Dectivated

BayStarsIF38Koki Yamashita

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesOF61Kazuma Mike
BuffaloesP27Andrew Albers

Dectivated

MarinesOF25Hiromi Oka
FightersP31Toru Murata

Starting pitchers for Oct. 7, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Eagles: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nick Martinez (1-5, 4.23) vs Takayuki Kishi (2-0, 5.53)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 5.70) vs Shuta Ishikawa (7-3, 2.37)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takuro Furuya (-) vs Daiki Tajima (3-4, 3.72)

Central League

Giants vs BayStars: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Angel Sanchez (6-3, 2.97) vs Shoichi Ino (6-5, 3.68)

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

Yusuke Nomura (6-2, 3.82) vs Yuki Nishi (8-4, 2.25)

NPB 2020 Oct. 3

Other news

Marines’ counterattack levels Lions

Three-run homers by Shuhei Fukuda and Hisanori Yasuda lifted the Lotte Marines to a 6-3 win over the Seibu Lions on Saturday at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Fukuda’s homer canceled out two by the Lions, a Takumi Kuriyama solo shot and two-run homer by Fumikazu Kimura. After Friday’s game was decided 1-0 by Ernesto Mejia’s solo homer, all10 runs scored in two game have crossed the plate on home runs.

Reed Garrett made his first start for the Lions after beginning the season with some success as their setup man. The right-hander was pulled after issuing his first walk, leaving two on with two outs in the third inning. The next pitcher issued a walk to load the bases, but retired Yasuda to end the inning.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda allowed the tying run to come to the plate in the ninth but held on to record his Japan-best 27th save.

Snappy answers to stupid questions

The loss meant the Lions, the two-time defending Pacific League champions, can no longer win the league under their own power. Asked the obligatory questions about the significance of this event that nobody seems to care about except Japanese sports editors, Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji said, “We don’t care about things like that.”

Yanagita homers in Hawks’ cleanup battle

A day after the SoftBank Hawks employed light-hitting utility infielder Keizo Kawashima in the No. 4 spot, Yuki Yanagita, the Pacific League’s premier hitter, took over the cleanup duties and homered in a 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Instead of Kawashima, with a career .254/.335/.363 slash line, Yanagita took over. Easily Japanese ball’s most productive hitter over the last seven seasons, opened the scoring in the second with his 25th home run, this one to the opposite field off Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (5-8) who took the complete-game loss.

Yanagita is one of only two players in Japanese pro baseball history to lead his league in on-base percentage and slugging average in four straight years (2015-2018).

This led to another memorable Hawks hero interview as Yanagita deadpanned about his competition with Kawashima for the No. 4 spot, although it probably doesn’t match the time Seiichi Uchikawa and Tsuyoshi Wada suggested a powerful God lived in the restroom behind the Hawks’ bench.

  • Q: How did you feel going up to bat in the second inning?
    • Yanagita: “Keizo batted fourth yesterday, and even though he got results, I usurped his spot. Because of that, I felt I had to do more to make up for his production we lost.”
  • Q: Kawashima was the hero yesterday, and now you’re the cleanup hitter and your a hero, too. Is there something special about being the Hawks’ cleanup hitter?
    • Yanagita: “To be honest, my only feeling was one of anxiety about whether I could compare favorably with Keizo.”

Kudo: “Cut that shit out”

Veteran Hawks outfielder Akira Nakamura was hurt sliding head-first into second legging out a double and was taken out of the game. He’s one of the hardest players in Japan to get a swinging strike against, and skipper Kimiyasu Kudo spoke about the incident afterward.

“He wanted the extra-base and thought he could get it, but from my point of view, I want him to be more careful, so I told him to forget about doing that stuff,” Kudo said.

Asamura hits 29th HR in Eagles’ win

The Rakuten Eagles shook off the loss of slugger Stefen Romero in the first inning as Hideto Asamura hit his Japan-best 29th home run to tie it en route to a 5-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Romero was hit in the head by a pitch in the first inning to load the bases with two outs, but reliever Koki Saito (1-1) retired veteran Ginji Akaminai to end the inning.

Steven Moya hit a two-run homer for the Buffaloes in the bottom of the first, but Asamura tied it in the third, when Akaminai singled in the go-ahead run.

Alan Busenitz allowed a run in the ninth but held on to earn his 16th save for the third-place Eagles.

Hatake, Oshiro lead Giants pastTigers

Seishu Hatake (2-3) worked 5-1/3 scoreless innings in the Yomiuri Giants’ 7-4 win over the Hanshin Tigers, who were held scoreless for eight innings at Koshien Stadium.

Takumi Oshiro’s three-run sixth-inning homer was the big hit for the Giants, who needed three pitchers to close ut the bottom of the ninth.

First-year Tigers right-hander Joe Gunkel (1-3) made his second start in Japan and trailed 2-0 through five innings. The Giants denied a Tigers run in the bottom of the fifth when Koji Chikamoto tried to score from first on a double to the gap. The relay from center fielder Yoshihiro Maru to shortstop Hayato Sakamoto got the ball to Oshiro, who applied a good tag.

Chikamoto capped the Tigers’ ninth with a three-run homer before Rubby De La Rosa came on to get the final out.

Dragons hold off feisty BayStars

The Chunichi Dragons came close to blowing an eight-run lead but held on for a 9-7 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohama Stadium.

Closer Raidel Martinez allowed a run in the ninth but stranded the potential tying run to earn his 16th save, lifting Chunichi into third place ahead of the BayStars.

Dragons catcher Takumi Kinoshita drove in five runs with a homer and a two-run first-inning single, but the BayStars scored six runs over the final four innings to make a game out of it.

DeNA starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi (6-5) allowed eight runs over 1-1/3 innings.

Carp slaughter Swallows

Rookie Masato Morishita (7-3) allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five in the Hiroshima Carp’s 13-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

With the Carp leading 13-0 in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Yasunori Kikuchi lost control of a ball that went behind Norichika Aoki, knocking him to the ground and out of the game.

As Tetsuto Yamada took his spot in the batter’s box, first base coach Ryosuke Morioka approached home plate, benches emptied and pushing and shoving ensued. Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu then informed the umpires he was playing the game under protest. It was NPB’s first protest of the season.

Swallows starter Albert Suarez (4-1) allowed four runs on 10 hits and a walk over 6-1/3 innings to take the loss.

Romero stretchered off field

Rakuten Eagles outfielder Stefen Romero was carried off the field in the top of the first inning on Saturday at Kyocera Dome after being struck on the helmet by a 145-kph pitch from Taiwan right-hander Chang Yi, who earned the automatic ejection for a “dangerous pitch.”

Chang, known here by the Japanese reading of his name’s Chinese characters, “Cho Yaku,” was the fifth pitcher ejected this season for hitting a batter in the head and the third in the Pacific League.

Despaigne to miss 2-3 weeks

The SoftBank Hawks announced Saturday that Best Nine-winning designated hitter Alfredo Despaigne will miss two to three weeks due to a bone bruise on his right tibia.

The 34-year-old Cuban complained of pain in his right knee on Thursday.

“Once the inflammation goes down, he should quickly be able to move again,” Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo said.

Active roster moves 10/3/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/13

Central League

Activated

SwallowsC45Motohiro Shima

Dectivated

GiantsP45Nobutaka Imamura
SwallowsP33Matt Koch

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Oct. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Manabu Mima (8-2, 4.66) vs Wataru Matsumoto (4-3, 3.92)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Hiroya Miyagi (-) vs Ryota Takinaka (0-1, 7.04)

Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (5-1, 3.03) vs Ryusei Kawano (2-3, 4.64)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Daiki Yoshida (1-5, 4.77) vs Yuta Nakamura (0-2, 4.22)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (7-4, 2.36) vs Takahiro Matsuba (3-5, 3.54)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (6-2, 2.77) vs Shosei Togo (8-4, 2.70)

NPB 2020 Sept. 11

Moore, Despaigne lead Hawks over Lions

Matt Moore (2-1) overcame one costly mistake to allow two runs over seven innings and Alfredo Despaigne, getting a rare start in the outfield, had three hits including a tie-breaking home run in the SoftBank Hawks’ 4-2 win over the Seibu Lions on Friday.

Lions starter Zach Neal (3-5) was victimized by good swings and good footspeed in the Hawks’ two-run second at Fukuoka’s Casa de Pepe. Takuya Kai lined a leadoff double to center. Ukyo Shuto brought him home from third with one out with a well-hit single. Shuto stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Lions tied it in the third on a Corey Spangenberg infield single and a two-out Ernesto Mejia home run. Moore missed up with a 1-2 changeup and Mejia drove it over the short fence in left for his ninth home run in his 90th at-bat this season. Moore was visibly displeased and might have been penalized at Wimbledon had lip readers called in to report him to the match officials.

With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the inning, the broadcasters quoted Lions pitching coach Fumiya Nishiguchi about Neal pitching well despite the two runs allowed. Within seconds, however. Neal caught the bad-pitch bug. The right-hander hung a changeup to Alfredo Despaigne that the Cuban slugger miss-hit but lofted over the fence in left.

Moore struck out nine and walked two, while allowing three hits. Other than a walk to Hotaka Yamakawa, Spangenberg, who walked in the first, and Mejia, who doubled in the second, were the only Lions to reach base against the lefty.

Neal struck out six, while allowing seven hits over seven innings, and would have been a winner with the stuff he brought against a slightly less-potent team.

Livan Moinelo and Yuito Mori each worked a scoreless inning of relief with Mori earning his 20th save.

Nakamura outduels Yamaoka

Lotte Marines lefty Toshiya Nakamura (2-2) took a no-hitter into the eighth, and his teammates scored two unearned runs off the Orix Buffaloes Opening Day starter, Taisuke Yamaoka, in a 2-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Marines managed just three hits against Yamaoka (0-3). Shohei Kato singled to open the Marines’ sixth for their first hit. An error put two on with no outs. Kato stole third, but Yamaoka struck out the next two batters and got ahead of Shogo Nakamura 1-2. The next pitch floated up in the zone and Nakamura did what most Japanese hitters are trained to do, hammer it up the middle. The ball got through the infield to make it 1-0, and Katsuya Kakunaka doubled in another run.

Ryoichi Adachi broke up Toshiya Nakamura’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the eighth, and Lotte skipper Tadahito Iguchi came and got his starter. Newly acquired right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura retired the next three batters, and closer Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 23rd save.

Mogi knocks out Fighters in 10th

Eigoro Mogi’s two-run 10th-inning home run overturned a one-run deficit and lifted the Rakuten Eagles to a 5-4 walk-off win over the Nippon Ham Fighters in a rain-soaked game at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz retired only one of the four batters he faced—on a sacrifice bunt–as the Fighters tied it in the ninth, but right-hander Tomohito Sakai retired both batters he faced to keep it tied. The visitors made it 4-3 in the 10th after a 30-minute rain delay.

Hideto Asamura opened the 10th with a single and Eagles manager Hajime Miki played for a tie by having hard-hitting Hiroaki Shimauchi sacrifice. Mogi, however, would have none of it.

Afterward, Mogi read the home run hitters’ post-game hero interview script to perfection.

“I have good hitters coming up behind me so I was just trying to get on base,” Mogi said, with some measure of honesty since Stefen Romero was on deck, although guys say that when anyone but the pitcher is following them.

Hara sets Giants managing record

Hayato Sakamoto’s eighth-inning home run broke a 1-1 tie as Tatsunori Hara earned his franchise-best 1,067th victory as Yomiuri Giants manager in a 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

Hara first managed the Giants in 2002 and is in his third stint with the team after quitting twice. He had been tied for the franchise lead with Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed 1,866 games. Friday’s game was Hara’s 1,927th. In addition to being one of the club’s first superstars as a hard-hitting first baseman, Kawakami managed the Giants to nine-straight Japan Series championships from 1965 to 1973.

The game marked right-hander Albert Suarez’s return from exile with the Swallows’ farm team in Toda, Saitama Prefecture. Suarez had been deactivated after walking seven betters over six scoreless innings on July 7 to “regain his form.” On the farm, he had an ERA over 10.00 so it is unclear whether he accomplished that.

At Tokyo Dome, he allowed a run over six innings on five hits and a walk. Giants rookie Shosei Togo worked seven innings and allowed a solo home run to Tetsuto Yamada.

Giants-Swallows highlights.

Nishi, Sands slaughter Carp

Yuki Nishi (6-3) struck out nine without a walk in a four-hit shutout, and Jerry Sands drove in a pair of runs for the Hanshin Tigers in their 4-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Koshien Stadium.

Sands went 3-for-4 to push his batting average above .300. He singled in Koji Chikamoto in the first to open the scoring. Chikamoto doubled in the third, stole third and came home on catcher Shogo Sakakura’s throwing error. Sands’ 18th home run made it 3-0 in the sixth.

Dragons squeak past BayStars

Cuban closer Raidel Martinez overcame a ninth-inning leadoff homer and two singles to hold the DeNA BayStars to one run and seal his 11th save in the Chunichi Dragons’ 3-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

Neftali Soto, who has led the Central League in home runs in each of his two seasons in Japan, went after Martinez’s first pitch and launched his 13th home run. But the right-hander struck out two of the last three batters he faced to end it.

Active roster moves 9/11/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/21

Central League

Activated

TigersP36Masumi Hamachi
TigersP56Keisuke Kobayashi
TigersP64Kentaro Kuwahara
CarpP28Hiroki Tokoda
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez
SwallowsIF10Takahiro Araki

Dectivated

TigersP14Atsushi Nomi
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersP61Atsushi Mochizuki
CarpC27Tsubasa Aizawa
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
SwallowsP47Keiji Takahashi
SwallowsIF5Shingo Kawabata

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP36Sho Ito
LionsOF73Wataru Takagi
EaglesP60Ryota Ishibashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesOF25Ryo Nishimura

Dectivated

LionsP25Katsunori Hirai
LionsOF65Daisuke Togawa
EaglesIF24Fumiya Kurokawa
FightersC60Takuya Kori
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu
BuffaloesOF41Kodai Sano

Starting pitchers for Sept. 12, 2020

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Shiomi (4-5, 4.60) vs Kohei Arihara (4-6, 3.43)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Manabu Mima (6-2, 4.84) vs Andrew Albers (3-5, 3.62)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Takeda (1-0, 2.31) vs Sean Nolin (1-0, 3.75)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nobutaka Imamura (3-0, 3.04) vs Daiki Yoshida (1-4, 4.99)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-4, 4.12) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-3, 2.68)

Tigers vs Carp: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.29) vs Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.90)