Tag Archives: Randy Messenger

NPB games, news of Sept. 29, 2019

Tigers have it both ways

The Hanshin Tigers on Sunday found a way to honor Randy Messenger, who is retiring with 98 career wins over 10 seasons, and bring their drive to the postseason down to the final game of the regular season.

Sure, it’s only third place and a spot as the visiting team in the Climax Series’ first stage, but a lot of people were blown away when the 2010 Lotte Marines won their final three games to sneak into the playoffs — only to run the table and walk off with the Japan Series championship.

The Tigers’ road requires six-straight wins, and three of the first four were shutouts.

Tigers 6, Dragons 3

At Koshien Stadium, Naomasa Yokawa broke a scoreless fifth-inning tie with a pinch-hit home run off Yuya Yanagi (6-8) and Hanshin took a 6-0 lead into the ninth. Kyuji Fujikawa, who has been solid as Tiger closer in the second half, allowed three runs in the ninth.

Game highlights are HERE.

Leaving a ‘Big Mess’

Randy Messenger notched his 1,475th career strikeout to open the first inning, and walked off the mound at Koshien to a thunderous standing ovation.

After the game, the Tigers held a retirement ceremony, when Messenger addressed the crowd.

“It’s hard to believe 21 years have gone by so quickly, especially the 10 years here with the Tigers. It’s been a great experience. I’d like to thank the Tigers for giving me the opportunity to spend my whole career being a Tiger. Playing here has been and outstanding journey for me and my family.”

“I will never forget anybody who helped me along the way in my career. So many people have helped me become the baseball player I am today. I want to say thank you to my coaches, my teammates, the training staff, everybody who’s been a part of this organization. Arigato.”

“And thank you for going to battle with me. It’s been a hell of a journey. I want to thank my mom and my dad, my family and friends for all the support you’ve given me in my career.”

“Thank my beautiful wife, Vanessa. You are my rock. You have always been there. You pushed me to be the best on and off the field.”

“You are an amazing wife and mother to our four awesome kids, Francesca, Colette, Rome, and Roland. Tigers fans, thank her as well. Without her I would not have accomplished so much. Thank you Ness.”

“And to all the Tigers fans all over the world. Thank you for the support through good and bad times. Your passion is tremendous.”
“Playing here 10 years has been incredible. I will never ever forget it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”

“Players can only dream of the amount of support you’ve given me. There will always be a special place in my heart for all the Tigers fans who have ever supported me.”

“As an athlete, you never want this day to come. You want to play forever. Now that this day is upon us, I say so long until the next time we meet again.”

After his speech from the mound Messenger received bouquets of flowers from a number of Tigers players and one each from his four children and a final one from his wife, who got an impressive Hollywood-worthy kiss as the crowd roared.

His teammates surrounded him on the mound and gave performed the celebratory “doage” toss, throwing him in the air repeatedly as the fans cheered before he walked around Koshien as fans showered him with streamers that are usually reserved for winning championships.

Great way to use all this stuff

I loved everything about the ceremony and the speech, but it made me wonder if the whole foul up with Takashi Toritani wasn’t the result of a front office mix-up, where someone jumped the gun and bought and paid for all the supplies they’d need to produce a first-class retirement ceremony before anyone was certain he actually wanted to retire.

In that scenario, someone has to inform the team president that having already spent all this money, it might be a good idea if they had a player to hold a ceremony for. This would explain the team going to Toritani out of the blue and telling him it was time to retire. Was all that production money spent on Messenger’s wonderful sendoff actually spent for Toritani?

I’m not saying this did happen, but if it did, it wouldn’t be the dumbest story I’ve heard coming out of a Japanese front office.

Pacific League

Buffaloes 5, Hawks 1

At Kyocera Dome, last-place Orix proved it could count to six as the Buffaloes gave starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto the six innings he needed to qualify — and win — the PL ERA title in their season-ending win over SoftBank.


PL attendance up 3.1 percent

NPB announced Sunday that the final PL attendance figures showed a 3.1 percent increase in announced attendance compared to 2018, with every team increasing except for the Nippon Ham Fighters, who saw a 1.3 percent drop.The Orix Buffaloes saw an 8.2 percent increase, while the Rakuten Eagles were next best at 7.0 percent.

Messenger to bow out

The Daily Sports reported Friday that veteran Hanshin Tigers hurler Randy Messenger told the Central League club he will retire. The Tigers released that news on Saturday morning.

The 38-year-old right-hander, who joined the Tigers in 2010, has a career record of 98-84 over 10 seasons with a 3.13 ERA. He has struggled with fitness this season, in which he has posted a 3-7 record with a 4.69 ERA.

Messenger pitched in 173 major league games before arriving in Japan. Prior to the Tigers, he pitched in the big leagues with the Florida Marlins, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners.

From 2013, Messenger led the CL in strikeouts for two straight years, and led the league in wins as well the following year.

Among foreign registered pitchers, Messenger ranks fifth in wins. The top two on the list were contemporaries from Taiwan in the 1980s and 90s, the second two American contemporaries from the 1960s:

  • Kuo Yuen-chih (Genji Kaku) 117
  • Kuo Tai-yuan (Taigen Kaku) 106
  • (tie) Joe Stanka 100, Gene Bacque
  • Randy Messenger 98

Messenger returned to the United States at the end of July for treatment on his right shoulder, and returned to Japan on Aug. 8. On Thursday, he pitched for the farm team against the Tokushima Indigo Sox of the independent Shikoku Island League. He worked four scoreless innings before allowing four runs in the fifth.

NPB games, news of July 23, 2019

There were a bunch of exciting games and big innings on Tuesday in NPB, with the SoftBank Hawks showing what they can do with the short fences at their ballpark — even with two of their three top home run hitters out of the lineup.

Central League

Giants 6, Swallows 5

At Kyocera Dome, pinch hitter Shnnosuke Shigenobu’s deep fly got over Yakult’s shallow outfield for a sayonara single that snapped Yomiuri’s four-game losing streak.

Both sides had ample chances to win this, missing a chance to deliver a knockout punch with the bases loaded. Giants starter Shun Yamaguchi was on track to win his 11th game of the season when the Giants bludgeoned David Buchanan for four runs in the first. Yamaguchi made the last out, grounding into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

Yamaguchi didn’t allow a hit until Wladimir Balentien homered to open the fifth. With a three-run lead in the eighth, Yamaguchi left with two outs and two on, but Rubby De La Rosa’s first pitch to Norichika Aoki cleared the outfield wall to tie it.

Giants reliever Scott Mathieson walked two of the four batters he faced in the ninth, and lefty Kota Nakagawa walked the bases loaded but got Tetsuto Yamada to fly out and give the Giants a chance to exhale.

With two on and no outs, the Swallows went into their throw-the-runner-out-at-the-plate-on-a-single shallow outfield defense, and Shigenobu launched a fly to the warning track that Aoki couldn’t haul in.

Game highlights are HERE.

Carp 6, Dragons 5, 10 innings

At Mazda Stadium, Xavier Batista had his second two-home run game since Saturday, his two-run shot tying it in the ninth before Geronimo Franzua pitched out of a 10th-inning jam and Tomohiro Abe won it for Hiroshima by leading off the home half of the 10th with a home run.

Batista, whose first homer was launched into the netting above the upper deck in left field and protects Hiroshima Station’s rail yard from such missiles, now has 23 home runs this season. Franzua (6-3) walked two batters in the 10th but put the lead runner out on the third-base line before he could score and then celebrated when he got a fly out to end the inning.

The talking heads blamed Dragons runner Yohei Oshima for his late start, but it was a poor bunt and also good fielding from Franzua that made the play.

Here’s a look at the Franzua celebration if you haven’t seen it.

BayStars 6, Tigers 6, 12 innings

At Koshien Stadium, Yoshitomo Tsustugo prevented DeNA from losing with a two-strike, two-out, ninth-inning RBI double off Hanshin closer Rafael Dolis that tied a wild game 6-6.

The Tigers welcomed back Kosuke Fukudome, who reached base three times, while Jefry Marte went 3-for-5 with his eighth home run, a result the Nikkan Sports attributed to the arrival of Yangervis Solarte.

The story includes Marte speaking about how happy he is to have another quality player on the team, but there is a kind of subtext to it, essentially saying Marte is playing hard because he has competition.

Pacific League

Fighters 5, Buffaloes 2

At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, former Orix ace Chihiro Kaneko looked at home in Kobe, allowing two walks over six hitless innings for Nippon Ham. Kaneko (4-5), who left Orix in a contract dispute over the winter, struck out four in a 92-pitch effort.

New Buffalo Steven Moya belted a two-run home run for the second-straight game to account for his team’s scoring. Tyler Eppler threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Buffaloes, while Stefen Romero returned to action, going 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning single in his first action since being sidelined with injury in June.

Game highlights are HERE.

Hawks 11, Marines 7

At Yafuoku Dome, Kenta Imamiya returned to action for the first time since June 20, and blasted a home run in his first at-bat. Nobuhiro Matsuda followed with his first of the night, and Alfredo Despaigne made it a hat-trick as SoftBank jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in its win over Lotte.

The Hawks, who lead all 12 teams in home runs with 124, hit five, while Seiya Inoue hit two, two-run shots for Lotte. Katsuya Kakunaka plated Brandon Laird with a home run, and Laird chipped in with his 27th.

Game highlights are HERE.


Messenger to return to States for treatment

Veteran Hanshin Tigers pitcher Randy Messenger will return to the United States this summer for treatment to deal with lower-body issues. The 37-year-old right-hander was Hanshin’s Opening Day starter for the fifth-straight season in March, and has had that honor six times since joining the team in 2010.

This season he is 3-7 with a 4.69 ERA.