Tag Archives: Robert Suarez

NPB wrap 8-22-21

Sunday’s games saw Carter Stewart Jr. make his second start for the SoftBank Hawks, Enny Romero make his Pacific League debut two years after he left the Chunichi Dragons, and teammate abuser Sho Nakata slug his first Central League homer after getting a pre-game pep talk from Yomiuri Giants manager emeritus Shigeo Nagashima.

Hawks 4, Marines 2

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nobuhiro Matsuda lined a two-out, two-run tie-breaking double to left, as SoftBank salvaged the final game of its home series against Lotte.

Carter Stewart, Jr. made his second start for the Hawks, allowing a run over four innings, but poor location ratcheted up his pitch count. Stewart allowed three hits and walked three while striking out six. A walk to Takashi Ogino and a good swing by Kyota Fujiwara on a low-and-away fastball put the ball in the gap for a third-inning RBI double.

The Hawks did a poor job of turning lefty Enny Romero‘s five walks into runs and tied it on Ryoya Kurihara’s 12th home run in the fourth when they left the bases loaded.

SoftBank submarine right-hander Rei Takahashi walked two batters in the top of the fifth and Brandon Laird put the visitors on top with an RBI single. Two relievers each retired the only batter they faced to end the threat, and the Hawks retaliated against Romero in the home half.

Misaki Mori singled, stole second, was bunted to third and scored on Yuki Yanagita’s sac fly. Kurihara chased Romero with a double. With one out and runners on second and third, righty Yusuke Azuma came up big out of the bullpen, striking out Alfredo Despaigne and Akira Nakamura.

With the game tied after 8-1/2, Frank Herrmann (0-1), who struck out the side in his inning on Saturday, walked Despaigne to open the inning. Pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto took over the PL stolen base lead with his 21st. With two outs, the Marines intentionally walked pinch-hitter Yuya Hasegawa, and Matsuda leaned into a cutter away and drove it over speedster Takashi Ogino’s head in left.

The Marines outfield was playing in, but considering it was hit 10 meters past him, Ogino might not have caught it had he been playing at normal depth, but he would have had a chance of getting the third out or at least holding the Hawks to a run.

Lotte starter Romero was making his Pacific League debut two years after he went 8-10 with a 4.26 ERA for the Central League’s Chunichi Dragons. He’d spent the interim with Tijuana in the Mexican league.

Fighters 2, Eagles 1

At Sapporo Dome, Naoyuki Uwasawa (7-5, 3.25) allowed a run over seven innings, while Nippon Ham scored a run in each of the first two innings against Hideaki Wakui (6-8, 5.17), who was yanked after allowing three hits and two walks over 41 pitches.

The first run scored on an error, a single and a fielder’s choice, before Ronny Rodriguez, who had two hits, tripled in the second and scored on a Yushi Shimizu single. Rakuten made it a one-run game in the fourth on a Hiroaki Shimauchi double and an Eigoro Mogi single.

Rodriguez had a chance to widen the Fighters’ lead in the fifth but fouled out to end the inning with two on.

Bryan Rodriguez worked a scoreless eighth for Nippon Ham, and Toshihiro Sugiura closed it out with his 17th save.

According to Chunichi Sports, Eagles skipper Kazuhisa Ishii said his starter was on a short leash with Wakui expected to focus on one inning at a time after he got shelled the week before against Seibu.

Lions 10, Buffaloes 3

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Orix’s Sachiya Yamasaki (5-7, 3.45) allowed three straight singles to open the game, and Takeya Nakamura improved on his NPB record for career grand slams with his 21st.

Kaito Yoza (1-1, 4.67) allowed two runs over five innings to win his season’s starting debut. A pair of one-out second-inning walks led to both runs, but I’m guessing Orix missed our last podcast and allowed former closer Hirotoshi Masui to be used in relief, and he coughed up four more runs, three on rookie Junichiro Kishi’s seventh home run and another on a fourth-inning Nakamura double.

Tigers 2, Dragons 0

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (9-4, 2.88) allowed four singles and a walk over seven innings. Mel Rojas Jr. broke the ice with a second-inning solo home run, his third, and two relievers, Suguru Iwazaki and Robert Suarez retired the last six Dragons batters with Suarez earning his 27th save.

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-6, 3.12) allowed two runs over eight innings on five hits and a walk. The Tigers got an insurance run in the sixth, when Koji Chikamoto drew a one-out walk, went to third on Takumu Nakano’s weakly hit hit-and-run single and scored on a weak groundout.

The Tigers win moved them two full games ahead of the Yomiuri Giants in the CL standings.

Giants 4, BayStars 4

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri hit four home runs, including Sho Nakata’s first in the Central League, and Zelous Wheeler’s 11th in a three-run seventh inning as the Giants came back to tie DeNA.

Yoshihiro Maru hit his 14th in the first inning off lefty Shota Imanaga, who struck out nine over seven innings and had a pair of hits.

Giants lefty Yuki Takahashi surrendered the lead in the fourth. Neftali Soto followed a leadoff walk with his second homer in two days and his 17th of the season to put DeNA in front. Toshiro Miyazaki doubled and scored, and Shugo Maki, whose three-run pinch-hit homer broke open Saturday’s win, singled him home.

Maki drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and scored an insurance run after Imanaga’s second single and a double by Masayuki Kuwahara.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Carp vs Swallows

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, rained out.

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Active roster moves 8/22/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/1

Central League


GiantsP41Kota Nakagawa
TigersP66Ippei Ogawa
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura
SwallowsP16Juri Hara


GiantsP26Nobutaka Imamura
GiantsP59Toyoki Tanaka
TigersP34Akira Niho
CarpP12Haruki Omichi

Pacific League


MarinesP91Enny Romero
LionsP44Kaito Yoza


MarinesP76Jose Flores

NPB wrap 7-1-21

Players share their all-star votes

A total of 756 players cast ballots for who THEY think should be in the All-Star games, and while no one was close to a unanimous selection, the player most players believe should be there turned out to be Yuki Yanagita, who was named as on 573 ballots.

Individual players who were not voted in by fans, are added to their leagues’ teams if they lead the player voting. Yanagita was already in, so this was just the cherry on top of the sundae for him.

NPB All-Star Players ballot results

Otherwise, the players added were:

Pacific League

  • P: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Buffaloes
  • 3B: Nobuhiro Matsuda, Hawks

Central League

  • P: Yuya Yanagi, Dragons
  • 1B: Dayan Viciedo, Dragons
  • 2B: Ryosuke Kikuchi, Carp
  • 3B: Kazuma Okamoto, Giants
  • SS: Hayato Sakamoto, Giants
  • OF: Zelous Wheeler, Giants

I have no idea why the players and fans disagreed so much in the CL and so little in the PL, although the PL’s DH vote was WEIRD. First of all, the winner, Lotte’s Leonys Martin, won an outfield spot on both ballots and won the DH with just 85 votes. His teammate, Brandon Laird, won the fan ballot for DH but didn’t crack the top three in the players’ ballot, as reported by NPB.

Fighters 2, Eagles 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park,Nippon Ham rookie Hiromi Ito (6-4) won a duel with Rakuten veteran Takayuki Kishi (3-6). Both pitched seven innings, both allowed one earned run.

The rain-buffeted game was decided by the right fielders. Rakuten’s Rusney Castillo failed to catch a ball that led to an unearned first-inning run, driven in by Fighters right fielder Kensuke Kondo.

The Eagles had a chance to tie it with two outs, but somehow Kondo, a former catcher, managed to throw out Hiroto Kobukata trying to score on a single from second. The throw was strong enough but offline, forcing Fighters catcher Ryo Ishikawa to make an acrobatic tag.

Lions 1, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Seibu’s Cory Spangenberg blasted his fifth home run in the seventh inning off Shota Takeda (4-4), who went seven innings. Lions starter Kona Takahashi (7-3) went eight and Kaima Taira set a record by not being charged with a run over 39 consecutive pitching appearances despite allowing a single and a double. He was helped out of the jam when Hawks pinch-runner Naoki Sato barely over-slid the bag at third, where Spangenberg tagged him out.

After the game, asked about what got him through his jam, Taira said, “I was lucky.”

Giants 10, Carp 4

At Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima chased Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano in the third inning before Yomiuri roared back to turn this one into a laugher, with Seiya Matsubara reaching base four times, scoring twice and driving in four runs.

Matsubara and Zelous Wheeler each hit their eighth home run, while Hayato Sakamoto hit his 10th for the Giants. The Carp went deep twice, Ryoma Nishikawa hitting his seventh and Seiya Suzuki his 11th.

As for Sugano, Pro Yakyu News analyst Tomoya Satozaki said, “His velocity was down and he couldn’t locate, so there weren’t a lot of positives.”

Giants-Carp highlights

Swallows 6, Tigers 1

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin closer Robert Suarez (1-1) blew up a 1-1 tie in the ninth when he just didn’t appear to have much feel for the ball. Tetsuto Yamada, who tied it in the seventh with his 21st homer, off Joe Gunkel, singled with one out. With two outs, Jose Osuna singled for the third time, and pinch-hitter Shingo Kawabata walked. After that, Suarez’s pitches got a little straight, and career minor leaguer Takeshi Miyamoto lined a straight 160-kph fastball to left for a two-run single. Kosuke Baba entered but allowed two inherited runs to score plus one he let on himself.

When Suarez took the mound, all I could think of was how lucky I was to watch such a well-pitched game. Gunkel struck out 10, walked none and allowed four hits over seven innings. Yamada’s homer was a fly to right that found the sweet spot at huge Koshien Stadium, where the outfield fence curves in at the foul pole to make an inviting home run target.

Swallows rookie Yasunobu Okugawa struck out six, walked none and allowed four hits over seven innings, including catcher Ryutaro Umeno’s sixth-inning leadoff homer.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Takeru Sasaki (0-0, 5.87) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (7-5, 1.90)

Marines vs Eagles: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Fumiya Motomae (1-1, 5.40) vs Takahiro Norimoto (6-3, 3.01)

Central League

BayStars vs Giants: Jingu Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Taiga Kamichatani (0-3, 10.69) vs C. C. Mercedes (3-1, 3.32)

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

Yuya Yanagi (6-3, 2.33) vs Keiji Takahashi (2-0, 2.08)

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

Shogo Tamamura (1-3, 3.82) vs Yuki Nishi (4-4, 2.84)

Active roster moves 7/1/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/11

Central League


GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa


SwallowsP38Yugo Umeno

Pacific League


HawksIF55Daiju Nomura
EaglesIF9Brandon Dixon


HawksIF36Taisei Makihara
MarinesP35Shota Suzuki
MarinesP64Yuta Ohmine
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe
EaglesIF5Eigoro Mogi
FightersP33Kazuaki Tateno