Tag Archives: Roki Sasaki

NPB wrap 6-10-21

Interleague Day 15 PL goes in front

The Pacific League, which has led the Central League in interleague wins in 14 of the 15 previous interleague tournaments, and led the CL in runs scored in all 15, went 4-1-1 on Thursday to take their first lead this year with basically seven series remaining, six over the weekend at PL parks and three coronavirus makeup games from Monday to Wednesday in Hiroshima, giving the Carp a stretch of nine straight games.

The PL now leads in runs scored 400-353.

As a result of Thursday’s games, the Orix Buffaloes and PL-leading Rakuten Eagles took over the interleague lead with 9-5-1 records with the Chunichi Dragons a half-game back at 8-5-2. The Eagles will be at home when their interleague ends with a series against the CL-leading Hanshin Tigers, so it should be fun.

Yamaguchi to Giants

Shun Yamaguchi, the first player ever posted by the Giants — in a bizarre situation in which some of the team’s top executives were unaware they’d signed a free agent with a contractual obligation to post him — will return to the Giants after playing a handful of games for the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A club.

Tigers 4, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, Nippon Ham’s Robbie Erlin (1-2) put in a decent start, allowing a run over 4-1/3 innings, while Hanshin’s Raul Alcantara (2-1) held the Fighters scoreless through six-plus, leaving after a batted ball struck him on the ankle to open the seventh.

Rookie Takumu Nakano reached base four times and singled in the game’s first run in the fifth inning. Koji Chikamoto made it 2-0 with his fourth home run in the seventh.

Jefry Marte reached doubled and reached base three times, while Jerry Sands, playing first for a change, turned a nifty double play, had two singles and an RBI.

The Fighters scored a run off closer Robert Suarez and threatened but he made his escape with a double play to record his Japan-best 19th save.

Eagles 6, Dragons 2

At Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten leadoff man Hiroto Kobukata scored four runs, while No. 2 hitter Daichi Suzuki scored twice and drove in two with his third home run. Ryota Takinaka (5-2) allowed a two runs over five innings to earn the win, while Chunichi’s Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-4) gave up four over four.

Lions 5, BayStars 3

At MetLife Dome, it seems I need a word processor that appends every Lions player with the word “rookie” after rookie Junichiro Kishi led off the bottom of the first with a game-tying home run, his third, had three hits, scored twice and drove in two to help 39-year-old lefty Tetsuya Utsumi (1-0) earn the win after allowing three runs in five innings.

BayStars rookie Shugo Maki hit a two-run homer, his 11th, in the fourth to make it a 4-3 game but Takumi Kuriyama singled home Kishi in the home half. Yuya Sakamoto (1-2) took the loss after allowing four runs in 2-2/3 innings.

Seibu’s Kaima Taira tied the NPB record by pitching his 31st straight scoreless outing since the start of the season and earning his fifth save.

Marines 2, Swallows 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami took over the Japan home run lead with his 18th of the season, off 19-year-old rookie Roki Sasaki, who allowed a run over six innings – his longest pro start – while touching 155 kph (96.3 mph) in the first inning and sitting easily at 95 mph.

Brandon Laird broke up the 1-1 tie with his 15th home run, off Noboru Shimizu (0-3) in the eighth inning, while Naoya Masuda worked the ninth for his 16th save.

Cy Sneed started for Yakult and allowed one unearned run in five innings, although he twice left the bases loaded.

Buffaloes 6, Giants 0

At Osaka‘s Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Sachiya Yamasaki (2-5) walked one, hit two and allowed four hits over six innings, and the Buffaloes bullpen held the Giants to one hit the rest of the way.

Yomiuri’s Yuki Takahashi (6-2) had two bad innings, surrendering three in the first with Yutaro Sugimoto doubling in two, and three in the fifth on Takahiro Okada’s seventh home run.

Hawks 1, Carp 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, 22-year-old Hawks leadoff man Masaki Mimori went 4-for-4 and tripled in the tying run in the eighth inning to take Colin Rea off the hook after he allowed a run Kevin Cron’s sixth home run in the third inning. Rea struck out seven and allowed four hits but no walks.

Sho Iwasaki worked a scoreless ninth to keep the Carp from winning. Hiroshima starter Shogo Tamamura went six innings, and rookie Daisuke Moriura worked the seventh before Takuya Kai singled to leadoff the eighth against Atsuya Horie.

The Hawks threatened to end rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi’s run of scoreless games since his debut, but stranded two runners when he struck out rookie pinch-hitter Tatsuru Yanagimachi to run his streak to 22 games.


Starting pitchers

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

Chihiro Kaneko (0-2, 4.50) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-4, 3.00)

Eagles vs Tigers: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hideaki Wakui (6-3, 4.08) vs Koyo Aoyagi (4-2, 2.31)

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

Kona Takahashi (5-1, 3.79) vs Yudai Ono (2-4, 3.45)

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

Fumiya Motomae (1-1, 7.07) vs C.C. Mercedes (1-0, 0.00)

Buffaloes vs Carp: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-5, 2.29) vs Haruki Omichi (2-0, 3.20)

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

Shuta Ishikawa (3-4, 3.12) vs Masanori Ishikawa (1-1, 2.70)

Active roster moves 6/10/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/20

Central League


GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
BayStarsP41Shuto Sakurai
CarpP65Shogo Tamamura


GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
BayStarsP93Ko Nakagawa
CarpP19Yusuke Nomura

Pacific League


MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
LionsP69Yoshinobu Mizukami
LionsIF4Kakeru Yamanobe
EaglesP64Hiroyuki Fukuyama
FightersP29Kazutomo Iguchi
FightersP44Robbie Erlin
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino


LionsP98Matt Dermody
LionsIF63Ryusei Tsunashima
EaglesP32Alan Busenitz
FightersP14Takayuki Kato
BuffaloesIF64Shinya Hirosawa

NPB wrap 5-16-21

Let there be Roki, and Leonys Martin, too

People came to see Roki Sasaki, OK, and Takaki Ishibashi (Taka Tanaka of the “Major League” movie franchise) throw the ceremonial first pitch, but mostly Sasaki, who a third of the way through his second pro season, made his first-team debut at the Lotte Marines’ home ground.

But if those two were the star attractions, Leonys Martin was the star, and would have been a hero (on the postgame hero interview podium if his ninth-inning drive had gone over the fence instead of being caught for an out on the warning track. As it was, Sasaki showed off a good fastball (topping out at 96 mph) and splitter, and Martin hit two homers, drove in three runs, doubled and was hit by a pitch and leads both leagues with 12 home runs.

Marines 6, Lions 6

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Sasaki allowed four runs, two earned, over five innings. He gave up six hits and two walks, while striking out five. He missed some pitches that were hit, but you have to give credit to the Lions hitters for adjusting and hitting some tough pitches as well.

Seibu starter Katsunori Hirai gave up a first-inning leadoff homer on his second pitch of the game to Takashi Ogino, and another on his third pitch to Martin, and allowed four runs in four innings. Ogino singled in a run in Lotte’s two-run second and singled ahead of Martin’s fifth-inning home run.

Frank Herrmann, Lotte’s third pitcher, recorded his 100th hold in Japan, but Yuki Karakawa issued two one-out walks in the eighth and a two-out two-run single to Cory Spangenberg.

Reed Garrett returned to his ninth-inning role by surviving Martin’s drive to the wall to nail down the 6-6 tie when pinch-runner Koshiro Wada was thrown out to end the game trying to steal second. The Lions stole five bases.

Fighters 2, Hawks 2

At Sapporo Dome, SoftBank’s Kenji Akashi singled in two seventh-inning runs off Nippon Ham starter Naoyuki Uwasawa, and both closers, Toshihiro Sugiura for the Fighters and Livan Moinelo for the Hawks, stranded three runners in a scoreless ninth.

Eagles 1, Buffaloes 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Rakuten’s top draft pick last autumn, lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (5-2) threw his first shutout and first Maddux, with Hiroaki Shimauchi ruining the win-loss record of Orix’s Sachiya Yamasaki (1-4) with a second-inning solo home run, his fifth of the year. Hayakawa allowed three hits and two walks while striking out eight.

Yamasaki walked one, hit one and gave up five hits in his 6-2/3-inning effort.

Tigers 6, Giants 5

At Tokyo Dome, Hanshin’s Raul Alcantara (1-0), who went 20-2 last year for KBO’s Doosan Bears, nearly let this victory in his Japan debut slip away in a three-run sixth after four straight singles to start the inning, but retired the last three batters he faced and three relievers shut the door to hold off Yomiuri.

Tigers leadoff hitter Koji Chikamoto doubled and singled twice, scored twice and drove in two runs, while Naomasa Yokawa hit a two-run homer for the visitors, while Robert Suarez recorded his Japan-best 12 saves. Kazuma Okamoto hit his ninth home run for the Giants, and Zelous Wheeler extended his hitting streak to 21 games.

Giants-Tigers highlights

Dragons 2, Swallows 2

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami hit his Central League-leading 11th home run, a two-run shot in the first inning but that was all the offense the visitors’ could muster against Yuya Yanagi, who pitched yet another marvelous game, allowing four hits and walking two over seven innings while his nine strikeouts raised his Japan-best total to 67.

Swallows rookie Yasunobu Okugawa also pitched well. The other big pitcher out of high school in 2019 along with Roki Sasaki, Okugawa allowed a run on seven hits over six innings while striking out seven and walking none. Dragons leadoff man Yohei Oshima had two hits and a sac fly, while, Yota Kyoda singled in the game-tying run in the ninth after Kosuke Fukudome opened the inning with a pinch-hit single off Yakult closer Taichi Ishiyama.

The game, which could also be confused by a defensive highlight reel, saw two big plays from the Swallows outfield . Rookie reserve Hidetaka Namiki prevented a loss by robbing Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita of an RBI eighth-inning double. In the ninth, center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi prevented the game-winning run from scoring with a game-ending throw to the plate.

Carp 3, BayStars 3

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, it was perhaps a good thing this game could only go nine innings, otherwise who knows how many base runners the DeNA BayStars would have squandered. As it was they entered the seventh trailing Hiroshima 2-0 having put 14 on through six innings, largely thanks to four double plays. But that changed in the seventh, when Neftali Soto homered after singles by Tyler Austin and Keita Sano.

Michael Peoples allowed two runs over five innings for the BayStars. Ryuma Nishikawa twice singled in runs for the Carp, including one in the eighth off former closer Yasuaki Yamasaki to tie it. Both closers, rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi of the Carp and Kazuki Mishima of the BayStars, stranded two runners in the ninth to end this game in a tie.

Active roster moves 5/16/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/26

Central League


TigersP44Raul Alcantara
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa



Pacific League


HawksP13Akira Niho
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
FightersC10Yushi Shimizu
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo


FightersC30Shingo Usami
FightersOF66Chusei Mannami