Tag Archives: Seiya Suzuki

NPB wrap 9-9-21

After merely ticking for much of the spring and summer and again during the Olympics, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki has become the time bomb that goes off on a daily basis. On Thursday, the Carp outfielder, who will likely move to the majors after this season via the posting system, went deep twice.

By homering in his sixth consecutive game, Suzuki is one game shy of the Japan record set by Hall of Famer Sadaharu Oh with the Yomiuri Giants in 1972 and equaled by Hanshin Tigers first baseman Randy Bass in 1986.

In two of the three games featuring pennant contenders, two closers blew leads in the top of the ninth and then watched as their teams wasted scoring opportunities in the bottom of the ninth.

On top of that, we had two wild plays, a runner tagged out at first after beating out an infield single, and a 3-2-5 double play, so all in all, it was a pretty good evening’s worth of baseball.

And if that didn’t whet your appetite, Nick Martinez, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Masahiro Tanaka, Yudai Ono and rookie rocket Roki Sasaki are all set to star for the teams in the weekend series openers.

Buffaloes 2, Marines 2

At Hotto Motto Field, the game between two teams separated at the top of the Pacific League standings by a few winning percentage points, couldn’t have been tighter. After a tremendous pitchers’ duel between Orix lefty Daiki Tajima and returning Lotte right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa, the Marines trailed by two but came back on home runs by Tetsuya Kokubo in the seventh and Takashi Ogino in the ninth.

Ishikawa, in his first game back since having shoulder cleaning surgery in June, was razor-sharp. A couple of good swings resulted in a fifth-inning Orix run. Masahiro Nishino singled off a two-seamer that got up a little too much, and Ishikawa threw one too many of his good changeup-sinkers to Shuhei Fukuda, who lined the fourth straight one he saw into center field for a two-out RBI single. Yutaro Sugimoto belted his 24th homer to lead off the fifth when Ishikawa tried to get a strike with a 3-0 fastball up and away.

Tajima allowed three hits and two walks but was extremely loose and sharp as he struck out 10 over eight innings. He threw a decent 1-1 inside fastball to Kokubo, and the former Carp pinch-hitting specialist, who’d been toiling in independent ball until Lotte signed him last week, hammered it for his first home run in two years.

Orix closer Yoshihisa Hirano, going for his 18th save, threw an 0-1 forkball low and in that Ogino upper-cut just over the fence in left for his eighth home run. In the bottom of the ninth, Lotte closer Naoya Masuda allowed two to reach with no outs and missed taking the loss by a few inches. Rookie Kotaro Kurebayashi hammered a low 1-2 slider toward the left-field corner, but Ryo Miki, an eighth-inning defensive replacement at third, jumped up to make the game-ending catch.

Eagles 4, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Drew VerHagen (3-7, 4.91) saw his string of solid outings snapped as he allowed four runs over six innings and Rakuten’s Takahiro Norimoto (9-5, 3.49) threw a three-hit shutout in which he struck out 11 and walked one.

Hiroaki Shimauchi’s two-run bases-loaded double opened the scoring in the third. The Eagles manufactured a run in the fifth after a leadoff walk, and Takero Okajima led off the sixth with his eighth home run.

When things go bad, sometimes they go so bad that one is forced to learn a rule to understand how it could possibly get worse.

One of the Fighters’ three singles, a leadoff infield single in the seventh, resulted in the inning’s first out. Yuki James Nomura beat out a grounder to second only to be tagged out. When the throw got past first baseman Daichi Suzuki, Nomura, in foul territory after over-running the bag, glanced at the ball and took a half step toward second before giving up and walking back to first. Before he could get back, Suzuki tagged him out and umpire Atsushi Fukaya ruled Nomura showed his intent to advance to the next base and was eligible to be put out.

BayStars 5, Giants 5

At Yokohama Stadium, Yomiuri rallied for three runs in the ninth off DeNA closer Kazuki Mishima, and then held on to secure the tie without closer Thyago Vieiara, who was deactivated earlier in the day for undisclosed reasons.

Yoshiyuki Kamei led off the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit double, but there were two down before Naoki Yoshikawa hit the first of four straight singles. Yoshihiro Maru’s tied it 3-3 before Mishima avoided blowing the lead.

Masayuki Kuwahara doubled to leadoff DeNA’s ninth but the BayStars couldn’t bring him home.

Tyler Austin and Toshiro Miyazaki homered back-to-back in the first inning off Shosei Togo. Austin’s two-run homer was his 23rd and Miyazaki’s his 12th. The Giants made it 3-2 in the fourth on an error, a Zelous Wheeler single, a groundout and an RBI single by rookie reserve catcher Yukinori Kishida.

The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against reliever Kevin Shackelford, but DeNA held onto the lead. Reliever Yoshiki Sunada served up a smash to first but got out of the inning on a slick play by Neftali Soto, who short-hopped the ball and fired home instead of touching the bag, and poor base running by the Giants allowed Tobashira to complete the 3-2-5 double play.

Tobashira doubled in two runs in the eighth to make it a 5-2 game, with starter Yuya Sakamoto set up to earn the win after allowing two unearned runs over five innings.

Swallows 13, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, Munetaka Murakami had a two-run single, and Domingo Santana a two-run double as Yakult gave Haruto Takahashi (0-1, 11.25) a five-run first-inning baptism of fire in his season debut. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first, but failed to score, and Norichika Aoki singled and scored his second run in the second on a Jose Osuna sac fly.

With two on and two out in the fourth, rookie Dan Onodera batted for the pitcher and singled in a run and Koji Chikamoto added a two-run double against Swallows starter Keiji Takahashi (3-1, 2.79). The lefty allowed three runs over six innings while striking out six to earnhis first pro win at Koshien, where seven years earlier he pitched Kyoto’s Ryukoku University Heian High School to the spring invitational championship.

Osuna singled in two runs in the sixth, and Santana capped a five-run seventh by drawing a bases-loaded walk. The win moved Yakult within a half-game of Yomiuri and 2-1/2 of the Tigers.

Carp 12, Dragons 5

At Mazda Stadium, Ryoma Nishikawa hit a two-run first-inning home run, his ninth, and Seiya Suzuki, the gift that keeps on giving, followed with his 26th. Nishikawa singled to open the Carp third, and Suzuki walked before a bases-loaded groundout made it 4-0.

The Dragons tied it in the fourth when four straight batters reached with one out. Journeyman reserve catcher Iori Katsura tripled in two runs, pinch-hitter Ariel Martinez walked and two more runs scored on a groundout and an error.

Nishikawa walked with two outs in the fourth off lefty Toshiya Okada, and Suzuki belted his 27th home run. The Dragons made it a 6-5 game in the fifth. Dayan Viciedo doubled and Shuhei Takahashi, whose single started the fourth-inning rally, singled him home.

The Carp came back for seconds against Okada in the fifth, with rookie Kota Hayashi singling in two with no outs before Nishikawa and Suzuki reached to open the Carp’s three-run sixth.

Atsuya Horie (4-3) preserved the Carp’s 5-4 lead by getting out of the fifth with a double play on one pitch. Horie was credited with the win by Japan rules that give it to the pitcher who inherits the lead before five innings provided no other pitcher works at least one inning more. He became the 21st CL pitcher to earn a win with one pitch.

I’ll leave you tonight with this catch by 44-year-old Kosuke Fukudome. And if one more person refers to him as an “old guy” this 61-year-old old guy will have some words for them.

Friday’s starting pitchers

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

Ryusei Kawano (2-3, 2.43) vs Nick Martinez (7-3, 2.03)

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

Wataru Matsumoto (7-6, 3.42) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (12-5, 1.61)

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

Roki Sasaki (2-2, 3.22) vs Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 2.86)

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuki Takahashi (10-3, 2.72) vs Yudai Ono (5-8, 3.10)

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

Daichi Osera (6-4, 3.18) vs Yuki Nishi (4-9, 3.55)

Active roster moves 9/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/19

Central League

Activated

TigersP29Haruto Takahashi
DragonsP41Akiyoshi Katsuno
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui

Dectivated

GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
CarpIF7Shota Dobayashi

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
MarinesIF36Tetsuya Kokubo
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe
FightersP20Kenta Uehara
BuffaloesOF55Takahiro Okada

Dectivated

MarinesP60Rikuto Yokoyama
MarinesC32Toshiya Sato
LionsP54Zach Neal
BuffaloesP48Koki Saito

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NPB wrap 9-8-21

NPB announced its monthly awards for each league for the period from July to August. The Central League’s batter of the month was Hiroshima outfielder Seiya Suzuki, while the CL’s pitcher of the month was Yomiuri closer Thyago Vieira. The Pacific League’s guys were Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Lotte outfielder Kyota Fujiwara.

I also ran the players’ numbers and evaluated the selections.

The Buffaloes and Marines are playing each other this week with each team missing a top offensive performer. Orix outfielder Masataka Yoshida was hurt running to first base on Sunday and has been deactivated, while Fujiwara is expected to miss the series after being hit in the right calf by a pitch on Sunday.

The Marines will get reinforcements, however, with right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa named to start Thursday’s game, his first since he had surgery in June to clean out his right shoulder. Adam Jones, who missed Tuesday’s game due to the effects of his vaccination, returned to duty for the Buffaloes on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s games

Marines 4, Buffaloes 1

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Leonys Martin spoiled what was shaping up to be another heart-warming Orix win. Eighteen-year-old rookie Ryoto Kita, who went to high school in nearby Akashi, broke up a scoreless tie in an outstanding pitching duel between Lotte’s Kota Futaki (5-5, 3.93) and 23-year-old rookie Soichiro Yamazaki, who went six innings.

Futaki struck out five and allowed five hits but no walks over seven innings. Martin tied it with a sixth-inning RBI double. Orix’s fourth pitcher, Ryo Yoshida (1-1) stumbled after Kita dropped a one-out fly to left in the rain. A five-pitch walk and two to Martin, who cracked his 25th home run settled the issue.

Seiichiro Oshita, who on Tuesday was yanked from a farm game at the Carp’s minor league park in Yamaguchi Prefecture, so he could hop on a shinkansen to hit a pinch-hit homer and drive in the winning run, just missed another pinch-hit homer in the eighth.

Naoya Masuda locked it down in the ninth for his 150th career save and his Japan-leading 31st of the year.

The win pushed Lotte ahead on winning percentage.

Eagles 8, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Rakuten’s Ryota Takinaka (6-4, 4.92) struck out six over six innings, while allowing two singles and a walk, while Daichi Suzuki opened the scoring in a two-run second against Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6, 3.20) by leading off the inning with his eighth home run.

Suzuki, who drove in four runs, had two of the Eagles’ eight doubles. Uwasawa allowed three runs over six innings in the loss.

Hawks 9, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome, SoftBank took BP against Zach Neal (1-6, 5.85), who walked two of the 21 batters he faced while allowing nine runs on 11 hits over 2-2/3 innings. Ryoya Kurihara singled in the first run in a two-run first and capped a four-run second with a three-run homer, his 14th.

Kodai Senga (5-1, 3.06) struck out six without walking a batter, while allowing four hits over seven innings.

The good news, however, was probably the return of closer Yuito Mori, who has been sidelined since April 29 due to inflammation in his left elbow. The right-hander retired the side in the ninth.

Tigers 5, Swallows 3

At Koshien Stadium, Yusuke Oyama, who was instrumental in demolishing Yomiuri over the weekend, walked twice, and hit a tie-breaking two-run home run, his 16th, as Hanshin moved 2-1/2 games ahead of the second-place Giants.

Jose Osuna and pitcher Yasuhiro Ogawa (7-4, 4.29), each drove in a run in the second, when Hanshin rookie Masashi Ito got out of jail by retiring Norichika Aoki with the bases loaded.

Hanshin got a run in the second after a Jefry Marte single, a Jerry Sands double and Oyama’s first walk, but Yakult made it 2-1 in the third when Tetsuto Yamada led off with his 27th home run. Mel Rojas Jr. batted for Ito with a man on in the fifth and tied it with his sixth homer.

Ogawa retired the next four batters before Sands’ third hit of the game. Oyama followed with his tie-breaking blast. Four Tigers relievers made short work of the visitors with rookie Ippei Ogawa (1-0) earning his first career win – and vowing to give the winning ball to his parents – and Robert Suarez earning his 29th save.

BayStars 4, Giants 1

At Yokohama Stadium, former Blue Jay and BayStar Shun Yamaguchi (2-4, 3.40) gave up two first-inning runs on four singles, with Toshiro Miyazaki and rookie Shugo Maki each driving in one, and the BayStars tacked on two runs when the Giants failed to turn inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings.

DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (6-5, 4.46) struck out seven, walked one while allowing seven hits and one run over six innings. Seiya Matsubara tripled and scored the Giants’ only run in the sixth on a single by second baseman Naoki Yoshikawa.

Dragons 4, Carp 1

At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki homered for the fifth straight game, a second-inning solo shot off Takahiro Matsuba (3-3, 3.70) for his 25th of the season, but that was all the Carp would manage.

Chunichi catcher Takuya Kinoshita tied it in the fifth, doubling in Shuhei Takahashi with two outs, and pinch-hitter Nobumasa Fukuda hit a two-run seventh-inning homer, his fifth. Kinoshita homered in the ninth with his eighth.

Raidel Martinez bounced back from a five-run ass-kicking on Tuesday to record his 16th save. Carp starter Shogo Tamamura (2-6, 3.89) allowed three runs over seven innings.

Thursday’s starting pitchers

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

Drew VerHagen (3-6, 4.80) vs Takahiro Norimoto (8-5, 3.81)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (5-7, 4.10) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (2-2, 5.08)

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

Yuya Sakamoto (4-4, 4.77) vs Shosei Togo (8-6, 3.89)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Haruto Takahashi (-) vs Keiji Takahashi (2-1, 2.55)

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

Allen Kuri (9-6, 3.78) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-5, 3.42)

Active roster moves 9/8/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/18

Central League

Activated

TigersP36Masumi Hamachi
CarpP41Takuya Yasaki

Dectivated

TigersP28Taiki Ono
TigersP65Atsuki Yuasa
CarpP98Robert Corniel

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP18Kota Futaki
EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki
BuffaloesOF10Adam Jones

Dectivated

HawksP11Yuki Tsumori
MarinesOF2Kyota Fujiwara
FightersC60Takuya Kori
BuffaloesC44Yuma Tongu

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