Tag Archives: shift

Shogo Akiyama spray charts

A recent comment about Akiyama suggested MLB’s extreme shifts could be trouble for him.

“Akiyama will have to adjust to more shifts in MLB. He’ll have to prove he can beat them.”


It’s true that shifts in NPB are pretty tame, there’s a reason for that: Japanese kids learn from an early age to go to hit the ball back up the middle or — especially fast left-handed hitters — hit it to the opposite field. It’s a huge difference between NPB and MLB.

And like most speedy left-handed hitters, Akiyama is adept at shooting the ball between third and short. You could shift on him a little and it might help, but too much and he’ll kill you.

Shogo Akiyama, career NPB hits
Shogo Akiyama, career NPB outs

The only team that tries extreme shifts here now is the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters. In one game they over-shifted to the right against left-handed hitting Tomoya Mori. In response, the slugging Lions catcher poked the ball on the ground into left, and expressed his thanks to the Fighters for giving him a freebie.

NPB games, news of Aug. 6, 2019

Tuesday was not a good day for the guys on top, as only one first-division team, the Hiroshima Carp, won, to tighten the Central League pennant race up a turn, while the Rakuten Eagles moved into the PL’s top three

Central League

Dragons 6, Giants 0

At Nagoya Dome, veteran lefty Yudai Ono (7-6) pitched out of trouble, making big pitches and big plays in the field as he pitched nearly the entire game with men on base, while Nobumasa Fukuda went 4-for-4 with a double and two home runs to pace Chunichi past Yomiuri.

The Giants have lost six straight for the first time this year.

Carp 8, BayStars 4

At Mazda Stadium, Makoto Aduwa (3-4) shook off some early bad luck to work seven innings, as Hiroshima came from three runs down to beat DeNA and move within one game of the CL lead.

With one out in the second, the BayStars hit four straight rollers through the left side of Hiroshima’s infield and left fielder Ryuhei Matsuyama misplayed the third one, allowing two runners to score and the batter to get to third, from where he scored.

But the Carp came back with contributions up and down the lineup against rookie Taiga Kamichatani (6-4), taking the lead in the fourth when Aduwa beat out a two-out infield single and scored on Ryoma Nishikawa’s 11th home run. Kamichatani missed too many locations.

The game was eerily quiet as musical instruments were not allowed into the stadium on “Peace Night,” the 74th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. But to show that some things don’t change, Carp manager Koichi Ogata called on closer Geronimo Franzua to pitch the ninth with a five-run lead with his team playing the first of nine-straight days.

The BayStars announced that Spencer Patton suffered a self-inflicted fracture in his right hand as a result of his using a dugout refrigerator as a punching bag after a disappointing outing.

Serious bunts

Analyst Akihito Kaneishi jumped on the bunt bandwagon in the first inning when Hiroshima’s Ryosuke Kikuchi bunted after Nishikawa reached base to open the inning.

Kaneishi: “Manager Ogata is showing how important this crucial series is to him by sacrificing in order to get that all-important first run.”

To be fair, Kikuchi is a good bunter and nearly beat it out, so it was hardly a waste, but that is the side that no one ever talks about. It’s always the idea that getting ahead by making outs is the Japanese way.

Swallows 4, Tigers 3

At Jingu Stadium, Hanshin began its annual exile from Koshien Stadium with a loss, thanks to six solid innings from Yakult’s David Buchanan (2-6), who allowed two runs, one earned, while striking out seven, and a two-run, come-from-behind homer from catcher Yuhei Nakamura.

Yangervis Solarte homered for the fourth time in 10 games and doubled in the ninth as Hanshin scored a run off current closer Scott McGough, who recorded his sixth save in the absence of Taichi Ishiyama despite loading the bases with no outs.

Pacific League

Marines 4, Hawks 2, 11th inning

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Ikuhiro Kiyota hit a two-run, sayonara home run to lift Lotte over SoftBank in the 11th inning after former Marine Alfredo Despaigne tied it with his 26th home run in the eighth.

Game highlights are HERE.

Buffaloes 5, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, lefty Daichi Tajima (3-3) scattered four walks and four hits over six innings, and Orix’s No. 8 hitter Ryoichi Adachi smacked a three-run home run off Yuki Saito (0-2) in the fourth inning.

Mizuki Hori returned as Nippon Ham’s opener for the second-straight game with a 1-2-3 first. Saito worked a 1-2-3 second but had to pitch out of trouble in the third and couldn’t get out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fourth.

NPB’s last consecutive starts by the same pitcher

The Pro Yakyu News guys were puzzling about how Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama could use Hori as his starter for two-straight games. This is something that hasn’t happened since Sept. 6, 2009, when Yokohama’s Ryan Glynn started for the second-straight day.

Glynn faced one batter, retiring Hirokazu Ibata, because he had been inadvertently listed as the starting pitcher on the lineup card. Glynn started the following day, but the game of Sept. 5 was more noteable for the performance of Stephen Randolph. The intended starter, Randolph came on with one out in the first and struck out 15 over 8-2/3 innings to complete the shutout.

The time before that also happened to a Yokohama pitcher, Futoshi Kobayashi, who started July 23, 2008, a day after he was ejected for hitting the second batter he faced in the head.

The shift goes on

The Fighters continued to shift against Orix’s left-handed slugger Masataka Yoshida. In the first inning, they tried a new one, placing their third baseman in left field to guard against extra bases with two outs and none on. Shota Hiranuma made the catch for the “infield fly” out to third.

Early in the season, Yoshida had grounded out to third — when the Fighters third baseman was playing in shallow right between first and second, and later in the game, the Fighters had their shortstop playing right of the bag against him.

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 10, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome, 25-year-old Rakuten rookie lefty Hayato Yuge (2-0) won his second-straight start, allowing four hits and no walks, while striking out four in the win over Seibu.

Ginji Akaminai capped a three-run first inning against Tatsuya Imai (6-9) with a two-run homer and went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.

Game highlights are HERE.