Tag Archives: Shintaro Fujinami

NPB games 4-16-21

Fujinami takes Swallows back to school

Tigers 2, Swallows 0

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin Tigers righty Shintaro Fujinami (2-0) gave the Yakult Swallows a blast from the past, homering at spacious Koshien Stadium for the first time since he was a high schooler playing there in Japan’s prestigious national invitational and national championships.

Manaka breaks down Fujinami blast

The two-run blast, the third of Fujinami’s career, sealed a battle between youth and age, velocity and finesse that could easily have gone to 41-year-old lefty Masanori Ishikawa (0-1) in his season debut.

Ishikawa walked and beat out an infield single and owned rookie Teruaki Sato, needing six pitches to strike the young slugger out twice.

Fujinami allowed three hits and three walks while hitting two batters, but was yanked with two on and two outs in the sixth after plunking Yasutaka Shiomi. A quartet of relievers finished what Fujinami started with Robert Suarez earning his fourth save.

Giants 7, BayStars 0

At Yokohama Stadium, Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano (1-1) located his fastball well as he manhandled the DeNA BayStars from the mound and contributed to the offense by singling and scoring a sixth-inning insurance run.

Lefty Yuya Sakamoto, DeNA’s second pick in 2019, allowed three runs over five innings in his season debut. Sakamoto, who went 4-1 with a 5.67 ERA last season in 10 starts, threw some good pitches, but his command was inconsistent and the Giants put good swings on pitches in the zone.

The Giants’ top two hitters, Seiya Matsubara and Hayato Sakamoto, playing in an NPB record 1,778th game at shortstop, set the table with no-out singles and Kazuma Okamoto broke the ice with a two-run double. Sakamoto homered to lead off the fifth, although the BayStars’ Sakamoto ended the inning without further damage and the bases jammed with Giants.

Sugano reached on a one-out infield single in the sixth and scored on former BayStar Takayuki Kajitani’s two-run double, a flare that dropped and rolled away from the DeNA fielders.

Carp 7, Dragons 3

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Ryosuke Kikuchi ended Hiroshima’s scoreless streak at 31 innings and one pitch, hitting the second delivery from Chunichi lefty Taiki Matsuba (0-2) out for a leadoff home run.

Atsushi Endo, making his season debut for the Carp after some weak results in the Western League (15 runs in 1-2/3 innings), made a wild pickoff throw with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first and the Carp were back to Square 1.

Seiya Suzuki’s fourth home run, a three-run shot, put Hiroshima back on top but the Dragons answered with two in the fourth, when manager Shinji Sasaoka ran out of patience with his starter. With a two-run lead in the fifth, 22-year-old rookie lefty Daisuke Moriura came out of the pen with the bases loaded to retire 43-year-old pinch-hitter to end the Dragons’ last threat.

OK, Moriura took a smash off his body that bounced to the catcher who threw Fukudome out, but it looks good in the box score.

Lions 2, Hawks 1

At MetLife Dome, Tomoya Mori, the Seibu Lions’ 2019 PL MVP reached base four times and decided a pitchers’ duel with a sixth-inning home run in a battle between Opening Day starters, hammering a 2-1 fastball down the pipe from Shuta Ishikawa (1-2) out to right for his third home run.

Kona Takahashi (3-0) was coming off a poor start against Lotte last week when he gave up four runs on five walks over six innings. He retired the first two batters he faced before Yurisbel Gracial took him deep for his second home run.

Rookie Lions leadoff man Gakuto Wakabayashi tied it in the home half, with some help from Gracial. Thinking Wakabayashi’s deep fly was going out, the Hawks’ left fielder stopped short of the wall only for the ball to strike off the padding and roll away from him. The Lions bunted the rookie to third from where he scored on a wild pitch.

Still, that didn’t stop Ishikawa from getting some blame for it, that allowing the first run demonstrated a lack of sufficient will power on his part.

Ishikawa needs more will to win

Kaima Taira, the 2020 PL rookie of the year worked around a pinch-hit leadoff single in the eighth before Tatsushi Masuda nailed down his sixth save with a game-ending double play.

Eagles 4, Fighters 1

At Tokyo Dome, a week after going full contact mode with one K over eight innings in his previous start, Rakuten Eagles right-hander Hideaki Wakui’s strikeout train resumed normal service with 10 strikeouts over seven innings. Drew VerHagen, who went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in his 2020 debut season, had a kind of cold opening, making a three-inning start in his season debut after no spring training and no tune-ups with the farm team.

VerHagen allowed a run over three innings, as the Fighters temporarily jumped back into the short starter routine that was their M.O. in 2019. Ryusei Kawano, who has been really ineffective in his starts this season, was, however, in his element. The second-year side-arm lefty struck out four of the nine batters he faced over three perfect innings.

The Eagles tied the game 1-1 in the third on back-to-back two-out doubles by Hiroto Kobukata and Hiroaki Shimauchi. In keeping with the Fighters’ flash back night at their former home park, Mizuki Hori (1-1), Nippon Ham’s ace opener from 2019, made an appearance, but the seventh inning was not as kind to him as first innings used to be. He surrendered back-to-back leadoff doubles to Daichi Suzuki and rookie Fumiya Kurokawa, who untied the score for good.

Kobukata tripled and scored in the eighth on a Shimauchi sac fly, and Suzuki led off the ninth with a single and scored his second run to make it 4-1. Lefty closer Yuki Matsui closed the door with two on in the bottom of the ninth to earn his fourth save.

Buffaloes 3, Marines 3

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, the Orix Buffaloes wasted an outstanding start from Taisuke Yamaoka, who struck out nine over seven scoreless innings, when rookie reliever Taisei Urushihara surrendered a three-run eighth-inning home run to Hisanori Yasuda.

The home run took Kota Futaki, the Marines’ Opening Day starter off the hook after he allowed three runs, one earned, over seven innings. The unearned runs came in the seventh after Yasuda fumbled a grounder at third to open the inning.

Yasuhiro Tanaka pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the eighth, while the Buffaloes’ Tyler Higgins and Lotte closer Naoya Masuda shut the doors to ensure a share of the points – or rather a non-event, since ties count for nothing.

NPB wrap 4-2-21

Wakui solid again

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Hideaki Wakui (2-0) struck out nine without a walk as he allowed two runs over seven innings in the Rakuten Eagles’ 4-2 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Friday.

Sachiya Yamasaki (0-1), the fourth left-handed starter the Eagles have faced in seven games, allowed two runs over five innings to take the loss in his season debut. He struck out seven.

Daichi Suzuki singled in a run in the Eagles’ two-run first, and doubled and scored in the sixth.

Wakui took a three-run lead into the seventh but gave up back-to-back doubles to Masataka Yoshida and Steven Moya and a pinch-hit RBI single to Adam Jones. Eagles leadoff hitter Kazuki Tanaka led off the first with a single and scored, and then scored an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh after leading off with a walk off Tyler Higgins.

Right-hander Tomohito Sakai worked around a pair of two-out walks in the eighth, and closer Yuki Matsui worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.

For the second straight week, Wakui established his fastball early and then mauled batters with his slider, sinker and curve, although he did use the heater more this time around as the game progressed.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Kona Takahashi (2-0) was sharp for the Seibu Lions, striking out eight over eight innings, while Shuta Ishikawa (1-1) had an uncharacteristic start for the SoftBank Hawks in their 6-2 loss.

Ishikawa tends to have so much movement on his pitches that he walks three or four batters a start but rarely gives up a lot of hits. But this time out, when he walked two and hit one, the Lions teed off on straight pitches in the zone, scoring six runs on nine hits, the biggest a three-run Takeya Nakamura homer.

At Sapporo Dome, the PL needs to start thinking about a delay of game penalty to keep the Nippon Ham Fighters from taking at least 3-1/2 hours to play every one of their games.

That’s how long this one took as the Lotte Marines hammered former high school baseball star Kosei Yoshida (0-1) for seven runs over two innings.

Hisanori Yoshida homered, doubled and drove in four runs, while Shogo Nakamura had four hits, scored two and drove in three, while Leonys Martin walked twice, homered and scored three runs.

Kota Futaki (1-1), Lotte’s Opening Day starter, scattered four walks and two hits over seven innings.

Carp run over winless BayStars

At Yokohama Stadium, Daichi Osera (1-0) struck out seven over seven innings, and Ryuichi Matsuyama drove in three runs as the Hiroshima Carp continued the DeNA BayStars’ winless streak with a 4-0 victory in the Central League.

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-1) allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.

At Tokyo Dome, Yasuhiro Ogawa (1-0) worked 7-2/3 innings and Munetaka Murakami hit his third home run, a two-run shot off Ryoma Nogami (0-1) in the Yakult Swallows’ 2-0 win over the Yomiuri Giants.

Zelous Wheeler hit two balls to the wall, one went for a double, and the other a single after he over-slid second base and was tagged out.

Swallows reliever Scott McGough retired the top of the Giants’ order 1-2-3 in the ninth to earn his first save.

Giants-Swallows highlights

At Koshien Stadium, the Hanshin Tigers’ bullpen wasted a good start from enigmatic right-hander Shintaro Fujinami in a 6-3 loss to the Chunichi Dragons.

Fujinami allowed a run on seven hits and two walks while striking out six, but new Tiger Ren Kajiya allowed three runners to reach with out in the eighth. Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita drove him from the mound with a two-run double and scored on a Yohei Oshima single.

Kinoshita doubled in two more in the ninth to ice it for the visitors.

Minor goings on

Sasaki pitches

Hard-throwing Lotte Marines teenager Roki Sasaki pitched in his first official pro game on Friday, allowing an infield single and a stolen base in two scoreless innings in an Eastern League game against the Yakult Swallows, Nikkan Sports reported.

The 19-year-old, who was clocked at 163 kph (101.3 mph) in a national team training camp in 2019, touched 153 kph (95.1) in the game at the Swallows’ minor league park in Toda, Saitama Prefecture.

Swallows suck it up

The Swallows have been forced to improvise in the wake of a number of staff members and No. 2 catcher Akihisa Nishida testing positive for the coronavirus. The subsequent deactivation of players considered to have had close contact with those testing positive has forced the Swallows to cancel Saturday’s and Sunday’s Eastern League games with the Marines.

On Thursday, thanks to the heads up from Deanna Rubin @marinerds, we learned that the short-handed minor league squad was forced to skip the DH at the Nippon Ham Fighters’ park and used a pitcher as a substitute outfielder.

Tigers Girls put on hold

The Hanshin Tigers’ cheerleading squad, the Tigers Girls, not to be confused with the organization’s amateur baseball club, the Tigers Women, will not appear in games at Koshien Stadium for the time being after more than one of the club’s cheerleaders tested positive for the coronavirus, Daily Sports reported.

Starting pitchers

Taguchi gets 1st shot at old team

So Taguchi, traded from the Yomiuri Giants to the CL rival Yakult Swallows in March, will get his first crack at his old team on Saturday when the Giants host the Swallows at Tokyo Dome.

The lefty got hammered in his first outing against the Tigers last weekend, giving up six runs in 2-1/3 innings.

Pacific League

Fighters vs Marines: Sapporo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (0-1, 11.57) vs Manabu Mima (0-0, 1.50)

Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Hayato Yuge (-) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-1, 6.00)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Rei Takahashi (0-0, 2.84) vs Shota Hamaya (0-1, 5.79)

Central League

Giants vs Swallows: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shosei Togo (1-0, 1.29) vs Kazuto Taguchi (0-1, 19.29)

BayStars vs Carp: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masaya Kyoyama (0-1, 6.75) vs Allen Kuri (1-0, 1.50)

Tigers vs Dragons: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Koyo Aoyagi (1-0, 4.76) vs Yuya Yanagi (0-1, 6.75)

Active roster moves 4/2/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/12

Central League

Activated

GiantsP23Ryoma Nogami
BayStarsP35Tomoya Mikami
SwallowsP62Hiroaki Saiuchi

Dectivated

SwallowsP21Taichi Yamano

Pacific League

Activated

FightersP18Kosei Yoshida
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

Dectivated

HawksP10Kotaro Otake
EaglesP59Shu Sugahara
BuffaloesP58Kazuyuki Kaneda