Tag Archives: Shintaro Fujinami

NPB wrap 3-26-21

Pacific League

Hideaki Wakui improved to 6-3 on Opening Day in the Rakuten Eagles’ 8-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi on Friday as Nippon Professional Baseball’s two leagues went into action.

Wakui showed unusually good command of his breaking pitches, including a screwball I don’t remember seeing from him. After pitching according to form in the first inning by throwing a four-seam fastball with about half his pitches, the Nippon Ham Fighters went into Andruw “I’m still waiting for my pitch” Jones mode as they kept looking for fastballs that never came and making weak contact on everything else.

Fighters starter Naoyuki Uwasawa surrendered a home run on his first pitch of the game to Ryosuke Tatsumi, and kept the bases pretty much jammed with Eagles runners. He allowed six runs over 4-2/3 innings.

Tanaka out for 3 weeks

After two months of having virtually everything on the field in Japan overshadowed by every scrap of news about Masahiro Tanaka, the news that he will miss three weeks with a soleus muscle calf injury barely made a ripple. Thank goodness for Opening Day.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Shuta Ishikawa had a typical night, striking out six and walking three while allowing a run over five innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 8-2 win over the Lotte Marines. Ishikawa retired the first nine batters he faced and allowed his one run in a backward Marines sixth inning in which Leonys Martin homered with one out and Lotte left the bases loaded.

Lotte starter Kota Futaki gave up five runs over five-plus innings, with all the runs scoring on home runs by Kenta Imamiya, Ukyo Shuto and Yuki Yanagita.

At MetLife Dome, Kona Takahashi allowed three runs over 7-1/3 to get the better of Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the Seibu Lions’ 4-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes with both right-handers making their first Opening Day starts. Three of the four Seibu runs were unearned, scoring with two outs after errors prolonged the first and third innings.

The wonderful Masataka Yoshida put Orix on the board in the sixth with a homer, Steven Moya doubled for the Buffaloes, and Adam Jones ripped a leadoff single off Tatsushi Masuda to put the tying runner on in the ninth before the righty closed out the game.

The loss was Orix’s Pacific League-worst 10th straight on Opening Day.

And since the PL is going to give them to us, let’s see some of their glove work.

In the Central League

Jerry Sands belted a pair of home runs, the second one, snapping a 3-3 tie and lifting the Hanshin Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium. Sands also singled and walked, while celebrity rookie Teruaki Sato opened the scoring with a sac fly.

Shintaro Fujinami had the kind of day one expects from him now and then. He walked five and gave up five hits but just two runs over five innings. Robert Suarez got the save for the Tigers.

At Tokyo Dome, the Yomiuri Giants got an old-friend sighting they wished they hadn’t but it all worked out thanks to a three-run homer by catcher Takumi Oshiro and a ninth-inning sayonara blast by pinch hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei that won it over the DeNA BayStars 8-7.

Shunta Tanaka, who basically did everything with the Giants except earn Tatsunori Hara’s trust at second base – because I suspect Hara simply doesn’t trust second basemen as a general rule – began his tenure with DeNA by matching his 2020 RBI total, driving in six runs with three hits and a sac fly.

Zelous Wheeler singled in a run in the first, walked and scored in the third, and doubled in a run in the eighth for the Giants.

Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, who opted to stay in Japan for 2021 rather than sign in the States, surrendered three runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings.

Tanaka’s two-out, two-run single in the ninth off Kota Nakagawa tied it 7-7, but Kazuki Mishima, who was super as the DeNA closer since last summer, surrendered Kamei’s home run on his third pitch of the game.

Had Mishima gotten out of the inning, that would have been the first nine-inning tie this season since the owners decided this week to abandon extra innings in the name of faster games.

Giants BayStars highlights

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Dayan Viciedo capped a five-run eighth inning with a two-run homer as the Chunichi Dragons beat the Hiroshima Carp 7-6. Carp ace Daichi Osera, who opened last season with back-to-back complete games and finished it in surgery, started on Opening Day for the third straight year, but allowed four runs, two earned, over 7-1/3 innings and only threw 87 pitches.

New Carp Kevin Cron singled in his first at-bat and scored but finished 1-for-4.

Spring Wrap 3-19-21

1 week to go

With one week till Opening Day in a league where pitchers throw once every seven days, the final Friday of the preseason saw 10 of the 11 Opening Day starters throwing in their final warm-up games. The lone exceptions were the Nippon Ham Fighters, who didn’t send Naoyuki Uwasawa out, and the DeNA BayStars, who haven’t announced an Opening Day starter.

Even though the season is a week away, it’s still just the preseason. Aside from the stories documenting the strong outings of the big-name Opening Day starters, Tomoyuki Sugano, Shintaro Fujinami, Daichi Osera, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and so on here are some of the other headlines on Friday:

  • Orix loses 3-1 as they can’t topple Fujinami even when he lacks control.
  • Hawks win 6th straight as pinch-hitter Kawashima drives in winning run
  • 2 hits push Dragons’ Neo toward 1st Opening Day start
  • Tigers come from behind to remain in tie for 1st place in preseason
  • Tigers’ Sato fails to homer, tie Nagashima’s preseason HR record

OK. Enough silliness and on to the actual news.

Saying goodbye to ‘free baseball’?

Nippon Professional Baseball is considering eliminating extra innings this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s games were allowed to go 10 instead of 12, but with business being asked to close by 9 p.m. even after the lifting of the current state of emergency on Sunday, NPB is looking for ways to do its part.

Hawks’ Moinelo won’t be ready

The SoftBank Hawks middle relief ace, Cuban lefty Livan Moinelo, will begin the season on the farm, manager Kimiyasu Kudo said according to Hochi Shimbun.

“He’s just getting into the bullpen now,” Kudo said. “I think Opening Day would be a stretch.”

Moinelo arrived in Japan on Feb. 7, but spent two weeks in quarantine, when he was unable to throw.

Fujinami survives cut

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Shintaro Fujinami cut his thumb in the first inning of the Hanshin Tigers’ 3-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes but still allowed only one run over four innings.

“I gouged my thumb pretty good with the nail of my index finger, and the bleeding didn’t stop,” said Fujinami according to Daily Sports.

Pitching coach Shinobu Fukuhara and a trainer went to the mound, and Fujinami came off for treatment after issuing a leadoff walk. He returned and surrendered a run on two singles. Steven Moya singled in the run with the first of his two hits for the Buffaloes.

Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto allowed a run on four hits and three walks while striking out four over five innings.

Jefry Marte drew four walks in four trips to the plate for the Tigers.

‘No problem’ for Yamada

At Jingu Stadium, Yakult Swallows star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada, who has been suffering from the dreaded “lack of lower body fitness” this spring, homered and started at second base in an 8-4 win over the Rakuten Eagles, Nippon Television News reported.

“I don’t have any problems heading into the season, as long as I do what I need to do in the remaining two games and practice well,” said Yamada, who has struck out in five of his 12 plate appearances with two hits and a walk.

Yasuhiro Ogawa allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings, while the Swallows lit up Eagles starter Hideaki Wakui for eight runs on four walks and seven hits over 3-2/3.

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Akira Neo continued to raise peoples hopes as the Dragons’ top 2018 draft pick doubled and singled in a 2-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Takahide Ikeda, the 26-year-old right-hander acquired in the recent trade with the Rakuten Eagles for infielder Taketoshi Yokoo, continued to make the Fighters look smart with five scoreless innings. He now has 10 innings without a run this spring since the trade, during which he’s allowed five hits and two walks while striking out two.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, SoftBank Hawks starter Shuta Ishikawa struck out six over four scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp. Hiroshima ace Daichi Osera struck out six over six innings, running his preseason scoreless-inning streak to 15.

Former Arizona Diamondback Kevin Cron, who turned heads on Thursday by turning out for optional practice, went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly that gave Hiroshima a 1-0 seventh-inning lead.

The Hawks pitchers continued to strike batters out, whiffing 13.

Hamaguchi sharp for ‘Stars

At MetLife Dome, lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi allowed a run on four hits over four innings while striking out four for the DeNA BayStars in a 5-1 win over the Seibu Lions. His only run came on a home run by 2018 PL MVP Hotaka Yamakawa, his third of the spring.

Lions starter Kona Takahashi gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk. He struck out seven. The BayStars, however, took a stick to reliever Reed Garrett in the ninth, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk.

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano struck out three over three scoreless innings in a 34-pitch warmup, while Kota Futaki struck out three over five scoreless innings for the Lotte Marines in their 3-2 win.

Frank Herrmann threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Marines, while Thyago Vieira did the same for the Giants.