Tag Archives: Shogo Akiyama

NPB news: April 19, 2023

It’s not like they were calling him “Losing pitcher Sumida” or anything, but Chihiro Sumida, Seibu’s top signing from the 2021 draft, did snap an unenviable streak on Wednesday, while Orix’s Frank Schwindel had a belated but memorable Japan debut in a game he didn’t expect to play in and which ended in riveting fashion.

Wednesday’s games

Buffaloes 2, Eagles 1: At Osaka Dome, Frank Schwindel went 3-for-4 in his Japan debut that helped lefty Daiki Tajima (2-1) pick up the win after he allowed a run over eight innings. Maikel Franco had one of the Eagles’ four hits off Tajima and scored the game’s first run on a fourth-inning single by Hiroto Kobukata.

Rakuten lefty Takahisa Hayakawa worked six scoreless innings innings before Orix tied it against the bullpen in the seventh on a walk, a sacrifice and a Yuma Tongu pinch-hit RBI single.

Orix catcher Tomoya Mori reached base for the third time, opening the eighth with an infield single and scored on Schwindel’s third single of the game.

Frank Schwindel breaks a 1-1 eighth-inning tie in his Japan debut.

Mori then secured the win in the ninth when he applied the tag on a play at the plate to end the game on a throw from substitute right-fielder Yuya Oda.

Continue reading NPB news: April 19, 2023

NPB news: April 15, 2923

Between the rain and the expected low after Friday’s high of the Roki Sasaki-Yoshinobu Yamamoto showdown, Saturday was a damp day for pro baseball action. It was another rainy day in Hiroshima, while two games under roofs in Hokkaido and Nagoya were played, and for the Hanshin Tigers found themselves in first place.

Sasaki’s sweeper

OK. I never heard of a slider being referred to as a sweeper until Shohei Ohtani struck out Mike Trout with one to end the WBC. But Yu Darvish and Ohtani were busy helping their teammates master it in February and March, and in his first game after he started against Mexico in Japan’s WBC semifinal, Sasaki broke off three of them.

Credit to website CoCoKaraNext for talking about it last week and predicting we’d see more of them, because when Sasaki held Orix to one hit over seven innings and struck out 10 of the first 12 batters he faced, it was instantly a weapon. His fastball so far this year has been a little better than it was a year ago, and his command of the splitter better as well, so it hardly seems fair. But Sasaki had guys swinging out of their shoes on pitches they missed by a foot.

Sasaki and Yamamoto comps

Saturday morning’s news was about MLB comps for Sasaki and Yamamoto as explained by writers covering MLB relaying what they’ve heard from U.S. teams, while mentioning there were scouts from eight MLB teams in Chiba. The way the headline was written, it sounded like the scouts were telling reporters what their comps were.

It’s not like this never happens, but it rarely happens in a public setting where they might be overheard. Instead, it quoted The Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez as saying an American League general manager had called Sasaki’s fastball the best in the world and better than Jacob DeGrom’s, while Yamamoto’s pitchability was on a par with Zach Greinke.

Continue reading NPB news: April 15, 2923