Tag Archives: Shun Yamaguchi

NPB wrap 9-14-21

The Lotte Marines seem to be full of surprises and determined to take control of the Pacific League pennant race this month, and started their week on Tuesday in what looked like a clash between their irresistible force and an immovable object, SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga, wheeled out on five-days rest to see if he could arrest the Marines progress.

The Central League’s week also began with a clash of two contenders as the Hanshin Tigers came to Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium to take on the Swallows in which each of NPB’s two Suarez brothers had a role to play for his team.

Eagles 4, Buffaloes 1

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Rakuten’s Takahisa Hayakawa (8-5, 3.63) won a matchup between two left-handed rookies who in April appeared ready to set the PL on fire. Hayakawa had one of his best starts of the season, while Orix 20-year-old Hiroya Miyagi (11-2, 2.26) continued his struggles.

Miyagi surrendered a first-inning homer to Hideto Asamura, who hit his 12th. Asamura hit 30 or more in each of the last three seasons but might not reach 19 for the first time since 2015.

When the season started, Miyagi was striking out about one batter per inning and walking about two to three per nine with a WHIP less than one. First, he stopped striking people out as often, and the hit totals began to climb but he continued to attack the zone. But the walks, too, are now on the rise.

The Eagles took a 2-0 lead on three two-out fifth-inning singles, and Miyagi made it 3-0 by issuing back-to-back walks. Yuma Mune, who had three of Orix’s five singles, brought in a run with an infield single in the eighth. And Eigoro Mogi made it 4-1 in the home half with his 13th home run.

The Eagles, who may be without closer Yuki Matsui this year, got a three-run save from Tomohito Sakai, his second.

Marines 3, Hawks 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, red-hot SoftBank ace Kodai Senga (5-2, 3.12) struck out 14 but lost a pitchers’ duel with former Dragon Enny Romero. Taisei Makihara drilled Romero’s second pitch for a home run, but the lefty escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam to keep it 1-0.

Senga retired 10 straight after a one-out walk in the first before Shogo Nakamura doubled in the fourth and scored a Katsuya Kakunaka single. Lotte’s bullpen did not allow a base runner after Romero’s six impressive innings.

Senga, who had already thrown 103 pitches on five days rest, watched his command evaporate in the Marines’ two-run eighth. Yudai Fujioka led off with the second of his three singles. A sacrifice and four-pitch walk put two on and a Koki Yamaguchi’s single off a bad pitch loaded them.

After going to 3-2 by missing a pair of splitters below his knees, Brandon Laird finally made contact with a low pitch and grounded it into center for a two-run single. Chihaya Sasaki (5-2) pitched the eighth to earn the win, and Naoya Masuda recorded his 32nd save by striking out the side in the ninth.

The Marines deactivated Leonys Martin after he developed a fever, but his PCR test came back negative, so he could be activated for Wednesday’s game.

Lions 3, Fighters 1

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Kona Takahashi (10-5, 3.22) allowed an unearned run on three hits and two walks over six innings while striking out seven. Takumi Kuriyama singled three times and scored the Lions’ first run on a two-run second-inning Junichiro Kishi single.

The Fighters run came in the third on a dropped throw by Takahashi at first and a Haruki Nishikawa double.

Kuriyama singled home Tomoya Mori in the third to make it 3-1 against Fighters starter Takahide Ikeda (3-10, 3.98).

Lions closer Kaima Taira saved his 15th despite allowing two hits in the ninth, although the Fighters lost their leadoff runner when Yuki James Nomura was out trying to take second on a wild throw from Kaima, who fell on his butt to avoid getting hit by the barrel of Nomura’s broken bat.

Swallows 3, Tigers 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Albert Suarez opened the game and his younger brother, Robert – who has 31 saves, finished it with a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the tie after Jefry Marte’s three-run ninth-inning homer, his 18th, tied it off Swallows closer Scott McGough.

Marte also beat the Carp on Saturday when his three-run sixth-inning homer lifted the Tigers to a 4-1 win in Hiroshima.

Swallows cleanup hitter Munetaka Murakami had a hand in Yakult’s first three runs, with leadoff singles in the second and fourth off side-arm righty Koyo Aoyagi. He didn’t score, however, until he led off the sixth with his 34th home run to make it 3-0.

Albert Suarez worked four-plus, receiving an automatic ejection for hitting Takumu Nakano in the head to open the fifth. A single and a Jefry Marte walk loaded the bases with no outs, but Hanshin failed to score. Nakano singled in a run in the seventh off deposed closer Taishi Ishiyama who left with no outs and two on for Ryuta Kono, who popped up Marte before striking out Yusuke Oyama and Yoshio Itoi.

A Norichika Aoki single and a Jose Osuna RBI double gave the Swallows some breathing room in the eighth, but the insurance couldn’t ensure a victory.

McGough walked two to bring Marte to the plate with one out, and the Tigers first baseman put a good swing on a slider that McGough left in the lower half of the zone and drilled it over the wall in left-center.

Giants 3, BayStars 2

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s Shun Yamaguchi (2-5, 3.33) fell to 1-3 with a 4.09 ERA against his former team, DeNA, allowing two runs over 7-1/3 innings while striking out seven, walking one, hitting one and allowing three hits, including Masayuki Kuwahara’s 10th homer, tying the game to open the sixth. 

With one out in the seventh, Yamaguchi was gone after hitting Neftali Soto in the head. BayStars rookie Shugo Maki broke the tie by hitting new pitcher Toyoki Tanaka’s first pitch for his 17th home run.

The Giants chased DeNA starter Fernando Romero (2-2, 3.80) with one out in the eighth after a leadoff Takumi Oshiro double and an RBI pinch-hit single by new Giant Scott Heineman.

Venezuelan lefty Edwin Escobar struck out both batters he faced before closer Kazuki Mishima bounced from a three-run disaster five days earlier in his last game, also against Yomiuri, with a 1-2-3 ninth and his 21st save.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Dragons 10, Carp 1

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Chunichi resumed its September run surge after its 1-0 win on Monday. Catcher Takuya Kinoshita doubled in the ice-breaker in the second off Masato Morishita (6-7, 3.12), and an RBI single from 44-year-old Kosuke Fukudome made it 2-0 in the third.

Kaito Kaizono doubled to open Hiroshima’s fourth and scored on a single by Carp catcher Tsubasa Aizawa, but Dragons lefty Takahiro Matsuba (4-3, 3.21) allowed just one run on four hits and a walk over six innings. With Chunichi leading 3-1 after Yohei Oshima’s fifth-inning RBI single, Naomichi Donoue entered the game for defense and had a three-run sixth-inning double and a two-run eighth-inning single.

Starting pitchers

Eagles vs Buffaloes: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryota Takinaka (6-4, 4.48) vs Soichiro Yamazaki (0-1, 3.86)

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

Keisuke Honda (0-2, 3.57) vs Hiromi Ito (9-5, 2.54)

Hawks vs Marines: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Carter Stewart, Jr. (0-1, 4.95) vs Manabu Mima (5-4, 5.32)

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

Shosei Togo (8-6, 3.96) vs Shinichi Onuki (6-5, 4.46)

Swallows vs Tigers: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Yasuhiro Ogawa (7-4, 4.29) vs Masashi Ito (7-6, 2.98)

Dragons vs Carp: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Shotaro Kasahara (-) vs Shogo Tamamura (2-6, 3.89)

Active roster moves 9/14/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/24

Central League


GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
SwallowsP43Albert Suarez


TigersP16Yuki Nishi
SwallowsIF46Kengo Ota

Pacific League


HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
EaglesP47Masaru Fujii
FightersP52Takahide Ikeda


MarinesOF79Leonys Martin

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NPB wrap 8-13-21

Back to work

Japan’s Central and Pacific leagues resumed regular service after their Olympic break, and the Orix Buffaloes blasted into the final stage of the season with a one-sided win over the Lotte Marines, while the Rakuten Eagles stayed hot on their heels 1-1/2 games back.

In the CL, the Hanshin Tigers’ lead was trimmed to a game after they were bushwacked by the Hiroshima Carp and the second-place Giants came back to win.

Heating up

The highlight for the Giants may have been Thyago Vieira. The former White Sox wild thing threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in Japan, 166 kph (103.1 mph) breaking the record of 165 set by Shohei Ohtani and equaled this year by Hiroshima’s Robert Corniel.

Olympic break special offer

3 Free Months: Japanese baseball is cranking back up after its nearly month-long Olympic break. To mark the occasion all new (or returning) paid subscribers by Sunday, Aug. 15, will get three months free. Paid subscribers get unlimited access to paid content and all posts older than 6 months. So now’s a great chance to keep up as the pennant race heats up.

Eagles 5, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome, former Lions ace Takayuki Kishi (5-6, 3.35) struck out 10 and walked three, but didn’t give up a hit until Aito Takeda singled with one out in the eighth on his 113th pitch.

Although it was a surprise he got as far as he did, considering some of the balls the Lions hit off him, it’s nice to see a player do well against a team that never seemed to appreciate what they had when was with them. Kishi was treated like a second-class ace during his time there and Seibu barely negotiated when he took off as a free agent for his hometown team.

He’s had an unusually bad season and it was good to see him get a nice boost going into the final stage with this game.

Another guy in need of a fresh start, Louis Okoye, made his season debut and singled in the opening run off Wataru Matsumoto (7-5, 3.48). Hideto Asamura also singled in two runs for the Eagles, while Eigoro Mogi went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.

Buffaloes 6, Marines 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Hiroya Miyagi (10-1, 2.15) became a 10-game winner 12 days before he becomes old enough to drink in Japan when he turns 20. It was a solid performance in which he lacked a real good slider and only struck out two over six innings, allowing six hits and giving up a walk.

Kota Futaki (4-5, 4.39) gave up two-run home runs to Yutaro Sugimoto, his 19th, and Masataka Yoshida, his 18th. Yoshida doubled in the first and was on board when Sugimoto drove a pitch out to center. Yuma Mune also made solid contact with two hits, two RBIs and a run.

Yoshihisa Hirano worked a scoreless ninth for his 12th save.

The Marines remained in third, two games back of the Eagles, but just a half-game ahead of the Hawks.

Hawks 3, Fighters 0

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Shuta Ishikawa (4-8, 3.06) struck out 11 and walked two over 7-1/3 innings, two relievers completed the one-hitter, and Yuki Yanagita hit his 23rd home run, with a man on in the first against Takayuki Kato (3-6, 3.77). Nobuhiro Matsuda also hit his 11th home run for the Hawks.

Giants 4, Dragons 2

At Tokyo Dome, Chunichi’s Dayan Viciedo turned around a 1-0 game with a two-run seventh-inning homer off Shun Yamaguchi, Viciedo’s 15th. Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi surrendered a run on three straight first-inning singles but worked six innings.

Daisuke Sobue worked a scoreless seventh for the visitors, but the Giants bullpen also got the job done and Yomiuri got to Katsuki Matayoshi (0-2) in the eighth.

Pinch-hitter Akihiro Wakabayashi opened with his fourth home run to tie it. With one out, Matayoshi walked Hayato Sakamoto, who had three hits, and Yoshihiro Maru, who singled in the Giants’ first-inning run, to put two on for Kazuma Okamoto.

The Giants’ cleanup hitter singled in one, Takumi Oshiro doubled in an insurance run and Thyago Vieira struck out two of the three batters he faced for his 10th save as he continues his metamorphosis from curiosity to closer.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Carp 9, Tigers 3

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Daichi Osera (4-3, 3.51) struck out five over seven innings and allowed a run on five hits, including Yusuke Oyama’s 11th home run. The Carp pounded Yuki Nishi (4-7, 3.44) for four runs in the first, two on Ryuhei Matsuyama’s two-out double. The Tigers’ Teruaki Sato had three hits, including two doubles, and drove in two runs.

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Starting pitchers

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (6-3, 2.60) vs Ryota Takinaka (5-4, 4.95)

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

Manabu Mima (3-4, 6.02) vs Daiki Tajima (5-5, 3.45)

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

Nao Higashihama (2-2, 3.76) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-4, 3.43)

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

Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (5-1, 2.31) vs Yariel Rodriguez (0-1, 3.95)

BayStars vs Swallows: Hard Off Eco Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Imanaga (3-2, 3.61) vs Yasunobu Okugawa (4-2, 4.19)

Tigers vs Carp: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Akira Niho (0-0, 5.14) vs Allen Kuri (7-5, 3.33)