Tag Archives: SoftBank Hawks

NPB 2020 Sept. 19

NPB expands crowds

In a season that started behind closed doors on June 19, and welcomed in up to 5,000 per game starting from July 10, Saturday saw teams bring in somewhat larger crowds after a month and a half with no reported infections among spectators.

In the four day games played, only one was held out doors, where Yokohama Stadium welcomed 13,106 allowing fans to sit in the new left-field wing seats for the first time.

The other day games all saw smaller crowds: Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome had 11,937, Nagoya Dome 9,732 and Sapporo Dome 8,740.

“We were told it was only 13,000 people but it felt like 40,000 the way you guys cheered for the teams. Thank you so much,” BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said in his customary on-field interview after home games.

Hawks look to expand fans overseas

Starting Saturday, the SoftBank Hawks’ YouTube channel will be posting videos accessible in multiple languages in order to build their overseas fan base. Whether or not one is a fan of the Hawks, it’s kind of fun.

BayStars hand Giants 3rd straight loss

Neftali Soto hit his 100th home run in Japan, one of four hit by the DeNA BayStars in their 7-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama Stadium.

Lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi (5-4) brought an unusually crisp fastball and abstained from his bread-and-butter changeup for much of the game as he allowed a run on two walks and two hits over 5-2/3 innings.

A run in the sixth snapped a 2x-inning scoreless streak for the Giants, who avoided a shutout but not a third straight loss.

Takayuki Kajitani reached on a first-inning error and scored on a Keita Sano single and then drove in three runs with his 13th and 14th home run. Soto, who is trailing in the race to win a third-straight home run title, hit his 16th.

Giants starter Nobutaka Imamura (3-1) lost the southpaw struggle, allowing three runs, two earned, over five innings.

In the end decided on two pitches in the sixth and six in the seventh. With DeNA leading 3-1 in the sixth, Giants right-hander Yohei Kagiya loaded the bases with one out. Tatsuhiro fouled out on one pitch, and Yasutaka Tobashira popped up lefty Ryusei Oe’s first pitch.

In the top of the seventh, the Giants loaded the bases on one out against Yuki Kuniyoshi. Lefty Edwin Escobar entered to face Gerardo Parra, who rolled the sixth pitch back to the pitcher and a 1-2-3 double play.

Carp squeak past Swallows

Shota Dobayashi hit an eighth-inning game-tying home run and scored the go-ahead run in the 10th-inning when rookie Minoru Omori bounced a two-out two-strike pitch past the reach of second baseman Tetsuto Yamada that lifted the Hiroshima Carp to a 3-2 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

The game was a duel between rookies, Carp right-hander Masato Morishita, a highly-sought after amateur who has been extremely solid, and Yakult’s second-pick last autumn, right-hander Daiki Yoshida, whose stuff and command has been a little less dominant.

Tomotaka Sakaguchi brought the Yakult Swallows from a run down with a second-inning home run.

With one out and a runner on first, Sakaguchi went after a low first-pitch fastball like he knew it was coming and pulled it into the right-field stands for his ninth home run. Prior to this season, Sakaguchi’s high was five home runs, in 2009 and 2010 with the Orix Buffaloes.

He then did what low-power hitters are supposed to say after they hit a home run, that they were trying to play small ball and trying hard not to be Mr. Big Shot home run hitter by using the word “tsunagu” – つなぐ.

“My focus was on batting aggressively from the first pitch so I could set the table for the batters behind me,” said Sakaguchi, who was followed by the seventh, eighth and ninth spots in a lineup that is fifth in a six-team league in runs scored and 10th worst in Japan.

Abe homer beats Tigers

Toshiki Abe hit a three-run home run and Koji Fukutani (4-2) worked 6-2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

Tigers right-hander Takumi Akiyama (5-2) allowed five hits and committed two errors that made all four Dragons runs unearned.

Fledgling Eagle holds off Hawks

Ryota Takinaka, the Rakuten Eagles’ sixth pick in last year’s draft, held the SoftBank Hawks to a run over 5-1/3 innings in his pro debut and Hideto Asamura singled in the tie-breaking run in the seventh in a 3-1 win over the three-time defending Japan Series champs at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Takinaka a 25-year-old right-hander, scattered five hits and one walk while striking out one.

Former Padre Kazuhisa Makita worked 1-1/3 scoreless innings to protect a one-run lead, and Alan Busenitz worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 12th save for the Eagles.

Buffaloes beat misbehaving Lions

Sachiya Yamasaki (3-4) allowed a run over seven innings and Aderlin Rodriguez doubled in two runs to break a 1-1 sixth-inning tie in the Orix Buffaloes’ 6-3 win over the Seibu Lions.

The Daily Sports blamed the Lions loss on their mistakes, and they certainly didn’t help, but five walks by lefty Sean Nolin (1-2) didn’t help either.

Nolin left in the sixth with one out and the bags juiced. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa hung a 1-2 slider that Rodriguez lined into the left-field corner. A wild pitch made it 4-1.

The Lions had two on with no outs in the seventh but shat themselves. Rookie catcher Sena Tsuge pulled back a first-pitch bunt attempt and the lead runner failed to make it back for the first out. A sharp grounder to third, which was not a mistake — except in the sense that people who write those dumb articles have to include them — was turned for a double play.

Roller coaster Arihara spills Marines

The roller coaster season of Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (5-7) continued with eight scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the Lotte Marines at Sapporo Dome.

Marines starter Tsuyoshi Ishizaki (0-1) allowed a run over three innings to take the loss without allowing a hit. He did, however, walk five and strike out five.

Arihara started the season 0-3, allowing 12 runs over 22 innings. He had another three-game stretch where he went 0-2 and allowed 16 runs 19-1/3 innings, and was coming off a start against the Rakuten Eagles on Sept. 13 when he gave up nine runs in 2-1/3. He improved to 3-0 against Lotte, however.

Active roster moves 9/19/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/29

Central League

Activated

TigersC39Kenya Nagasaka

Dectivated

TigersP77Onelki Garcia
TigersOF68Shunsuke Fujikawa

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
MarinesP30Tsuyoshi Ishizaki
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

Dectivated

EaglesP56Sora Suzuki
BuffaloesP49Keisuke Sawada

Starting pitchers for Sept. 20, 2020

Pacific League

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

Chihiro Kaneko (1-3, 6.82) vs Manabu Mima (7-2, 4.62)

Buffaloes vs Lions: Kyocera Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Andrew Albers (3-6, 4.07) vs Wataru Matsumoto (3-3, 3.82)

Hawks vs Eagles: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Shuta Ishikawa (6-2, 2.47) vs Takayuki Kishi (1-0, 9.19)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6:30 pm, 5:30 am EDT

Yasuhiro Ogawa (8-3, 3.15) vs Yuta Nakamura (-)

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

Shinichi Onuki (6-3, 2.26) vs Seishu Hatake (0-3, 5.95)

Dragons vs Tigers: Nagoya Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Takahiro Matsuba (2-4, 3.30) vs Kenichi Nakata (0-1, 6.23)

NPB 2020 8-6 games and news

Tigers’ late-comer Takahashi hamstrings Giants

Hanshin Tigers lefty Haruto Takahashi overpowered the Yomiuri Giants hitters en route to an 11-0 demolition of the Central League leaders at Koshien Stadium.

Takahashi, who was unable to start the season with the team due to shoulder issues, made his debut on Thursday. Relying mostly on his four-seamer, a two-seamer and a cutter, the 24-year-old was able to pinpoint the bottom of the zone and jam batters inside.

He struck out 11 over seven innings, gave up three hits on ground balls, a walk. Hayato Sakamoto’s fifth-inning fly out was the only ball the Giants managed to hit into the air.

Leading 1-0 against Cristopher Mercedes (2-4) Ryutaro Umeno walked with one out and Seiya Kinami singled. The pair executed a double steal and reserve utility man Kai Ueda doubled them both in.

Joe Gunkel worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and the Tigers broke the bank with seven runs in the home half, started by a Jerry Sands leadoff single. Justin Bour doubled in one run and Masahiro Nakatani delivered a pinch-hit grand slam to complete the celebrations.

Born to run or pitch

It’s no secret that Giants manager Tatsunori Hara loves his pinch-runners probably as much as any manager in Japanese baseball history. One year when he managed the CL all-star team, Hara famously rewarded his all-time favorite pinch-runner, Takanori Suzuki, with an undeserved spot on the CL squad.

On Thursday, with one out in the bottom of the eighth and his team now losing by 11 runs, Hara probably figured there was nowhere to make use of his favorite toy except to put him on the mound.

Masuda retired two of the three batters he faced in the heart of the Tigers order with a fastball that maxed out at 85.7 mph.

Since Japanese teams rarely have more than one or two starting pitchers taking up space on their active rosters and since games–in non-pandemic seasons–are limited to 10 innings, and teams typically–although not next week–have Mondays off, this is pretty rare. The last position player to appear in a sanctioned NPB game was Akihito Igarashi on June 3, 2000 for the Orix BlueWave and their iconoclastic skipper Akira Ogi–the same guy who had Ichiro Suzuki pitch in an all-star game.

Onuki, BayStars add to Dragons’ misery

Shinichi Onuki (4-2) worked seven innings and two relievers completed the four-hitter as the DeNA BayStars downed the Chunichi Dragons 3-0 at Yokohama Stadium.

The shutout loss was the sixth of the season for the last-place Dragons, who fell to 0-6 against DeNA this season.

Dragons lefty Takahiro Matsuba (2-2), who has been enjoying a career renaissance this year following his trade from the Orix Buffaloes, allowed three runs over four-plus innings.

BayStars reserve infielder Daisuke Nakai marked a rare start by homering in his first at-bat to lead off the second. Kazuki Kamizato homered to open the third and singled home Takayuki Kajitani in the fifth to complete the scoring.

Kenta Ishida worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Kazuki Mishima did the same in the ninth to record his fourth save since he began filling in for closer Yasuaki Yamasaki on July 29.

One of the bright spots for the Dragons was their top draft pick from 2018, infielder Akira Neo. Although he went 0-for-2 and remains hitless for his career, Neo put the ball in play twice, made a good catch in left and threw a runner out at the plate.

Another tough outing for Carp lefty Johnson

Hiroshima lefty Kris Johnson allowed five runs over three innings in the Carp’s 9-5 loss to the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Johnson, coming off one of his two quality starts this year, gave up seven hits and walked two while striking out four. His teammates took him off the hook on three home runs by Ryuhei Matsuyama, Ryosuke Kikuchi and Hisayoshi Chono and tied it in the seventh on a Seiya Suzuki RBI single.

Swallows lefty Keiji Takahashi started and allowed four runs over five innings in his worst start of the season. Scott McGough (3-0) surrendered a run on two seventh-inning singles but earned the win after Yakult scored three times in the bottom of the inning.

Journeyman reserve catcher Suguru Ino tripled against Kazuki Yabuta (0-2) and scored on a sacrifice fly. Alcides Escobar singled and two more runs came in on back-to-back two-out doubles RBI by Tomotaka Sakaguchi and Yasutaka Shiomi.

Matsui goes 5 in loss to Hawks

One of the big moves this spring for the Rakuten Eagles was taking left-handed closer Yuki Matsui and putting him back in the starting rotation.

Making his first appearance in over a month after two poor outings, Matsui (0-1) allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in a 3-1 loss to the SoftBank Hawks at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

The diminutive southpaw was victimized by some tough hops in the infield that contributed to two of the Hawks’ runs.

On a bullpen day, Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo shook up his lineup, batting a pair of struggling big hitters, Nobuhiro Matsuda and Wladimir Balentien one, two, respectively, in his order.

The only contribution either made at the plate was when Matsuda made poor contact for an infield single in the third, allowing Yuki Yanagita to drive in the tying run with a single.

Rookie Yugo Bando (1-1) the second of seven Hawks pitchers, worked three scoreless innings to earn his first career win.

Buffaloes’ Yamazaki halts Marines

Sachiya Yamasaki (2-1) worked six scoreless innings for the Orix Buffaloes in their 3-1 win over the Lotte Marines at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Yamasaki allowed three singles and a walk while striking out four. Marines starter Daiki Iwashita (3-3) walked five batters during his six innings on the mound and one of the three runs he allowed was unearned.

With a two-run lead in the eighth, Tyler Higgins worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and Brandon Dickson a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save.

Fighters rookie Kawano earns 2nd win

Lefty Ryusei Kawano got an early three-run lead and allowed two runs over five innings for the Nippon Ham Fighters in their 5-3 win over the Seibu Lions at Seibu Dome.

Kawano (2-3) walked three and allowed four hits, including a solo home run by Ernesto Mejia, his first of the season. The lefty struck out five.

Haruki Nishikawa singled to open the bottom of the first off rookie Lions submariner Kaito Yoza (2-3), who walked Kensuke Kondo with one out. Sho Nakata doubled off the wall in left. Taishi Ota, a huge thorn in the Lions’ paw this season, doubled Nakata home to make it 3-0.

Hawks resume farm team activities

The SoftBank Hawks said Thursday that with the exception of six individuals, baseball activities have resumed at their minor league facility in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Even so, the team’s Western League farm games at Tama Stadium Chikugo against the Chunichi Dragons on Aug. 7 and 8, have been postponed. Following the announcement of Hasegawa’s test result on Saturday, the Pacific League game set for the Seibu Lions and Hawks in Fukuoka was also postponed.

Four players who were determined by local health officials to have had close contact with either outfielder Yuya Hasegawa, whose positive test for coronavirus was revealed Saturday, and a rehab staff member, whose result was announced Wednesday, have been ex

The rehab group shares the organization’s minor league facility with the Western League farm team and the Hawks’ third team, and for that reason, minor league activities have been suspended.

Umetsu works out with rehab group

Chunichi Dragons right-hander Kodai Umetsu reported to the team’s rehab group at Nagoya Stadium on Wednesday apparently due to discomfort in his right elbow, the Chunichi Sports reported.

The 23-year-old threw a career-high 10 innings and 127 pitches in his shutout on Sunday at Nagoya Dome in a 0-0 tie with the Yakult Swallows. He has not thrown since.

Although his condition is said not to be serious, it comes at a time when the team is in last place, eight games below .500 and two games into a stretch of nine games in nine days.

Active roster moves 8/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/16

Central League

Activated

TigersP29Haruto Takahashi

Dectivated

DragonsP28Kodai Umetsu

Pacific League

Activated

EaglesP1Yuki Matsui
EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP39Keisuke Kobayashi
BuffaloesP49Keisuke Sawada

Dectivated

HawksP29Shuta Ishikawa
EaglesP12Hiroki Kondo
EaglesP58Wataru Karashima
FightersP59Yuki Yoshida
BuffaloesP60Yu Hidarisawa
BuffaloesP68Yu Suzuki
BuffaloesIF9Koji Oshiro

Starting pitchers for Friday, Aug. 7, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Toshihiro Sugiura (3-1, 2.28) vs Zach Neal (2-1, 4.46)

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

Takahiro Norimoto (3-3, 3.55) vs Nao Higashihama (2-0, 2.35)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tsubasa Sakakibara (1-1, 3.20) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (1-2, 4.23)

Central League

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Yoshida (0-1, 6.57) vs Taiga Kamichatani (0-0, 5.25)

Dragons vs Giants: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yudai Ono (1-3, 3.83) vs Kazuto Taguchi (2-0, 2.25)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Masato Morishita (2-2, 2.56) vs Koyo Aoyagi (4-1, 2.23)

NPB 2020 8-5 Games and news

Wakui dominates Hawks in 1-hitter

Hideaki Wakui continued to look like the best pitcher in either league this year in an impressive one-hit eight-strikeout 6-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles over the SoftBank Hawks on Wednesday.

Wakui (6-0) retired the Hawks in order in the first but labored through it. Although the visitors were unable to hit his rising fastball, Kenta Imamiya and Yuki Yanagita fouled off a total of 10 of them before they went down swinging at his slider. Although Wakui walked two batters and allowed a ninth-inning single, that first inning represented the Hawks’ best effort against him.

Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1) gave up a couple of quick no-out singles and caught a break when Hideto Asamura lined a pitch away off the end of the bat that was caught on a leap by first baseman Kenji Akashi for an out instead of going for a single.

Wakui tightened up his command from the second to keep his pitch count under control, while Wada issued leadoff walks in the third and fourth. The lefty, however, could not work around a one-out double in the fifth by Kazuki Tanaka.

Wada got ahead of Tanaka 0-2 but the PL’s 2018 rookie of the year pulled a straight fastball in the heart of the zone down the line in left. After a wild pitch put Tanaka on third, rookie Hiroto Kobukata put a good swing on a 3-1 slider that got too much of the plate and lined it into center for an RBI single.

Daichi Suzuki did a good job to get the bat head on a pitch low and away with Kobukata on the go and hit a little fly into left to put runners on the corners. Wada left a pitch up in the zone tailor-made for a sacrifice fly, and Jabari Blash did his duty with a fly to deep center. Back-to-back singles by Hideto Asamura and Hiroaki Shimauchi made it 3-0.

Wada allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out one.

The Eagles added two more runs in the sixth off right-hander Arata Shiino and an unearned run in the eighth. Tanaka walked twice, doubled twice and scored three of the Eagles’ six runs.

Wakui did not allow a base runner until a one-out walk to catcher Hiroaki Takaya in the sixth. He retired the next seven hitters, but with two outs in the eighth, he seemed to lose his rhythm. Retiring Wladimir Balentien on one pitch when his check swing produced and easy grounder to first, seemed to surprise the right-hander. He walked the next batter before notching his first strikeout since the second.

Wakui, who appears to have practiced jokes for use in postgame hero interviews, said it wasn’t the pressure that threw him off but player coach Naoto Watanabe.

“Nobody would look me in the eye, so I guess they were all conscious of it (the no-hit bid), then after the seventh inning, I made contact with Naoto, and he started grinning at me. I started laughing and I think that threw off my concentration a bit,” Wakui said.

Whatever it was, Wakui showed no signs of it in the ninth. Athough a few of his fastballs lacked their earlier pop, the only hit the Hawks managed was Keizo Kawashima’s broken-bat one-out looper between second and short. After a meeting on the mound, Wakui struck out the last two batters, Imamiya and Yanagita to end it.

Spangenberg, Yamakawa power Lions

Cory Spangenberg and Hotaka Yamakawa each hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning as the Seibu Lions came from behind to beat Nick Martinez (1-4) on his 30th birthday and the Nippon Ham Fighters 7-2 at Sapporo Dome.

A day after he drove in six runs, Taishi Ota got the Fighters started in the second against 21-year-old Lions right-hander Sho Ito. Ota singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Toshitake Yokoo single.

After managing just two hits against Martinez through five innings, the Lions took the lead with one down in the sixth. Sosuke Genda singled off a hanging knuckle curve, and Spangenberg punished a poor cutter that came in high and over the plate for his sixth homer of the season. Yamakawa followed a Tomoya Mori single with his 13th home run.

Shuta Tonosaki completed the scoring in the inning when he reached on an error, stole second and scored from third on a Fumikazu Kimura single.

Martinez allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits over 5-1/3 innings.

Ito allowed a run on one walk and five hits while striking out four.

Katsunori Hirai (4-2) earned the win in by striking out cleanup hitter Sho Nakata to end the Fighters fifth and strand two runners. Kaima Taira worked 1-2/3 innings but allowed an inherited runner to score although all five outs he recorded were on strikeouts. Reed Garrett and Tatsushi Masuda finished up with one scoreless frame each.

Marines take no prisoners in Osaka

A two-out Hisanori Yasuda double opened the scoring in the fourth and the Lotte Marines didn’t let up in a 12-1 butt-kicking of the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The Marines opened the scoring when Shogo Nakamura singled, Leonys Martin walked and both came home on Yasuda’s no-out double to the gap in right. Although he’s not among the league leaders in hard-hit ball percentage on Delta Graphs, it seems like every ball he hits is HARD. With one out, Tsuyoshi Sugano took Yu Suzuki out for his second home run of the year and a 4-0 Lotte lead.

Suzuki (1-3) allowed eight runs over 4-2/3 runs. Marines starter Kazuya Ojima (3-3) gave up a run over six innings.

Togo beats Fujinami, defenseless Tigers

Shosei Togo (4-2) struck out 10 as he allowed a run over seven-plus innings to earn the win as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Hanshin Tigers 4-1 at Koshien Stadium.

Tigers right-hander Shintaro Fujinami (0-3) was overpowering when he could put his fastball and cutter in the zone and get hitters to chase his splitter out of the zone, but he missed often enough to allow four runs, one earned, on four hits and a walk over eight innings

Akihiro Wakabayashi made a good catch in right to end the Tigers’ second, and then singled in the game’s first run in the third against Shintaro Fujinami. Naoki Yoshikawa drew a leadoff walk and went to second on pitcher Shosei Togo’s one-out sacrifice and scored easily on Wakabayashi’s single.

The Giants padded their lead in a three-run sixth when Togo reached because Fujinami misjudged his chopper in front of the mound for an error. With one out, he made a mistake to Hayato Sakamoto, who ripped it to right for a single. A miss-hit high fastball was good for the second out, but cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto did well to launch a fastball away to the right field corner for an RBI double that came close to being caught.

Left fielder Jerry Sands then misjudged a fly to shallow left from Takumi Oshiro that fell for an RBI single and a four-run lead.

The Tigers had a chance to come back in the eighth after back-to-back singles drove Togo from the game, but Yusuke Oyama missed a fat pitch with two outs and the bases loaded to end the inning.

Hamaguchi, Sano skewer Dragons

Haruhiro Hamaguchi allowed a run over five innings and Keita Sano drove in three runs in the DeNA BayStars’ 8-2 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Yokohama Stadium.

Hamaguchi got out of a bases-loaded pickle in a scoreless first inning with the first of his eight strikeouts as Yota Kyoda couldn’t hold up on a ball in the dirt. The BayStars then opened the scoring against Yuya Yanagi, pitching on the first team for the first time in a month after suffering an oblique muscle injury.

Jose Lopez singled off the wall in left with one out and the bases loaded to score Kazuki Kamizato and Neftali Soto, who had doubled on a ball that right fielder Masataka Iryo misjudged.

The visitors got on the board in the third through Iryo’s leadoff infield single and a Yohei Oshima double but the hosts were unstoppable.

Kyoda opened the door for the BayStars to score again in the bottom of the third, when he dropped a fly at shortstop to allow the leadoff man on. After a groundout, Kamizato scored from second on a Keita Sano single.

Nomura, Carp bullpen hold off Swallows

Yusuke Nomura (2-0) allowed a run over seven innings and Shota Dobayashi scored twice in the Hiroshima Carp’s 4-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Rookie right-hander Hiroki Onishi (0-1), Yakult’s fourth-round pick last autumn, gave up three first-inning singles, with Ryuhei Matsuyama bringing home Dobayashi to make it 1-0 Carp, who left the bases loaded.

Takeshi Miyamoto, a reserve infielder playing while superstar Tetsuto Yamada regains fitness, homered to tie it off Nomura in the second.

Onishi pitched out of a tough spot in the third and struck out the side in the fourth, but a hard-hit infield single and a Hisayoshi Chono double put the Carp in front in the fifth. The Carp added two runs off the bullpen from Dobayashi’s eighth home run and Tsubasa Aizawa’s third.

Yakult loaded the bases in the in the eighth, but lefty Atsuya Horie pitched left the bags juiced, and Geronimo Franzua notched his third save in the ninth.

Hawks rehab group staff member tests positive

The SoftBank Hawks reported Wednesday that one staff member with the organization’s rehab group in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The rehab group shares the organization’s minor league facility with the Western League farm team and the Hawks’ third team, and for that reason, minor league activities have been suspended.

The Hawks tested around 200 people on Sunday the day after veteran outfielder Yuya Hasegawa, who is currently with the minor league team, tested positive. One member of the first-team staff, who was asymptomatic, has also tested positive and those who were deemed to have been in close contact with him have been sent home.

BayStars’ Austin, Marines’ Laird dropped

DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said Wednesday the team will deactivate outfielder Tyler Austin following his crash against Koshien Stadium’s right field wall on July 31 according to the Daily Sports, while the Pacific League’s Lotte Marines have deactivated third baseman Brandon Laird.

Austin hurt his neck trying to catch a fly at the wall, and it has been stiff ever since.

Laird has been serving as the Marines’ DH recently with rookie cleanup hitter Hisanori Yasuda starting in his place at third base. On Tuesday, he was pinch-hit for in the sixth inning due to a stiff back.

Active roster moves 8/5/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/15

Central League

Activated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto
DragonsP17Yuya Yanagi
SwallowsP44Hiroki Onishi

Dectivated

BayStarsIF23Tyler Austin

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
BuffaloesIF64Shinya Hirosawa

Dectivated

MarinesIF54Brandon Laird
BuffaloesP26Daiki Tomei

Starting pitchers for Aug. 6, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Ryusei Kawano (1-3, 4.13) vs Kaito Yoza (2-2, 4.18)

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

Yuki Matsui (0-0, 5.19) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 6.94)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Sachiya Yamasaki (1-1, 5.47) vs Daiki Iwashita (3-2, 3.58)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Keiji Takahashi (1-1, 2.28) vs Kris Johnson (0-3, 5.14)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shinichi Onuki (3-2, 2.42) vs Takahiro Matsuba (2-1, 1.47)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Haruto Takahashi (-) vs Cristopher Mercedes (2-3, 3.09)

NPB 2020 8-3 GAMES AND NEWS

Hawks report infection on 1st team staff

The Pacific League’s SoftBank Hawks on Monday reported that a member of the first team staff has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Hawks had 87 people tested Sunday following the news on Saturday that veteran outfielder Yuya Hasegawa, who is currently with the organization’s Western League farm team, had tested positive.

NPB coronavirus timeline

The Hawks postponed Sunday’s game against the Seibu Lions at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome because the Hawks said some first-team staff and players made use of the minor league facilities and they could not guarantee none had been exposed to the virus.

The infected staff member is currently asymptomatic, but two people with the first team who have been in close contact with the man in his 30s have been quarantined.

The team had said it would postpone its games against the Rakuten Eagles but traveled to Sendai on Monday and has indicated it will play unless advised not to.

The team said it would decide how to proceed upon consulting with the local health officials and the panel of specialists who have been advising Nippon Professional Baseball and pro soccer’s J-League in how to best operate during the pandemic.

Hasegawa was the sixth player to test positive, but the first since the season started on June 19. Two other infections were discovered in the PL’s Orix Buffaloes organization. The two men, one in his 20s and one in his 40s, had become ill and are now resting at their homes.

Tigers offered Fujinami to 6 PL teams: Report

Reports have been popping up all summer about the Central League’s Tigers talking with Pacific League teams about a trade involving their former marquee pitching prospect, Shintaro Fujinami. On Monday, a Bunshun Online story suggested that the big holdup on such a deal was fear on the part of the Tigers front office that Fujinami might recover his once impressive form with another team.

Fujinami was drafted out of high school the same year as Shohei Ohtani and was at the time they turned pro the far-more polished pitcher. Ohtani had long been diligent about his physical training and took advantage of what his first pro team could teach him in that area, Fujinami never took a step forward to add muscle to his slender frame.

After four years as a pro, Fujinami spent three weeks training with Yu Darvish at the end of 2016, and added about five kilograms of muscle. Afterward he said he had done weight training virtually every day since he started high school but had never learned about the need for rest days or the basics of nutrition.

Unlike the Nippon Ham Fighters, who handed Ohtani a new strength-training menu and instruction, the Tigers apparently are one of those old-school teams that don’t interfere with players’ individual strength training, since Fujinami was virtually as skinny after four seasons as he had been coming out of high school.

Fujinami’s career went in the toilet after three seasons in which he went 35-21 with a 2.86 ERA. Under manager Tomoaki Kanemoto from 2016-2018, he went 15-19 with a 3.91 ERA. The Bunshun online article blamed the Tigers, not for mismanaging his playing, but for failing to keep him in line off the field when he moved out of the team dormitories after the 2017 season.

On July 23, Fujinami looked solid in a start against the Hiroshima Carp, and manager Akihiro Yano, who had banished the right-hander to the farm team in March for being late to practice one time too many, said he wanted Fujinami to pitch again the following week, which has yet to happen. According to the Bunshun Online story, a team official said, “That’s not the manager’s decision to make.”

Even so, his second start against the Yakult Swallows, a week later, did go ahead and was even better.

Dragons sign pitcher Rodriguez from D roster

The Central League’s Chunichi Dragons on Sunday signed 23-year-0ol Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodriguez from their developmental roster, handing a standard contract. Rodriguez has pitched in five Western League games and is 2-0 with a 0.51 ERA over 17-2/3 innings with 16 strikeouts, five hits, no home runs and six walks.

Active roster moves 8/3/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/13

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsP57Kyosuke Takagi
DragonsP13Yuki Hashimoto
DragonsOF60Yuki Okabayashi

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

EaglesIF34Tsuyoshi Yamasaki

Starting pitchers for Aug. 4, 2020

Pacific League

Fighters vs Lions: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (1-1, 2.65) vs Kona Takahashi (2-3, 5.34)

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

Hayato Yuge (2-1, 2.94) vs Kodai Senga (3-1, 4.18)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-1, 2.74) vs Manabu Mima (2-2, 5.71)

Central League

Swallows vs Carp: Jingu Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-2, 5.26) vs Allen Kuri (1-2, 4.66)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shoichi Ino (2-2, 3.27) vs Koji Fukutani (0-0, 0.00)

Tigers vs Giants: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Onelki Garcia (0-3, 4.01) vs Tomoyuki Sugano (5-0, 1.69)

NPB has 1st viral postponement

The Pacific League’s SoftBank Hawks have postponed their Aug. 2 game with the Seibu Lions after veteran outfielder Yuya Hasegawa tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the team announced Saturday.

Although Hasegawa has not been on the active roster since he was sent down on July 7, and has not had any direct contact with players or staff from the first team, the club said that a number of people with the first team make use of the farm facilities in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture, and cannot rule out the possibility of transmission.

NPB coronavirus timeline

The news comes one day after the Hawks reported that a part-timer working at their home park, Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, had tested positive.

Meanwhile, the Orix Buffaloes have reported that a second team official who is not in direct contact with the first team players or staff, has tested positive. The man in his 20s underwent testing

NPB 2020 7-20 games and news

Giants to keep lid on admissions

Yomiuri Giants owner Toshikazu Yamaguchi said the Central League club will not expand admissions limits in August beyond the current 5,000 the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.

The government had given event promoters the OK to admit up to around half a venue’s capacity from Aug. 1, but on Saturday, the government’s Minister for Economic Revitalization, Yasutoshi Nishimura asked promoters to reconsider in light of recent increases in confirmed COVID-19 infections.

“At this time, infections are increasing and Tokyo is at the center of that,” Yamaguchi said. “In line with government guidance we had aimed to bring in 19,000 more or less, but I can’t imagine doing that soon.”

The same day, Yamaguchi announced a 10 billion yen ($9 million) investment to make Tokyo Dome safer in a world with coronavirus, with the first improvements, more washbasins and women’s toilets to be ready for the park to host fans for the first time this year on July 28.

NPB coronavirus timeline

Hawks’ Cuban sluggers arrive in Fukuoka

The Pacific League’s SoftBank Hawks announced Monday that their two Cuban outfielders, Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial, have arrived in Fukuoka and have tested negative for the coronavirus.

The pair had been in Cuba this spring to prepare for their nation’s World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and were stranded there after the qualifiers were canceled and exit and entry restrictions imposed.

Eagles’ drop Kishi, Dragons drop Hirata

Following his third poor start of the season, the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles deactivated veteran right-hander Takayuki Kishi on Monday, while the Central League’s Chunichi Dragons have also dropped one of their stars, outfielder Ryosuke Hirata, due to his poor performance.

The 35-year-old Kishi is 1-0 but has allowed 10 runs over 12-1/3 innings. Sports Bull quoted Eagles pitching coach Tomohito Ito as saying, “He really isn’t getting results, so one would think there is a physical issue. He’s a player we absolutely need. Having said that, we’ve only just started, so we want him to diligently get back to where he needs to be and rejoin the team.”

The 32-year-old Hirata, one of the Dragons’ most reliable hitters and consistently one of the CL’s best outfield defenders, was deactivated in the hope that he can regain his batting form with the farm team after starting the season with a .164 batting average in 73 plate appearances.

Rakuten vows to eject cheating fans

On Sunday, the Rakuten Eagles responded to complaints from Seibu Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji that a fan seated behind home plate was shouting where his catcher, Tomoya Mori, was setting up during the home team’s at-bats on Saturday.

Prior to Sunday’s game against the Lions at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, announcements were made and extra security was posted in the stands, Jiji Press reported.

Hiroshi Abei, the Eagles’ director of baseball operations, said, “In order to prevent similar acts from occurring…fans acting in that manner will be removed from the ballpark.”

A similar issue occurred just after Opening Day when games were being played behind closed doors, and players on the field at Jingu Stadium could hear broadcasters talking about where the catchers were setting up.

Even though up to 5,000 fans are being admitted to games, they have been prohibited from speaking loudly, chanting or cheering, so that individuals who do speak up can clearly be heard.

Active roster moves 7/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/30

Central League

Activated

None

Dectivated

CarpP70Tayler Scott
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata
SwallowsP64Ren Kazahari

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

EaglesP11Takayuki Kishi
MarinesP36Yuki Ariyoshi
BuffaloesIF38Shuhei Kojima