Tag Archives: Takahiro Norimoto

NPB wrap 4-14-21

Old dog teaches pup new tricks

Hawks 4, Buffaloes 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1) pitched really well for the first time this season, missing bats and striking out five while allowing a walk and four hits over 6-2/3 innings. Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2-2) came could only muster his “C” game, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks over 5-1/3 innings.

Alfredo Despaigne singled and scored the opening run in the second on a Nobuhiro Matsuda broken-bat single. Yamamoto appeared to be back in control after stranding two runners in the third, but some good hitting by Yurisbel Gracial opened the sixth. Despaigne walked with one out and three straight singles chased Yamamoto.

Wada left one on in the seventh. Gracial made a good catch in left for the second out, and Wada was gone after suffering a cramp. Sho Iwasaki allowed Orix’s only run in the eighth, and Yuito Mori earned his fourth save with a perfect ninth against the heart of the Buffaloes’ order.

Lions 2, Fighters 1

At MetLife Dome, Seibu Lions right-hander Tatsuya Imai (1-2) survived his customary lack of command to hold the Nippon Ham Fighters to an unearned run over six innings. He walked four and hit one, but allowed only three singles while striking out seven to outpitch rookie Hiromi Ito (0-2). Imai has been mediocre this year except in his two starts against Nippon Ham.

Ito continued to be a strikeout machine. He fanned nine over six innings, to raise his season total to 28 strikeouts in 19 innings. He surrendered the lead in the first inning after surrendering a leadoff double to Lions rookie Gakuto Wakabayashi, his former high school teammate.

Wakabayashi scored on a Tomoya Mori flare single after the Lions wasted Sosuke Genda’s turn at bat by having him bunt the runner to third. Mori singled and scored a third-inning insurance run on a Wu Nien-ting RBI single.

After Matsumoto left, the Lions’ bullpen turned on the heat. Reed Garrett struck out the bottom of the Fighters’ order in the seventh. Kaima Taira struck out two of the four batters he faced in the eighth, and Tatsushi Masuda worked around a leadoff walk with three straight strikeouts to notch his fifth save.

Marines 2, Eagles 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten right-hander Takahiro Norimoto finally began striking out batters, whiffing nine over six innings after recording just seven over his first 13-1/3. He gave up one run on six hits and a walk, while Lotte lefty Kazuya Ojima bounced back from getting hammered by the Eagles on March 30 to hold them to an unearned run over six innings.

The Marines took the lead in the seventh on a Shogo Nakamura RBI single off Sung Chih-hao, but the Eagles relievers retired the last seven batters they faced. The Marines got perfect innings from Frank Herrmann and Yuki Karakawa before Naoya Masuda blew a chance to record his third save, allowing a run on a Hideto Asamura double, a single and a Daichi Suzuki sac fly.

Tigers 6, Carp 0

At Koshien Stadium, Tigers rookie Teruaki Sato homered, scored two and drove in three runs as the Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers took a stick to Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita (1-2), hammering the CL’s 2020 rookie of the year for five runs, four earned, on two walks and five hits over five innings, while Yuki Nishi (2-1) struck out seven over eight scoreless innings.

Tigers rookie Takumu Nakano, Hanshin’s sixth pick last autumn, drove in the first run of the season after Sato walked with two outs and an error, when shortstop Kosuke Tanaka fumbled a grounder.

Jerry Sands drew a leadoff walk in the third and Sato put a perfect swing on a curve that came in waist high. In the fifth, it was Jefry Marte, who put a ferocious swing on a high pitch with a bat flip matching his tremendous blast.

Marte drew the first of two one-out walks in the seventh, with Sato singling in a run to close the scoring.

Giants 5, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, Seishu Hatake (1-1) turned in the Yomiuri Giants’ third straight stellar starting pitching performance, following Nobutaka Imamura’s complete game shutout on Sunday and Angel Sanchez’s 7-1/3-inning effort on Tuesday.

Hatake allowed a run on seven hits while striking out nine, walking one and hitting one over 8-1/3 innings. Ariel Martinez opened the ninth with his first homer of the season for the Dragons, Rubby De La Rosa took over with two on in the ninth and recorded his fifth save.

Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-1), who dodged bullets for five scoreless innings a week ago, only faced one tough inning, but it was a doozy. Takayuki Kajitani capped a five-run inning with his second homer as a Giant.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Kosuke Fukudome may be 43 with an arm that no longer inspires awe, but he’s a gamer. With one out and one on in the fifth inning of a 5-0 Japanese pro baseball’s elder statesman laid it out to rob Kazuma Okamoto of a flare single.

Swallows 7, BayStars 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Rookie right-hander Yuto Kanakubo (1-0) surrendered rookie Shugo Maki’s two-run, two-out double that opened the score in the first before Yakult jumped on rookie right-hander Taisei Irie (0-3) for five runs, chasing him with one out in the fifth.

With one out and two on in the bottom of the third, Munetaka Murakami halved the visitors’ lead with a sac fly and Yasutaka Shiomi belted his second homer, a two-run shot for a 3-2 lead.  The Swallows made it 6-2 in the fifth.

Kotaro Yamasaki led off with a single, and No. 2 hitter Yudai Koga, bunted him over after singling in his first two at-bats. Tetsuto Yamada hit his third homer of the season. Murakami chased Irie with a double and scored when Shiomi tripled off reliever Kenta Ishida.

Maki belted his fifth home run to lead off the sixth against Kanakubo, who turned pro after being taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. Maki’s 17 RBIs lead the CL with Murakami one back. With a 6-3 lead, Scott McGough worked a perfect seventh, and Yamada homered to open the bottom of the inning. With the tying run on deck in the ninth, closer Taichi Ishiyama got an easy two-out save.

Irie, who allowed five runs in 4-1/3 innings, has faced the Swallows twice this season and allowed 10 runs in 9-1/3.

Tanaka to start Saturday

Masahiro Tanaka will make his season debut on Saturday when he starts against the Nippon Ham Fighters at Tokyo Dome, Kyodo News (Japanese) reported. Tanaka returned this season to the Pacific League’s Rakuten Eagles after going 24-0 in 2013 and pitching them to their first pennant and Japan Series title.

“He’s coming along with no issues, and if he continues on that path in the time being, he’ll pitch on the 17th,” manager Kazuhisa Ishii told reporters about the right-hander who damaged the calf muscle in his right calf.

Last Saturday, Tanaka threw 97 pitches in the bullpen.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Ryota Takinaka (1-1, 10.38) vs Daiki Iwashita (1-1, 3.00)

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

Shota Takeda (0-1, 2.31) vs Hirotoshi Masui (1-1, 1.80)

Central League

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

Yuki Takahashi (2-0, 0.00) vs Koji Fukutani (0-0, 3.60)

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-0, 4.22) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-2, 6.43)

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

Takumi Akiyama (1-1, 2.77) vs Hiroki Tokoda (1-0, 3.09)

NPB wrap 4-7-21

Breaking: Tanaka will pitch when he’s ready

Wednesday’s pregame news about Masahiro Tanaka was that he won’t be ready to pitch on Saturday, as Rakuten Eagles general manager suggested might be possible last week.

The rest of that story, other than the part that Tanaka might be ready in 10 days instead of 21 from his calf-muscle injury was, surprisingly enough, that the Eagles would bring him back when he was fit.

Today’s was more of the same.

“It might not be the 10th. It might be the 11th. It’s up to him. We’re not going to rush him in to get him one day earlier when our goal is to have him pitch 20-plus games without trouble,” Ishii said according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Tatsumi powers Eagles

Eagles 6, Lions 3

At MetLife Dome, Rakuten Eagles leadoff hitter Ryosuke Tatsumi walked, homered to the opposite field, tripled, scored twice and drove in three runs in a win over the Lions that pushed the Eagles past Seibu and into first place in the Pacific League.

Eagles starter Takahiro Norimoto (2-0)  allowed two runs over seven innings on seven hits but no walks while striking out four. He allowed the Lions to make it a 3-2 game in the fifth, but struck out 2019 MVP Tomoya Mori to end the inning with two runners on.

Rookie Gakuto Wakabayashi, the Lions’ fourth pick out of Komazawa University singled twice and hit his first pro homer.

Lions starter Tatsuya Imai (0-1) worked five innings. He allowed three runs on five walks, a hit batsman and five hits. With two on and two outs in the seventh, the Eagles scored twice off Reed Garrett when Tatsumi tripled over the drawn-in outfield. The Lions combined two walk seven, a significant improvement over their 13 on Tuesday.

Hawks 6, Fighters 2

At Sapporo Dome, there was good news and bad news for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Rookie Hiromi Ito (0-1) struck out 11 batters over seven innings and the team got its first home run of the year, then reality struck.

Yurisbel Gracial opened the scoring in the second with his first home run. The hosts took the lead in the fourth on Taishi Ota’s two-run homer off Shunsuke Kasaya, who walked six in his 4-1/3 innings.

A leadoff walk to Alfredo Despaigne and an error put Ito on the spot in the fifth but the rookie struck out the tail of the Hawks’ order only for his teammates to waste more walks in the home half.

Gracial singled off the wall in right to lead off SoftBank’s “lucky seven” seventh inning. With runners on the corners, Ito fielded a comebacker and threw to second to start a double play, but the ball was dropped, everyone was safe. Gracial scored and Ito threw a high 0-1 fastball to Nobuhiro Masuda, who put a good swing on it and broke the 2-2 tie with a double off the wall.

Ryoya Kurihara’s two-run eighth-inning double put the game away for SoftBank, who saw Livan Moinelo make his season debut. The lefty faced three batters, threw 12 pitches and struck them all out. That’s an entrance.

Marines 9, Buffaloes 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the Orix Buffaloes wasted a useful start from Hirotoshi Masui (1-1). The former closer left a 2-1 game against the Lotte Marines after throwing 96 pitches, and allowing two runs over five innings.

Lotte starter Daiki Iwashita (1-1) allowed two runs on two walks and two hits while striking out seven through 6-1/3 innings. Yuki Karakawa inherited Iwashita’s one-out bases-loaded jam in the seventh and let in just one of those runners in before the Marines played home run derby against right-hander Yu Suzuki in the home half.

Hisanori Yasuda, Leonys Martin and Yudai Fujioka each went deep in the five-run inning to turn the game into a rout.

Marines leadoff hitter Takashi Ogino doubled in each of his first two at-bats and scored both times. Takashi Toritani “doubled” on a ball that Takahiro Okada stumbled on but couldn’t stop and scored Lotte’s third run. Frank Herrmann followed Karakawa and retired all three batters he faced in the eighth.

Tigers 7, Giants 1

At Koshien Stadium, rookie left-hander Masashi Ito (1-0) earned his first pro win as the Hanshin Tigers bruised the defending Central League champion Yomiuri Giants. Giants starter Seishu Hatake (0-1) gave up a lot of sharp ground balls that just missed gloves and was stuck for four runs, three earned, over 3-2/3 innings.

While the Giants had trouble with their catching and throwing, the Tigers were alert on the bases and at the plate, when Yomiuri’s third pitcher, Toshiki Sakurai couldn’t stop himself from throwing straight fastballs.

There were so many bullets hit off him that one expected Giants infielders to ask for hazardous-duty pay, or for the umpires to eject the right-hander for throwing “kikenkyu“–literally “dangerous balls” and the expression used with the automatic ejection that comes when a batter is struck in the head with a pitch.

Jerry Sands hit his fourth homer of the season, a two-run blast off Sakurai in the fourth inning.

With the game still scoreless in the bottom of the first, Tigers shortstop Seiya Kinami, whose 15 errors in 2019 were the most in either league since 2017, missed a routine play, causing former Tigers manager Akinobu Mayumi, the TV broadcast analyst to say, “Oh man, that was your homework assignment.”

Dragons 3, BayStars 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, DeNA BayStars rookie Taisei Irie (0-2) allowed a double, two singles and a walk, but surrendered three runs, one earned, over five innings as his teammates spent a lot of time cooling their heels on the bases but not scoring against Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-0), who gave up six hits and walked four over five innings. The hosts scored in the second on a Dayan Viciedo walk, a single by catcher Takuya Kinoshita and a two-out error.

Akira Neo, whose batted ball resulted in a two-run throwing error, singled home a run in the fifth after Kinoshita opened with a double. The Dragons, who are without Cuban closer Raidel Martinez, were saved by set-up man Daisuke Sobue, who recorded his third save.

Swallows 3, Carp 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s defense made the difference in a game where both starting pitchers, Yakult’s Hirotoshi Takanashi and Hiroshima lefty Hiroki Tokoda, allowed two runs over 5-2/3 innings.

Yakult catcher Yuhei Nakamura, the Swallows’ emergency atypical No. 2 hitter, doubled twice, singled and scored twice. Munetaka Murakami doubled him home in the fourth, and the Carp took the lead on homers by catcher Tsubasa Aizawa and Ryosuke Kikuchi.

With two outs and two on in the sixth, Seiya Suzuki stole third against new pitcher Hiroki Kondo and tried to score when Nakamura’s throw sailed off the tip of Murakami’s glove at third. The ball went straight to shortstop Naomichi Nishiura whose strike to home barely beat Suzuki for the third out. The Swallows tied it in the bottom of the inning on singles by Nakamura and Murakami, and a safety squeeze.

Scott McGough (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh for the Swallows and got the win after Kotaro “Norichika Aoki light” Yamasaki singled in the tie-breaking run in the home half. Noboru Shimizu gave the Swallows another 1-2-3 inning before closer Taichi “Mr. Adventure” Ishiyama put the tying and go-ahead runs on in the ninth before recording his third save.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Ryusei Kawano (0-1, 12.00) vs Shota Takeda (0-1, 1.42)

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

Towa Uema (-) vs Ryota Takinaka (0-1, 54.00)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Fumiya Motomae (1-0, 7.20) vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1-1, 0.56)

Central League

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

Yasunobu Okugawa (0-1, 5.40) vs Yuta Nakamura (0-1, 7.50)

Dragons vs BayStars: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takahiro Matsuba (0-1, 3.60) vs Kentaro Taira (0-0, 0.00)

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

Takumi Akiyama (1-0, 2.57) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-0, 0.00)

Active roster moves 4/7/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 4/17

Central League


GiantsP45Seishu Hatake
GiantsC38Yukinori Kishida


GiantsC22Seiji Kobayashi

Pacific League




HawksP41Kodai Senga
LionsP41Hiroki Inoue
FightersP63Ryuji Kitaura