Tag Archives: Tomoya Mori

NPB 2020 Oct. 27

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Hawks clinch 21st pennant

The SoftBank Hawks won the 21st championship in franchise history on Tuesday with a 5-1 win over their nemeses all season long, the Lotte Marines, at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Tsuyoshi Wada (8-1) struck out eight while allowing three hits and a walk over six innings. Wada, the winning pitcher in the team’s last clinching game, when they won the 2019 Japan Series, came out firing on all cylinders, pumping a fastball that usually sits at 87 mph up to 92. The lefty.

“I think we were all a little nervous today, so for Wada to come out and do what he did, it gave us all courage,” Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo said.

“This was a year that we didn’t even know would start, but we hung in there amid all the difficulties and uncertainty. We wanted to win so badly, but I don’t know if we could have done it without the players taking such good care of their conditioning during this very difficult year.”  

Tail-end hitter Hikaru Kawase put the hosts on the board in the fifth inning against Ayumu Ishikawa (7-5). He led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on Akira Nakamura’s sacrifice fly. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai made it a 3-0 game in the sixth with his 10th home run, a two-run shot that plated Kenji Akashi.

Reliever Sho Iwasaki won an epic at-bat against pinch-hitter Katsuya Kakunaka to get out of the seventh inning with two men on, and lefty Livan Moinelo worked a 1-2-3 eighth.

Closer Yuito Mori took the mound in the ninth and the Marines held his feet to the fire.

The right-hander allowed one run on Shogo Nakamura’s leadoff walk, and an error by center fielder Yuki Yanagita on Ikuhiro Kiyota’s one-out double. After a two-out walk, Mori appeared to be out of the woods on a bouncer to third, but Taisei Makihara, who entered the game for his speed and defense, fumbled the ball to load the bases.

That brought Shuhei Fukuda to the plate as the potential tying run. For years, the Hawks fourth outfielder, Fukuda moved to the Marines over the winter as a free agent. Mori finally got him on his 39th pitch of the inning.

The Hawks have now won three straight against Lotte but still trail in their season series 7-11 with one tie.

Lions ground Eagles on Mori homer

Tomoya Mori’s three-run home run off Rakuten Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-6) lifted the Seibu Lions to a 4-3 win at MetLife Dome that moved them to within two games of the Pacific League’s final playoff spot.

Mori’s ninth home run made a winner out of Kona Takahashi (8-8), who allowed three runs on four hits and three walks over seven innings. Kaima Taira and Tatsushi Masuda finished up with one scoreless apiece with Masuda earning his 30th save.

Fighters get past Buffaloes

The top two hitters in the Nippon Ham Fighters lineup, Haruki Nishikawa, who reached base five times, and Shota Hiranuma each scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Steven Moya tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first for the Buffaloes with his 10th home run, while Bryan Rodriguez threw a scoreless inning of relief as the Fighters used seven pitchers on a bullpen day.

Nishikawa, who said last winter that he’d like to move to the majors in 2021 by way of the posting system, made his second costly base running mistake in a few days.

Lopez slams Giants

Jose Lopez, who spent his first two Japanese seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, hit a grand slam off his former team for his 996th career hit in Japan as the DeNA BayStars clobbered rookie Shosei Togo (8-6) in a 9-2 win at Yokohama Stadium.

The Giants’ magic number to clinch their second straight Central League pennant dropped to three thanks to the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-1 loss to the Hanshin Tigers.

Over the weekend, Lopez achieved his 2,000th hit between the majors and NPB, and is now four hits shy of joining his former Seattle Mariners teammate Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui as the third player to achieve 1,000-plus hits in both the majors and Nippon Professional Baseball.

Lopez’s home run was his ninth, while Tyler Austin hit his 19th for the BayStars. Shinichi Onuki (10-5) allowed two runs over six innings to earn the win.

Tigers win on grab bag of mistakes

The Chunichi Dragons’ bullpen which has been, after lefty starter Yudai Ono, the team’s biggest story this season, was snake-bit in a three-run, error-filled eighth inning in a 4-1 Hanshin Tigers win at Koshien Stadium.

With two outs and none on in the eighth, first baseman Dayan Viciedo dove to make a stop, and threw to the pitcher, who took his eye off the ball, allowing a runner to reach. On the next play, Fuku threw wide to first to put two on.

Dragons rookie Kaname Takino, whose first career hit over the weekend was unexpectedly greeted by fireworks at Jingu Stadium from a nearby event, made it a trifecta for Tigers fans. He tried to make a shoestring catch on a flare off the bat of Koji Chikamoto but kicked it away. The Tigers leadoff man was credited with a two-run triple before another run scored on a smashed infield single.

Tigers closer Robert Suarez surrendered a Viciedo leadoff double in the ninth before striking out the last three batters to record his 24th save.

Hanshin left fielder Jerry Sands, who was ejected on Sunday for abusive language toward a home plate umpire and fined 100,000 yen ($950) had two hits.

Kuri stuffs Swallows

Allen Kuri (8-5) threw his fifth straight solid start, hurling 7-2/3 innings for the Hiroshima Carp in a 2-0 win over the Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Kuri struck out 10 but loaded the bases in the eighth on a single and two walks, forcing lefty Atsuya Horie to come in and strike out Swallows batting star Munetaka Murakami to preserve the two-run lead. Geronimo Franzua worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save.

Over his last five starts, Kuri has allowed three runs, two earned, over 40 innings. During that stretch, he’s walked nine but struck out 38 and allowed no home runs.

Swallows right-hander Hirotoshi Takanashi (3-6) worked seven innings and took the tough loss.

Giants’ Mercedes out for season

Yomiuri Giants lefty Cristopher Mercedes is out for the season after having surgery to clean out his left elbow, the Daily Sports reported Tuesday.

The 26-year-old is 4-4 this season with a 3.10 ERA in 11 games. He will probably will be unable to resume training for at least a month.

Former Red Sox pitcher Tazawa goes undrafted

Junichi Tazawa, the 34-year-old right-hander who made history by snubbing Nippon Professional Baseball’s draft and becoming the first marquee Japanese amateur to turn pro with a major league club, was in turn snubbed by NPB teams in Tuesday’s draft.

As a Japanese citizen, Tazawa is only eligible to sign his first NPB contract after being selected in the draft. For years, he hoped to play for Japan’s national team but was blacklisted because of NPB’s infamous Tazawa Rule, which was recently revoked.

He is currently playing for the Musashino Heat Bears of the independent Baseball Challenge League, Japan’s largest independent circuit. He was not even selected in the developmental draft, from which a team could sign him to a non-roster contract with a 240,000-yen minimum salary (roughly $2,200).

There was some speculation that he was passed over because teams don’t wish to deal with players who are represented by agents.

Active roster moves 10/27/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/6

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP41Shuto Sakurai
BayStarsIF6Keito Mori
BayStarsOF00Shumei Miyamoto
DragonsP25Yu Sato
DragonsP36Yuichiro Okano

Dectivated

BayStarsIF44Keita Sano
BayStarsOF61Tatsuo Ebina

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP42Frank Herrmann
BuffaloesIF67Keita Nakagawa

Dectivated

MarinesP49Chen Kuan-yu

Starting pitchers for Oct. 28, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Hamaya (2-2, 5.31) vs Hideaki Wakui (11-3, 3.20)

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

Hirotoshi Masui (2-2, 3.60) vs Drew VerHagen (7-6, 3.51)

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

Kodai Senga (9-6, 2.49) vs Chen Wei-yin (0-1, 2.25)

Central League

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

Yuya Sakamoto (4-1, 4.81) vs Yuki Takahashi (1-1, 2.77)

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

Shintaro Fujinami (1-6, 4.99) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (4-4, 3.61)

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

Atsushi Endo (3-6, 4.35) vs Masanori Ishikawa (2-7, 4.61)

NPB 2020 Oct. 15

Thursday’s games

Other news

Hasegawa slams clinches Hawks sweep

After being shutout in two straight games, the Orix Buffaloes finally managed to score, but 14-year veteran Yuya Hasegawa broke up a close game in the sixth inning with his first career grand slam in the SoftBank Hawks’ 9-4 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

The three-game sweep moved the Hawks four games clear atop the Pacific League standings ahead of the Lotte Marines, who lost 6-0 at home to the Rakuten Eagles. The Hawks have won the last three Japan Series, but haven’t won a PL pennant since 2017.

Hawks right-hander Shuta Ishikawa (8-3) was hard to hit as usual with his customary lack of command. He allowed two runs over five innings on three hits, two walks and three hit batsmen.

Akira Nakamura singled in the tie-breaking run in the sixth and Hasegawa, pinch-hitting for Wladimir Balentien, faced new pitcher Motoki Higa after Taiki Tajima (4-5) loaded the bases with one out.

Yurisbel Gracial went 3-for-4 with two runs for the Hawks, while Steven Moya went 2-for-4 with an RBI double for Orix.

Eagles close on 2nd behind Kishi shutout

Takayuki Kishi threw his first shutout in two years as the Rakuten Eagles moved to within four games of the second-place Lotte Marines with a 6-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

At the same park where in May 2014 he threw his only no-hitter while a member of the Seibu Lions, Kishi (4-0) struck out 13, one shy of his career high, set in 2018. The right-hander allowed two hits and walked one.

Good breaks and good swings put the visitors in front in a four-run second against Kazuya Ojima (7-7). Stefen Romero hit a flare off the end of the bat for a leadoff single. Kazuki Tanaka chased a pitch out of the zone but hit it well for a single. A fielders choice on a sacrifice loaded the bases with no outs.

Rookie Hiroto Kobukata lined a fastball down the pipe for a two-run double and Daichi Suzuki followed with a two-run single off his former team. Romero went 3-for-4 with two runs for the Eagles.

Double-time Kondo ravages Lions

Kensuke Kondo doubled four times, singled, scored twice and drove in four early runs in the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 8-3 win over the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.

The Fighters’ top two hitters, Haruki NIshikawa and Shota Hiranuma each reached in the first and second, helping the Fighters build a quick 5-0 lead against Zach Neal (4-5).

Nick Martinez (2-6) allowed three runs over six innings on three hits and three walks to earn the win. 2019 MVP Tomoya Mori accounted for all three Lions runs with a three-run, third-inning home run, his eighth.

Takahashi picks up Dragons pen

The Chunichi Dragons’ bullpen blew a lead for the first time in ages, but Shuhei Takahashi belted a three-run walk-off homer against Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez (2-1) in a 5-3 win at Nagoya Dome.

After back-to-back shutout wins in the series’ first two games, Takahiro Matsuba worked five scoreless innings despite putting two men on in three of them. Yoichi Oshima singled to open the Dragons’ first and scored on a Zoilo Almonte single.

Matsuba also had two hits and contributed to one of Chunichi’s runs, when Oshima doubled in a run in the fourth to make it 2-0.

Dragons relievers Keisuke Tanimoto and Hiroto Fuku kept the Tigers scoreless through seven before Daisuke Sobue blew the lead in Hanshin’s three-run eighth. Jon Edwards worked a scoreless eighth to preserve the visitors’ only lead of the series, but things went south in the ninth.

With one out and two on, Dayan Viciedo lined out to second. Reserve second baseman Kai Ueda’s throw to double off the runner at second was wild and put the winning run at second with two outs

Suarez threw Takahashi a 1-1 159-kph fastball down the pipe, and he hit it off the end of the bat. The fly ball sliced but just stayed fair down the left-field line for an opposite-field three-run home run.

Matsuyama salvages draw for Carp

Ryuhei Matsuyama hit a Tokyo Dome special, a high opposite-field fly to the the dome’s invitingly close walls in straight-away left and right, for a two-run game-tying home run for the Hiroshima Carp in their 5-5 10-inning tie against the Yomiuri Giants.

The Carp had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the eighth but it died in a failed squeeze attempt.

Ryosuke Kikuchi, the Carp’s seven-time Golden Glove Award-winning second baseman, set a Central League record by recording 434 consecutive errorless chances.

“If you ask me, a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage is boring, since human beings make mistakes and you want to know the guy out there is human.”

–Pro Yakyu News analyst Yutaka Takagi, when asked about Kikuchi’s chances of surpassing his own single-season record for highest fielding percentage at second base.

Giants-Carp highlights.

Rookie Yoshida holds off BayStars’

Rookie right-hander Daiki Yoshida (2-6) allowed two runs over six innings and drove in one run with a sacrifice fly in the Yakult Swallows’ 4-3 win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Keita Sano opened the scoring in the second inning by homering for the fourth straight game, but the Swallows took the lead in the home half on Yoshida’s sac fly. The Swallows’ Munetaka Murakami hit his 22nd home run, while Takayuki Kajitani hit his 17th for DeNA.

Active roster moves 10/15/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/25

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP59Kentaro Taira
TigersP22Kyuji Fujikawa
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida

Dectivated

GiantsP47Takahiro Fujioka
SwallowsP64Ren Kazahari

Pacific League

Activated

BuffaloesP66Ryo Yoshida

Dectivated

BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki
BuffaloesP15Yudai Aranishi

Starting pitchers for Oct. 16, 2020

Pacific League

Lions vs Buffaloes: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tatsuya Imai (3-3, 6.08) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (2-4, 2.76)

Marines vs Fighters: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kota Futaki (6-2, 3.33) vs Toshihiro Sugiura (6-4, 3.09)

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

Matt Moore (4-3, 3.06) vs Takahiro Shiomi (4-7, 4.41)

Central League

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

Shoichi Ino (6-6, 4.07) vs Nobutaka Imamura (3-2, 3.99)

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

Yuki Nishi (9-4, 2.18) vs Hiroaki Saiuchi (1-1, 4.82)

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

Hiroki Tokoda (3-6, 5.92) vs Yariel Rodriguez (2-4, 4.12)

NPB 2020 Oct. 6

Tuesday’s games

Other news

Marines plagued by Yamamoto

The Lotte Marines had enough trouble on Tuesday without having to face Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who allowed two hits and two walks over eight innings to improve to 8-3 in the Orix Buffaloes’ 3-0 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Marines played the game after the local health authorities told them it would not be necessary to call it off despite the club having become an official coronavirus cluster with two positive tests on Sunday and 11 more on Tuesday – when the test results were announced a day later than expected.

Yamamoto struck out nine, and closer Brandon Dickson picked up the pace with two strikeouts in the ninth to secure his 12th save in a game played like no one wanted to stick around the ballpark any longer than they had to. The game wrapped up in 2 hours 27 minutes.

Ayumu Ishikawa, the Marines’ Opening Day starter, allowed all three runs over seven innings to fall to 7-4.

Takahashi outduels Senga

Reliever Kaima Taira got Lions starter Kona Takahashi (6-8) out of a seventh-inning jam with a double play as the Seibu Lions got past SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga in a 3-1 win at MetLife Dome.

Senga (7-6) walked a career-high seven batters but still kept it close, allowing just one run over six innings in a 142-pitch effort.

Takahashi struck out eight, hit a batter and walked one while allowing two hits over 6-1/3 innings.

Tomoya Mori drove in all three Lions runs with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly and a two-run eighth-inning triple. Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda allowed a run in the ninth but notched his 24th save.

Fighters pluck win from Norimoto

Taishi Ota’s 11th home run of the year brought the Nippon Ham Fighters from behind against Rakuten Eagles’ ace Takahiro Norimoto (5-5) in a 5-3 win at Sapporo Dome.

Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-4) allowed three runs, one earned, over 6-1/3 innings to earn the win.

Sugano earns 100th career win

Tomoyuki Sugano improved to 13-0 thanks to some solid run support to earn his 100th career victory in the Yomiuri Giants’ 6-4 win over the DeNA BayStars at Tokyo Dome.

Yoshihiro Maru broke a 1-1 tie with a third-inning home run off rookie Yuya Sakamoto (3-1) who took his first career loss. Sugano had a fourth-inning hiccup when some poor pitches led to a two-run Jose Lopez homer. Zelous Wheeler canceled that out in the fifth with a two-run shot off former BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki. Tyler Austin went deep off lefty Kota Nakagawa in the eighth for his 14th home run.

The Giants ace allowed three runs over seven innings on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Rubby De La Rosa worked the ninth for his 15th save.

Giants-BayStars highlights

Katsuno pitches Dragons past Swallows

Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-4) worked 7-2/3 innings against a depleted Yakult Swallows lineup squad and their scheduled starting pitcher in the Chunichi Dragons’ 4-0 win at Nagoya Dome.

Announced Swallows starter Yasuhiro Ogawa was scratched after developing a fever. Out of concern of a possible coronavirus infection, the Swallows also kept star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada, shortstop Naomichi Nishiura and closer Taichi Ishiyama off the game roster. Ogawa tested negative, and the other three players are expected to play from Wednesday.

In Ogawa’s absence, the Swallows turned to rookie Takuma Kubo (0-1), who allowed all four runs in the second inning to earn his first career loss in his first career start. Katsuno allowed five hits, a walk, and hit a batter while striking out six.

Tigers, Carp draw

Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez allowed the tying run to score in the bottom of the 10th but got out of the inning with the potential winning run on base in a 4-4 10-inning tie with the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Marines getting presidential

Perhaps the Lotte Marines’ home park should be known as the White House, where Wednesday’s game against the Orix Buffaloes went ahead after the local health authorities — perhaps following Donald Trump’s advice that we shouldn’t fear the virus– said there was no reason to cancel.

After over a day of waiting for test results that should have been known Monday after a game that shouldn’t have been played Sunday, the Lotte Marines announced Tuesday afternoon that seven players and four members of the team staff have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officially making the Marines Japan’s first pro sports body in Japan to become an infection cluster.

In addition to them, four others have been determined to have been in close contact with pitcher Daiki Iwashita, who fell ill on Saturday and returned a positive test on Sunday, the same day the team hosted the Seibu Lions. The four were seated near him on the team’s flight on Friday from Chitose Airport to Haneda Airport.

At the same time, the Marines announced that their Eastern League farm game against the DeNA BayStars’ minor leaguers had been called off, ostensibly because much of the farm team will be needed to replace the first team on the active roster. Wednesday’s game has also been scratched.

The infected and those in close contact have made 1,167 plate appearances this season, slightly more than one third of the team’s total and have accounted for 129-1/3 innings pitched of the team’s 811 this season.

On Sunday, the Marines tested everyone connected to the first team, but Monday and came and the club shrugged its shoulders and said, “Sorry. We haven’t heard anything.”

Iwashita fell ill after he returned from the team’s roadtrip to Sapporo, where he allowed two runs over six innings in his start.

One first-team staff member, who was not deemed to have been in close contact with Iwashita, also tested positive on Sunday.

On Sept. 25, the Hanshin Tigers called up nine players from their farm team to replace four who tested positive and five others who had been in close contact with them. The following day, the Tigers were only able to suit up 17 minor leaguers for their Western League farm game.

Who’s sick

  • P Daiki Iwashita
  • OF Takashi Ogino
  • OF Katsuya Kakunaka
  • OF Ikuhiro Kiyota
  • OF Tsuyoshi Sugano
  • IF Takeshi Toritani
  • SS Yutai Fujioka
  • IF Ryo Miki
  • Assistant coach Shota Ishimine
  • Four members of 1st team staff

Who’s been in contact

  • P Yusuke Azuma
  • P Fumiya Ono
  • OF Koshiro Wada
  • P Daiki Yamamoto

Swallows’ Ogawa held back due to fever

The Yakult Swallows pulled scheduled starter Yasuhiro Ogawa from Tuesday’s game against the Chunichi Dragons after the 30-year-old right-hander developed a 37.3 C fever. He was ordered to rest at the team’s hotel in Nagoya.

The Swallows opted to pull infielders Tetsuto Yamada and Naomichi Nishiura and closer Taichi Ishiyama from the game roster for Tuesday’s game game pending the result of a test on Ogawa.

Ramirez rumors starting again: Sponichi

Sports Nippon Annex reported Tuesday that the DeNA BayStars are considering replacing manager Alex Ramirez with minor league manager and former ace pitcher Daisuke Miura.

There appears nothing more concrete to this story than there was six weeks ago when some pundits picked apart Ramirez’s work and pointing out his unorthodox decisions, in an effort to promote the candidacy of someone else–hopefully someone who could then gift them coaching jobs with the team.

The team’s owner, Tomoko Namba, has indicated the team’s mission is to win, and a former DeNA international employee has said the pressure within the organization to do so–despite a limited talent base–is extreme and has turned the BayStars’ front office into a pressure cooker.

Active roster moves 10/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 10/16

Central League

Activated

GiantsP26Yuki Takahashi
GiantsP40Yuri Furukawa
GiantsIF52Takumi Kitamura
CarpP58Reira Fujii
CarpOF38Koki Ugusa
SwallowsP69Ryuta Konno

Dectivated

GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
GiantsP95Hayato Horioka
GiantsIF98Estamy Urena

Pacific League

Activated

LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
EaglesP43Sung Chia-hao
EaglesC44Yuichi Adachi
MarinesP11Chihaya Sasaki
MarinesP41Kakeru Narita
MarinesP86Jose Flores
MarinesC45Yuito Munetsugu
MarinesIF40Koki Fukuda
MarinesIF50Shin Matsuda
MarinesIF59Kei Hosoya
MarinesIF67Kenta Chatani
MarinesIF68Kenji Nishimaki
MarinesOF2Kyota Fujiwara
MarinesOF38Akito Takabe
FightersC60Takuya Kori

Dectivated

MarinesP24Yusuke Azuma
MarinesP27Daiki Yamamoto
MarinesP37Fumiya Ono
MarinesIF00Takashi Toritani
MarinesIF4Yudai Fujioka
MarinesIF23Ryo Miki
MarinesOF0Takashi Ogino
MarinesOF1Ikuhiro Kiyota
MarinesOF3Katsuya Kakunaka
MarinesOF31Tsuyoshi Sugano
MarinesOF63Koshiro Wada

Starting pitchers for Oct. 6, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (6-5, 3.95) vs Hideaki Wakui (10-3, 3.06)

Lions vs Hawks: MetLife Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Hamaya (2-1, 5.68) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (2-3, 3.26)

Marines vs Buffaloes: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuya Ojima (6-6, 3.50) vs Andrew Albers (3-6, 3.80)

Central League

Giants vs BayStars: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuto Taguchi (5-4, 4.42) vs Shingo Hirata (0-0, 3.19)

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

Yudai Ono (7-5, 2.18) vs Masanori Ishikawa (1-5, 4.65)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-4, 4.34) vs Minoru Iwata (1-0, 2.31)

NPB 2020 Sept. 20

Lions come back to beat Buffaloes

Tomoya Mori snatched the victor’s laurels from Orix Buffaloes center fielder Hayato Nishiura with a three-run eighth-inning double that lifted the Seibu Lions to a 5-4 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Nishiura saved three runs with in the first, robbing Ernesto Mejia of a two-out double at the wall. He went up to get it before it hit the ball and caught it between his arms, cradling it for the out after he crashed to the turf.

Ryo Ota, a former top draft pick whose 2019 debut season was limited by injury, homered off Wataru Matsumoto in the first to put the Buffaloes up 1-0. Another rookie, 2018 fifth-rounder Sho Gibo, doubled in a run with two outs in the third. Steven Moya’s second homer of the year made it 3-0.

Nishiura preserved a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Playing shallow with two outs and a runner on second as Japanese teams do, Nishiura had to race back into the gap in right-center, making an over-the-shoulder basket catch for the final out.

He followed that by leading off the bottom of the fifth with home run into the second deck.

Orix starter Andrew Albers allowed two runs over six innings on seven hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

The Lions finally got to the lefty in the sixth when Sosuke Genda singled and scored on Hotaka Yamakawa’s 22nd home run.

Right-hander Ryo Yoshida, the Buffaloes’ third reliever, took over in the seventh with one on and one out but walked the bases loaded with two outs and gave up Mori’s double.

On the other side, four Lions relievers followed Matsumoto and combined to allow one walk and one hit. Tatsushi Masuda recorded his 20th save.

Eagles survive Hawks comeback

Eagles closer Alan Busenitz came within a hair of blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead, earning the save when a rocket off Ryoya Kurihara’s bat was caught by first baseman Daichi Suzuki for the final out as Rakuten beat the SoftBank Hawks 3-2 at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome on Sunday.

Suzuki tied the game 1-1 on the first pitch in the fourth. Shuta Ishikawa (6-3) left a fastball up and Suzuki lined it off the wall behind the right-field home run terrace. Hawks catcher Takuya Kai, who’d homered to open the scoring minutes earlier tried not to shake his head but failed.

Eagles veteran Takayuki Kishi got out of a sixth-inning jam when Akira Nakamura, who swings and misses as infrequently as any hitter in Japan, struck out swinging for the second out. After an intentional walk to Yuki Yanagita, Kishi got out of the inning with an easy groundout.  

Stefen Romero put the Eagles up by one in the seventh, hitting an 0-1 power curve. Ishikawa supplied the curve by hanging it up in the zone and Romero supplied the power, launching it 10 rows back into the permanent seats.

Former San Diego submariner Kazuhisa Makita surrendered a two-out two-strike single to Nakamura. Yanagita came up with a chance to put the hosts in front, but went down swinging. Hiroaki Shimauchi then took out some insurance by taking reliever Yuki Matsumoto’s first pitch out to left for a solo homer to open the ninth.

Takayuki Kishi allowed a run over a season-high six innings in his fifth start of the Eagles.

The Hawks loaded the bases against closer Alan Busenitz with one out in the ninth on two singles and a fielder’s choice. Go Kamamoto singled in one run, but Busenitz got a force out at the plate before Suzuki was impaled by Kurihara’s liner.

Fighters give one away

Shohei Kato scored the tying run from second on a passed ball-throwing error with his team down to their last strike and then tripled in two runs in the 10th to lead the Lotte Marines to a 5-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

Rookie catcher Toshiya Sato’s two-run sixth-inning homer brought Lotte to within a run, after Marines starter Manabu Mima allowed three runs in the first but lasted eight innings.

Kato came on to run after Seiya Inoue singled with one out off Taisho Tamai. A two out walk put runners on first and second.

Tamai got ahead of Tsuyoshi Sugano 0-2, but catcher Yushi Shimizu failed to catch a 1-2 changeup. It popped up off the heel of his glove and by the time caught it Kato was on third, but the runner on first was well of the base. Sensing a chance to end the game, Shimizu gunned a throw to first that glanced off first baseman Kotaro Kiyomiya’s glove, allowing Kato to score.

Marines closer Naoya Masuda (2-2) got into trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Regular cleanup hitter, Sho Nakata, who started the game on the bench, came on to pinch hit flew out to short for the third out.

With two out and two on in the 10th, Kato drilled a pitch from Kenya Suzuki (0-1) to the gap to plate two. Recently acquired reliever Hirokazu Sawamura took over in the bottom of the 10th. He issued three two-out walks before getting a groundout to record his first save of the year.

Hatake plows under BayStars

Right-hander Shusei Hatake (1-3), making an emergency start in place of lefty Cristopher Mercedes, worked six innings and Yoshihiro Maru homered twice and drove in three as the Yomiuri Giants beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Yokohama Stadium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Giants.

DeNA right-hander Shinichi Onuki (6-4) allowed four runs, three earned, over six innings to take the loss. A single, a stolen base, a throwing error and a Hayato Sakamoto single put the Giants up in the first. Maru hit his 16th homer in the fourth with a man on and went deep again in the sixth.

Dragons light up Nakata in win over Tigers

The Chunichi Dragons scored three runs in two innings off veteran right-hander Kenichi Nakata (0-2) en route to a 4-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Nagoya Dome.

After a 1-2-3 first against the team for which he won the bulk of his 100 career games, Nakata allowed four straight hits in the second, bringing in two runs, while a third scored on a safety squeeze.

Takahiro Matsuba (3-4) allowed two runs over five innings. The only two runs came when pinch-hitter Kenya Nagasaka homered with a man on after his foul pop was dropped but not ruled an error. Four relievers combined to allow one hit and two walks over the final four innings with Raidel Martinez earning his 13th save.

Swallows survive ninth-inning horror show

The Yakult Swallows opened the home half of the first with three straight home runs before nearly blowing a seven-run ninth-inning lead with starter Yasuhiro Ogawa (9-3) on the mound in an 8-6 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Ogawa worked a 1-2-3 first, and in a sense, so did Carp starter Yuta Nakamura (0-1), who watched three of his first 14 pitches end up as souvenirs for the Carp fans in the left-field bleachers. It was the fifth time a team had homered in its first three plate appearances and the first time since the Dragons did it at Yokohama Stadium in 1995.

The Swallows entered the top of the ninth with an 8-1 lead and kept Ogawa on the mound after he had thrown just 101 pitches. After a double, a single and a double play, things were still looking good for manager Shingo Takatsu’s plan not to use his bullpen with the last three of nine straight games looming.

But five straight hits off straight fastballs and hanging breaking balls, the last off Ogawa’s 123rd pitch, finally forced a change. Closer Taishi Ishiyama allowed the tying run on with a single before getting a strikeout that ended the game and earned him his 11th save.

Active roster moves 9/20/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/30

Central League

Activated

GiantsP31Seishu Hatake
GiantsP58Ryosuke Miyaguni
TigersP20Kenichi Nakata
CarpP67Yuta Nakamura

Dectivated

GiantsP35Toshiki Sakurai
GiantsIF00Daiki Yoshikawa

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP63Hiroyuki Kawahara
HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
EaglesIF6Kazuya Fujita
BuffaloesIF31Ryo Ota
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo

Dectivated

HawksOF51Seiji Uebayashi
EaglesIF66Itsuki Murabayashi
MarinesP30Tsuyoshi Ishizaki
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Starting pitchers for Sept. 21, 2020

Central League

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daisuke Naoe (0-0, 2.35) vs Allen Kuri (4-4, 4.06)

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

Akiyoshi Katsuno (1-3, 3.66) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 5.33)

Tigers vs BayStars: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Minoru Iwata (-) vs Masaya Kyoyama (1-0, 9.00)

NPB 2020 6-28 GAMES AND NEWS

Mima outpitches Yamamoto, Marines sweep

Manabu Mima got burned early and then was as careful as careful can be, allowing three runs over seven innings against Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who struggled to adjust to a lack of command and coughed up five runs in 5-2/3 innings in a 6-5 win for the Lotte Marines over Orix.

Brandon Laird homered to break a 5-5 tie in the eighth, and Jay Jackson finished it off with his first save in Japan in two years as the Marines managed their eighth-straight win and a six-game sweep of the Orix Buffaloes. See the live blog below for more in depth coverage.

Go to today’s LIVE BLOG.

Mori lifts Lions over Hawks

Seibu submariner Kaito Yoza did not allow a hit after the second inning, three relievers worked 1-2-3 innings, and 23-year-old SoftBank rookie Keisuke Izumi (0-1) was thrown into the Lions’ den in the ninth inning of a tie game. He loaded the bases with no outs for Tomoya Mori who singled in the winning run at MetLife Dome in a 4-3 victory.

Yuki Yanagita of the Hawks opened the scoring in the first with his third home run, and Hotaka Yamakawa tied it in the sixth with his fifth home run.

New Lions reliever Reed Garrett struck out the side in the eighth. He has retired all nine batters he’s faced since Friday, striking out six of them.

Sugiura outpitches Ishibashi in Fighters’ win

Nippon Ham Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura (1-0) struck out seven, while scattering five singles and a walk over six innings to allow two runs and earn the win in a 6-4 victory over the Rakuten Eagles.

Eagles starter Ryota Ishibashi (0-2) allowed five runs over four innings. Jabari Blash hit a two-run, eighth-inning home run for the Eagles.

Sanchez wins 2nd for Giants

Angel Sanchez (2-0) walked four, but pitched out of trouble three times to work six innings and earn the win as the Yomiuri Giants beat the Yakult Swallows 12-0. Kazuma Okamoto went 3-for-4 with a home run, an RBI single and a walk.

Morishita gives up 1st runs, earns 1st win

Elite Hiroshima Carp prospect Masato Morishita opened his pro career with 15 scoreless innings before the Chunichi Dragons scored three off him in the bottom of the ninth at Nagoya Dome. But after no decision in his debut, the rookie earned the win as Hiroshima came out on top 10-3.

Heading into the ninth, Morishita had a 10-run lead, having struck out seven, while allowing three hits, a walk and a hit batsman on 110 pitches. The rookie left after 136 pitches, the second time a Carp starter reached 130 over the weekend following ace Daichi Osera’s 132 on Friday.

The Carp already have two complete games this season, and first-year manager Shinji Sasaoka, who threw 66 in his career, seems to hold those in a higher regard than may be healthy for his pitching staff.

BayStars Tigers

Kentaro Taira, whom the DeNA BayStars acquired after the 2016 season as free agent compensation for the Yomiuri Giants’ signing of Shun Yamaguchi, delivered his second-straight quality start, allowing one run over six innings to earn the win in a 9-1 victory over the Hanshin Tigers.

The BayStars welcomed Tigers starter Kenichi Nakata (0-1) back to the Central League with a leadoff double from Takayuki Kajitani and two-out doubles by captain Keita Sano and Toshiro Miyazaki. On a day when manager Alex Ramirez rested several regulars, catcher Yasutaka Tobashira started and singled in the BayStars’ third run of the inning.

BayStars drop Peoples, activate Escobar

The Central League’s DeNA BayStars swapped out starting pitcher Micheal Peoples for hard-throwing left-handed reliever Edwin Escobar on Sunday.

On Saturday, the right-handed Peoples allowed five runs over five innings in an 8-6 loss to the Hanshin Tigers after closer Yasuaki Yamasaki’s struggles continued by allowing three runs in the ninth inning.

In Peoples’ first start, he allowed a run over six innings with seven strikeouts against the Hiroshima Carp on June 20.

The 28-year-old Escobar is entering his fourth season in NPB. He pitched in 74 games last year with 88 strikeouts in 75-1/3 innings. He was 5-4 with 33 holds, the third highest figure in the CL behind Joely Rodriguez of the Dragons and Pierce Johnson of the Tigers, both of whom left Japan this year for jobs in the majors.

Go to NEWEST.

For those of you who are curious, you can read a little about these teams in my Japanese pro baseball guide.

Live blog: Marines vs Buffaloes

Manabu Mima vs Yoshinobu Yamamoto at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium east of Tokyo. The Marines have won seven straight, while the Buffaloes haven’t won since Yamamoto beat the Eagles the previous Sunday in Osaka.

Top 1st

Keita Nakagawa barrels up a running fastball up in the zone and pulls it down the left field line for a leadoff double. Ryoichi Adachi, a prototypical Japanese No. 2 hitter, a fast, light-hitting middle infielder, is up their sacrificing until the second strike.

Announcer “He wants to move that runner up of course, because you want the early lead and Yamamoto is on the mound.”

Adachi chops it behind the runner to first, bringing up tough lefty Masataka Yoshida, who looks at a backdoor slider for Strike 1 before getting jammed inside by a running fastball inside that he grounds to first as Adachi scores. Buffaloes 1, Marines 0.

Adam Jones lines a hanging first-pitch slider off the top of the wall in left but with the outfield playing him deep, he can only get a single. Takahiro Okada lines a 1-2 fastball down the pipe over the fence in right for a two-run shot and his second homer of the season. Buffaloes 3, Marines 0.

Mima gets out of the inning when Aderlin Rodriguez miss-hits a hanging slider and flies out to second.

Bottom 1st

After a week of hype about his stuff especially his curve, Yamamoto treats the Marines to first-inning heat. He falls behind with two high fastballs before getting leadoff man Takashi Ogino to pop up to second on a cutter up and in. Koki Fukuda takes a high curve for Ball 1 before missing three high fastballs. Ikuhiro Kiyota goes down chasing a 1-2 cutter on the outside edge.

Top 2nd

Mima opens with some good pitches and gets an easy fly and a grounder to third. Shunta Goto keeps the inning alive by knocking a fat 1-0 running fastball between first and second. Goto steals second, but Nakagawa strikes out.

Bottom 2nd

after a pair of hard cutters away, Yamamoto hangs a curve to Brandon Laird and he knocks it between third and short for a leadoff single. Leonys Martinez hits a skipping stone down the first base line and Okada is unable to handle it. He’s given an error and the Marines have runners on second and third.

Shogo Nakamura pops up an 0-1 splitter Yamamoto left up in the zone, and here comes Seiya “Asia” Inoue. The 114-kilogram right-handed hitter falls behind 0-2 but Yamamoto can’t find the outside corner and Inoue won’t chase and ends up walking him to load the bases.

Lotte catcher Tatsuhiro Tamura looks at beautiful cutter low and away and waves at fastball down the middle. Yamamoto’s splitter isn’t working and he bounces it for Ball 1. Another fastball in the heart of the zone and Tamura hits it off the end of the bat to center for a two-run single. Buffaloes 3, Marines 2.

Yamamoto getso out of trouble when Yudai Fujioka chops a high pitch to the mound and the pitcher starts a double play.

Top 3rd

Mima leaves a fat 1-1 pitch up and Adachi slams it on the ground into left for a leadoff single. But Adachi 30-for-37 as a base stealer the past two years is cut down on a perfect throw by Tamura. Yoshida singles on a hanging forkball and along comes Jones.

Jones lines one off the end of the bat to second. Mima is staying away from the strike zone as much as he can, although he did sneak a curve down the middle past Okada, who walks. But Rodriguez pops up a low fastball for the third out.

Bottom 3rd

Takashi Ogino leads off with a double past Nakagawa at third and Fukuda advances him to third by hitting behind the runner. With the infield in, Kiyota hits a bullet to short but Ogino, running on contact, easily scores the tying run. Laird grounds out on the next pitch and we’re tied. Marines 3, Buffaloes 3.

Top 4th

Mima is working ever so carefully now, showing his hard stuff and executing offspeed stuff in the zone, resulting in three miss-hit easy grounders and a 1-2-3 inning against the Buffaloes tail.

Bottom 4th

It’s back to the no-nonsense hard stuff for Yamamoto and two easy outs as Martin swings at a 1-2 fastball away and Nakamura grounds out.

But Yamamoto’s location is not great and every instance of attempted cuteness is costing him. He tries to get Inoue to chase and misses, and it’s another walk. Tamura is up there battling, intentionally fouling off the hard stuff and he walks on the 10th pitch.

Yudai Fujioka is not trying to walk. He’s taking some real swings. when Yamamoto misses with a straight high 1-2 fastball, he lines it to the gap in right for a single. Marines 4, Buffaloes 3.

The inning ends when Tamura is caught in a rundown between third and home. And if you’ve ever seen a more poorly executed rundown, I’d like to see it. Fujioka follows and they get two runners trapped at third and it still takes extra throws to get the out.

Don’t try this at home, children.

Top 5th

Nakagawa grounds out to second on two pitches. With two outs, Yoshida forces Mima over the plate and singles to center off the end of the bat. Tying run on first with Jones up.

First-pitch splitter, the best one Mima’s thrown so far, for a swinging strike out of the zone. Jones went after two pitches out of the zone last time, and Mima goes outside for 1-1. The splitter stays up, and Jones is on it, but smacks it straight to third for an easy out.

Bottom 5th

Ono up to lead off the fifth. Two hard strikes inside but nothing to change speeds with in the zone, and Ogino gets a good swing on a low fastball and finds a hole through the infield for a single. Fukuda launches a straight fastball on a line to the warning track in center but Goto overtakes it and makes a terrific catch.

Yamamoto is missing all over the place but catches one of his few breaks today. With Ogino running on a 2-2 pitch, Yamamoto hangs another curve and Kiyota doesn’t hit it well. Nakagawa gloves the soft liner at third and throws to first for an easy double play.

Top 6th

Okada falls behind 0-2 looking at a get-me-over slider, missing a running fastball away and grounding a slider to second. Rodriguez offers at two sliders outside, misses one and flies out easily on the second. The Buffaloes are really guessing badly. Wakatsuki is jammed by a fastball in the heart of the zone and grounds out to short.

Bottom 6th

Yamamoto gets Laird out easily but loses Martin with his fourth walk of the afternoon. Nakamura flies out on a beautiful cutter away after fouling off a slider for Strike 2. I may be wrong, but that could be the first strike Yamamoto has gotten from his slider all day.

After falling behind 2-0 to Inoue, Okada comes over to talk to Yamamoto, and it appears he is just killing time so someone can get warm in the bullpen. When Inoue lines the next pitch to right, Yamamoto’s looking around to see if he’s coming out of the game and he is.

26-year-old right-hander Keisuke Sawada on to try and get an out before Lotte gets another run. But Goto can’t catch a sinking liner to center. Marines 5, Buffaloes 3.

Top 7th

Three up, three down for Mima in the seventh. He’s retired seven straight and 13 of the last 14 and is at 96 pitches. It looks like he’s headed for the clubhouse in good shape for his second win.

Bottom 7th

Lefty Tomoyuki Kaida on in the seventh. After struggling with his command against Ogino, who flies out, Kaida needs just four pitches to retire Fukuda and Kiyota. It’s a nice bounce back for Kaida after he faced seven batters in his previous outing on Friday and allowed four runs.

Top 8th

Right-hander Fumiya Ono on in the eighth to preserve the two-run lead. Mima allowed three runs, all in the first inning, on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two over seven innings.

Adachi opens the inning by stinging a straight1-0 fastball for a single. Yoshida walks on four pitches. Jones hits a slider off the label, lining it straight to left for the first out.

Okada flairs a high 2-0 slider to center. Adachi scores, and Tamura fumbles the throw home, allowing Yoshida to reach third.

Ono is gone in favor of right-hander Taiki Tojo. Both Masuda and Okada are out for pinch runners. Yuya Oda is at third running for Yoshida. Kodai Sano, running at first, steals second.

Rodriguez singles in the tying run, but Sano is caught in a rundown for the second out with Rodriguez taking third during the confusion. Marines 5, Buffaloes 5.

Tojo strikes out Wakatsuki and the Marines avoid falling a run down.

Bottom 8th

Former closer Hirotoshi Masui on for Orix in the eighth to face former Nippon Ham Fighters teammate Brandon Laird.

Laird flies to center and the ball just gets over the glove of Goto, who leaps at the wall. Laird’s fifth home run makes it Marines 6, Buffaloes 5.

Martin strikes out swinging at a 1-2 splitter out of the zone, but Shogo Nakamura singles and Orix manager Norifumi Nishimura goes to the pen for another righty, Tomoki Higa to face Inoue.

Inoue flies out to bring up the Marines’ biggest troublemaker of the day, Tamura. He’s driven in three runs and his walk helped set up the go-ahead run in the fourth. The Marines catcher draws his second walk, causing Nishimura to come out of the dugout again.

The Buffaloes’ third pitcher of the inning is lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada, who strikes out Fujioka for the final out.

Top 9th

The reason we didn’t see Jay Jackson in the eighth is because manager Tadahito Iguchi was saving him for the ninth. He’s on now with a chance for his first save in Japan since 2018, his last season with the Hiroshima Carp.

Pinch-hitter Torai Fushimi waves at a slider and goes down swinging. The left-handed-hitting Goto is up and gets ahead 2-0 before taking a fastball for a strike. It’s 2-2 and Goto is up there spoiling now. Jackson misses with a slider and its 3-2, but got him to miss another at the bottom of the strike zone.

Nakagawa looks as Jackson misses with two sliders low and away, but watches a third down the pipe. A fastball away finds the zone and it’s 2-2.
Another slider low out of the zone, Nakagawa offers, misses, and it’s all over as Jackson strikes out the side to end it.

Final score: Marines 6, Buffaloes 5

Shogo Akiyama spray charts

A recent comment about Akiyama suggested MLB’s extreme shifts could be trouble for him.


“Akiyama will have to adjust to more shifts in MLB. He’ll have to prove he can beat them.”

Burly

It’s true that shifts in NPB are pretty tame, there’s a reason for that: Japanese kids learn from an early age to go to hit the ball back up the middle or — especially fast left-handed hitters — hit it to the opposite field. It’s a huge difference between NPB and MLB.

And like most speedy left-handed hitters, Akiyama is adept at shooting the ball between third and short. You could shift on him a little and it might help, but too much and he’ll kill you.

Shogo Akiyama, career NPB hits
Shogo Akiyama, career NPB outs

The only team that tries extreme shifts here now is the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters. In one game they over-shifted to the right against left-handed hitting Tomoya Mori. In response, the slugging Lions catcher poked the ball on the ground into left, and expressed his thanks to the Fighters for giving him a freebie.