Tag Archives: Tyler Higgins

NPB 2020 Sept. 6

There will be no talk of getting high today, although there is some discussion of changing scoring conventions, and an anecdote about how Japan’s official scorers can be extremely flexible in their decision making.

Futaki flummoxes Hawks

The Lotte Marines completed a three-game sweep of the SoftBank Hawks on Sunday, beating them 4-2 behind a solid six-inning effort from Kota Futaki (3-2). The win moved the Marines to within a half-game of the Pacific League-leaders and improved Lotte’s record this season against SoftBank to

Futaki kept the hosts’ hitters off balance for five innings and scraped by for one more, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings. He hit one batter and struck out six.

The right-hander had a mediocre splitter and occasionally filthy slider and by using them a lot, he kept the Hawks from zeroing in on a fastball with good life. The number of fastballs the Hawks took down the pipe suggested a lot of them were waiting on the splitter, which because it didn’t tumble was more of a change of pace that Futaki didn’t command well.

“As usual, we tried to establish a rhythm and get ahead in counts. I think I pitched really well through the fifth inning, but when they got to me in the sixth, it reminded me how much more I have to be able to do,” Futaki said.

Hawks starter Shuta Ishikawa is, at times, a picture-dictionary description of “effectively wild,” a right-hander with good stuff whose pitches are randomized by his annoying inability to locate consistently. Through four innings, he’d allowed no hits while striking out four, walking three and hitting one.

But in the fifth, the Marines took him down in textbook fashion.

 After a leadoff walk and a sacrifice on the next pitch, Ishikawa left a fastball up, and Shohei Kato stayed on it, chopping it up the middle for a single. Kato took second when center fielder Yuki Yanagita missed the cutoff man and scored when Tsuyoshi Sugano lofted a hanging curve over third base for an opposite-field single.

Hisanori Yasuda upper-cut another hanging curve and pulled it into the right-field stands for 4-0 Lotte lead.

Akira Nakamura and Yanagita, the engines that power the Hawks offense, had come close to getting to Futaki in the fourth inning when they saw him for the second time. Nakamura finally timed a fastball and smashed it – straight at a defender, while Yanagita who had been fooled badly by some superior sliders in the first inning, drove a high hanger to the warning track in center.

Futaki hit the leadoff hitter in the sixth, and Ukyo Shuto drilled a low splitter for a one-out single. Nakamura lined a hanging slider for an RBI single and Yanagita again barely missed a home run, but this time hit a hanging splitter off the wall in center for an RBI double. With one out and runners on second and third, Futaki put all he had into some great fastballs and got out of the inning.

Two relievers, Taiki Tojo and Fumiya Ono combined to work a scoreless seventh, Yuki Karakawa got past the heart of the order in the eighth, and Frank Herrmann pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save with the Marines. He’d saved 19 over three seasons with the Rakuten Eagles but none since 2018.

Lions KO VerHagen, punchless Fighters

The Seibu Lions seized both of their scoring opportunities and starting pitcher Wataru Matsumoto seven runners over six innings a 4-2 win against the Nippon Ham Fighters, who left the bases loaded twice at Sapporo Dome.

Matsumoto (2-3) allowed five singles, three in the Fighters’ two-run second, and five walks while striking out five. Ryosuke Moriwaki, Kaima Taira and Tatsushi Masuda each put up one more zero on the board with Masuda earning his 16th save.

Drew VerHagen (5-3) issued a leadoff walk in the first, retired the next eight batters, and finished his seven innings by setting down the last 11 he faced. In between, however, was trouble.

The Lions tied it in the third on a two-out walk followed by back-to-back doubles by Shuta Tonosaki and Sosuke Genda, whose slicing drive landed just fair to make it 2-2.

Things took another wrong turn for the Fighters in the fourth.

Takumi Kuriyama was credited with an infield single when Christian Villanueva dove to stop his smash down the line and his good one-hop throw to first was in time but not caught by first baseman Sho Nakata. Ernesto Mejia followed with an opposite-field double to the gap in right.

With the infield in, reserve Lions catcher slashed a grounder past Nakata. He was playing even with the bag and nearly came up with it. VerHagen gave Yuji Kaneko a high fastball and he did his duty, bringing Mejia home with a sacrifice fly.

To score is human

The scoring on the single that opened the Lions’ fourth seems to be really common this season. Has anyone else noticed this?

Balls that require good stops, where the throw was in time but is uncaught because it either bounces or is off target, would – it seems – have generally been called errors in the past, punishing fielders for making good stops.

From time to time, it seems, NPB has quietly adjusted its scoring and it seems to me like this is one of those times.

When I first arrived in Japan, very few errors were given. Outfielders who misplayed bouncing balls were rarely charged, with balls going between their legs being scored doubles and triples.

This practice stopped sometime over the past 20 years, and I’ll be damned if I know when or why. It could largely be the influence of watching MLB games and becoming accustomed to how they are scored. The outfield single-and-error scoring used to be very, very rare. Now it happens a few times a week.

We still don’t have the scoring convention of crediting a pitcher with an assist when a batted ball deflects off his body to an infielder, but who knows.

Willing to make exceptions

There was a time when former Carp first baseman Gail Hopkins said he couldn’t make an error to save his life. Locked in a battle for the 1976 Central League batting title with the Chunichi Dragons’ Kenichi Yazawa and the Yakult Swallows’ Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Hopkins said his team encouraged him to hit less. The CL had not had an import win the batting title since Wally Yonamine did it with the Giants in 1957, and no non-Asian had ever done it.

Hopkins said he botched two plays in a late summer series against the Swallows on grounders hit by Wakamatsu only to have his rival for the batting title get hits for his mistakes.

The next day, Hopkins tracked down the official scorer, who unlike in MLB, is an employee of the league, said his peace and backed off. Hopkins had a lot to do before games as he was studying to finish his PhD in biology, and often hit the books as much as possible in the spare time afforded him. He said he was willing to let it go, but that his interpreter ended up duking it out in the dugout with the unfortunate scorer.

Streaking Yoshida overpowers Eagles

Masataka Yoshida ran his hitting streak to 24 games with three hits, including two home runs and five RBIs to power the Orix Buffaloes’ 9-6 come-from-behind win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi.

The franchise and PL record is Atsushi Nagaike’s 32 games for the Hankyu Braves in 1971. The bigger news in Japan was that he has surpassed the mark of 23 that Ichiro Suzuki managed twice in 1994, his breakout season with the Orix BlueWave.

Yoshida’s 10th homer capped a six-run third inning as the Buffaloes overcame a 3-0 deficit against Eagles starter Yuya Fukui (0-4). His 11th, off Taiwan’s Sung Chia-hao, drove in three and provided the final margin for victory.

The Eagles scored twice in the bottom of the eighth off setup man Tyler Higgins, but Brandon Dickson worked a scoreless ninth to earn his ninth save.

Miyazaki blasts Carp

Toshiro Miyazaki went 3-for-5 with a home run, a sacrifice fly and four RBIs in the DeNA BayStars’ 8-5 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, where Monday’s scheduled game has been postponed in advance due to an advancing typhoon.

Carp starter Atsushi Endo, a nice surprise in their rotation this season, allowed four runs over three innings. The Carp took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on Hisayoshi Chono’s 11th home run, a two-run shot off BayStars starter Masaya Kyoyama (1-0), but the Carp bullpen could not keep up.

Neftali Soto’s sacrifice fly tied it in the sixth and Miyazaki’s one-out single plated his fourth run of the game and put the visitors ahead for good.

Ogawa rains on Dragons’ parade

Yasuhiro Ogawa (8-2) shook off a 30-minute rain delay at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, allowing one run over eight innings while the Yakult Swallows pounded Yariel Rodriguez (2-2) after the break in a 10-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons.

Rodriguez was dominant through five innings, but when play resumed and Ogawa needed just 11 pitches to work the top of the sixth, Rodriguez was unable to command his breaking pitches. The Swallows started shooting them around the ballpark.

Six pitches into the inning the game was tied on three-straight singles.

“When play resumed, perhaps it was a little thing about my rhythm,” Rodriguez said. “Things started going wrong and stayed wrong.”

Active roster moves 9/6/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/16

Central League

Activated

GiantsP42Cristopher Mercedes
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui
SwallowsP54Masato Nakazawa

Dectivated

GiantsP92Shohei Numata
BayStarsIF64Hiroki Momose
CarpP14Daichi Osera
CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura
SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi

Pacific League

Activated

LionsIF0Daichi Mizuguchi
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe

Dectivated

LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
LionsOF46Shohei Suzuki
BuffaloesP11Sachiya Yamasaki

Starting pitchers for Sept. 4, 2020

Central League

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

Haruto Takahashi (2-1, 0.93) vs Cristopher Mercedes (2-4, 3.66)

NPB 2021 Sept. 1

Yamamoto finally beats Senga

Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto escaped a first-inning jam to work seven innings in a 5-0 win over SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga on Tuesday at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Masataka Yoshida singled in two runs in the sixth for the hosts and double in another in the seventh.

Yamamoto (4-2) walked five batters and struck out seven while allowing two hits. He threw 114 pitches, but 35 of those in the first inning, when he walked the bases loaded and got lucky when Yuki Yanagita just missed a hanging slider with one on and no outs, only managing to drive it to the warning track.

The right-hander brought his bread-and-butter four-seam fastball, but also had good command of his curve and slider, giving those pitches more extensive workouts than he usually does. The win was Yamamoto’s first since the middle of July.

“He (Yamamoto) didn’t pitch the same way he usually does. Whether it was because he went to his breaking pitches more or not, I don’t know, but he pitched really well.”

–SoftBank Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo

“I’ve been going through a long stretch where I’ve not been very good,” Yamamoto said. “I’d already lost twice to him, so I wanted to do what I could to not do that again.”

“Senga pitched really well, and even though I walked all those batters in the first I was able to regroup. Even though I hadn’t been pulling my weight, my teammates never got down on me. I have them to thank for having my back.”

Senga (5-3) allowed four runs on five hits and six walks over 6-2/3 innings while striking out six. The Buffaloes broke the deadlock against him in the sixth, when he issued two walks and Keita Nakagawa bunted for a single to load the bases.

Yoshida got a high-straight 2-1 fastball and didn’t try to do too much with. He rifled it into center for a two-run single. Back-to-back two-out walks pushed across another run, and manger Kimiyasu Kudo stuck with Senga until Yoshida made it 4-0 with a seventh-inning double.

“Nakagawa laid down such a great bunt,” Yoshida said. “Against one of the Pacific League’s marquee pitchers, I was just looking to put a good swing on whatever good pitch I could get.”

Tyler Higgins struck out three batters in the eighth to work around a one-out walk and a single, and closer Brandon Dickson struck out two in a scoreless ninth for the Buffaloes.

Takahashi pulverizes Marines

Kona Takahashi (4-6) worked seven scoreless innings and the Seibu Lions punished Yuta Omine (0-1) in his first game back since Tommy John surgery in a 9-1 win over the Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Takahashi allowed one seventh-inning hit thanks to some sparkling team defense, while walking two and striking out three. The Lions tattooed Omine for seven runs over five innings.

Takumi Kuriyama, had three hits and broke the ice with a two-run third-inning single and Hotaka Yamakawa capped the rally with his 19th home run, a three-run shot.

Uwasawa goes distance to beat Eagles

Naoyuki Uwasawa (5-2) threw a five-hitter for the Nippon Ham Fighters in their 8-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in a 125-pitch effort. He pitched out of a two-on, no-out pickle in the second inning thanks to two-straight failed squeeze plays before surrendering the game’s first run when Kazuki Tanaka took him deep to lead off the fifth.

The Fighters tied it in the home half when Ryo Watanabe singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Christian Villanueva single. Go Matsumoto’s seventh-inning RBI single off Sung Chih-hao (1-2), and the Fighters piled on in the eighth with four runs off J.T. Chargois.

Carp become Ono’s latest victims

After Yudai Ono threw his first complete game victory of the season on July 31, he was asked what he’d changed after going 0-3 in his first six starts.

He said, “Nothing really, I’ve pitched well enough to win most of the time but was only unable to hang in until we did. I’ve tried to be more economical and pitch tougher so I could stay in games longer.”

Since then, the self-deprecating Chunichi Dragons lefty has reeled off five-straight complete-game victories, tying a franchise record shared by three others, with a 5-0 win over the Hiroshima Carp at Nagoya Dome.

Ono allowed two hits and a walk in the 116-pitch outing to throw his second-straight shutout. Hiroshima’s Allen Kuri (2-4) allowed all five runs on nine hits and three walks over 7-2/3 innings.

Yota Kyoda broke up a scoreless tie in the fifth inning after reaching on a leadoff triple and scoring when Ono grounded out.

Giants walk it off against ‘Stars

Naoki Yoshikawa bounced a ground ball through the infield to bring home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the Yomiuri Giants beat the DeNA BayStars 3-2 at Tokyo Dome.

Against Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, the Dragons erased a two-run deficit. Sugano allowed one run in the fifth when the BayStars loaded the bases with no outs. He issued two walks, both in the ninth to set the table for Keita Sano’s game-tying RBI single off lefty Kota Nakagawa.

Sugano, who was gunning for his 10th victory to start the season, allowed four hits while striking out 10.

Rubby De La Rosa (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Giants to earn the win in relief after the Giants scored off of lefty Edwin Escobar (0-2) to win it.

The Giants opened the scoring against Taiga Kamichatani in the fourth on a walk by Yoshihiro Maru and a two-out Takumi Oshiro homer.

Spencer Patton worked a scoreless seventh and Kenta Ishida did the same in the eighth to keep the BayStars in it until the end.

Sands blast knocks off Swallows

Jerry Sands drove in both runs for the Hanshin Tigers in their 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

The former Dodger and KBO RBI champ doubled in a run in the fourth to break up a scoreless pitchers’ duel between lefties Masanori Ishikawa of the Swallows and Haruto Takahashi of the Tigers. Ishikawa lasted 5-1/3 innings, while Takahashi went seven.

The Swallows tied it on a two-out Munetaka Murakami double and an Alcides Escobar RBI single. But Yuta Iwasad worked a 1-2-3 eighth for the Tigers, and Robert Suarez (1-0) worked around Tetsuto Yamada’s leadoff double in the ninth to keep the game tied.

Instead of closer Taishi Ishiyama, Gabriel Ynoa (0-3) took over in the ninth and Sands hit his sixth pitch for his 13th home run of the season.

Active roster moves 9/1/2020

Central League

Activated

BayStarsIF64Hiroki Momose
TigersOF68Shunsuke Fujikawa
CarpIF96Alejandro Mejia
DragonsP16Katsuki Matayoshi
SwallowsP25Gabriel Ynoa
SwallowsOF8Shota Nakayama
SwallowsOF9Yasutaka Shiomi

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP21Ken Togame
EaglesP58Wataru Karashima
MarinesP64Yuta Omine
FightersP27Nick Martinez
BuffaloesP39Yuya Iida

Dectivated

None

Starting pitchers for Sept. 2, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kenta Uehara (-) vs Hideaki Wakui (8-1, 2.25)

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

Kazuya Ojima (4-4, 4.06) vs Tetsuya Utsumi (0-1, 4.50)

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

Daiki Tajima (1-3, 3.02) vs Tsuyoshi Wada (4-1, 3.33)

Central League

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

Angel Sanchez (3-2, 2.67) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-3, 3.86)

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

Shinnosuke Ogasawara (1-2, 5.06) vs Yusuke Nomura (3-1, 2.09)

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

Onelki Garcia (2-5, 3.75) vs Hirofumi Yamanaka (1-1, 3.18)

NPB 2020 8-26 Games and news

Ojima ends Wakui’s win streak

Hideaki Wakui overcame a rough start to work seven innings, but Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima, 10 years his junior, struck out a career-high 11 to deny the 34-year-old his ninth win to open the season as the Lotte Marines beat the Rakuten Eagles and their former teammate 2-0 on Wednesday at Sendai’s Rakuten Semei Park Miyagi.

Wakui pitched out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the first inning with a good inside fastball to Katsuya Kakunaka that the former PL batting champion popped up. After Ojima worked out of a first-inning pickle, Wakui fell behind light-hitting Yudai Fujioka to start the second. The right-hander threw the Marines shortstop a 3-1 fastball down the pipe that he skied to right only for it to reach the seats at the foul pole for his first home run of the season. With two outs, Wakui hung an 0-1 breaking ball and Shuhei Fukuda pulled it down the right-field line for his third home run.

Ojima worked around a defensive mixup in the second that helped Stefen Romero to a leadoff double, and that second zero proved to be the ballgame as he allowed only two more batters to reach through seven innings. Former Eagle Frank Herrmann worked the eighth, while Naoya Masuda notched his 17th save in the ninth.

Wakui also went seven, and though he battled his command more than he has for most of the season, he figured things out as the game went on. He finished with five walks, nine strikeouts and three walks.

Matsuda spearheads Hawks comeback

Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a game-tying seventh-inning home run and singled to give the Hawks a out, ninth-inning beachhead they exploited in their 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Orix Buffaloes at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

Masataka Yoshida doubled off 39-year-old Hawks lefty Tsuyoshi Wada to drive in a first-inning run and broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth against Wada with his xth home run.

Buffaloes lefty Daiki Tajima loaded the bases in the first but allowed no runs, but allowed a single and a home run in the fourth, reserve catcher Hiroaki Takaya’s first of the season. Tyler Higgins kept the Hawks off the board in the bottom of the eighth with the help of backup catcher Torai Fushimi, who cut down lightning-fast pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto trying to steal second.

After a scoreless ninth by Hawks closer Yuito Mori (1-1), Matsuda singled off Buffaloes closer Brandon Dickson (0-3) and Nakamura tripled home pinch-runner Taisei Makihara to end it.

Villanueva lands 1st punch in slugfest

The Nippon Ham Fighters’ Christian Villanueva blasted a three-run, second-inning homer to open the scoring off lefty Daiki Enokida (0-1) who surrendered seven early runs in an 8-5 win over the Seibu Lions at MetLife Dome outside Tokyo.

Fighters starter Toshihiro Sugiura allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings. He didn’t allow a run until the sixth, when two walks and a single opened the floodgates to a five-run Lions innings, highlighted by a three-run Corey Spangenberg home run.

Wheeler boosts well-coached Giants

Zelous Wheeler hit a two-run first-inning home run and put his team in front with a sixth-inning RBI single for the Yomiuri Giants, who took advantage of an umpire’s inattention in a 12-5 see-saw win against the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

With the game tied 5-5 in the sixth, Wheeler put the Giants in front and cleanup hitter Kazuma Okamoto, hitless in his first three at-bats, singled in one more. A seven-hit five-run ninth turned the game into a rout.

The Swallows overturned their early deficit via a one-out Tetsuto Yamada home run, a Norichika Aoki walk and Munetaka Murakami’s 11th home run off Nattino Diplan. But the Giants retook the lead in the second with two runs against lefty Keiji Takahashi after a Hiroyuki Nakajima leadoff single and a double by rookie reserve catcher Yukinori Kishida.

The Swallows were denied an inning-ending double play because third base umpire Yoshiharu Yamaguchi wasn’t paying attention. Nakajima was caught between third and home on a grounder to third and beat a hasty retreat only to find Mota occupying the bag. Swallows catcher Yuhei Nakamura did the smart thing and tagged both men. Nakajima, mistakenly thinking he was out, walked off the bag until third base coach Koji Goto yanked him back.

Swallows manager Shingo Takatsu came out to argue but in the ump’s judgement, Goto preventing Nakajima from getting tagged out did not constitute help or he wasn’t looking. Either way, Hayato Sakamoto followed with a two-out two-run double.

Tomotaka Sakaguchi’s two-run homer in the fifth put Yakult back on top, only for Wheeler and the Giants to turn the game around once more.

Kishida walked to open the sixth, pinch-runner Daiki Masuda stole second and scored on Shinnosuke Shigenobu’s single. A walk put two on for Wheeler who singled between third and short.

Giants reliever Yuhei Takanashi (1-0) earned the win, extending his scoreless game streak to 15 with two scoreless innings.

Nomura pitches Carp past BayStars

Yusuke Nomura (3-1) allowed two runs over eight innings, while Shota Dobayashi and Seiya Suzuki each scored twice in the Hiroshima Carp’s 4-2 win over the DeNA BayStars at Yokohoma Stadium.

The Carp opened the scoring in the fourth on a one-out Dobayashi single, a Suzuki double and Ryuhei Matsuyama’s two-run single. In the home half, Carp center fielder Takayoshi Noma threw out Neftali Soto at the plate to end the inning. The BayStars tied it 2-2 in the fifth on Takayuki Kajitani’s 10th home run, but Dobayashi put the visitors ahead in the sixth. He walked, stole second and scored on Matsuyama’s second RBI single off Haruhiro Hamaguchi (3-3).

Suzuki’s 14th home run, off Spencer Patton in the ninth, completed the scoring, and Geronimo Franzua struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to record his seventh save.

Bour, Tigers maul Dragons

Justin Bour homered twice and drove in three runs, while Onelki Garcia (2-5) allowed two runs over six innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 11-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons at Koshien Stadium.

Bour dropped his bombs against Dragons right-hander Koji Fukutani (2-2), who hit his first bump in the road in his transition to starting pitcher, allowing six runs in six innings to take the loss after four decent outings. The Tigers took the lead in the second when Bour hit his 11th of the season with two outs and none on. His two-run home run capped Hanshin’s five-run sixth

Hawks drop Despaigne, Higashihama

The SoftBank Hawks deactivated two-time Best Nine Award-winning designated hitter Alfredo Despaigne and Opening Day starter Nao Higashima on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Despaigne has been suffering from pain in his left knee. The right-handed-hitting slugger returned to Japan in July with Cuban teammate Yurisbel Gracial and rejoined the first team on Friday and has appeared in three games.

Higashihama, named to start on Opening Day for the first time in June, was sent down due to a stiff neck. He threw 132 pitches in a five-inning start on Friday against the Lotte Marines in which he allowed three runs. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA. He was replaced on the active roster by Wednesday’s starting pitcher, 39-year-old lefty Tsuyoshi Wada.

Moore back with 1st team

First-year import Matt Moore rejoined the Hawks first team on Wednesday for practice prior their game against Orix in Fukuoka. The 31-year-old lefty suffered a left calf injury on July 7.

“His leg is no issue,” manager Kimiyasu Kudo said. “Once he’s in games, we’ll control his pitch counts to some extent. I’ve watched video. The only thing that concerns me is the number of pitches.”

Elsewhere, the Orix Buffaloes deactivated first-baseman Aderlin Rodriguez, while the Central League’s DeNA BayStars dropped first baseman Jose Lopez.

Active roster moves 8/26/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/5

Central League

Activated

GiantsP96Nattino Diplan
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
CarpIF00Kaisei Sone
SwallowsP20Kazuki Kondo

Dectivated

BayStarsIF2Jose Lopez
CarpIF63Ryoma Nishikawa
SwallowsP13Hikaru Nakao

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada
HawksOF64Yusuke Masago
EaglesP72Shun Ikeda
BuffaloesOF56Yusuke Matsui

Dectivated

HawksP16Nao Higashihama
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
EaglesP23Hayato Yuge
MarinesP15Manabu Mima
BuffaloesIF42Aderlin Rodriguez

Starting pitchers for Aug. 27, 2020

Pacific League

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

Yuki Matsui (0-1, 5.16) vs Daiki Iwashita (3-3, 4.03)

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

Keisuke Honda (1-4, 3.45) vs Ryusei Kawano (2-3, 4.46)

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

Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 3.42) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (0-0, 1.23)

Central League

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (2-2, 4.47) vs Shosei Togo (6-2, 2.11)

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

Shoichi Ino (4-3, 2.21) vs Kris Johnson (0-5, 5.83)

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

Koyo Aoyagi (5-3, 3.40) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-3, 2.36)

NPB 2020 8-22 games and news

Jones ruins Utsumi’s Cinderella comeback

Adam Jones homered twice, taking a bat to Tetsuya Utsumi’s hopes of winning his first game in two years, by driving in four runs in the Orix Buffaloes’ 5-2 Pacific League victory on Saturday afternoon.

Jones, who homered and drove in all of Orix’s runs on Friday, when they won their first game under acting skipper Satoshi Nakajima, broke open a scoreless pitching duel between the 38-year-old Utsumi (0-1) and unheralded 26-year-old Taiwan right-hander Chang Yi (1-1).

Chang, who went to school in Japan following in the footsteps of his cousin, Yang Dai-kang, joined Orix in 2017 on a non-roster developmental contract. Since he went to school here, he is still known by how the Chinese characters in his Mandarin name are read in Japanese “Cho Yaku.” After a tough start in his season debut nine days before, Chang’s fastball was crisp and hard for the Lions to handle.

The right-hander pitched out of jams in the third and fourth innings, and he left after allowing five hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

“Honestly, I was resigned to giving up runs (in the fourth inning), but even so I was going to fight them,” Chang said.

Nakajima, who has seen a lot of Chang during his time as the Buffaloes’ farm manager said Saturday’s performance is in line with his skill level.

“You saw what he does well,” Nakajima said. “He had late life on his fastball and attacked hitters. He had an elbow issue that delayed him getting to this point, but he’s going to contribute.”

Never a flame-thrower, Utsumi long thrived on precision and movement, getting foul strikes and soft contact. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced. With one out in the fourth, Buffaloes slugger Masataka Yoshida miss-hit a fastball and chopped it through the infield for a one-out single, Orix’s first hit.

Utsumi nearly got himself out of trouble, but instead set himself up for a fall. He fielded a one-hop comebacker but his uncatchable throw to second spoiled any chance for an out, let alone a double play. Utsumi’s next throw also missed by the smallest of margins, a first-pitch changeup to Jones just above the knees, that he lofted over the left-field wall.

“I just wanted in that situation to get a ball up and drive the runner in and I was fortunate enough to drive the ball out of the ballpark,” Jones said.

Seibu’s Takeya Nakamura, a six-time PL home run champ, hit his sixth of the year in the top of the sixth off reliever Keisuke Sawada.

Jones struck again in the sixth. With two outs and none on, Utsumi missed up just a little with a slider and Jones lined it into the second deck.

“The second one, that was a little more fun. I tried to be aggressive and not let the pitcher get ahead with a strike and just try to be aggressive in the zone. And I didn’t miss it at all,” Jones said.

After three home runs and seven RBIs in two games following a slow start to the season, Jones was asked the obligatory question about whether he was seeing the ball better or not.

‘I’ve been seeing the ball the same,” Jones said. “I am just trying to play the game the way I know how to play.”

“Our pitchers were terrific. Cho battled his butt off and gave us a great opportunity to win the game. And when the opportunity arose to drive some runners in, we did a good job.”

“Home runs are always fun to hit. The bench was going crazy. There’s been a lot of energy the last couple of days. We want to continue to play the game hard and have fun.”

The Lions added a run in the seventh against lefty Nobuyoshi Yamada, forcing setup man Tyler Higgins into the game with two outs and two on to preserve Orix’s lead. Nakamura lined a shot over short, but Koji Oshiro leaped to make a catch, end the inning and save at least a run.

After Higgins worked a scoreless eighth, defensive substitute Yuya Oda doubled in the Buffaloes’ fifth run. Oda, who made a big catch in the ninth on Friday, made another big play on Saturday.

After a Tomoya Mori single to lead off against closer Brandon Dickson, Hotaka Yamakawa drilled a liner to left that Oda short. Mori assumed the ball would be caught and was retreating to first when Oda forced him at second for 7-4 force. A double play followed and it was over.

It was a decent start for Utsumi, if not a winning one for the former ace of the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants. Utsumi joined Seibu after the 2018 season as part of the compensation package for the Giants signing free agent catcher Ginjiro Sumitani. The loss saw Utsumi’s career record against Orix to 2-3 with the previous four games coming in interleague play.

Ironically, Utsumi’s PL debut came against Orix, who drafted him first in 2000 out of high school. Utsumi turned them down out of desire to play for his grandfather’s old team, the Giants. After three seasons in corporate league ball, he turned pro with the Giants.

Yanagita puts on show against Marines

Yuki Yanagita hit a mammoth two-run homer to open the scoring and doubled in the tie-breaking run as the SoftBank Hawks moved back into a tie for first place in the Pacific League with the Lotte Marines, who they beat 3-2.

The camera’s at Zozo Marine Stadium were not prepared for the lunar launch trajectory of Yanagita’s 17th home run, and viewers on TV could only see it drop down and strike the top of the center-field fence, ostensibly after hitting high up on the scoreboard.

Akira Nakamura slashed a leadoff single in the eighth against Frank Herrmann (3-1) for his third hit of the game. Yanagita followed by finding the gap in left center for an RBI double.

Imamiya could be out for up to 2 months

SoftBank Hawks shortstop Kenta Imamiya is expected to miss between six to eight weeks due to a left calf injury. The club announced Saturday that an MRI revealed damage to the soleus muscle in his left leg.

Imamiya, a two-time Best Nine shortstop with five Golden Gloves, complained of pain in the leg on Aug. 19.

Arihara sharp again for Fighters

Nippon Ham Fighters ace Kohei Arihara (3-5) produced his second-straight solid start, allowing a run over six innings, while Sho Nakata homered and drove in three runs in a 5-1 over the Rakuten Eagles at Sapporo Dome.

Arihara gave up six singles and a walk while striking out six, and he quickly had three runs to work with after his teammates opened the scoring in the bottom of the first off Takahiro Shiomi (3-4).

Haruki Nishikawa’s single, the third straight to open the inning, made it 1-0, and Nakata followed with a two-run double. Shiomi allowed four runs over five innings, and Nakata hit his Japan-best 20th home run in the fifth.

Dragons rookie Rodriguez blots out ‘Stars

Cuban rookie Yariel Rodriguez improved to 2-0 in three impressive starts for the Chunichi Dragons, who beat the DeNA BayStars 5-0 at Nagoya Dome.

Rodriguez allowed two singles and two walks over six innings, while striking out just three batters over six innings. The 23-year-old, who is eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award, has now allowed three runs over 19-1/3 innings.

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi opened the scoring in the first against DeNA rookie Kosuke Sakaguchi (0-1) with a one-out bases-loaded single. Takahashi added a two-run home run in the fifth.

Osera goes 8 as Carp walk past Giants

Hiroshima Carp ace Daichi Osera (5-2) allowed two runs over eight innings in a 10-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants, who issued nine walks in the game at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Osera allowed former Carp teammate Yoshihiro Maru to tie it 1-1 in the second with his 12th home run.

But Giants starter Seishu Hatake (0-3) didn’t survive the third inning. He opened it by walking Osera, and by the time the dust had settled, six runs were in and 12 batters had come to the plate.

Israel Mota, who the Giants signed this year from their developmental roster, had his first hit in Japan, a two-run ninth-inning home run.

Tigers survive Swallows ambush

Robert Suarez got Norichika Aoki to fly out with two on and two outs in the ninth to nail down his ninth save as the Hanshin Tigers held on to beat the Yakult Swallows 7-5 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Aoki, whose eighth-inning grand slam brought the Swallows within two runs. Facing Suarez, he did his best to elevate a low 1-0 pitch but his high fly to center was held up by a stiff wind and died at the warning track along with the Swallows’ chances of a come-from-behind win.

Yusuke Oyama belted a three-run first-inning homer off Matt Koch (0-1), who allowed six runs over four innings in his Japan debut for the Swallows.

Tigers starter Yuki Nishi (4-3) allowed a run over seven innings and doubled in a run in Hanshin’s three-run fourth inning only for relievers Yuya Nakao and Yuta Iwasada to let the hosts get back in the game.

Setup man Joe Gunkel allowed a hit and a walk before getting the final out in the inning and turning it over to Suarez in the ninth.

Active roster moves 8/22/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/1

Central League

Activated

BayStarsP12Kousuke Sakaguchi
SwallowsP33Matt Koch

Dectivated

BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP27Tetsuya Utsumi
FightersP59Yuki Yoshida

Dectivated

LionsP23Shogo Noda
FightersP27Nick Martinez

Starting pitchers for Aug. 23, 2020

Pacific League

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

Drew VerHagen (4-1, 3.72) vs Yuya Fukui (0-2, 5.54)

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

Toshiya Nakamura (1-0, 3.86) vs Shuta Ishikawa (5-0, 2.08)

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

Andrew Albers (2-5, 4.04) vs Wataru Matsumoto (1-3, 5.10)

Central League

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

Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-2, 3.43) vs Takumi Akiyama (4-1, 3.80)

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

Yudai Ono (3-3, 3.02) vs Hiromu Ise (0-0, 1.80)

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

Atsushi Endo (2-2, 3.77) vs Daisuke Naoe (-)

NPB 2020 8-21 Games and news

Jones drives in 3 to give new skipper 1st win

Adam Jones results have mirrored those of his Orix Buffaloes this season. But on Friday, their first day after manager Norifumi Nishimura stepped down and was replaced by farm skipper Satoshi Nakajima, things clicked for Jones and his teammates in a 3-1 win over the Seibu Lions at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

Jones tied it 1-1 in the seventh inning off Zach Neal (2-3) with his sixth home run of the season. Neal left with two on and one out in the eighth. Rookie Tetsu Miyagawa walked the bases loaded on four pitches to bring up Jones.

“I have not been swinging the bat too well, but that’s the game of baseball. You have to continue to play the game hard, and be prepared,” he told the fans in the on-field postgame interview. “Underneath the stands in the tunnels, I’ve been getting my work in and trying to be as professional as possible. I’m glad the hard work paid off tonight.”

Buffaloes lefty Sachiya Yamasaki allowed a run on two hits, including Hotaka Yamakawa’s 16th home run in the fourth, and one walk while striking out seven over seven innings.

Neal allowed 10 hits and a walk while striking out one. With the lead in the bag, Orix’s back-of-the bullpen one-two punch of first-year import Tyler Higgins and eight-year Japan veteran Brandon Dickson each worked a 1-2-3 inning. Higgins struck out the tail-end of the Lions order. Dickson got help on a good catch from left fielder Yuya Oda for the second out before recording his seventh save.

Marines march past Hawks into 1st place

Ayumu Ishikawa (4-2) allowed three runs over seven innings, and the SoftBank Hawks pitchers served up a seven-walk, three hit-batsmen, 14-hit parade in the Lotte Marines’ 7-3 win at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium that moved them past the Hawks into first place.

The Marines won 10 of the 12 games the teams played there last year, and now are 3-0 with one tie in this year’s four games on the shores of Tokyo Bay.

Alfredo Despaigne, playing in his first game since returning from Cuba in July, went 0-for-3 with one walk. He was activated Friday, taking the place of Wladimir Balentien, who was deactivated.

Norimoto finds stuff as Eagles’ beat Fighters

Rakuten Eagles ace Takahiro Norimoto (4-3) had better consistent pitches than he has for much of the year as he carried a shutout bid into the ninth inning in a 4-1 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo Dome.

The right-hander’s fastball and splitter were both effective as he struck out nine in eight-plus innings, while allowing no walks and six hits, including three no-out singles in the ninth as he ended a six-start winless streak.

Alan Busenitz came on and nailed down his sixth save on seven pitches.

Hiroaki Shimauchi, whose three-run homer tied Thursday’s game in the ninth inning when the Eagles were down to their last strike, doubled in Hideto Asamura to break a scoreless tie in the sixth. Asamura iced the game in the ninth with a two-run home run.

Carp rookie Morishita slays Giants

Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (5-2) allowed a run over eight innings for the Hiroshima Carp in their 7-5 win at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium that snapped the Yomiuri Giants’ three-game all-shutout win streak.

Morishita allowed five hits and a walk while striking out five after the Carp broke the game open in the bottom of the first with a five-run inning against lefty Kazuto Taguchi (2-3).

Bour thunders as Fujinami, Tigers end droughts

Justin Bour hit two home runs, scored three runs and drove in three, while Shintaro Fujinami (1-4) won for the first time since September 2018 as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Yakult Swallows 7-4 at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Fujinami’s one-out RBI infield single in the first opened the flood gates on a four-run inning that snapped a streak of 37-consecutive scoreless innings for the Tigers. To be nit-picky it was a single because third baseman Munetaka Murakami couldn’t get it out of his glove but wasn’t charged with an error.

At that point it was like the fates that had been spurning the Tigers for days suddenly decided their practical joke had run its course. Koji Chikamoto, who’d doubled in the first when he missed a home run by a few feet, got another double on a hard chopper to first that took a fluke bounce and drove in two.

Fujinami pitched out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the second inning after the Swallows scored two unearned runs and threatened to turn the game around. But Bour made it a 6-2 game in the third with his eighth home run in Japan.

Joe Gunkel and Robert Suarez threw scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to close it down with Suarez recording his eighth save.

Swallows rookie Daiki Yoshida (1-3) allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out five.

Dragons burn BayStars bullpen

Takahiro Matsuba allowed a run over seven innings, and the Chunichi Dragons broke up a gie game in the eighth to beat the DeNA BayStars 3-1 at Nagoya Dome.

BayStars starter Shinichi Onuki allowed a run over six innings, and closer Yasuaki Yamasaki, currently the seventh-inning guy, extricated himself from a no-out bases-loaded pickle to keep it tied. The Dragons again loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against lefty Kenta Ishida (1-1). Ishida hadn’t allowed an earned run since his first game of the season on June 20, but Issei Endo’s sac fly scored Toshiki Abe, and Yohei Oshima plated Yota Kyoda with his second RBI single of the game.

Onuki made a spectacular escape in the third. After Oshima’s one-out single opened the scoring, the Dragons loaded the bases with two outs. Shuhei Takahashi hit a bullet back through the box that Onuki somehow knocked down and picked up, and still managed to nail the runner at first.

Dragons lefty Hiroto Fuku (4-2) earned the win in relief after pitching the eighth, while Cuban right-hander Raidel Martinez notched his eighth save.

Active roster moves 8/21/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/31

Central League

Activated

GiantsOF44Israel Mota
BayStarsP13Hiromu Ise
TigersIF38Ryuhei Obata

Dectivated

TigersIF4Takahiro Kumagai

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP14Ren Kajiya
HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
BuffaloesIF9Koji Oshiro
BuffaloesOF99Yutaro Sugimoto

Dectivated

HawksP34Arata Shiino
HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
BuffaloesP14Kazumasa Yoshida
BuffaloesIF64Shinya Hirosawa

Starting pitchers for Aug. 22, 2020

Pacific League

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

Kohei Arihara (2-5, 4.25) vs Takahiro Shiomi (3-3, 3.78)

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

Kota Futaki (1-2, 6.86) vs Akira Niho (3-4, 5.17)

Buffaloes vs Lions: Kyocera Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Chang Yi (0-1, 5.40) vs Tetsuya Utsumi (-)

Central League

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

Matt Koch (-) vs Yuki Nishi (3-3, 2.42)

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

Yariel Rodriguez (1-0, 2.03) vs Kousuke Sakaguchi (-)

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

Daichi Osera (4-2, 3.12) vs Seishu Hatake (0-2, 4.15)

NPB 2020 8-19 games and news

Wakui improves to 8-0 in blowout win

The Rakuten Eagles’ Hidaki Wakui’s stuff was more inconsistent than it’s been in recent weeks, but he summoned his best stuff when he needed it as the Rakuten Eagles’ right-hander improved to 8-0 thanks to a 12-2 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters on Wednesday at Sapporo Dome.

Wakui may have had more trouble generating misses with his fastball than he has in his last two starts, but he was good enough to allow a run on four hits and a walk over eight innings. The 34-year-old right-hander last won this many games in 2016, when he went 10-7 for the Lotte Marines, who sold him to the Eagles over the winter.

If Wakui was less sharp, Fighters right-hander Toshihiro Sugiura’s game was a disaster. The 28-year-old was coming off three solid starts but just couldn’t execute his pitches as he has so far this year. Fastball after fastball came in high and straight, resulting in extra batting practice for the Eagles hitters, who took a 6-0 lead after the top of the third inning.

Sugiura (4-2) surrendered six runs, four earned, on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman over three innings.

The Fighters’ only run off Wakui came on a lazy slider that Haruki Nishikawa hit into the stands in the bottom of the third for his second homer of the season.

Self-inflicted wounds seal Buffaloes fate in 9th

The Orix Buffaloes allowed the Seibu Lions to steal a 4-3 win in the ninth inning on a series of defensive lapses at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome.

With the score tied 2-2 after Orix’s Tyler Higgins pitched out of a two-out, bases-loaded pickle in the eighth, closer Brandon Dickson took over for the Buffaloes in the ninth.

Third baseman Yuma Mune failed to make a good play on a chopper to third, dropping the ball on what would have been a tough out at first for an error that put Yuji Kaneko on with no outs. A sacrifice and a groundout put Kaneko on third with two outs.

Shuta Tonosaki, who had singled and doubled earlier in the game, put a good swing on a low curve ball and lined it to center. Center fielder Kodai Sano failed to make a shoe-string grab and the ball rolled to the wall. Right fielder Hayato Nishiura retrieved it as Tonosaki approached third and hit the cutoff man. The relay throw arrived in plenty of time but was offline and not caught.

In kind of a throwback to the days in NPB when groundballs that went through outfielders’ legs were ruled triples, Tonosaki was credited with an inside-the-park home run.

The Buffaloes got three hits and a run against Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda, but it was not enough to keep him from recording his 11th save. Dickson (0-2) was charged with two unearned runs and took the loss.

Lions’ eighth-inning bulldog Reed Garrett (3-0) got the win.

Hawks, Marines scrape out tie

The Lotte Marines’ Ikuhiro Kiyota struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to end the game against the SoftBank Hawks in a 10-inning, 2-2 tie at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima allowed two runs over 5-2/3 innings, while Hawks lefty Kotaro Otake also allowed two runs over five to set up what was to be an entertaining defensive struggle.

A pair of no-out walks from Rei Takahashi and a sacrifice gave the Marines a scoring opportunity in the sixth, but first baseman Keizo Kawashima threw a runner out at the plate and the submarine right-hander got out of the inning on a comebacker.

Marines rookie Koshiro Wada, who made his first start on Sunday after being used as a pinch-runner, reached base three times and stole two bases, raising his league-leading total to 14. In the top of the eighth, he robbed Kenta Imamiya of a leadoff single, allowing Frank Herrmann to work around a two-out single and preserve the tie.

Hawks closer Yuito Mori walked the leadoff man in the ninth but escaped trouble thanks to a great catch in foul territory by catcher Takuya Kai and a sparkling double play from shortstop Hikaru Kawase and second baseman Ukyo Shuto, part of the Hawks’ seemingly endless supply of reserve middle infielders.

SoftBank first baseman Kenji Akashi saved the game with a diving catch of a liner for the second out with two men on. A walk loaded the bases for Kiyota, who fouled off Yugo Bando’s sixth pitch before looking at the seventh.

Giants’ lose Mercedes shut out Tigers

The Yomiuri Giants lost southpaw starter Cristopher Mercedes after the top of the first inning to what looks like an elbow injury, but their six relievers completed a four-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome.

Kazuma Okamoto drove in two runs with a single and his Central League-best 18th home run, while Yoshihiro Maru, who had a sac fly off Tigers starter Onelki Garcia (1-5) in the first, delivered the kill shot with a seventh-inning grand slam.

The Tigers have now been held scoreless for 27 consecutive innings following their 1-0 loss to Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano on Tuesday.

Dragon Viciedo roasts Swallows

Dayan Viciedo homered twice and had an RBI double, while right-hander Koji Fukutani (2-1) allowed two runs over six innings for the Chunichi Dragons in their 12-2 plucking of the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium.

Viciedo now has 12 home runs for the season, while Zoilo Almonte hit his third and Toshiki Abe hit his seventh for the Dragons. Fukutani struck out six without issuing a walk.

Pitching switch fails to do trick for ‘Stars

DeNA BayStars manager Alex Ramirez pulled his starting pitcher after he allowed a sixth-inning homer, only for his new pitcher to surrender another that tied it in their 2-2, 10-inning tie with the Hiroshima Carp at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

In what promises to usher in a new wave of complaints about Japan’s only foreign-born manager, Ramirez yanked lefty Haruhiro Hamaguchi after he gave up a one-out solo homer to Shota Dobayashi that cut the BayStars’ lead to a run.

Big right-hander Yuki Kuniyoshi got one out before surrendering Carp shortstop Kosuke Tanaka’s fourth home run of the year.

Active roster moves 8/19/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/29

Central League

Activated

SwallowsP64Ren Kazahari

Dectivated

None

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP30Daiki Enokida
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura

Dectivated

FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa

Tomorrow’s matchups in NPB

Thursday brings some interesting matchups in Japan. In Sapporo, Nick Martinez, who has pitched well despite his 1-4 record will take on Yuki Matsui, who has not pitched well but who is 0-1 in four starts.

On Tuesday, the Orix Buffaloes-Seibu Lions was decided by late relievers, but on Thursday, the bullpen door will open early as Buffaloes go with Kazumasa Yoshida against Seibu’s middle-relief warhorse, Katsunori HIrai.

At Tokyo Dome it will be a battle between two pitchers with 5-2 records, 20-yar-old Giants rookie Shosei Togo and 26-year-old Tigers side-armer Koyo Aoyagi.

In Hiroshima, Kris Johnson is still looking for his first win in his eighth start of the season. He has two quality starts under his belt, which is one more than first-year import Michael Peoples, allowed a run over six innings in his Japan debut on June 20, but has pitched just twice since then. After two respectable Eastern League outings in July, Peoples gave up four runs over five innings in EL loss to the Lotte Marines.

Starting pitchers for Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020

Pacific League

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

Nick Martinez (1-4, 4.17) vs Yuki Matsui (0-1, 5.94)

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

Daiki Iwashita (3-3, 4.19) vs Shunsuke Kasaya (1-2, 4.12)

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

Kazumasa Yoshida (1-0, 3.63) vs Katsunori Hirai (4-2, 4.76)

Central League

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

Shosei Togo (5-2, 2.45) vs Koyo Aoyagi (5-2, 3.65)

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

Hirotoshi Takanashi (1-2, 4.70) vs Yuya Yanagi (2-2, 2.10)

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

Kris Johnson (0-4, 5.70) vs Michael Peoples (0-1, 7.04)