Tag Archives: Wladimir Balentien

NPB wrap 5-28-21

Interleague Day 4 — Sato makes it rain

The Pacific League teams returned home after going 5-9-2 during the week at the Central League parks, and though the PL won the three blowouts, the CL escaped with three wins on Friday, thanks to the heroics of rookie Teruaki Sato.

In Japan, a teru teru bozu, is a kind of talisman, made of cloth or paper in the shape of a Halloween ghost figure that kids hang from windows in hopes of bringing good weather.

In this case, Tigers fans must have been crossing an awful lot of fingers, because the rookie rained home runs, pulled into a tie for the CL home run lead with 13 and became the first CL rookie to hit three in a game since Hall of Famer Shigeo Nagashima in 1958.

Fighters 10, Dragons 1

At Sapporo Dome, the big matchup appeared to be Nippon Ham rookie Hiromi Ito (2-4, 3.67) against Chunichi’s Sawamura Award-winning lefty Yudai Ono (2-3), but that pitchers’ duel turned one-sided in a hurry as the Fighters outhit the Dragons 16-5.

Ono struck out two walked one and allowed 11 hits over four innings as he surrendered six runs. Only two Fighters starters didn’t score, and those two, Kensuke Kondo and Ryo Watanabe, combined to drive in seven runs.

Dayan Viciedo had three hits, including a double, that set up Chunichi’s only run.

BayStars 7, Eagles 6

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Yamato Maeda chased Hideaki Wakui (5-3), who allowed two two-out sixth-inning singles before Maeda’s second home run made it a 5-4 game.

DeNA rookie Shugo Maki scored twice, and his eighth-inning solo homer, his ninth, turned out big after closer Kazuki Mishima surrendered a run in the ninth and ended the game with the go-ahead run on base to record his seventh save.

Lions 10, Tigers 7

At MetLife Dome, Sato crashed this party with his three homer night to send the Tigers to their third interleague win, Jerry Sands also homered for Hanshin, while Jefry Marte and Yusuke Oyama each had one-out RBI singles in the ninth that made it a 7-7 game against Reed Garrett (0-2), who served up Sato’s third.

Robert Suarez struck out the side in the ninth for his Japan-best 15th save.

Wu Nien-ting had three hits. His RBI double tied it 2-2 it 4-4 in the sixth. After the Tigers moved ahead in the seventh on an Oyama RBI single, Takeya Nakamura two-run homer was the big blow in Seibu’s three-run seventh.

Carp 10, Marines 8

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, it was open season on pitchers as Lotte scored four runs with the help of five walks off Takuya Yasaki, and Hiroshima did the same against rookie Shota Suzuki (1-3), who allowed nine hits in his four innings.

Alejandro Mejia had four hits and scored twice for the Carp, who got four RBIs from Ryuhei Matsuyma. Brandon Laird led Lotte’s offense with a two-run first-inning homer and an RBI on a flyout to second, with Leonys Martin walking and scoring both times.

Carp rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save and remained unscored upon in 19 games.

Buffaloes 9, Swallows 2

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Masataka Yoshida hit his 11th homer, a two-run shot in the first off Rick van den Hurk (0-1), while Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4-5) had the kind of game we associate with him, two runs on three walks, five hits and nine strikeouts over seven innings. Kotaro Kurebayashi and Stefen Romero also homered for the Buffaloes.

Hawks 9, Giants 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Wladimir Balentien hit two of the SoftBank Hawks’ four home runs as the defending Pacific League champs crushed the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants 9-3 in interleague play on Friday.

Balentien’s first home run of the season, a solo shot off Seishu Hatake (2-3) broke a 2-2 tie in the second. His two-run shot in the fourth capped four-run rally and iced the game at Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome.

“From the first home run, I felt, I was able to get good swings and hit them both on the button,” Balentien said.

The Giants opened the scoring on a two-run error in the first before Ryoya Kurihara tied it in the home half of the inning with a two-run homer, his fifth. Yuki Yanagita’s 11th home run, a third-inning, two-run shot made it 5-2.

SoftBank right-hander Shuta Ishikawa (3-3)  gave up three runs over six innings. He walked four, hit one and allowed five hits while striking out eight.

The Hawks and Giants have played the last two Japan Series, with the Hawks winning all eight games. The win was SoftBank’s 10th straight against Yomiuri, having won their final interleague game in 2019 and with no interleague last season.

Starting pitchers


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

Drew VerHagen (1-4, 6.38) vs Kodai Umetsu (0-1, 0.00)

Eagles vs BayStars: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 2.84) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-4, 3.29)

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

Tatsuya Imai (2-2, 2.62) vs Masashi Itoh (3-1, 2.57)

Marines vs Carp: Zozo Marine Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Manabu Mima (2-2, 3.51) vs Shogo Tamamura (0-2, 5.40)

Buffaloes vs Swallows: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (2-2, 3.69) vs Yasuhiro Ogawa (4-1, 3.47)

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

Nick Martinez (3-1, 1.44) vs Angel Sanchez (4-2, 3.96)

Active roster moves 5/28/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/7

Central League


DragonsIF63Naomichi Donoue
BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto
BayStarsP49Kevin Shackelford
BayStarsOF37Taishi Kusumoto
BayStarsOF52Seiya Hosokawa
CarpP41Takuya Yasaki


DragonsIF1Yota Kyoda
BayStarsP42Fernando Romero
BayStarsIF0Daisuke Nakai
BayStarsOF33Tomo Otosaka
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa

Pacific League


HawksP39Shuto Ogata
HawksP42Tomohisa Ozeki
LionsC78Masato Saito
LionsIF31Ryusei Sato
LionsIF63Ryusei Tsunashima
LionsIF99Ernesto Mejia
LionsOF68Junichiro Kishi
LionsOF72Seiji Kawagoe
BuffaloesP52Tyler Higgins


HawksP67Shunsuke Kasaya
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
LionsP34Yasuo Sano
LionsP54Zach Neal
LionsC37Sena Tsuge
LionsIF6Sosuke Genda
LionsOF7Yuji Kaneko
LionsOF9Fumikazu Kimura
LionsOF53Aito Takeda
LionsOF58Masato Kumashiro
BuffaloesP98Chang Yi

NPB wrap 5-18-21

New guys

Cy Sneed, who for reason unknown is wearing his first and last name on his Yakult Swallows uniform, was overpowering in his second start while two other new imports, Yakult’s Domingo Santana and Hanshin’s Mel Rojas Jr.,  had impressive games at Koshien. Sneed entered the game having allowed three runs over four innings in his first start, causing an announcer to carelessly utter, “He’s not pitching like a guy with a 6.75 ERA.”

Mel Rojas Jr., KBO’s 2020 MVP, finally got untracked after 21 plate appearances without a hit. He drove a pitch off the outside edge out to center for his first hit and home run in Japan, and you could see the frustration leave his shoulders as he rounded third and raised his arms in wonder about how long this took.

Santana, who has begun having a series of good games, drew a walk and had three doubles.

Swallows 14, Tigers 3 

At Koshien Stadium, Cy Sneed (1-0) whose last name was so short that Yakult perhaps felt  the need to include his first name on his uniform, was more like a bridge of Cys for Hanshin’s hitters until they chased him with one out in the sixth with the Swallows leading 9-2. Sneed located a sizzling fastball with ease mixed it with a sharp slider and it was pretty much game over. With a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, he struck out the heart of the Hanshin order on 10 pitches. He struck out seven, walked one, allowed three runs and five hits.

Yuki Nishi (3-3) on the other hand, was doing just that. After walking 10 batters in his first 46 innings, the right-hander walked five in five. Neither pitcher was helped by an inconsistent strike zone, but when Nishi needed something that wouldn’t be Ball 4, he often couldn’t throw it close enough to get a call.

Santana scored once and drove in five, while Munetaka Murakami hit his Central League-leading 12th home run, walked, singled twice, drove in two runs and scored four.

Giants 7, Carp 2

At Tokyo Dome, Zelous Wheeler extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a two-run double that brought Yomiuri from behind against a Carp team that swapped out eight players due coronavirus infections. Kazuma Okamoto and Justin Smoak homered back to back in the seventh for the Giants. Okamoto’s was his 10th, Smoak’s his fourth.

Shosei Togo (3-2) allowed two runs over six innings. He struck out six, walked two and allowed four hits to win his first game in a month. Daichi Osera (2-1) came back from a calf injury that sidelined him for a month. He allowed three runs over five innings. Thyago Vieira, who was dropped from the closer role a month ago, was activated and created a save situation in the ninth when he loaded the bases with a double and two walks, allowing Chiaki “Door Root” Tone to get his first save in five years.

Tone was called Door Root once on the national team’s English roster page, because NPB is too cheap to pay someone to actually do a real page with names using the roman alphabet and instead used machine transliterations of players names in Chinese characters for those guys who were late additions.

Giants-Carp highlights

Dragons 5, BayStars 1

At Yokohama Stadium, Chunichi’s Shinnosuke Ogasawara (3-2) threw six scoreless innings, Yota Kyoda had three singles, a sacrifice fly, scored one run and drove in three, while Yohei Oshima reached three times and scored twice for the Dragons.

DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (1-4) allowed four runs on 10 hits and one walk over 3-2/3 innings.

“(Kyoda) is a good hitter, batting second. What should they do with him?”

–Dave Okubo, on Pro Yakyu News

Eagles 3, Fighters 2

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, Rakuten’s Hideto Asamura had three hits, singled in the tying run in the fifth inning, and homered to break the 2-2 tie in the eighth for the Pacific League-leading Eagles against Nippon Ham reliever Bryan Rodriguez (0-1). The Rakuten bullpen allowed one hit over the final three innings in relief of Takayuki Kishi with Sung Chia-hao (1-0) earning the win after striking out the side in the eighth.

Chihiro Kaneko cruised through four innings for the Fighters before leaving with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth. Lefty Ryusei Kawano surrendered an RBI single to Hiroto Kobukata that made it 2-1 Fighters. Taisho Tamai entered to face Asamura and let the tying run score. Asamura’s home run was only his third of the year.

Hawks 8, Lions 2

At MetLife Dome, SoftBank’s Shota Takeda (3-2) threw a five-hitter, walking three while striking out seven with Yuki Yanagita hitting his eighth homer in the first off Seibu’s Matt Dermody (0-1) with a man on. Dermody surrendered four runs over six innings. Wladimir Balentien made his season debut for the Hawks, going 1-for-5 with a two-run single.

Buffaloes 6, Marines 5

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix’s Steven Moya hit a pair of solo homers, his fifth and sixth, and Takahiro Okada his fourth, a two-run shot in the fourth to help the Buffaloes win a slugfest with Lotte. Adeiny Hechavarria got a start at short for Lotte and broke the ice with a two-run second-inning double off Hiroya Miyagi. The 19-year-old rookie lefty surrendered Leonys Martin’s Japan-best 13th home run in the fifth before making his exit after five.

Moya’s first homer nearly hit the back wall of the dome, while his second of the game, in the sixth off Lotte rookie Shota Suzuki (1-2) broke the tie. Moya also singled to leadoff the eighth to set up an insurance run. Rookie Ryota Muranishi was called on to get the final out and recorded his first career save.

The Marines had a fast runner in scoring position with one out in the eighth, and the Pro Yakyu News guys jumped on pinch-runner Koshiro Wada for messing it up.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Takahiro Norimoto (3-1, 2.89) vs Takayuki Kato (3-0, 2.25)

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

Tatsuya Imai (2-2, 2.39) vs Yuki Matsumoto (1-2, 5.13)

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

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-4, 1.99) vs Daiki Iwashita (3-2, 3.00)

Central League

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

Yuki Takahashi (5-0, 1.89) vs Allen Kuri (4-3, 3.20)

BayStars vs Dragons: Yokohama Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-3, 3.60) vs Kodai Umetsu (0-1, 0.00)

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

Junya Nishi (-) vs Kazuto Taguchi (1-2, 3.29)

Active roster moves 5/18/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/28

Central League


GiantsP49Thyago Vieira
GiantsIF00Dai Yuasa
DragonsP70Ren Kondo
BayStarsC29Hikaru Ito
CarpP14Daichi Osera
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura
CarpC32Yuta Shirahama
CarpIF35Takumi Miyoshi
CarpIF44Kota Hayashi
CarpIF61Masaya Yano
CarpIF96Alejandro Mejia
CarpOF37Takayoshi Noma
CarpOF38Koki Ugusa


CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura
CarpC62Tomoki Ishihara
CarpIF33Ryosuke Kikuchi
CarpIF51Kaito Kozono
CarpOF49Yuya Shozui
CarpOF55Ryuhei Matsuyama
CarpOF59Minoru Omori
CarpOF63Ryoma Nishikawa

Pacific League


HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
MarinesC45Yuito Munetsugu
MarinesOF10Shohei Katoh
EaglesIF30Toshitake Yokoo


MarinesC99Tomoya Kakinuma