We have three big pennant-race and playoff battles going on involving seven of Japan’s 12 teams. Sure the Swallows and BayStars haven’t etched the Central League’s top-two slots in stone yet, but DeNA started Tuesday six games out of first place, so while it’s interesting, it’s only a must-win situation for one of those two teams.
The Pacific League-leading Hawks played the last-place Fighters on Tuesday while leading the second-place Buffaloes on winning percentage, with Orix at Lotte where on a rainy night, it wasn’t the rain that forced a 20-minute delay.
I missed a four-game series, which we have every few years at this time, and because I missed it, the rumor of the Lions being swept by the Eagles was greatly exaggerated ahead of Tuesday’s finale as those two clubs slug it out for the the PL’s final playoff spot.
The Hanshin Tigers went into Tuesday’s game with DeNA in third place but leading the Hiroshima Carp and Yomiuri Giants on just winning percentage.
Hawks 3, Fighters 1: At Sapporo Dome, Yuki Yangita hit a solo homer, his 21st, en route to a 3-0 Hawks lead. Shuta Ishikawa (7-9) gave up his first hits in the sixth, when Takuya Nakashima doubled in a run with one out. Ishikawa issued a walk, and manager Hiroshi Fujimoto began playing pitcher roulette.
The next reliever issued a walk and was gone, but Yuki Tsumori got an inning-ending double play. Former closer Yuito Mori loaded the bases and was gone, and Nippon Ham left the bases jammed again. After four relievers in two innings, Yuki Matsumoto and Koya Fujii closed it out with Fujii getting his third save.Continue reading NPB news: Sept. 20, 2022