Tag Archives: Yoshihisa Hirano

NPB news: Aug. 24, 2022

In the Central League on Wednesday, DeNA closer Yasuaki Yamasaki owned up to sucking as he set a milestone, Munetaka Murakami didn’t hit a home run but did get walked four times, and we have a new Pacific League leader!

A day after I wrote about a player hitting a ball into the next zip code, Kensuke Kondo actually did that.

We also had a manager who is gaining a reputation, sending his slugging catcher to the minors for his pitch calling.

So let’s get to it shall we?

Continue reading NPB news: Aug. 24, 2022

NPB news: Aug. 10, 2022

Wednesday was Roki Sasaki Day, and Sasaki looked really really good for the first time in a couple of months, Yoshinobu Yamamoto was terrific, the DeNA BayStars made a move in the standings, and it was also awards day, when there was kind of a surprise.

And if that’s not enough there’s a riddle to boot: Why are the Rakuten Eagles like Nancy Sinatra?

So let’s get walkin’.

Monthly honors for July

The most obvious choice, Munetaka Murakami, won Central League batter of the month, while Yuki Okabayashi of the Dragons was the CL’s July leader in WAR, which counts defense, and whom John E. Gibson said on the podcast was deserving. But the award, seldom won by shortstops, catchers, or No. 2 hitters, is not for the most valuable player but the most valuable hitter, which explains why first basemen and DHs are about 10 times more likely to win as shortstops or catchers.

Hanshin Tigers pitcher Yuki Nishi, who had virtually the same stats as teammates Koyo Aoyagi and Masashi Ito, and Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita, won the CL pitching award. The official announcement doesn’t say whether or not they picked his name out of a hat or not, as I’d suggested on this week’s podcast.

The PL hitter award went to the OPS leader, and I don’t remember the last time a winner was noted for leading the lead in OBP, so good for them. Given the only starting pitcher with a 3-0 record or better, Daiki Tajima, had a 3.16 ERA, it was not a surprise that a reliever with a 0.00 ERA won, although Seibu’s Yoshinobu Mizukami, who was 2-0 with seven holds and one save, trumped the guy I noticed, Orix’s Yoshihisa Hirano, 0-0 with a six saves and two holds but only pitched 7-2/3 innings.

Wednesday’s games

Hawks 4, Marines 3: At Chiba Marine Stadium, Nao Higashihama (7-5) won a duel of no-hit pitchers with Roki Sasaki (6-3). Higashihama allowed a run on two walks and four hits over seven innings. Sasaki’s fastball was really, really good after the Hawks scored three runs off him in the second.

Yuki Yanagita became the first PL hitter this year to homer off him, pulling a curveball down the line to lead off the inning. A couple of straight fastballs put runners on second and third and two straight one-out squeezes made it 3-0, with Sasaki not getting an out the first time and thus setting up the second.

Takashi Ogino doubled in Hisanori Yasuda in the third to make it a 3-1 game. Sasaki struck out 10 over six innings, including five straight at one stretch, and fanned Taisei Makhihara three times. With Sasaki done after 91 pitches, however, Makihara singled in Ukyo Shuto with an eighth-inning insurance run.

The Marines trimmed the lead to two in the home half on Ogino’s leadoff homer against Koya Fujii.

Continue reading NPB news: Aug. 10, 2022