Tag Archives: Yoshinobu Yamamoto

NPB wrap 9-10-21

The JBU, the Japanese Baseball Universe, on Friday occupied a space in time between the Moody Blues and the X-Men, with a day of future past in Chiba, where Japan’s future met its past in a pitchers’ duel between Roki Sasaki and Masahiro Tanaka that didn’t disappoint.

Marines 3, Eagles 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, the pitchers’ duel between Lotte rookie rocket Roki Sasaki and Rakuten’s former Yankee Masahiro Tanaka didn’t disappoint and neither did another former Yankee, Brandon Laird, who opened the scoring with his 21st home run and closed the scoreline with his 22nd, a two-out walk-off shot against reliever Tomohito Sakai (3-2).

Laird did his sushi thing after feasting on a first-pitch fastball with one out in the second that came in straight and high and went out the same way for a 1-0 Lotte lead. Yudai Fujioka opened the third with a single off a good 0-1 slider from Tanaka and scored on a sacrifice and a one-out Takashi Ogino single. Ogino, whose ninth-inning homer lifted Lotte into a 2-2 tie with Orix on Thursday, fouled off two two-strike pitches before lining a forkball that Tanaka left up in the zone.

Sasaki retired the first 12 Eagles before getting a run on four pitches. Eigoro Mogi hammered Sasaki’s first pitch, a slider above the letters for a double. Three pitches and two ground balls behind the runner and it was a 2-1 game.

Career minor league infielder Tsuyoshi Yamasaki, whose been playing second while cleanup hitter and captain Hideto Asamura is benched due to “poor form” hammered a 151-kph Sasaki left up and drove it out to center for his first home run in two years.

Both starters went eight innings. Sasaki’s command was often not as sharp, but he missed in the zone with better stuff than Tanaka did and touched 158 kph (98.2 mph) — his highest figure on the top team.

Sasaki allowed two hits and struck out nine without allowing a walk and needed just 99 pitches to go eight. Although he got away with a couple of bad mistakes in the first inning, he settled in with that nice easy throwing motion of his, challenging hitters in the zone with his slider, heater and forkball.

Tanaka threw more of his fastball than we’ve seen and threw some really good ones, and though both of the runs scored occurred on mistakes, he didn’t make a ton of them. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed four hits in his 120-pitch outing.

Buffaloes 7, Lions 1

At MetLife Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (13-5, 1.54) struck out nine while allowing two walks and two hits over six scoreless innings, while Takahiro Okada homered to lead off the second with his 11th home run and singled the Buffaloes’ run in the third off Wataru Matsumoto (7-7, 3.72). Yamamoto’s winning decision was his 10th straight.

Kotaro Kurebayashi’s triple made it 3-0 in the fourth. Yutaro Sugimoto opened the fifth with his 25th home run, tying him with Yuki Yanagita and Leonys Martin for the league lead, while rookie Ryoto Kita capped the three-run inning with a two-run single.

Glenn Sparkman worked two innings, surrendering Shuta Tonosaki’s fifth homer in the seventh before retiring six straight. Tyler Higgins followed suit with a 1-2-3 ninth as Orix kept pace with Lotte.

Fighters 4, Hawks 4

At Sapporo Dome, SoftBank’s Nick Martinez pitched out of a couple of tight spots to go six scoreless innings against his former club. The Hawks opened the scoring in the fourth after side-arm lefty Ryusei Kawano hit Yuki Yanagita and Ryoya Kurihara. Alfredo Despaigne’s seeing-eye single brought one run home and another scored on a grounder by Richard Sunagawa, who reached on an error. Masaki Mimori singled and scored in the fifth on a booming double by Yanagita.

With Martinez watching from the bench, the Hawks bullpen gave up four runs in the seventh. Yugo Bando left with two outs and one on after a walk and a Ryusei Sato RBI double on a good 1-2 pitch. Back-to-back singles off two different relievers and a walk loaded the bases and made it a one-run game. The Hawks’ fourth reliever of the inning, rookie Yuto Furuya, gave up a two-run single to Daiki Asama.

Bryan Rodriguez was called on to save the game but hit Sunagawa and issued a walk to start the ninth. Mimori’s two-out single tied it. Yanagita walked to load the bases but Rodriguez averted disaster by striking out Kurihara.

Yuito Mori, in his second game back from injury, worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down the tie.

Tigers 4, Carp 1

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki failed to match the NPB record of homering in seven straight games, but Hanshin starter Yuki Nishi (5-9, 3.48) allowed a run over five innings, and Jerry Sands, batting for him in the sixth, singled in the go-ahead run, helping him become the 140th pitcher to reach 100 career wins, 74 of which came with Orix.

Koji Chikamoto doubled to open the game off Daichi Osera (6-5, 3.26) and scored. The Carp held Nishi’s feet to the fire in the home half, loading the bases with one out for red-hot Shogo Sakakura, but had to settle for a sacrifice fly and a tie game. In the fifth, Nishi walked Suzuki intentionally to load the bases with two out and Sakakura flied out.

Osera, who drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and spent the entire inning on base, allowed the Tigers to load the bases with one out in the sixth. Sands made it 2-1, and Takumu Nakano singled to make it 3-1.

An eighth-inning Chikamoto RBI single completed the scoring, and the fifth Tigers reliever, Robert Suarez, recorded his CL-leading 30th save.

Dragons 10, Giants 1

At Tokyo Dome, Chunichi’s Yota Kyoda hit the first pitch of the game from Yuki Takahashi (10-4, 3.01) for a home run and made it 5-1 in the fifth with his third home run of the season.

Nobumasa Fukuda, making his first start in forever, led off the second with his sixth home run, and catcher Takuya Kinoshita singled in a run to cap the two-run inning. Kinoshita brought home Fukuda with a sixth-inning sac fly and drove in two in the eighth with his ninth home run.

Yudai Ono (6-8, 2.99) allowed a run over seven innings to win his third straight start.

Giants-Dragons highlights

Saturday’s starting pitchers

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

Takayuki Kato (3-6, 3.88) vs Shuta Ishikawa (5-8, 3.16)

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

Tatsuya Imai (6-5, 3.72) vs Cesar Vargas (1-0, 9.64)

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

Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.92) vs Takayuki Kishi (7-7, 3.49)

Giants vs Dragons: Tokyo Dome 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes (7-1, 2.38) vs Yuya Yanagi (8-5, 2.07)

Swallows vs BayStars: Jingu Stadium 5:30 pm, 4:30 am EDT

Cy Sneed (2-2, 4.50) vs Masaya Kyoyama (2-4, 4.35)

Carp vs Tigers: Mazda Stadium 1:30 pm, 0:30 am EDT

Koya Takahashi (3-4, 5.25) vs Takumi Akiyama (9-5, 2.92)

Active roster moves 9/10/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/20

Central League

Activated

GiantsP59Toyoki Tanaka
TigersP48Yukiya Saito
TigersIF4Takahiro Kumagai
DragonsP28Hiroto Mori

Dectivated

TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
TigersIF8Teruaki Sato
DragonsP41Akiyoshi Katsuno
DragonsP43Takuya Mitsuma
BayStarsP20Yuya Sakamoto

Pacific League

Activated

HawksP17Sho Iwasaki
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
FightersP57Toshihiro Sugiura
FightersOF12Go Matsumoto

Dectivated

MarinesP12Ayumu Ishikawa
FightersP31Toru Murata
FightersOF69Hokuto Miyata

NPB wrap 9-8-21

NPB announced its monthly awards for each league for the period from July to August. The Central League’s batter of the month was Hiroshima outfielder Seiya Suzuki, while the CL’s pitcher of the month was Yomiuri closer Thyago Vieira. The Pacific League’s guys were Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Lotte outfielder Kyota Fujiwara.

I also ran the players’ numbers and evaluated the selections.

The Buffaloes and Marines are playing each other this week with each team missing a top offensive performer. Orix outfielder Masataka Yoshida was hurt running to first base on Sunday and has been deactivated, while Fujiwara is expected to miss the series after being hit in the right calf by a pitch on Sunday.

The Marines will get reinforcements, however, with right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa named to start Thursday’s game, his first since he had surgery in June to clean out his right shoulder. Adam Jones, who missed Tuesday’s game due to the effects of his vaccination, returned to duty for the Buffaloes on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s games

Marines 4, Buffaloes 1

At Kobe’s Hotto Motto Field, Leonys Martin spoiled what was shaping up to be another heart-warming Orix win. Eighteen-year-old rookie Ryoto Kita, who went to high school in nearby Akashi, broke up a scoreless tie in an outstanding pitching duel between Lotte’s Kota Futaki (5-5, 3.93) and 23-year-old rookie Soichiro Yamazaki, who went six innings.

Futaki struck out five and allowed five hits but no walks over seven innings. Martin tied it with a sixth-inning RBI double. Orix’s fourth pitcher, Ryo Yoshida (1-1) stumbled after Kita dropped a one-out fly to left in the rain. A five-pitch walk and two to Martin, who cracked his 25th home run settled the issue.

Seiichiro Oshita, who on Tuesday was yanked from a farm game at the Carp’s minor league park in Yamaguchi Prefecture, so he could hop on a shinkansen to hit a pinch-hit homer and drive in the winning run, just missed another pinch-hit homer in the eighth.

Naoya Masuda locked it down in the ninth for his 150th career save and his Japan-leading 31st of the year.

The win pushed Lotte ahead on winning percentage.

Eagles 8, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Rakuten’s Ryota Takinaka (6-4, 4.92) struck out six over six innings, while allowing two singles and a walk, while Daichi Suzuki opened the scoring in a two-run second against Naoyuki Uwasawa (8-6, 3.20) by leading off the inning with his eighth home run.

Suzuki, who drove in four runs, had two of the Eagles’ eight doubles. Uwasawa allowed three runs over six innings in the loss.

Hawks 9, Lions 0

At MetLife Dome, SoftBank took BP against Zach Neal (1-6, 5.85), who walked two of the 21 batters he faced while allowing nine runs on 11 hits over 2-2/3 innings. Ryoya Kurihara singled in the first run in a two-run first and capped a four-run second with a three-run homer, his 14th.

Kodai Senga (5-1, 3.06) struck out six without walking a batter, while allowing four hits over seven innings.

The good news, however, was probably the return of closer Yuito Mori, who has been sidelined since April 29 due to inflammation in his left elbow. The right-hander retired the side in the ninth.

Tigers 5, Swallows 3

At Koshien Stadium, Yusuke Oyama, who was instrumental in demolishing Yomiuri over the weekend, walked twice, and hit a tie-breaking two-run home run, his 16th, as Hanshin moved 2-1/2 games ahead of the second-place Giants.

Jose Osuna and pitcher Yasuhiro Ogawa (7-4, 4.29), each drove in a run in the second, when Hanshin rookie Masashi Ito got out of jail by retiring Norichika Aoki with the bases loaded.

Hanshin got a run in the second after a Jefry Marte single, a Jerry Sands double and Oyama’s first walk, but Yakult made it 2-1 in the third when Tetsuto Yamada led off with his 27th home run. Mel Rojas Jr. batted for Ito with a man on in the fifth and tied it with his sixth homer.

Ogawa retired the next four batters before Sands’ third hit of the game. Oyama followed with his tie-breaking blast. Four Tigers relievers made short work of the visitors with rookie Ippei Ogawa (1-0) earning his first career win – and vowing to give the winning ball to his parents – and Robert Suarez earning his 29th save.

BayStars 4, Giants 1

At Yokohama Stadium, former Blue Jay and BayStar Shun Yamaguchi (2-4, 3.40) gave up two first-inning runs on four singles, with Toshiro Miyazaki and rookie Shugo Maki each driving in one, and the BayStars tacked on two runs when the Giants failed to turn inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings.

DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki (6-5, 4.46) struck out seven, walked one while allowing seven hits and one run over six innings. Seiya Matsubara tripled and scored the Giants’ only run in the sixth on a single by second baseman Naoki Yoshikawa.

Dragons 4, Carp 1

At Mazda Stadium, Hiroshima’s Seiya Suzuki homered for the fifth straight game, a second-inning solo shot off Takahiro Matsuba (3-3, 3.70) for his 25th of the season, but that was all the Carp would manage.

Chunichi catcher Takuya Kinoshita tied it in the fifth, doubling in Shuhei Takahashi with two outs, and pinch-hitter Nobumasa Fukuda hit a two-run seventh-inning homer, his fifth. Kinoshita homered in the ninth with his eighth.

Raidel Martinez bounced back from a five-run ass-kicking on Tuesday to record his 16th save. Carp starter Shogo Tamamura (2-6, 3.89) allowed three runs over seven innings.

Thursday’s starting pitchers

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

Drew VerHagen (3-6, 4.80) vs Takahiro Norimoto (8-5, 3.81)

Buffaloes vs Marines: Hotto Motto Field 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (5-7, 4.10) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (2-2, 5.08)

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

Yuya Sakamoto (4-4, 4.77) vs Shosei Togo (8-6, 3.89)

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

Haruto Takahashi (-) vs Keiji Takahashi (2-1, 2.55)

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

Allen Kuri (9-6, 3.78) vs Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-5, 3.42)

Active roster moves 9/8/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/18

Central League

Activated

TigersP36Masumi Hamachi
CarpP41Takuya Yasaki

Dectivated

TigersP28Taiki Ono
TigersP65Atsuki Yuasa
CarpP98Robert Corniel

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesP18Kota Futaki
EaglesP57Ryota Takinaka
BuffaloesP63Soichiro Yamazaki
BuffaloesOF10Adam Jones

Dectivated

HawksP11Yuki Tsumori
MarinesOF2Kyota Fujiwara
FightersC60Takuya Kori
BuffaloesC44Yuma Tongu

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