Tag Archives: Yuki Matsui

NPB wrap 8-14-21

Stewart gets 1st top team start

Carter Stewart Jr., the eighth overall pick in MLB’s 2018 draft, will make his first Pacific League start for the SoftBank Hawks on Sunday. He’ll be standing in for former Chicago Cubs lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, whom the Hawks deactivated Saturday due to “lack of right-arm fitness.”

On the farm this year, Stewart is 6-0 with a 1.47 ERA. He’s allowed 35 hits in 49 innings while walking 19 and striking out 51. He’s allowed six runs in four first-team relief outings with seven strikeouts and nine walks in 5-1/3 innings.

and Roki the rocket will pitch too

Another young headliner for Sunday will be teenage flamethrower Roki Sasaki, who will pitch against the Buffaloes. Sasaki has a 3.76 ERA in 26-1/3 innings. On the farm, he’s allowed three runs, one earned, on 10 hits and one homer over 20 innings, striking out 19, walking three and hitting two.

Olympic break special offer

3 Free Months: Japanese baseball is cranking back up after its nearly month-long Olympic break. To mark the occasion all new (or returning) paid subscribers by Sunday, Aug. 15, will get three months free. Paid subscribers get unlimited access to paid content and all posts older than 6 months. So now’s a great chance to keep up as the pennant races heat up.

Hawks 2, Fighters 0

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Nao Higashihama (3-2, 3.14) matched Shuta Ishikawa’s 11 strikeouts on Friday with a career-high 11 of his own over eight innings as the Hawks managed a three-hit shutout after a one-hitter the day before. Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-4, 3.39) allowed two runs over 6-2/3 innings while striking out 10.

Yuki Yanagita doubled and opened the scoring on an Alfredo Despaigne single, and the Fighters set Kenta Imamiya up for an RBI double by playing shallow with two outs and a runner on second in the seventh, allowing his routine fly to deep center to drive in a run.

With their bullpen still depleted, Sho Iwasaki worked around Wang Po-jung’s leadoff infield single in the ninth to record his fifth save.

Marines 4, Buffaloes 2

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Orix took an early two-run lead for the second straight day, but the Marines bounced back against lefty Daiki Tajima (5-6, 3.65) in a four-run second on four hits, including two doubles and Kyota Fujiwara’s rally-capping two-run homer, his third.

Manabu Mima (4-4, 5.84) allowed the first four Buffaloes to reach in the second but stranded two in the fourth and three in the fifth to leave with a two-run lead and four Lotte relievers finished up with Chihaya Sasaki and closer Naoya Masuda combining to retire the final six hitters. Masuda earned his 23rd save.

Eagles 7, Lions 6

At MetLife Dome, Rakuten’s bullpen delivered more quality innings, allowing the Eagles to survive a slugfest with Yuki Matsui to earn his 24th save.

Hiroaki Shimauchi and Eigoro Mogi homered to break a 2-2 fourth-inning tie off Tatsuya Imai, only for Hotaka Yamakawa to tie it again with a two-run bases-loaded fifth-inning double off Eagles reliever Yuya Fukui.

Tomohito Sakai and Tomohiro Anraku each stranded a pair of runners in the sixth and seventh, but Sung Chia-hao took a 7-4 lead into the eighth and barely escaped with the lead. He gave up two runs and escaped only when Takumi Kuriyama lined into a double play.

Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda (0-3), appearing for the first time since May 1, surrendered two runs in the top of the seventh and Matt Dermody gave up an insurance run in the eighth. Reed Garrett worked a scoreless ninth after it was already to late for the Lions.

Eagles starter Ryota Takinaka was yanked after allowing two runs in four innings.

Giants 6, Dragons 1

At Tokyo Dome, New Olympic bronze medalist C. C. Mercedes (5-1, 2.25) allowed a run in the first on a leadoff walk, a sacrifice and back-to-back singles before a pair of strikeouts got him out of the inning. Mercedes pitched the Dominican Republic’s opener against Japan, and allowed a run over six innings in a duel with Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Mercedes repeatedly worked out of trouble but came out after throwing 108 pitches over five innings.

The Giants took a 3-1 lead against Yariel Rodriguez (0-1, 4.82) in the first. Seiya Matsubara singled to open the inning before Hayato Sakamoto and Yoshihiro Maru, who drove the Giants’ offense in their 4-2 come-from-behind win on Friday, did the rest. Sakamoto, Yomiuri’s lone gold medalist, had three hits and a walk the night before. He walked, and Maru plated them with his 11th home run.

Giants-Dragons highlights

BayStars vs Swallows

At Niigata’s Hard Off Eco Stadium, rained out

Tigers 9, Carp 3

At Kyocera Dome Osaka, Jerry Sands blasted his 18th and 19th home runs way up into the cheap seats, while summer trade acquisition Akira Niho (1-0, 5.11) allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings to earn the win.

Carp starter Allen Kuri (7-6, 3.70) blew a 1-0 lead in the second on an error, singles by Mel Rojas Jr. and Ryutaro Umeno and a Koji Chikamoto sac fly. Sands’ first homer made it 3-1 in the third. Umeno singled to lead off the fourth but was cut down at home on a throw from Seiya Suzuki in right. With two outs, Sands blasted a three-run shot and Yusuke Oyama followed by homering for the second straight day with his 12th. Oyama later chipped in with his 13th.

Carp catcher Shogo Sakakura, who singled in a run in the first, took Niho deep in the sixth for a solo homer, his fifth. Rookie Kota Hayashi then chased Niho with his fifth homer.

Starting pitchers

Lions vs Eagles: MetLife Dome 5 pm, 4 am EDT

Yutaro Watanabe (0-2, 4.15) vs Hideaki Wakui (6-6, 4.69)

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

Roki Sasaki (1-2, 3.76) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (4-6, 3.31)

Hawks vs Fighters: PayPay Dome 1 pm, 12 midnight EDT

Carter Stewart, Jr. (0-0, 10.13) vs Drew VerHagen (2-6, 6.13)

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

Shosei Togo (8-4, 3.87) vs Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-4, 2.93)

BayStars vs Swallows: Hard Off Eco Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Imanaga (3-2, 3.61) vs Yasunobu Okugawa (4-2, 4.19)

Tigers vs Carp: Kyocera Dome (Osaka) 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takumi Akiyama (7-4, 3.32) vs Haruki Omichi (4-2, 4.11)

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Active roster moves 8/14/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 8/24

Central League


GiantsP42Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
DragonsIF48Hayato Mizowaki


DragonsIF37Taiki Mitsumata

Pacific League


LionsP11Tatsuya Imai
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima


HawksP21Tsuyoshi Wada

NPB wrap 6-6-21

Interleague Day 12

A little less than two-thirds left in the 16th season of interleague play and the CL has a chance to win the most games for the second time. After Sunday’s games, the Central League leads 32-30-7 while trailing in runs scored 324-291.

It won’t be easy, considering the remaining games, except for a few makeups, will be played in PL parks. But as the announcer during Friday’s Dragons-Buffaloes game, “Hey, the CL is strong this year.”

Sunday marked Tomoyuki Sugano’s return after a month absence, and though he didn’t win, it was a good outing, while 40-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada turned back the clock in a dominant start and the PL’s Wu-Wang clan delivered more pop hits.

Fighters 4, Giants 2

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano (2-3) returned from a month on the sidelines after suffering from right shoulder discomfort and had trouble putting hitters away, but he’s Sugano, so his troubles are not like other pitchers. The Fighters scraped two runs against him on three hits and no walks over five innings.

Speedy leadoff man Ryota Isobata manufactured one run and helped create another for the Fighters, when Haruki Nishikawa scored from second on his eighth-inning sacrifice. An error on the play set up Isobata to score the Fighters’ fourth run.  The only reason Isobata was credited with an RBI on the play because the official scorer was jealous about Saturday’s bunt assault in Hiroshima.

For the second straight day, there seemed to be a psychic Taiwan tie-up as Wang Po-jung homered a few minutes after Seibu’s Wu Nien-ting homered down the road at Jingu Stadium against the Swallows.

Fighters rookie Hiromi Ito (3-4) worked around four walks to allow just one run on two hits over seven innings. The run came on a third-inning Seiya Matsubara double and a Zelous Wheeler single. Matsubara and Wheeler walked in the eighth and Matsubara came home on a Naoki Yoshikawa single.

Matsubara, who hit one of two ninth-inning homers off closer Toshihiro Sugiura on Saturday, lined out to end the game with the tying runs on base as Sugiura recorded his 11th save.

Giants-Fighters highlights

Swallows 9, Lions 6

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Norichika Aoki second RBI double in a four-run eighth inning helped clinch a wild one. Wu’s sixth home run, a two-run third-inning blast, gave Seibu a 3-2 lead, that quickly evaporated. After homers by Aito Takeda and rookie Shinichiro Kishi, the Lions led 6-5 in the sixth.

Scott McGough, who blew a one-run save opportunity and took the loss on Saturday when he surrendered three home runs, retired the heart of the Lions order on Sunday to notch his seventh save.

BayStars 4, Marines 3

At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA squeeked out a win when Lotte left fielder Katsuya Kakunaka got turned around at the wall and failed to make a tough catch that would have ended the game in a 3-3 tie and instead became a two-out walk-off RBI double for Yamato Maeda.

The Marines rallied to tie it in the eighth on three two-out doubles by Shogo Nakamura, Leonys Martin and Kakunaka off Yasuaki Yamasaki, costing ace Shota Imanaga the win after he’d held Lotte to a run over six innings.

The BayStars took a 2-0  lead on homers by Tyler Austin, his 11th, and rookie Shugo Maki, his 10th, off Kazuya Ojima. With the game tied 3-3 and first base open, the BayStars walked Brandon Laird intentionally to face Yudai Fujioka, who’d doubled in Kakunaka in the fourth. But a day after the intentional walk blew up their game, this one paid off. Kazuki Mishima (1-3) worked the ninth, and the BayStars won it against Marines closer Naoya Masuda (0-4).

Buffaloes 4, Dragons 0

At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, Orix’s Hirotoshi Masui (2-4) allowed a walk and a hit over six innings, while his teammates had the kind of three-run inning that makes Japanese analysts and announcers hyper ventilate with excitement, three RBI singles and a sacrifice bunt by the pitcher.

Koji Fukutani (3-5), Chunichi’s Opening Day starter, struck out seven while walking one over six innings, but gave up four runs on six hits.

Hawks 8, Tigers 3

At Koshien Stadium, 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3) had his best start of the season, striking out eight, while hitting a batter and giving up four singles over seven innings. Takuya Kai drove in three runs for the second straight day, singling in two in a three-run first, and another in the eighth. Minor league infielder Masaki Mimori batted leadoff, reached base four times, scored three runs and tripled in another.

Rookie Junya Nishi (1-1) made an emergency start for Hanshin after Joe Gunkel was scratched with a sore throat but tested negative for the coronavirus. Nishi allowed three runs in three innings. Jefry Marte hit his 10th home run for the Tigers and rookie Teruaki Sato his 15th after the game was already out of hand.

Eagles 6, Carp 4

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Rakuten’s Eigoro Mogi broke a scoreless tie with a fourth-inning RBI double off Koya Takahashi (2-2), and added a two-run home run, his ninth of the season.

Rookie lefty Takahisa Hayakawa (7-2) worked 5-2/3 innings. He left with two and both scored against Tomohiro Anraku on singles by rookie Kota Hayashi and Kevin Cron, who went 3-for-4 with a double.

Yuki Matsui worked the ninth to tie Hanshin’s Robert Suarez for the Japan saves lead with 17.

Active roster moves 6/6/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/16

Central League


GiantsP18Tomoyuki Sugano
TigersP15Junya Nishi
TigersP49Joe Gunkel
DragonsIF48Hayato Mizowaki
CarpP34Koya Takahashi
CarpOF1Seiya Suzuki
SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi


TigersP56Keisuke Kobayashi
TigersP65Atsuki Yuasa
DragonsP18Kodai Umetsu

Pacific League


LionsP64Towa Uema
FightersC60Takuya Kori
BuffaloesP49Keisuke Sawada


FightersP33Kazuaki Tateno
BuffaloesP35Motoki Higa