Tag Archives: Yuki Yanagita

NPB wrap 5-9-21

Okamoto goes boom

Giants 7, Swallows 5

At Tokyo Dome, Kazuma Okamoto, the Central League’s 2020 home run and RBI leader, made up for helping to kill a couple of early Yomiuri rallies by homering in the eighth to make it a one-run game and ending it with a three-run walk-off shot against Yakult closer Taichi Ishiyama (0-2).

New Swallows import Cy Sneed allowed three runs in four-plus innings in his Japan debut, while Giants lefty Nobutaka Imamura allowed a run in 5-2/3 innings.

Zelous Wheeler had two hits for the Giants, while Domingo Santana singled in a run in the eighth, when the Swallows scored four to take Sneed off the hook.

Giants-Swallows highlights

Tigers 3, BayStars 2

At Yokohama Stadium, 39-year-old former Japan international Yoshio Itoi got his second start of the season for Hanshin and did what he did in his first start on Friday, homer. His two-run shot capped a three-run Tigers fifth off Michael Peoples (1-1), who had retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced.

Rookie wunderkind Teruaki Sato opened the fifth with a walk, scored the tying run on a Jerry Sands double, and Itoi put the CL leaders in front. Joe Gunkel started for the Tigers and allowed a run in three innings, but after having runners on second and third with no outs in the BayStars’ scoreless third – following a leadoff double by Peoples,  the right-hander left the game.

Gunkel is set to be deactivated on Monday with what appears to be stiffness in his right shoulder.

Hanshin’s bullpen, allowed one run over the final five innings, a homer from leadoff man Masayuki Kuwahara, who doubled and scored the game’s opening run in the first, but that was it. Robert Suarez recorded his ninth save.

Neftali Soto doubled twice for DeNA but was stranded both times.

Dragons 2, Carp 0

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Chunichi’s Yuya Yanagi (3-1) allowed two hits and a walk – all with two outs in the third inning, but struck out 11. Dayan Viciedo broke up the scoreless game with his fifth home run, a two-run shot in the fourth, and Raidel Martinez pitched around a pair of one-out ninth-inning singles to record his fifth save.

Yanagi’s 1.72 ERA is .01 back of the league leader, Yuki Takahashi of the Giants, while the Dragons right-hander leads the CL in innings, 47, strikeouts, 58, and WHIP, 0.77.

Hawks 3, Lions 1

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Yuki Yanagita doubled and scored SoftBank’s first run in 21 innings to tie it in the sixth off Seibu’s Katsunori Hirai, and then singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh. SoftBank starter Yuki Matsumoto allowed the first two runners to reach in each of the first two innings but retired the next nine hitters and his bullpen colleagues maintained that pace with Livan Moinelo getting his third save.

Eagles 6, Fighters 3

At Sapporo Dome, Ryosuke Tatsumi hit a game-tying fifth-inning home run off former teammate Takahide Ikeda (2-4), and kick started Rakuten’s three-run sixth with a one-out infield single as Eagles’ rookie Takahisa Hayakawa (4-2) earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings.

Four walks lost it for Ikeda, traded to Nippon Ham in March, allowed three runs, two earned, in 4-2/3 innings. Fighters lefty Ryusei Kawano struck out Brandon Dixon to leave the bases loaded in the fifth, but first-year import Robbie Erlin let the game get away with three runs over two innings.

Taiwan’s Wang Po-jung doubled, singled and walked in the No. 3 spot for the Fighters, making the third straight game he’s looked like the guy they expected to see in 2019 after they signed him via the posting system.

Rakuten lefty Yuki Matsui worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his ninth save, making him the 16th player with 150 career saves.

Marines 7, Buffaloes 4

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Leonys Martin spearheaded the Lotte Marines counterattack after Kazuya Ojima (1-1) allowed three runs in the first. Ojima went five innings, and the Marines bullpen allowed a run over the final four, with closer Naoya Masuda notching his eighth save.

Orix starter Hirotoshi Masui (1-4) gave up five runs, four earned, in 3-2/3 innings. Back-to-back first-inning doubles by Takashi Ogino and Martin made it 3-1, and Brandon Laird’s two-out single plated Martin. Lotte tied it in the second on reserve catcher Tomoya Kakinuma’s first home run and scored with the help of an error in the third to take the lead.

Active roster moves 5/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/19

Central League

Activated

CarpC40Yoshitaka Isomura
SwallowsP28Daiki Yoshida
SwallowsP54Cy Sneed

Dectivated

DragonsP22Yudai Ono
CarpC22Shosei Nakamura

Pacific League

Activated

None

Dectivated

HawksIF27Yurisbel Gracial

NPB Wrap 5-5-21

Fit to be tied

Hawks 5, Eagles 5

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Rakuten closer Yuki Matsui blew a one-run save opportunity, but struck out Yuki Yanagita to end the game with the winning run on third, forcing the game to end in a tie and causing both teams to celebrate not losing at the same time, which is something I’d never seen before.

Softbank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada deserved to lose this one after allowing five runs over five innings, but Seiji Uebayashi homered and doubled to drive in the Hawks’ first three runs and singled in the tying run in the ninth on a 1-2, two-out pitch from Matsui.

Taichi Suzuki delivered the big blow for the Eagles with a two-out three-run second-inning double in support of Takahiro Norimoto, who allowed four runs over six innings.

Lions 6, Buffaloes 2

At MetLife Dome, Seibu lit up Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3-3), who allowed five runs, four earned, in 6-1/3 innings on a career-worst 10 hits. Lions right-hander Tatsuya Imai (2-2), whose biggest issue is walks, issued four, but non until there were two outs in the sixth and he was leading 3-0.

Sosuke Genda powered the Lions offense with a single, double and triple, three runs and an RBI. Imai allowed two runs, but left with two on and two outs in the eighth. Without closer Tatsushi Masuda on the farm due to poor results and Reed Garrett sidelined by a drive off his knee on Tuesday, 2020 PL rookie of the year Kaima Taira struck out Steven Moya to end the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his first save.

Swallows 2, Tigers 2

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult’s Norichika Aoki ended what had been a futile 0-for-3 day at the plate by sliding under Hanshin first baseman Jefry Marte’s tag to drive in the tying run with an eighth-inning RBI infield single. After that, Swallows closer Taichi Ishiyama and Tigers closer Robert Suarez ensured the game ended in a tie, the first for the Central League-leading Tigers.

Marte drove in both Tigers’ runs, with a two-out, third-inning bases-loaded single off rookie Yasunobu Okugawa, and made a big blay in the field, throwing out the lead runner on a good bunt by the Swallows pitcher with runners on first and second and no outs in the fifth. The play prevented Kotaro Yamasaki’s two-outs single from scoring two and tying the game.

Tigers side-armer Koyo Aoyagi allowed a run over six innings. Yakult center fielder Yasutaka Shiomi was sidelined with an “injured tooth” from a medicine ball striking him in the face during pregame practice, Nikkan Sports reported.

Dragons 4, BayStars 0

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, DeNA Opening Day starter Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-3) allowed three singles and a walk over six innings while striking out eight.

Keita Sano and rookie Shugo Maki reached to set the table in the seventh, and Masayuki Kuwahara delivered two-run pinch-hit single to chase Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-2). Koki Yamashita followed with another two-run pinch-hit single off Keisuke Tanimoto.

Edwin Escobar, Yasuaki Yamasaki and Kazuki Mishima followed Hamaguchi out of the DeNA bullpen for an inning each with Yamasaki providing all the drama and having to strike out Mike Gerber with the bases-loaded to preserve the shutout.

Giants 4, Carp 0

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Yomiuri’s Angel Sanchez (2-2) scattered six hits over seven innings, and four relievers completed the seven-hit, no-walk shutout. Rookie Hiroshima lefty Koya Takahashi (1-1) allowed a run over six innings on four hits and a walk, while striking out six in the tough loss.

A Hayato Sakamoto single and a Zelous Wheeler double to open the fourth set up the first run, with Sakamoto coming home on a Hiroyuki Nakajima sac fly. Pinch-hitter Yoshiyuki Kamei doubled in two runs in the ninth to ice it.

Lions’ Neal tunes up on farm

Active roster moves 5/5/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/15

Central League

Activated

GiantsP15Angel Sanchez
SwallowsP11Yasunobu Okugawa

Dectivated

CarpIF35Takumi Miyoshi

Pacific League

Activated

LionsP47Koki Matsuoka

Dectivated

LionsP64Towa Uema

NPB wrap 4-28-21

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Fighters rookie Ito gets 1st win

Fighters 4, Hawks 3

At Fukuoka’s PayPay DomeHiromi Ito (1-2), Nippon Ham’s top signing from last year’s draft, scattered five walks and four hits over six scoreless innings to get the better of 40-year-old SoftBank southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada (2-2).

There were some tense moments at the end, however, as closer Toshihiro Sugiura gave up ninth-inning solo homers to Kenta Imamiya, his second, and Yuki Yanagita, his fifth. Wada allowed four runs on eight hits but no walks over five-plus innings while striking out six.

Kensuke Kondo delivered the big blow for the Fighters with a two-run sixth-inning homer, his fifth.

Lions 3, Marines 2

At MetLife Dome, Seibu’s Takumi Kuriyama snapped a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning leadoff homer, his first, off Lotte reliever Yuki Karakawa (1-1). Seibu middle reliever Kaima Taira (1-0), the Pacific League’s 2020 rookie of the year, worked around a leadoff double in the eighth to earn the win, while Tatsushi Masuda pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.

Marines lefty Kazuya Ojima allowed two runs over six. He took a 2-1 lead into the home half of the sixth after Leonys Martin homered to open the top of the inning with his ninth home run of the season. After Kuriyama lined out to lead off the Lions’ sixth, Aito Takeda tied it with his fourth homer. Lotte’s Frank Herrmann pitched out of a two-on two-out jam in the seventh.

The Marines hit into two double plays in the first inning, thanks to a dropped throw by Seibu starter Tatsuya Imai on an attempted 3-6-1 double play and the scoring convention of giving a fielder an assist on outs that aren’t made because of a dropped throw. Imai allowed two runs on two hits and six walks while striking out six over seven innings.

He got out the Marines’ one-run first by an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. According to Daily Sports, it was the sixth time a team has literally turned two, and the first since July 16, 2011, when the Hiroshima Carp mismanaged the feat.

Buffaloes0,Eagles 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Rakuten veteran Takahiro Norimoto duked it out for eight innings, when Eagles closer Yuki Matsui took over. The lefty overcame a pair of two-out four-pitch walks by striking out Takahiro Okada after falling behind 2-0 to end it as the clubs tied for the second straight night.

Yamamoto struck out five and walked one while allowing three hits in his 96-pitch outing. Norimoto threw 98 pitches, striking out six and walking one while allowing a pair of two-out hits.

Giants 7, Swallows3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yomiuri lefty Yuki Takahashi (5-0) became Japan’s first five-game winner by allowing three runs over six innings as Yoshihiro Maru and Kazuma Okamoto each homered and combined for five RBIs. Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 in his second game with a solo homer and a double.

Albert Suarez (1-2) served up 12 hits and issued a walk, allowing six runs over four innings. Tetsuto Yamada tied Swallows teammate for the Japan home run lead with his 10th home run, his fifth in five games.

Zelous Wheeler hit three doubles for the Giants, while new Swallows import Jose Osuna doubled and walked in four trips to the plate.

BayStars 13, Carp2, 8 innings, rain

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, catcher Hiroki Minei put DeNA up 2-1 in the second with a two-out, two-run double, Tyler Austin put the Carp in a hole with two-run third-inning home run, his second, and reliever Shingo Hirata ended a two-run fifth-inning Carp rally by getting a double play in relief of starter Masaya Kyoyama.

Carp lefty Hiroki Tokoda (1-2) gave up five runs, four earned over four innings. He retired the first five BayStars before Toshiro Miyzaki singled in the second and Neftali Soto doubled to set the table for Minei.

Austin went 3-for-4, while Soto went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in DeNA’s four-run seventh. Rookie Shugo Maki drove in four late runs with RBI doubles. New import Kevin Shackelford and lefty Edwin Escobar each worked a scoreless inning for the BayStars.

Dragons 6,Tigers 1

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, Dragons right-hander Akiyoshi Katsuno (3-1) struck out seven over 5-1/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed five hits and a walk. Takuya Kinoshita put Chunichi on the board against right-handed side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (2-2) with a two-out second-inning RBI double and scored on an Akira Neo single.

The Dragons put the game away in the eighth on Nobumasa’s one-out solo homer, his first, and a Dayan Viciedo three-run shot, his first home run since Opening Day.

New Dragons Mike Gerber went 1-for-4 in his Japan debut. Jefry Marte singled and plated the Tigers’ only run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Jerry Sands doubled in the second, when the visitors’ rally was cut short on a good play by Dragons shortstop Yota Kyoda.

Aoyagi allowed two runs on a walk and three hits while striking out seven over six innings to take the tough loss.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

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

Sho Ito (0-0, 1.26) vs Daiki Iwashita (2-2, 2.45)

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

Shota Takeda (1-1, 3.24) vs Takahide Ikeda (2-2, 3.42)

Center League

Dragons vs Tigers: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Koji Fukutani (1-1, 3.68) vs Chen Wei-Yin (-)

Carp vs BayStars: Mazda Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Shogo Tamamura (-) vs Haruhiro Hamaguchi (0-3, 4.15)

Active roster moves 4/28/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 5/8

Central League

Activated

GiantsIF98Estamy Urena
DragonsOF99Mike Gerber
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama

Dectivated

GiantsOF44Eric Thames
DragonsOF6Ryosuke Hirata

Pacific League

Activated

MarinesC53Naoya Emura
EaglesOF25Kazuki Tanaka
BuffaloesP45Shota Abe

Dectivated

HawksOF24Yuya Hasegawa
MarinesC22Tatsuhiro Tamura
BuffaloesP29Daiki Tajima

Spring wrap 3-20-21

Decision time in Yokohama

On Saturday, new DeNA BayStars manager named Haruhiro Hamaguchi his Opening Day starter, six days before the start of the season, ending the happy thought that he might keep us in suspense for another five days just to give us something to talk about.

Tanaka stops losing streak against Giants

Masahiro Tanaka started against the Yomiuri Giants on Saturday for the first time since Nov. 2, 2013, when they beat him in Game 6 of the Japan Series, and allowed a run over seven innings as the Rakuten Eagles won 6-3 at Tokyo Dome.

On Saturday, an interview with Tanaka — subtitled in English — was released that’s worth watching if only for his take on the media stories surrounding his free agency.

At MetlLife Dome, Seibu Lions lefty Shota Hamaya worked six scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows, whose newly acquired lefty, Kazuto Taguchi, gave up two runs over six innings. Taguchi struck out four and walked one. If Taguchi can strike out batters that often, he’ll be successful.

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Hiroshima native Yuki Yanagita played in left field and had two hits and an RBI for the SoftBank Hawks in a 2-1 win over the Hiroshima Carp. Seiya Suzuki, the Carp’s big wheel, also singled in a run.

Carp starter Allen Kuri allowed two runs over six innings, but struck out eight while walking none.

At Yokohama Stadium, Hisanori Yoshida had four hits and Leonys Martin hit one of the Lotte Marines two homers in a 3-1 win over the DeNA BayStars, while Jose Acosta, with the Marines on a developmental contract, recorded the save.

At Nagoya’s Vantelin Dome, the Nippon Ham Fighters took batting practice against Chunichi Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi in an 11-0 win. Lefty Takayuki Kato allowed two hits and struck out two over 7-1/3 scoreless innings for the Fighters.

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, where the Hanshin Tigers host games when their home park, Koshien Stadium, is taken over twice a year by high school tournaments, the Orix Buffaloes were the visitors in their own stadium.

Hiroya Miyagi, the Buffs’ 19-year-old first draft pick from 2019, struck out 11 over six innings, while allowing a run. Tigers side-armer Koyo Aoyagi struck out 10 over six scoreless innings. Maybe the lights were dimmed or something.

Service time conundrum

The SoftBank Hawks apparently did not manipulate Yuki Yanagita’s service time in 2019 in order to discourage him from moving to the major leagues as a free agent, the players union said Thursday.

Satoru Kato, an official of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association, said that while Yanagita’s case was cause for concern, it was not the only concern the union has about Japanese clubs manipulating service time.

Yanagita, easily the best player in Japan over the past seven years, suffered a leg injury in 2019, missed more than half of the season, and fell 10 days shy of the 145 needed to register his eighth year of first-team service time. That prevented him from qualifying to file for international free agency after the 2020 season, as he had planned.

Kato said Yanagita and his agent approached the union about the issue, so he spoke with the club and all sides were satisfied the Hawks did not prolong his rehab period for the purpose of denying him a year of service time — or perhaps it was just a case where there was not enough of a smoking gun to show the Hawks had acted improperly.

“They contacted us with their concerns and we talked to the team,” Kato said. “In this case it appears they did not keep him inactive for that purpose. But it isn’t like teams don’t push the limits, particularly with starting pitchers, calling them up to make one start every 10 days.”

“We’ve had to talk to teams about things like that a lot. But at the same time, we have to inform the players, because many of them don’t know what it means for them.”

Kato didn’t spell out which teams he might have spoken to about this but if one looked for a young pitcher who was starting every 10th or 11th day and being deactivated between starts, that would look suspicious.

Like this:

  • Aug. 20 Activated: 5 IP, 6 K, 1 ER, Aug. 21 deactivated
  • Aug. 31 Activated: 5 IP, 2 K, 2 ER, Sept. 1 deactivated
  • Sept. 12 Activated: 4-2/3 IP, 3 K, 4 ER, Sept. 13 deactivated
  • Sept. 26 Activated: 5 IP, 5 K, 2 ER, Sept. 27 deactivated
  • Oct. 9 Activated: 4 IP, 4 K, 5 ER, Season ends.

This is the 2017 activation history of one team’s 2016 fourth-round draft pick out of high school. The pitcher in question posted a 0.27 ERA in the 33-2/3 Western League innings that season and has since had three full years of service time

But despite making five starts for the Orix Buffaloes between Aug. 20 and Oct. 9, Yoshinobu Yamamoto amassed just five days of service time in his rookie season.

This isn’t an issue at the moment, but if one of Japan’s premier pitchers, should suffer an injury that causes him to miss half a season, those 45 days of service time could cost him a year before he files for free agency.

2020 Awards

Pacific League

MVP: Yuki Yanagita, OF, SoftBank Hawks, 2nd

Rookie of the year: Kaima Taira, RHP, Seibu Lions

Best Nines

PositionPlayerNo.Team
PKodai Senga2SoftBank Hawks
CTakuya Kai2SoftBank Hawks
1BSho Nakata3*Nippon Ham Fighters
2BHideto Asamura5*Rakuten Eagles
3BDaichi Suzuki1*Rakuten Eagles
SSSosuke Genda3Seibu Lions
OFYuki Yanagita5SoftBank Hawks
OFMasataka Yoshida3Orix Buffaloes
OFKensuke Kondo1Nippon Ham Fighters
DHTakumi Kuriyama1*Seibu Lions
Notes: Nakata has 2 OF awards, Asamura has 1 award at 1B, Suzuki has 2 awards at SS, Kuriyama has 3 OF awards

Central League

MVP: Tomoyuki Sugano, RHP, Yomiuri Giants, 2nd

Rookie of the year: Masato Morishita, RHP, Hiroshima Carp

Best Nines

PositionPlayerNo.Team
PTomoyuki Sugano4Yomiuri Giants
CTakumi Oshiro1Yomiuri Giants
1BMunetaka Murakami1Yakult Swallows
2BRyosuke Kikuchi2Hiroshima Carp
3BKazuma Okamoto1Yomiuri Giants
SSHayato Sakamoto6Yomiuri Giants
OFKeita Sano1DeNA Baystars
OFYoshihiro Maru6Yomiuri Giants
OFSeiya Suzuki5Hiroshima Carp