Tag Archives: Yuki Yanagita

NPB wrap 8-18-21

The SoftBank Hawks’ push to defend their Pacific League title continued on Wednesday with their fourth straight shutout as Kodai Senga, who has been hurt most of the season, worked six innings to earn his first win since April 6, and the team established a record by hurling 42 consecutive scoreless innings.

Hawks 3, Eagles 0

At Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi, Kodai Senga (2-1, 6.28) worked six innings. He allowed two hits, issued a walk and hit a batter while striking out six. Four relievers finished up allowing one base runner the rest of the way with Sho Iwasaki earning his sixth save.

SoftBank opened the scoring in the first after Rakuten rookie Takahisa Hayakawa (7-4, 3.47) retired the first two batters. Ryoya Kurihara doubled in Yuya Yanagita and scored on an Alfredo Despaigne single. Yanagita singled in a run in the second.

Marines 5, Lions 3

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Kazuya Ojima (6-3, 4.57) scattered five hits, three walks and a hit batsman to allow two runs over six innings. Yudai Fujioka singled in a run in Lotte’s two-run second off Zach Neal (1-4, 4.37) and tripled with one out in the fifth and scored to break a 2-2 tie. Adeiny Hechevarria’s two-out two-run single in the sixth made it 5-2. Lotte’s Naoya Masuda worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 24th save.

Buffaloes 5, Fighters 2

At Hotto Motto Field Kobe, right-hander Glenn Sparkman allowed two runs over four innings in his Japan debut, and six relievers kept the Fighters off the board after that with Yoshihisa Hirano earning his 14th save.

Fighters lefty Ryusei Kawano (2-2, 1.85) allowed three runs in 4-2/3 innings to take the loss. Takahiro Okada’s two-out two-run single in the first opened the scoring. Wang Po-jung, however, singled in two with one out in the third. Ryoichi Adachi’s second double of the game plated leadoff man Shuhei Fukuda with the tie-breaking run in the fifth.

Fukuda went 4-for-5 and also scored on Masataka Yoshida’s eighth-inning two-run homer, his 19th.

Giants 3, Swallows 2

At Matsuyama Botchan Stadium, Takumi Oshiro set up two runs by singling and scoring in the fifth and doubling with one on to set up Hiroyuki Nakajima’s two-run single that brought Yomiuri back from a run down against former closer Taishi Ishiyama (0-5).

Forty-one-year-old wallows lefty Masanori Ishikawa allowed a run over six innings. After Munetaka Murakami opened the second against Daisuke Naoe with his 28th home run, Yuhei Nakamura doubled and scored on Ishikawa’s RBI single.

Brazilian flame thrower Thyago Vieira walked Nakamura to open the ninth, but recorded his 12th save.

Tigers 5, BayStars 2

At Tokyo Dome, rookie Masashi Ito (6-5, 2.70) allowed two runs over eight innings and earned the win when Hanshin came from behind in an eighth-inning meltdown by lefty reliever Edwin Escobar (2-2).

Mel Rojas Jr. hit his second home run in Japan to put the Tigers up 1-0 in the second, but DeNA tied it on Keita Sano’s fourth-inning RBI single. Tyler Austin put the hosts ahead 2-1 in the seventh with his 20th home run.

Kento Itohara doubled to open the eighth against Escobar, and the Tigers tied it after singles by Jerry Sands and Yusuke Oyama. A walk loaded the bases, and Escobar hit Rojas to force in the go-ahead run. Hanshin right-hander Robert Suarez earned his 26th save.

DeNA starter Shinichi Onuki allowed a run over five innings.

Dragons 3, Carp 0

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, good things continued to not come in threes for the Hiroshima Carp who were one-hit in a 2-hour, 27-minute loss. The Carp returned to action after the break with a 9-3 win over the Tigers followed by a 9-3 loss, followed by three straight 3-0 losses.

Takahiro Matsuba (2-2, 4.02) allowed a hit, walked two and hit one over 5-2/3 innings, and things got worse from there. Shinji Tajima ended the sixth by retiring Seiya Suzuki with the bases loaded. Hiroto Fuku hit a batter in the seventh, the last runner allowed by Chunichi. Raidel Martinez recorded his 11th save.

Ariel Martinez singled in the second and scored on Naomichi Donoue’s fourth home run. Dayan Viciedo closed the book on Shogo Tamamura (2-4, 3.40) with an RBI single in the sixth.

Starting pitchers

Marines vs Lions: Zozo Marine Stadium 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Shota Suzuki (1-4, 4.13) vs Keisuke Honda (0-1, 3.12)

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

Soichiro Yamazaki (0-0, 0.00) vs Hiromi Itoh (7-4, 2.42)

BayStars vs Tigers: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yuya Sakamoto (3-2, 4.20) vs Shintaro Fujinami (3-2, 4.35)

Dragons vs Carp: Vantelin Dome (Nagoya) 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Yudai Ono (3-7, 3.59) vs Daichi Osera (4-3, 3.51)

Active roster moves 8/18/2021

Central League


GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
TigersP27Masashi Ito
DragonsP38Takahiro Matsuba
CarpP65Shogo Tamamura
SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa



Pacific League


MarinesP43Kazuya Ojima
LionsP54Zach Neal
EaglesP21Takahisa Hayakawa
EaglesP52Taisei Tsurusaki
FightersP28Ryusei Kawano
BuffaloesP56Glenn Sparkman



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Senga’s clock is ticking

Pitcher Kodai Senga’s future lies in the balance. The right-hander, who has long asked the SoftBank Hawks to post him to the majors only to be refused, is now eying international free agency after the 2022 season.

But while that may seem a long way off, the future of the Hawks’ ace could be decided as early as next month. If the Hawks are cautious with their ace in the same way they were cautious with another major league aspirant, star center fielder Yuki Yanagita in 2019, then Senga may be screwed.

In the 2019 season, the Hawks took every possible precaution with Yanagita as he rehabbed from a leg injury.

Yanagita, a five-tool major league-style outfielder who had told everyone his dream was to play in the majors, had been targeting 2021 as the year he would report to camp, not on Feb. 1 in Miyazaki, but in March in either Florida or California after nine years on the Hawks’ first team.

Then he got hurt. He was deactivated on April 8, 2019, but was not reactivated until Aug. 21, and when the season ended, his service time clock stood at 7 years, 135 days — 10 days short of an eighth year, meaning his 2021 major league move was delayed — and eventually abandoned when the Hawks offered him a huge multiyear contract to stay in Japan.

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One would think the Hawks would cut Yanagita some slack. From 2015 to 2018, Yanagita produced four straight MVP-caliber seasons and became the second player in Japanese pro baseball history to lead his league in slugging and on-base percentage four seasons in a row.

But the Hawks took no chances with their star, and now they’re in the same situation with Senga.

Senga missed three months after hurting his ankle in his season debut, and with the 60 days he gets for being hurt on the field of play, his service time clock now stands, by my best estimate, at 7 years, 83 days.

If the Hawks fail to reach the playoffs, a possibility this year, they will have 70 days left on their calendar after the Olympic break. If Senga is deactivated even once during that stretch, the 28-year-old will be in danger of not qualifying for free agency until the 2023 season, meaning he couldn’t report to a major league camp until after he turns 31.