Tag Archives: Zelous Wheeler

NPB wrap 7-9-21

Giants’ Mercedes, Sanchez in Olympics

Yomiuri Giants pitchers C.C. Mercedes and Angel Sanchez have been named to the Dominican Republic’s Tokyo Olympic team, bringing the total of NPB imports in the Tokyo tournament to six. I’ll list them below in order of their announcements.

Host Japan, Premier 12 runner-up South Korea, and European-African qualifying tournament champion Israel will round out the six-team field.

Leaders get some breathing room

The Central League-leading Hanshin Tigers moved 3-1/2 games clear of the Yomiuri Giants on Friday, while the third-place Yakult Swallows are one game further back. This is all nice but the Swallows are 5-17 against the two teams they are chasing, so it’s not as promising as it looks.

In the Pacific League, the FIRST-PLACE Orix Buffaloes put a hurt on the four-time defending Japan Series champion SoftBank Hawks and moved three games clear of the Rakuten Eagles. The Lotte Marines are a half-game further back with the Hawks another two games back of them in fourth.

Swallows 4, Carp 3

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Hiroshima opted for Geronimo Franzua (1-2) instead of rookie closer Ryoji Kuribayashi to protect a one-run ninth-inning lead and it didn’t go well. For the second straight night, Yakult fought back after an eighth-inning bullpen blip.

A leadoff walk, a stolen base, a Domingo Santana single and a pinch-hit single by Shingo Kawabata tied it. After a sacrifice and an intentional walk to load the bases, the Swallows got their second RBI pinch-hit single by a former batting champ, this time by offseason acquisition Seiichi Uchikawa.

A fourth-inning homer by Jose Osuna, his seventh, and a seventh-inning Yasutaka Shiomi RBI triple put the Swallows up 2-1. But Seiya Suzuki, who opened the scoring in the fourth with his 14th home run, made it 3-2 in the eighth when he homered off reliever Tomoya Hoshi.

Tigers 4, Giants 1, 7 innings, rain

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Takumi Akiyama (7-4) allowed a run over six-plus innings when the game was called after back-to-back singles in the top of the seventh and no outs.

Hanshin got all the runs it would need after two runners reached on errors to open the third and scored off Shosei Togo (8-4) on a Koji Chikamoto ground out and a Kento Itohara single. Zelous Wheeler’s ninth home run, made it a one-run game in the fifth.

Tigers rookie Takumu Nakano singled with one out in the fifth and scored was bunted over and scored on a Chikamoto single. Jefry Marte’s 16th homer completed the scoring in the sixth.

Dragons 3, BayStars 1

At Vantelin Dome Nagoya, Chunichi lefty Shinnosuke Ogasawara (6-4) struck out seven without a walk, while allowing a run on four hits over seven innings and Raidel Martinez recorded earned his ninth save and his second in two nights. Dragons catcher Takuya Kinoshita broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh with his seventh home run, off Yuki Ariyoshi (0-1), who allowed two runs over 6-2/3 innings in his season debut.

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Buffaloes 8, Hawks 0

At Fukuoka’s PayPay Dome, Orix snapped a three-game winless streak behind ace and Japan Olympic team pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (9-5), who struck out six while allowing six hits and a walk over seven innings. He set a career-high in wins and tied 19-year-old teammate Hiroya Miyagi for the league lead.

Orix’s other Olympian, Masataka Yoshida, opened the scoring with a third-inning solo homer, his 17th, off Shota Takeda (4-5). Kenya Wakatsuki homered for the second straight game, a two-run shot in the fourth. His third homer equaled his career-high from last year. Yoshida singled in a run in the fifth before Takahiro “T” Okada belted a pair, his ninth and 10th to drive in four more runs and complete the rout.

Marines 6, Fighters 1

At Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, Nippon Ham’s rookie Olympic team pitcher Hiromi Ito (7-4) beat highly touted Lotte rookie Roki Sasaki (1-2). Ito issued three walks but struck out six and allowed just one infield single over seven innings. Sasaki gave up four runs, two earned, on eight hits and three walks while striking out just three over five innings. Daiki Asama cashed in a one-out single Chusei Mannami single and a walk with a two-out two-run second-inning double to open the scoring as the Fighters cruised to a third straight win.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Lions: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 4 pm, 3 am EDT

Hideaki Wakui (6-5, 4.22) vs Tatsuya Imai (5-3, 2.71)

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

Fumiya Motomae (1-1, 5.55) vs Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-4, 3.36)

Hawks vs Buffaloes: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Nick Martinez (6-2, 2.08) vs Sachiya Yamasaki (4-5, 3.34)

Central League

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

Juri Hara (-) vs Haruki Omichi (3-2, 4.85)

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

Takahiro Matsuba (0-2, 5.49) vs Kosuke Sakaguchi (2-2, 4.06)

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

Masashi Ito (5-4, 2.23) vs C.C. Mercedes (4-1, 2.63)

Active roster moves 7/9/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/19

Central League


GiantsP20Shosei Togo
DragonsP12Shinji Tajima
DragonsP67Yariel Rodriguez
BayStarsP67Yuki Ariyoshi
CarpP41Takuya Yasaki


GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
DragonsP59Takumi Yamamoto
BayStarsP27Taiga Kamichatani
CarpP34Koya Takahashi

Pacific League


HawksP35Livan Moinelo
MarinesP17Roki Sasaki
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo


HawksP41Kodai Senga
FightersP36Drew VerHagen
BuffaloesIF5Masahiro Nishino

NPB wrap 6-4-21

Interleague Day 10

The CL and PL split their games for the second straight day. The Yakult Swallows’ beatdown of the Seibu Lions behind 41-year-old Masanori Ishikawa allowed the CL to nearly pull even in runs scored with the PL, opening the possibility that the CL might lead in runs scored for the first time since interleague arrived in 2005. The CL now leads this year’s series 27-23-7.

Marines lose pitcher Ishikawa for season

Lotte Marines right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa, who ended last season looking at a move to the major leagues through the posting system, had season-ending elbow-cleaning surgery on June 3.

Buffaloes 2, Dragons 1

At Nagoya‘s Vantelin Dome, Orix ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-5) was only a little better than Sawamura Award winner Yudai Ono (2-4), thanks to some solid work from his infielders, but he was much more efficient, allowing one run over seven innings.

The Buffaloes made Ono throw 35 pitches to get out of the first inning and another 24 in the second before he found his rhythm. The first five Orix hitters reached, but only two scored, on a Yutaro Sugimoto single.

Tyler Higgins worked a scoreless eighth and former Diamondback reliever Yoshihisa Hirano pitched the ninth for his third save.

Giants 6, Fighters 0

At Tokyo Dome, Yomiuri’s C.C. Mercedes (1-0) allowed two hits and no walks over 5-2/3 innings in his season debut, while striking out five.

Zelous Wheeler sparked a two-run first inning with a one-out double off former Rakuten teammate Takahide Ikeda (2-5, 2.85). He scored on a Naoki Yoshikawa single and Justin Smoak capped the rally with a double.

Shinnosuke Shigenobu capped a three-run Giants seventh with a two-run home run and Smoak added an insurance run in the eighth with his seventh.

Giants-Fighters highlights.

Swallows 10, Lions 1, 5 innings, rain

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Yakult battered Seibu’s best pitcher, Kona Takahashi (5-1) for 10 runs, nine earned on four walks and 11 hits, including home runs by Tetsuto Yamada, his 12th, Norichika Aoki, his second, and Munetaka Murakami, his 16th. Cory Spangenberg got the Lions on the board against Masanori Ishikawa (1-1) in the third with his third home run. Ishikawa sacrificed in each of his first three trips to the plate, something that doesn’t happen a lot.

Ishikawa’s set a franchise record by posting at least one win in 20 consecutive seasons, and for being the team’s oldest winning pitcher at 41 years, 4 months.

Marines 11, BayStars 7

At Yokohama Stadium, Leonys Martin hit his Japan-leading 17th home run, and Brandon Laird his 13th in a three-run third inning. Martin, doubled in the first and then singled in with a man on in the Marines’ two-run fifth, when Laird doubled in Lotte’s go-ahead run.

Toshiya Sato doubled and homered twice for Lotte, scoring three runs and driving in three.

Tigers 6, Hawks 1

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin side-armer Koyo Aoyagi (4-2) man-handled the SoftBank Hawks, allowing one run over eight innings, while Koji Chikamoto and Yusuke Oyama each drove in two runs. The Hawks loaded the bases in the second while trailing 2-0, but Hanshin got out of the inning against SoftBank starter Shuta Ishikawa (3-4), who surrendered five runs over six innings.

Eagles 12, Carp 5

At Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium, Rakuten’s Hideaki Wakui (6-3) had another tough slog of it, allowing five runs over six innings, but had seven runs to work with. Fumiya Kurokawa capped a four-run first off Yuta Nakamura (0-3), whose ERA rose to 11.08 over three games after allowing five runs in four innings.

Kevin Cron went 2-for-4 for Hiroshima with his fifth home run.

Starting pitchers


Giants vs Fighters: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Shosei Togo (5-2, 3.91) vs Kazuaki Tateno (-)

Swallows vs Lions: Jingu Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-1, 3.52) vs Tatsuya Imai (3-2, 2.34)

BayStars vs Marines: Yokohama Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Haruhiro Hamaguchi (2-4, 2.95) vs Manabu Mima (3-2, 3.45)

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

Kodai Umetsu (0-1, 1.93) vs Daiki Tajima (2-3, 4.38)

Tigers vs Hawks: Koshien Stadium 2 pm, 1 am EDT

Masashi Ito (3-2, 2.43) vs Nick Martinez (4-1, 1.97)

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

Masato Morishita (3-3, 1.84) vs Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 2.54)

Active roster moves 6/4/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 6/14

Central League


GiantsP42Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes
TigersP19Shintaro Fujinami
BayStarsP48Masaya Kyoyama
CarpP67Yuta Nakamura
SwallowsP19Masanori Ishikawa


GiantsC38Yukinori Kishida
TigersP13Suguru Iwazaki
BayStarsP49Kevin Shackelford
CarpP28Hiroki Tokoda

Pacific League


HawksIF68Masaki Mimori
MarinesP76Jose Flores
FightersIF6Sho Nakata
FightersIF24Yuki Nomura
BuffaloesIF36Tatsuya Yamaashi


HawksIF36Taisei Makihara
MarinesP42Frank Herrmann
FightersIF53Ronny Rodriguez
BuffaloesIF53Sho Gibo