The first week of August is already in the books, and the Central League finally has some sort of a race. That is not to suggest the Yakult Swallows are in danger of losing first place very soon, but their recent downturn and the Hanshin Tigers’ strong post-all-star break surge have made things seem a bit more intriguing. Having stated that,
Tuesday OKbet Baseball NPB Updates on Yakult Swallows
Munetaka Murakami, the Swallows’ third baseman, completed his remarkable season with yet another incredible feat. After finishing the previous week with home runs in his last three plate appearances (taking the Swallows to win), he went yard in his first two at-bats on this day, establishing an OKbet NPB record for most consecutive PAs with a home run at five. Yakult Swallows rode him to a 5-0 win against the Chunichi Dragons.
Wednesday OKbet Baseball NPB Updates
Yohei Ohshima of the Dragons became the fifth player in history to go 6-6 in a nine-inning game, but the first to do it in a losing cause, as the Dragons were defeated by the Yakult Swallows, 9-7.
Thursday and Friday OKbet Baseball NPB Updates
The Saitama Seibu Lions are ripping through the Pacific League and are beginning to cement their top place in the rankings. This is due in part to two consecutive walk-off victories, both on home runs. Takeya Nakamura’s second home run of the game (and 448th of his illustrious career) gave the Lions a 3-2 series win against the Orix Buffaloes on Thursday at Belluna Dome.
The following day, Seiji Kawagoe hit his second home run of the season against Chiba Lotte Marines reliever Chihaya Sasaki in the bottom of the 10th. The Lions prevailed 4-3. However, their three-game lead in the PL is not certain, as they are closely followed by the Hawks, Eagles (3.5), and Buffaloes (4). The fifth-place Marines are just 6.5 games behind.
Saturday OKbet Baseball NPB Updates
The Hanshin Tigers seemed to be in complete control of their second consecutive game against the Carp in Hiroshima. With the score 5-2 and the bottom of the ninth approaching, they called in closer Suguru Iwazaki for the second night in a row. However… Three consecutive singles and an error scored the opening run, one out later, another mistake tied the game, and Shogo Akiyama walked it off with a liner to shallow right. This one was won by the Carp, but the other two were lost over the weekend.
Sunday OKbet Baseball NPB Updates
Hiroto Takahashi, a 19-year-old pitcher, has received much too little attention as the CL Rookie of the Year. The right-hander had another outstanding game against the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, reducing his ERA to 2.53 on the year with 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory. Despite just four victories, he has 94 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings of work in 13 starts this season. He’d have a couple more Ws and a lot more excitement if he had better run assistance than the last-place Dragons gave him.
Finally, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweeted something that many NPB fans already know but is worth reiterating again. Hawks pitcher Kodai Senga is expected to be an international free agent this summer, with a goal of reaching the majors in 2023.
Baseball games in Japan draw large groups of animated and enthusiastic supporters who shout and proudly wear their club colors. It’s an intriguing change from the reserved behavior you’ll generally see on a daily basis, which is why it’s such an excellent complement to your vacation. So, if you want to discover what the most popular sport in Japan is like, check out our fast Japan baseball guide.
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