We made it to the all-star break with the two leagues currently looking very different, as far as the standings go. The games, to be held Tuesday in Fukuoka at PayPay Dome and Wednesday in Matsuyama at Botchan Stadium, will showcase the best players from both leagues. This is what the complete rosters look like heading into the action. Players with asterisks (*) next to their names (and also pictured below) are slated to participate in the home run derby as well.
Manager: Satoshi Nakajima – Orix Buffaloes
Coaches: Tadahito Iguchi – Chiba Lotte Marines; Kazuhisa Ishii – Rakuten Golden Eagles
P: Roki Sasaki (Marines), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Buffaloes), Taisuke Yamaoka (Buffaloes), Fumiya Ono (Marines), Naoya Masuda (Marines), Takayuki Kishi (Eagles), Takahiro Norimoto (Eagles), Yuki Matsui (Eagles), Nao Higashihama (Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks), Livan Moinelo (Hawks), Tomohisa Ozeki (Hawks), Hiromi Itoh (Nippon-Ham Fighters), Keisuke Honda (Saitama Seibu Lions), Kaima Taira (Lions), Yoshinobu Mizukami (Lions).
C: Ko Matsukawa (Marines), Tomoya Mori (Lions).
1B: Hotaka Yamakawa* (Lions)
2B: Hideto Asamura* (Eagles)
3B: Yuma Mune (Buffaloes)
SS: Kenta Imamiya (Hawks)
Extra IF: Hiroto Kobukata (Eagles), Taisei Makihara (Hawks), Kotaro Kiyomiiya (Fighters)
OF: Yuki Yanagita* (Hawks), Masataka Yoshida (Buffaloes), Akito Takabe (Marines), Hiroaki Shimauchi (Eagles)
DH: Brandon Laird* (Marines), Yurisbel Gracial (Hawks)
Manager: Shingo Takatsu (Tokyo Yakult Swallows)
Coaches: Akihiro Yano (Hanshin Tigers), Tokuhiro Komada (Yomiuri Giants)
P: Koyo Aoyagi (Tigers), Atsuki Yuasa (Tigers), Scott McGough (Swallows), Keiji Takahashi (Swallows), Suguru Iwazaki (Tigers), Masashi Itoh (Tigers), Shosei Togo (Giants), Masato Morishita (Hiroshima Carp), Ryoji Kuribayashi (Carp), Hiroki Tokoda (Carp), Yudai Ohno (Chunichi Dragons), Raidel Martinez (Dragons), Hiromu Ise (Yokohama DeNA Baystars)
C: Takuya Kinoshita (Dragons), Yuhei Nakamura (Swallows), Seiji Kobayashi (Giants), Shogo Sakakura (Carp)
1B: Dayan Viciedo (Dragons)
2B: Shugo Maki* (Baystars)
3B: Munetaka Murakami* (Swallows)
SS: Takumu Nakano (Tigers)
Extra IF: Tetsuto Yamada (Swallows), Hideki Nagaoka (Swallows), Yusuke Ohyama* (Tigers), Kaito Kozono (Carp)
OF: Teruaki Sato* (Tigers), Yasutaka Shiomi (Swallows), Koji Chikamoto (Tigers), Keita Sano (Baystars), Adam Walker (Giants)
If any of your favorite stars are not listed above, chances are they have tested positive for Covid-19, though a few are also unable to play due to injury. In particular, the Yomiuri Giants suffered a major outbreak in their camp (both top squad and farm team), with a total of 77 players, coaches and staff testing positive in the past week. Their weekend series against the Dragons was understandably postponed.
In good NPB news, Orix Buffaloes’ rookie hurler Ren Mukunoki was just a strike away from a no-hitter in just his second career start. He threw a slider that stayed in the zone too long, breaking up his bid at history. Though he also recently tested positive for Covid-19, we hope the future is unbelievably bright for this youngster!
Good Week: Tigers (4-1), Buffaloes (5-1), Marines (4-1)
Bad Week: Baystars (2-4), Fighters (1-4), Lions (1-4-1)