It was quite the week for shutouts! No fewer than 11, three of which were completed by one pitcher. Here is a quick breakdown of the excellent hurlers in the past six days:
Seibu Lions’ Burch Smith no-hit the Rakuten Eagles for seven innings and although his bullpen gave up a hit, the team won handily, 4-0.
Nippon-Ham Fighters’ Takayuki Katoh (9 IP 3 H 90 pitches!) blanks the Chiba Lotte Marines, 2-0.
Shuta Ishikawa (7 IP 2 H 10 K) and his SoftBank Hawks ended ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s 18-game winning streak, defeating the Orix Buffaloes 3-0.
Yokohama DeNA Baystars got a great start from Katsuki Azuma (7 IP 5 H 8 K) and the team walked off their tilt against the Hanshin Tigers, 1-0.
The Lions got another shutout, as Wataru Matsumoto threw 6.2 IP of one-hit ball against the Marines, winning 3-0.
For the third straight game, the Lions got a shutout. This time, Kona Takahashi (8 IP 4 H 3 K) was the ace on the mound. The Lions beat the Eagles, 3-0.
Koyo Aoyagi of the Tigers threw a complete game (3 H 7 K 17 grounders), blanking the Yakult Swallows, 6-0.
Enny Romero, not Roki Sasaki, is actually the best pitcher on the Marines’ staff this year, at least if you look at consecutive shutout innings (23 1/3 and counting) and ERA (0.34). He threw 6.1 zeroes at the Buffaloes on this day as his team won 4-0.
Matt Shoemaker of the Yomiuri Giants threw a two-hitter and went the distance as his team walked over the Chunichi Dragons, 3-0.
Masato Morishita of the Hiroshima Carp atoned for his dud last week, throwing seven shutout innings against the Baystars, who bowed out by a 6-0 score.
Forty-two-year-old Masanori Ishikawa of the Swallows threw six shutout innings against the Tigers and collected a win for the 21st straight season thanks to a solo home run by 40-year-old Norichika Aoki. The Tigers once again found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 game.
There were also a few walk-off wins this past week, including the Baystars’ 1-0 win above, plus…
On Thursday night, the Buffaloes prevented Kodai Senga (Hawks) from getting a shutout by putting two runs on the board in the ninth to tie their game. Two innings later, they scored the winning run off closer Livan Moinelo, as Kotaro Kurebayashi singled to left to bring home the big run.
Two days later, hosting the Marines, Orix struck again! Once again it went to extra innings, and despite giving up the go-ahead run in the tenth, they tied it in the bottom of the frame, and again in the bottom of the 11th, they walked it off. This time, though, it was on an error committed by a drawn-in infield.
On Sunday, the Carp surrendered a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th but pushed two runs across in the bottom of the frame (Shogo Sakakura RBI single, Kaito Kozono sac fly) to walk off the Baystars 5-4 and complete the series sweep.
Other tidbits: Tomoyuki Sugano (Giants) threw his 1500th career inning on Friday… the Hanshin Tigers became the fastest team to 20 losses on Saturday in Game 25… Roki Sasaki’s perfect streak ended on the first pitch of Sunday’s game against the Buffaloes with a single. He went five innings and gave up two runs. Sasaki was also deactivated today because of fatigue. It was apparently part of the Marines’ plan to rest him more in May anyways, so this is neither an unexpected nor an alarming move.
Have a great week, everyone!