The interleague schedule has nearly been completely played out. Save for three rainouts that are being made up early this week, teams will go back to playing within their own league for the rest of the season. Here is a brief look at how each team performed during the 18-game schedule.
Yomiuri Giants (11-7): Thanks to a fine homestand this past week (they swept the Saitama Seibu Lions 3-0, 7-1, 3-2 but then dropped two of three to the Rakuten Eagles), the Giants have moved above .500 and look like playoff contenders once again. Tomoyuki Sugano is back after a long, injury-plagued stretch, too.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (9-7): The Eagles still have two make-up games to play, but given that they were languishing in last place through two months, this stretch has propelled them out of the cellar and might even give them some momentum to make a push for the playoffs.
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (9-8): Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s crew has started to look respectable again, winning series against the Swallows, Giants, Tigers, and Dragons. While still not close to the top three in the PL, they have distanced themselves from the bottom of the pack, too.
Hiroshima Toyo Carp (9-9): Yes, technically their win percentage dropped slightly… but their history of performing poorly in interleague might be on the verge of changing. That’s enough to land them here.
Chiba Lotte Marines (7-9-2): The Marines struggled particularly against the best in the CL. They managed just a tie (and two losses) against the Tigers, while losing two of three to the Baystars. Roki Sasaki was the losing pitcher on record against both of those teams, though he did not perform too poorly overall.
Hanshin Tigers (7-10-1): The only team they were able to beat in this stretch was the Marines (2-0-1). They avoided being swept by anyone, but lost two against each of the other opponents, including four games in the later innings. For the first time all year (and for years, really) the bullpen has looked shaky.
Saitama Seibu Lions (6-12): Barring a loss on Tuesday for the Swallows, the Lions will end interleague with the worst record. Much like the Tigers, they managed just one series win (against… the Tigers). They got swept by the Giants, and simply did not produce enough runs (37 in the first 17 games, then 11 in the last one).
The rest of the teams more-or-less kept winning and losing at the same rate as they had before interleague started. For the record, here are their records: Orix Buffaloes (11-7), Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (11-7), Yokohama DeNA Baystars (11-6), Chunichi Dragons (6-10-1), Tokyo Yakult Swallows (6-11).
We should also mention that two true legends of the game both passed away this past week. Former Hiroshima Carp pitcher Manabu Kitabeppu, winner of two Sawamura Awards, passed away at age 65 on June 16. Former Chunichi Dragons legend Shigeru Sugishita, “the god of the forkball,” died at age 97 on June 12. May they rest in peace.
Good Week: Hawks (5-1), Buffaloes (5-1), Baystars (4-1)
Rough Week: Dragons (1-4-1), Lions (1-5), Swallows (0-6)