This year, too, is the season of ‘go-go batter’ in Japanese professional baseball. Outstanding pitchers with good control are raging while throwing fastballs of 150 km/h. Three of the 12 teams in both leagues are recording average ERAs in the 2-point range, and the other 9 teams are also maintaining the low-mid 3-point range. As of the 5th, 5 pitchers who have filled the regulation innings are recording 1 run.안전놀이터
In the ‘To Go Taser’ season, two rookie-level pitchers continue their dazzling performances. Pacific League Orix Buffaloes right-hander Yamashita Shunpeita (21), Central League Hanshin Tigers right-hander Murakami Shoki (25). Yamashita, a 3rd year high school graduate, and Murakami, a 3rd year college graduate, are strong candidates for the rookie of the year in both leagues.
Their affiliated teams, Orix and Hanshin, are running toward the championship with a single first place. The two Rookie of the Year candidates give strength to their team.
Yamashita recorded his ninth win of the season against the Seibu Lions on the 5th. As a starter in an away game held at Tokorozawa Seibu Dome in Saitama Prefecture, he pitched 6 ⅔ innings, 6 hits and 1 run. He led Orix, who was in the midst of two consecutive losses, to escape.
He gave up one run in the bottom of the fifth, leading 1-0. Leading batsman No. 8, Ko sent Yuto out with a heavy hit, then sent off bunt with one out and second base. A right-handed hit from No. 2 Mark Payton tied the score. He gave up a hit to Genda Sosuke in the third, but ended the inning without allowing a run. Yamashita crossed the mound with two outs and first base in the bottom of the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead.
Hanshin right-hander Murakami ranked first as the central league pitcher in the 2023 All-Star Game fan vote. Murakami and catcher Umeno started the first game of the All-Star Game on the 19th. Photo source = Hanshin Tigers SNS
Appearing in the scorching heat, he revealed that he had prepared five uniforms to change into during the game. Yamashita, who lost 4 runs in 3⅔innings against the Nippon Ham Fighters on July 28, the previous game, said, “I wanted to throw as long as possible today.”
Thanks to Yamashita’s good pitching, Orix recorded 5,500 victories in his career. It is the fifth after the Yomiuri Giants, Softbank Hawks, Hanshin Tigers and Chunichi Dragons.
With 9 wins in 14 games, they ranked second in the Pacific League for most wins. Ace Yamamoto Yoshinobu (25), who is a senior on the team, is alone in first place with 10 wins. He has three wins more than his senior, Miyagi Hiroya (22), who participated in the WBC (World Baseball Classic) as a Japanese representative along with Yamamoto.
The day before, on the 4th, at Yokohama Stadium in Kanagawa Prefecture. Murakami pitched 6 innings and 2 runs against the Yokohama Baystars. 12th quality start this year (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less).
He faced 23 batters and threw 98 pitches, giving up 6 hits, striking out 3 and walking 1. He was replaced in the 7th inning, trailing 1-2, but the batting line exploded late, so he won 5-2 and avoided defeat.
Yamashita won his ninth win of the season against Seibu on the 5th. With this victory, Orix recorded 5,500 career wins. It is the 5th in the history of Japanese professional baseball. Photo source = Orix Buffaloes SNS
Murakami started 14 of 15 games, pitched two complete games and won one shutout. As of the 5th, he is 7-5 with a 2.07 earned run average and 95 strikeouts. He is 3rd in earned run average, tied for 5th in wins and strikeouts, and tied for 1st in most wins on the team.
Murakami, who played a big role in the first half, received the most votes for a Central League pitcher in the All-Star Game. In the first game of the All-Star Game held on July 19, he started and faced off against the ‘monster’ Loki Sasaki (22) of the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Yamashita, who joined with the first pick in the 2021 draft, started the opening match against Seibu on March 31st. He debuted in the first team as a starter in the opening game for the first time in Japanese professional baseball history. This is because he showed good form in the exhibition matches, and ‘one-two punch’ Yamamoto and Miyagi returned after competing in the WBC and needed time to reorganize.
He had an earned run average of 1.73 in 83 innings. If you fill the regulation innings (95 innings as of the 5th), it is an average ERA equivalent to second place in the Pacific League.
Murakami is the fifth pick in the 2021 draft. In his first year with the club, he gave up 10 runs in 2 games, 5⅓ innings. In his third year of joining, he leaped to become Hanshin’s ace.