the japanese insider
May 5, 2015
CENTRAL LEAGUE UPDATE, APRIL 2015
Glenn Davies, Tokyo Japan.
Just over one month into the 2015 Japanese baseball season sees the surprising Yokohama Baystars atop the Central League (CL)with a record of 20-14 , 1.5 games ahead of the second placed Yomiuri Giants (18-15), and 5.5 games clear of the pre-season favorite Hiroshima Carp (13-18), who find themselves in last place. Yokohama streaked past perennial power-houses Yomiuri this week with a 5 game winning streak including a sweep of the third placed Yakult Swallows (17-17). The Chunichi Dragons sit in fourth place with a record of 17-19. The Dragons lead the early part of the season but have tailed off going 3-7 in their last 10. Finally the Hanshin Tigers (15-17) sit in fifth place with 8 of their 15 wins coming against the Swallows and Dragons.
· Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (YAK) and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (YOM) lead the CL in HRs with 7 apiece.
· Hayato Tagaki (YOM) leads the CL in wins with 5 from 6 starts and a 1.71 ERA.
· The Hiroshima Carp have only hit 11 HRs so far this season. Injuries to Eldred and Rosario, their two biggest power hitters, have helped the Carp to limp mire themselves into last place.
· The Yakult Swallows were expected to struggle with pitching in 2015 as they had in 2014 but currently have a team ERA of 2.38 – second best in the league.
· Yasuaki Yamazaki (YOM) leads the CL in saves with 12 so far in 17 appearances.
· The Yomiuri Giants signed slugger Juan Francisco late in April suggesting that the team have little confidence that Cuban Frederich Cepada will bounce back after an 0 for 18 start earned him a ticket to the minors.
· Both foreign hitters for the Yakult Swallows will miss the next month or more with injuries. Lastings Milledge is out with a rotator cuff injury and Wladimir Balentien went down after two at bats with a thigh injury. The sluggers have played a combined 5 games this season and hit 0 HRs.