Glenn Davies / Japanese Insider
Japanese Baseball: Pacific League Updates: July, 2015 / June, 2015 / May, 2015 / April, 2015
Baseball: Central League Updates: July,
2015 / April,
CENTRAL LEAGUE UPDATE
The stifling heat of July in Japan saw the central league lead change hands numerous times as five of the six CL teams jostled for position while desperately trying to stay above .500 (all 6 teams had been below .500 a few times over the past month). The Hanshin Tigers (47-44-1) re-took first place after falling as far as 3rd, and had a record of 11-10 in July. The Tigers have had a good month from their big three (Fukudome, Gomes, and Murton), who’s bats have all come alive as of late. The Yakult Swallows (47-45-1) sit in second and have impressed with a 12-8 run in July including sweeps of the Baystars and Dragons. The Yomiuri Giants (48-46-1) continue to struggle with starting pitching and an offense that hits in bunches rather than consistently. Manager Tatsunori Hara still seems to be looking for his best line-up with the addition of yet another foreign bat this month. However, their sweep of the Baystars in the final week of July may be a sign that they are ready to turn things around. The Hiroshima Carp (42-46-1) have moved up to 4th, and have moved up one spot each of the past two months. The Carp have outscored opponents 72-56 over their last 20, and look promised for a run for the playoff spots during August and September. In 5th place we see the fast-falling Yokohama Dena Baystars (43-50-1). The Baystars have been dreadful as of late, losing 8 of their last 10, and 19 of their last 30, and have been outscored 98-130 during that run. The Chunichi Dragons (39-52-2) round out the standings in 6th, they have combined poor starting pitching with almost non-existent run support and sit 8 games back from 1st.
· Tetsuto Yamada (YAK) has had a hot July and swept past teammate Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (YAK) to take over the HR lead in the CL with 24. Hatakeyama sits in second with 20 HRs, while three players are tied for third with 15HRs; Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (YOK), Jose Lopez (YOK), and former Cub Kosuke Fukudome (HAN).
· Tetsuto Yamada (YAK) also leads the CL in batting average, hitting .334-24-62 in 368ABs so far this year. Yamada is also third in the RBI race and maybe the first real Triple Crown candidate Japan has seen since Nobuhiko Matsunaga (FUK) in 2004.
· Yudai Ohno (CHU) sits atop the league leaders in wins with 9 so far in 2015. Ohno is 9-5 with and ERA of 2.50 in 18 starts this season.
· Chunichi Dragons player-manager Motonobu Tanishige set the record for most games played in Nippon Pro Baseball this week when he played his 3,018th game in NPB on the last Saturday in July. Tanishige is 44 years old and has been a regular catcher for most of his 27 year career.
· The Yomiuri Giants added another foreign bat to their line-up at the end of July by signing Alex Castellanos, a former Mets minor leaguer at the AAA level. He was batting .314 with 16 HRs in 280 ABs for the Las Vegas 51s in the hitter friendly PCL.
· Hanshin Tigers June signing signed Nelson Perez (OF) has yet to appear for the big club. He is hitting .288 with 4HRs and 9 RBIs in 59ABs so far for the farm team.
· The Chunichi Dragons signed two new foreign pitchers in July. Drew Naylor, a pitcher playing in the Shikoku Island independent league, and lefty Rafael Perez, a former Cleveland Indians pitcher. Both have played in two games on the farm team so far and have yet to appear for the big club.