Glenn Davies / Japanese Insider
Japanese Baseball: Pacific League Updates: August, 2015 / July, 2015 / June, 2015 / May, 2015 / April, 2015
Baseball: Central League Updates: August,
2015 / April,
PACIFIC LEAGUE UPDATE
August in the Pacific League again demonstrated the vast chasm of quality between the Softbank Hawks (74-35-4)and the rest of the league. Softbank went 17-6-1 in August, including a head-spinning 10-3-1 at home to take a commanding 9.5 game lead over their nearest rivals. The Hawks have 2 of the top 5 hitters in the league in Yuki Yanagita (.359 27 84) and Dae Ho Lee (.305 28 83), and one of the top 5 pitchers in the league in Shunta Takeda (10-5, 3.34). The second Place Nippon Ham Fighters (68-48-2) played pretty well going 16-9-1 over the stretch. However they have not hit well with a team batting average of .257 and the three game sweep they suffered in August at the hands of the Hawks will worry them heading into the playoffs in October. The Chiba Lotte Marines (55-57-1) currently sit in third and are in the thick of the last real battle for final playoff spot with the Seibu Lions (56-59-5). The Lions are half a game back but are 8-11-1 against the Marines this season and will face them 5 more times during the final month of the season. Those games will likely decide who takes the final playoff spot as the fifth place Rakuten Eagles (47-64-3) and the Orix Buffaloes (48-68-2) in sixth, do not look capable of putting together the type of run needed to make up the 8 & 10 games they are back from third respectively.
· Takeya Nakamura (SEI) holds firm control of the PL lead in homeruns with 34 so far this season. Nobuhiro Matsuda (SOF) of the Softbank hawks sits in second with 28, tied with teammate Dae Ho Lee.
· Shogo Akiyama (SEI) remains atop the PL in batting average, hitting at a clip of .368. Yuki Yanagita (SOF)of the Hawks is in second with .359, and Kensuke Kondoh(NIP) of the Fighters is in third with an average of .329.
· Two-way Fighters star Shohei Otani (NIP) continues to leads the PL in wins with 13 (13-3), and in ERA at 1.98 (and 161 stikeouts in 131.6 innings pitched. Currently Otani is hitting .196 with 5HRS and 16RBIs in 102ABs.
· Rakuten Eagles 17 year veteran reliever and former major league all-star, Takashi Saito (RAK) announced that he would be retiring at the end of this current season. Saito has only appeared in two games with the top club this season with no decisions and a 9.00 ERA. He has spent most of his time on the farm team where he pitched in 11 games with a record of 0-1 with an ERA of 2.53 in 10 and 2/3rds innings.
· Takeya Nakamura(SEI) of the Seibu Lions broke the Japanese baseball grand-slam record on August 10th, hitting his 16th career grand slam. The record had previously been held by legendary Giants slugger Sadaharu Oh.
· Good to see Barbaro Canizares (.273 1 2) of the Softbank Hawks getting his chance with the top team over the past few weeks. Canizares hit .312 with 14 homeruns and 44 RBIs in 231 at bats with the farm team before his call up.
· Rakuten Eagles manager Dave Okubo has announced that he will resign at the end of the season. This was his first full season in charge and the Eagles look set to miss the playoffs for the second year running.