the japanese insider
CENTRAL LEAGUE UPDATE
Davies, Tokyo, Japan.
Heading into the end of May the Yokohama Bay Stars remain atop the CL standings at 29-20, Yomiuri remain in second (28-21), and just one game back from the Bay Stars, with the Chunichi Dragons holding on to third just under .500 at 24-25. In terms of form, the Yomiuri Giants have come on strong as of late with 7 wins in their last 10, and 10 In their last 15. The Bay Stars are just 5-5 in their last 10 and it seems to only be a matter of time until the Giants pass them to take first with Yokohama starting pitching struggling with a CL 5th 3.26 ERA (2.52 for the Giants), and having given up 183 runs against 186 scored so far this season (Yomiuri 161-136). The Hanshin Tigers sit in fourth place at 22-25, but have been no better over May than they were during April. Yakult have plummeted to fifth rather spectacularly with a 9 game losing streak during May, and having gone 5-10 in their last 15. Hiroshima remain in last place with a record of 20-26 but welcomed back slugger Brad Eldred this past week. Eldred has already hit 2 home runs in his first 4 games back (.333 2 4), so things may be looking up for the Carp.
∑ Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (YOK) leads the CL in HRs with 11. He is hitting .331 with 11HRs and 40RBIs (also 1st in the CL) thus far. Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (YAK) trails him in second with 10HRs, and Jose Lopez (YOM) sits in 3rd with 7.
∑ Hayato Tagaki (YOM) and Tomoyuki Sugano (YOM) share the joint lead in wins in the CL with 6 each so far. Sugano has the better ERA of the two with a CL leading 1.36 (Takagiís ERA sits at 2.11).
∑ The Yomiuri Giants signing of former major leaguer Juan Francisco in late April to add power to their offense has not paid off so far this season. Francisco went .167 with 11 strikeouts in 18 at bats and no homeruns in April to earn himself a trip to the minor league affiliate. However, he has hit well on the farm (.295 5HR 18RBI), so he may be back with the top team sooner rather than later.
∑ Tigers 2014 ace Randy Messenger has also been sent down to the teamís minor league affiliate this past month. Messenger has been inconsistent thus far this season with a record of 2-5 with an ERA of 5.88 in 8 starts. He has performed well down on the farm so far with one win in one start with the club.
∑ To try and replace the middle of the line-up power lost to injury (Milledge and Balentien), Yakult have signed Australian lefty (OF)Mitch Dening from the semi-professional BC league Niigata Albirex. Dening has played for various minor league/winter ball affiliates of the Red Sox, and the Australian national team in the WBC.
∑ Hirokazu Sawamura (YOM) leads the CL in saves with 17 from 24 appearances so far this season (3-2 17SV 1.32ERA).