I’m rather busy at the moment, so I’ll try to keep this entry short too. Previous week’s ranking in brackets.
1. Hanshin Tigers(1) 18-6-1 .750
Keeps on going strong, splitting the series against the Dragons (1-1-1) and taking 2 of 3 from the Giants with a dramatic game winning bases loaded walk against Yomiuri’s closer Kroon last night.
2. Chunichi Dragons(2) 15-8-2 .652
Couldn’t overcome the Tigers wall, but didn’t fare badly either. Ace Kawakami returned to the top team, made a relief appearance, but gave up a solo shot in 1 inning of work. He needs to return to form… by October.
3. Saitama Seibu Lions(3) 14-9-1 .609
Dropped both games against the Marines, then feasted upon the Buffaloes weak pitching to the tune of 29 runs in 3 games! The team gets on base (.324 OBP is 2nd in PL) and far outslugs anyone else (.432 SLG and 36 HR, no other team is above .374 and 27 HR). Pitching’s just mediocre though, and Watanabe’s questionable bullpen use (bringing in historically shaky Onuma or Mitsui into high leverage situations) doesn’t bode well for October (and the team’s slugging’s gotta come back down to earth sooner or later). Hiram Bocachica made a dramatic return to the top team, hitting 3 homers in the last 2 games, after a stint in the minors following early season struggles. He adds even more on base ability and power to the lineup, and Watanabe has a happy problem of having too many hot bats to fit into the lineup. If this were the majors, trading one or two hitters for good pitching would be considered, but alas..
4. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles(8 ) 16-13 .552
Had an undefeated week to jump up to 2nd in PL, thanks to complete game shutouts thrown by Nagai, Domingo, and Tanaka!
5. Chiba Lotte Marines(7) 17-14 .548
A great 4-1 week against the strong Lions and struggling Hawks, continuing its strong play.
6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows(4) 11-12 .478
Another 2-3 week. Though splitting the two games against the Carp, and taking 1 out of 3 against the Dragons is pretty much the expected result considering each team’s strengths.
7. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters(5) 15-15 .500
2-4 week. The team can’t score runs to save their lives with only 8 runs scored over 6 games, 6 of those against porous Buffaloes pitching. Fighters got swept by the rising Eagles.
8. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks(6) 14-17 .452
Continued its poor play, going 1-4 against key rivals Eagles and Marines.
9. Hiroshima Toyo Carp(9) 9-13-1 .409
The same ol’ the same ol’, a 2-3 week against the Swallows and BayStars.
10. Tokyo Yomiuri Giants(10) 11-14-1 .440
Continues to struggle. A 4-2 week sounds good, until you realize that 3 of those wins came against the worst team in NPB, the Yokohama BayStars. Kroon blew a save and lost last night’s game against the Tigers. Uehara was sent down to the minors. The team is definitely much less than what the sum of their parts should be.
11. Orix Buffaloes(11) 11-20 .355
Lost 2 to the Fighters who can’t score, and got absolutely bombed by the Lions and got swept.
12. Yokohama BayStars(12) 6-17-1 .261
Won 2 games against Hiroshima! But the team’s winning percentage is still barely above .250.
Aaron Guiel Watch
23GP 95PA 16R 8HR 21RBI .277/.358/.639 9BB 2HBP 18K
Only 1 HR, 1 walk, and striking out 6 times in 5 games, our man may be in a mini-slump.
Koji Uehara (Giants) – sent down to the minors, there’s definitely something wrong with him physical or psychological, and he already let the team and the fans know that he intends on going to the majors next year in a major PR gaffe (not that he cares about these sorts of things) so his future is really unclear now
5GS 29.1IP 21/8 K/BB 5HR 22RA 6.75ERA
Kenshin Kawakami (Dragons) – Returned from minors and promptly gave up a bomb, we’ll have to see how he does when he gets a start.
4GS 17.2IP 15/3 K/BB 5HR 9RA 4.58ERA
Masahiro “Ma-kun” Tanaka (Eagles) – a shutout
6GS 50IP 45/19 K/BB 2HR 12RA 1.80ERA
Shota Ohba (Hawks)
6GS 43IP 48/10 K/BB 8HR 18RA 3.77ERA
Yu Darvish (Fighters) – 9IP 2RA, allowed his first HR, and team lost in extra innings
6GS 52IP 51/7 K/BB 1HR 5RA 0.69ERA 3CG