A “monster pitcher” with a 165-kilometer-per-hour fastball and a left-handed ace with two complete games this season will start side by side. Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines and Hiroya Miyaki of the Orix Buffaloes will meet for the third time in their careers. It will be on the 27th at the Osaka Dome, the home of the Oryx.
Chiba Lotte and the Oryx are locked in a tight race with the SoftBank Hawks for first place. At the beginning of the interleague, Chiba Lotte led the way, but the Oryx passed them and now SoftBank is in first place. Chiba Lotte and Oryx are in second and third place without a win, trailing SoftBank by 0.5 games. First through third place could change depending on the outcome of each game.
Last season, the championship was decided in the final game. The Oryx won the title after top-ranked SoftBank lost to Chiba Lotte on the final day of the pennant race.
Sasaki, born in November 2001, and Miyagi, born in August 2001, are classmates. They were drafted side by side and began their professional careers in 2020.토토사이트
Sasaki pitching out of the bullpen for the WBC team. Photo credit: Japan National Baseball Team website
Last year, Sasaki went 9-4 with a 2.02 ERA and Miyagi went 11-8 with a 3.16 ERA, establishing themselves as the team’s mainstays. Along with Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the best pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball, Miyagi led the team to the Pacific League title and the top spot in the Japan Series.
These two players don’t seem to have much in common. Sasaki hails from Iwate Prefecture in the northeast, while Miyagi hails from Okinawa Prefecture, the southernmost of the Japanese archipelago. Sasaki stands at 1.92 meters, while Miyagi is a diminutive 1.71 meters for a pitcher. The two have a history together as youth representatives.
In their fourth year of high school, they became pitchers representing Japan Baseball side by side. Together, they were the main pitchers for Japan’s World Baseball Classic (WBC) team and contributed to its victory. He symbolizes the generational shift in the Japanese national team.
Sasaki won both of their previous two starts. On October 14, 2021, against Osaka, Sasaki pitched six shutout innings to earn the win.
Sasaki on the mound against the Czech Republic at the WBC. Photo credit: Japan National Baseball Team website
In the second game, he made history.
On April 10 last year, Sasaki became the youngest pitcher to throw a perfect game at the age of 20 years and five months when he started against the Orix at Chiba Marine Stadium. He faced 27 batters and threw 105 pitches, striking out 19. He retired 13 consecutive batters. Miyagi was the Orix starter at the time.
Sasaki threw 165 kilometers per hour this season, the fastest fastball by a Japanese in Nippon Professional Baseball. It was the fastest fastball ever recorded by Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) during his time with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
In recent games, the results have been disappointing. On June 18, he gave up four runs in six innings in an interleague game against the Yokohama BayStars. Sasaki left the stadium after the game, unavailable for media interviews. This time around, he’s coming off a generous eight days of rest.
Miyagi has two complete games this season. SportsNippon Headquarters
Miyagi has been consistent this year. He threw two nine-inning shutouts against the Rakuten Eagles on May 8 and the Chunichi Dragons on June 4. Miyagi and Yokohama left-hander Katsuki Azuma are the only two pitchers with two complete games this season.
Sasaki leads the Pacific League in strikeouts (86-5-2, 1.89), while Miyagi is tied for first in wins (6-2, 2.51).