In the Pacific Division, we’re on to game six of the six-game series while the Central division looks to finish up their three-game series. There have been plenty of interesting upsets in the first two games. Will there be any surprises on Sunday?
Orix Buffaloes vs. Seibu Lions
Sunday, July 5, 2020 – 5:00am EST
Probable Pitchers Per NPB site:
- Orix: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1-0 2.63 ERA)
- Seibu: Kaito Yoza (0-1 4.50 ERA)
In yesterday’s show, I leaned on the Orix Buffaloes to get an upset win over the Lions. The Buffaloes got the job done, winning 4-3, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to get the win.
The Buffaloes look to have the pitching edge again in this match-up. The Buffaloes will pitch Yoshinobu Yamamoto who is 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA on the season. Yamamoto has thrown 13.2 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) while striking out 13 and walking four.
Yamamoto has a career ERA of 2.55 through three seasons and this season. He also has a win-loss record of 14-9 with the Buffaloes. Yamamoto is a big strikeout thrower and has limited hits to just seven per nine innings throughout his time in the NPB.
He’ll go up against Kaito Yoza of the Seibu Lions. Yoza is another young pitcher who started his first NPB game a couple of weeks ago. In his two starts during his rookie season, he went 0-1 allowing six runs on nine hits in 12 innings pitched. Three of those hits were home runs. He’s struck out seven and walked three while also hitting a batter.
In 2019, Yoza pitched in the minor leagues and had a 5.06 ERA in two games. His strikeout numbers have dipped since moving from the minors to the majors this season. In those two minor league games, he also allowed a homer in 5.1 innings of work.
The Buffaloes have a couple of solid bats in their lineup including Adam Jones, a former MLB All-Star. In just 17.1 innings, in the minors and NPB, he’s allowed four homers and 17 hits.
I like the Buffaloes to win this game. You can also look at the Buffaloes team total if you’d rather lean that way.
Yomiuri Giants vs. Chunichi Dragons
Sunday, July 5, 2020 – 1:00am EST
Probable Pitchers Per NPB site:
- Yomiuri: Angel Sanchez (2-0 0.77 ERA)
- Chunichi: Kodai Umetsu (1-1 5.25 ERA)
The Yomiuri Giants have now defeated the Chunichi Dragons in the first two games of the three-game series. The Giants will now pitch Angel Sanchez, who has allowed just one run in two starts this season.
Sanchez has pitched 11.2 innings in two starts and has allowed seven hits, including one home run. The only thing that’s stopping Sanchez from being one of the better pitchers in the league is his walks. He’s walked eight batters in two games and has only struck out four. Of course, you’d rather have walks over extra-base hits, but currently he’s averaging 6.2 walks per nine innings after two starts, which is really bad. However, his hits per nine through two games is just 5.4, which is really good.
For his career, he’s averaged a little over 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Therefore, I wouldn’t be too worried that his strikeouts are low and his walks are high. His career numbers are the exact opposite and he’s been very good limiting hard contact these first two games.
The Dragons will pitch Kodai Umetsu is currently 1-1 on the year and has a 5.25 ERA through two games started this season. He’s allowed 13 hits in 12 innings and has given up seven earned runs in those two starts. He’s struck out eight but also walked five batters.
Umetsu is a young pitcher with just eight games under his belt. He’s got a career ERA of 3.09 in the league, but this is only his second season. Last year, he went 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in six games.
However, in comparison to last season, his strikeout numbers are down and his walks are up. He’s also allowing two more hits per nine innings. This could be a sophomore slump for Umetsu. He hasn’t looked great in his first two starts this season.
Umetsu allowed nine earned runs in nine games last season and has already allowed seven runs in two games this season.
The Giants are one of the better offenses in the league and will have Angel Sanchez on the mound who has allowed just one run in his first two games – and that’s with a bunch of walks and low strikeouts.
Imagine when he really gets going!
Lotte Marines vs. Rakuten Eagles
Sunday, July 5, 2020 – 12:00am EST
Probable Pitchers Per NPB site:
- Lotte: Manabu Mima (0-0 3.00 ERA)
- Rakuten: Ryota Ishibashi (0-2 10.13 ERA)
The Rakuten Eagles won another close finish with a rain-shortened victory against the Marines. The Eagles have now won four of five in this series and will look to win their 5th game of the series in this one.
The Eagles will pitch Ryota Ishibashi who has looked awful in his first two starts this season. Ishibashi is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA this season. He went just eight innings in two games, allowing 13 hits and nine runs, including two home runs. He’s struck out eight and walked four.
Currently, he’s on pace to allow 14.6 hits per nine innings this season and has a WHIP greater than two, at 2.13.
Last season, for Rakuten, he went 8-7 with a 3.82 ERA but allowed 4.24 runs per nine innings in 28 games. For his career, he’s 8-9 with a 4.54 ERA and has allowed 4.93 runs per nine innings. His strikeout numbers in the NPB are much lower than they are currently. He strikes out just 5.3 batters per nine innings and averages 1.5 homers per nine innings.
He’ll go up against Manabu Mima of Lotte, who has been much more consistent through his first two starts this season. Mima has gone 12 innings in his first two games and has allowed 14 hits, four runs, including one homer.
However, he’s thrown 11 strikeouts and just three walks to start the season. Mima is pitching against his former team in the Rakuten Eagles. He went 8-5 with the Eagles last season and has started his campaign with the Marines well with a win.
Mima has had an ERA above 4 in his last two seasons with the Eagles but had solid strikeout numbers and walk numbers last season. His WHIP was just 1.18 in 2019.
I like Mima in this spot. He’s looked solid in his first two starts and will get to go up against his former team in the Rakuten Eagles.
Ishibashi has proved nothing in his first two starts of the season. The edge favors the Marines.