Yu Darvish was tabbed as the OD starter for the Fighters and opened the season against the Lotte Marines on the 20th.
For his opening act of 2008, Darvish pitched a complete game and scattered only 4 hits and a walk while striking out 10 (9 swinging and 1 looking). He faced 31 batter and threw a total of 124 pitches.
Marines starter Hiroyuki Kobayashi was matching Darvish with 0's up until the 6 inning when he gave up a single, a sac bunt, and then an infield single. He then hit the fourth batter he faced. Kobayashi was lifted immediately after that due to leg cramps. The lone run scored after the pitching change on a grounder to short.
R H E Marines 0 4 1 Fighters 1 4 0 IP BF PT H HR SO BB HBP ER R Darvish 9.0 31 124 4 0 10 1 0 0 0 Attendance: 42,126
Masahiro Tanaka was picked to star the second game of the season against the Softbank Hawks on the 22nd. He struggled throughout the game, but managed to hold the Hawks to 3 runs on 10 hits and 4 walks over 8 innings. Tanaka did manage to strikeout 10 (7 swinging and 3 looking) of the 38 batters he faced. He threw 38 pitches through his 8 innings of work and was taken out during the 9th behind a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn't hold the lead and the Eagles lost 5-4 in the bottom of the 11th.
R H E Eagles 4 14 0 Hawks 5 7 0 IP BF PT H HR SO BB HBP ER R Tanaka 8.0 38 134 10 0 10 4 0 3 3 Attendance: 31,014
After seeing Kobayashi leave the game early and lose the opener against the Fighers, Yoshihisa Naruse must have felt some pressure on his shoulders to do well on the 22nd. And while he wasn't exactly lights out, he did hurl a complete game. Naruse gave up 2 runs (all earned) on 6 hits (1 HR), one walk (which came in the 9th), and struck out 4 (3 swinging and 1 looking). He faced 33 hitters and threw 115 pitches. Naruse is coming off a successful 2007 campaign so it will be interesting to see how he pitches throughout the season.
R H E Marines 3 9 0 Fighers 2 6 1 IP BF PT H HR SO BB HBP ER R Naruse 9.0 33 115 6 1 4 1 0 2 2 Attendance: 31,028
The Softbank Hawks have high hopes for rookie Shota Ohba and he certainly didn't disappoint in his first start of his career against the Rakuten Eagles on the 23rd. Ohba pitched an 8-hit, complete game shut-out and struck out 6 hitters (5 swinging, 1 looking) while walking none. He faced 35 hitters and threw 133 pitches. Ohba became just the 4th pitcher ever to throw a complete game shut-out without walking a hitter for his first ever appearance.
R H E Eagles 0 8 1 Hawks 4 8 0 IP BF PT H HR SO BB HBP ER R Ohba 9.0 35 133 8 0 6 0 0 0 0 Attendance: --