CHIBA LOTTE MARINES
...Tadahito Iguchi needs only 1 more home run to reach 200 for his career (includes both his career numbers from the NPB and MLB).
...Kyuji Fujikawa held his first bullpen session yesterday since being taken off the active roster on the 3rd and tossed 45 pitches (which included 9 curves and 6 forks). And it was Akihiro Yano that caught him.
...Speaking of Yano, he could be ready to join the parent club as early as the 13th. On Friday, Yano was seen throwing a football to help rehab his arm. But yesterday was the first time in 11 days that he threw a regulation baseball.
...The Hanshin fans are starting to voice their opinions at the games more loudly. A fan used a megaphone yesterday and said, "Send in a pinch hitter for Arai! We don't need a number 5 hitter that can't hit. You should send out Imaoka in the number 5 hole, at least he'd be better than Arai. ... He hasn't done anything good since opening day. Drop him from the Ichi-gun and let him start-over in Ni-gun." The general mood in the stands appears to be dropping quite a bit.
...Mamoru Kishida was taken off the active roster on the 9th due to stiffness in his right shoulder.
...Daisuke Kusano is riding a 16-game hitting streak, which ties the club mark set by Yosuke Takasu in 2008.
...Hisashi Iwakuma has now won 8 consecutive games at Chiba Marine Stadium over a 5-year stretch.
...Comments from Iwakuma after yesterday's start:
It was a tough game...
My arm was feeling good, but I had a hard time making small adjustments with my control.
On the 3 consecutive walks and walking a run home in the second...
I think three consecutive walks and walking home a run must have been a first for me. But I didn't panic. I figured I'd do what I could. And somehow, I got through that inning.
Did you volunteer to pitch the 8th?
I think you always need to have that kind of mindset. I felt I could do it and I thought if I could settle down and pitch, that would get me through.
What kind of adjustments did you make?
The harder I threw, the more I opened up. It was a matter of adjusting how hard I threw.
...Comments from Katsuya Nomura after yesterday's game:
How nice. We won a game. Losing today would have been bad. I wanted to avoid a three game sweep no matter what and our ace was pitching today.
On Iwakuma struggling with his control...
From the very first inning it was one 3-2 count after another. He isn't the kind of pitcher to walk so many batters. But being able to hold down the opposition despite not having his stuff, now that's an ace.
On taking him out after 7...
He actually wanted to keep pitching. But we he a pretty good lead and I didn't think we needed to push him for another inning. I forced him out. Looks like he's beginning to feel some of the responsibility that goes with being an ace. A promising sign.
...Ryo Sakata picked up his first Ichi-gun hit and RBI in yesterday's game against the Hawks. Some consider him to be a left-handed hitting Takeya Nakamura.
...Nagisa Arakaki will be demoted to Ni-gun for his poor performance: 17 runs (all earned) over 19.1 inning of work.
...Marc Kroon could be back with the parent club as early as the 12th.