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PL News and Notes: Buffaloes to try for their first 2-game winning streak for 10th time this season

by on May.20, 2011 @ 2:15 pm, under NPB

Softbank Hawks

Takahiro Mahara and Brian Falkenborg could both return to the active roster on the 23rd.

Chiba Lotte Marines

In addition to Saburo (right ring finger) and Takashi Ogino (right knee), Tae-Kyun Kim (right wrist) and Shoitsu Omatsu (poor performance) were taken off the active roster.  The Marines are hoping their younger players will be able to step up.

Nippon Ham Fighters

Bobby Keppel will probably start tonight's game against the Yomiuri Giants.  Keppel pitched well during Inter-league games last season, going 4-0 in 5 starts with a 1.62 ERA (0.85 WHIP).

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As part of the "Players think of the Game Events" project, the Fighters are thinking about giving fans a chance to win autographed memorabilia if they can correctly predict things like "Who will hit a home run," "Who will collect 3 or more hits," and "Who will steal a base" before games on 6/11 and 6/12 (vs Yokohama at Sapporo Dome).

There will apparently be a fairly large number of predictions fans can make.  Those that manage to answer all predictions correctly may also get the opportunity to get tossed into the air by the players at the end of the season during the Fan Festival.

Orix Buffaloes

The Buffaloes will go for their first 2-game winning streak of the season in their 10th try tonight.  Nikkan Sports lists three things that might help them pull it off:

1) The Buffaloes will have 4 catchers on the roster once they activate Hikaru Ito today.  But that's all a part of Akinobu Okada's plan since he wants to be able to use Takeshi Hidaka as a DH or pinch-hitter.

2) Yuki Nishi will probably start tomorrow's game (on 5 days of rest) against the Hiroshima Carp.  The idea here is to start the hot hand as often as possible and if the Buffaloes can win tonight, they'll be able to go for three straight with Nishi on the mound tomorrow.

3) The Buffaloes have held full-team practices during the last 3 non-game days.  With no chance of rain outs (next to 2-game series will take place in domes), the players will have gone 14 straight day without an official day off.  Said batting coach Kozo Shoda, "They've gotta practice since they can't hit."

Rakuten Eagles

Masahiro Tanaka gets tonight's start against the Yakult Swallows.  Yoshinori Sato will probably be on the mound for Yakult.

And even though the managers didn't have to announce starters for tonight's game, they both more or less did yesterday.

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Kazuo Matsui took some extra BP (about 30 minutes, along with other players like Teppei) during yesterday's practice.