Starting rotation changes due to last night's rain-out, according to Nikkan Sports: Yasutomo Kubo, who was scheduled to pitch last night, will start tonight, likely moving Randy Messenger's start to tomorrow. If that happens, it'll push Minoru Iwata's next start to the 25th (vs Yomiuri at Tokyo Dome on 10 days rest). Sanspo figures Iwata will start tomorrow's game.
And the Tigers will likely turn to either Takumi Akiyama or Tsuyoshi Shimoyangi for a start on the 27th (vs Yakult).
Owner Shinya Sakai on the team making the postseason:
The goal is to win the Central League. It makes no sense to have a half-baked back-up plan [to just get into the Climax Series]. I think all the players are thinking that. As long as you're goal is to win it all, then you can't think of anything less.
Matt Murton should be back in the starting line-up tonight. Said batting coach Yutaka Wada to reporters yesterday, "We know what the problem is. It'll be ok. He'll be fine tomorrow. It isn't a technical problem. It's more of a mental problem. He'll be fine. ... Players in slumps don't get just better because they've gotten some rest. Their medicine is the H that lights up on the scoreboard."
If Tomoaki Kanemoto hits another home run tonight, he'll become the oldest player, at 43 years and 4 months, to hit homers in three straight games. The current record of 42 years and 5 months was set in 1996 (5/16 - 5/18) by Hiromitsu Ochiai.
The Tigers are leaning towards signing Shinjiro Hiyama to a one year extension. If they do, Hiyama would become the first player in franchise history to spend 21 seasons with the club. At 20 seasons this year, Hiyama is currently tied with Goro Toi for the franchise high.
Naoto Tsuru started a Ni-gun game against Hiroshima yesterday and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits over 6 innings of work.
The Tigers will be hosting Tora-no Natsu Special (essentially a summer festival) on 8/27 and 8/28 (vs Yakult).
Yuya Kubo's scoreless appearances streak ended at 20 games last night (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 SO, 0 BB, 1 R, 1 ER). He also recorded the team's 1,000th franchise save, second behind the Chunichi Dragons' 1,169.
Yokohama Bay Stars
Yuki Kuniyoshi joined the Ichi-gun team for practice yesterday and could make his Ichi-gun debut within the next few days.