The Hawks recorded their 20th shutout victory last night. That's the most any team has recorded since the Giants notched 22 in 1989. For the Hawks, it's the fourth time they've managed 20 or more complete games in franchise history. The other three times: 24 in 1948 and the 22 in 1954 and 1958. The pro yakyu record of 32 was set twice, one by Nishitetsu in 1956 and once by Hanshin in 1965.
Yasuyuki Kataoka (right shoulder) is currently expected to rejoin the active roster in early September. And both Ming-Chieh and Ginjiro started playing catch on the 8/23 and could be activated at around the same time as Kataoka.
Hisanobu Watanabe told reporters that he plans on leaving Kazuhisa Makita as the team closer, despite his current rough stretch (3 losses in his last 4 appearances). Said Watanabe, "I never thought this was going to be an easy transition. With regards to the current season, he's our closer until the end."
Nippon Ham Fighters
The slow pitch Kazuhito Tadano threw to Luis Garcia (RAK) during last night's game.
The Fighters decided to demote Keisaku Itokazu today after his rough outing last night (3 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 5 R, 3 ER).
Takahiro Okada hit a homer during a Ni-gun game against Hanshin yesterday that hit off the scoreboard at the Naruohama Baseball Ground (about 140 meters). Overall, Okada he went 2-for-4 in the game: GIDP in his first at bat, ground out to first in his second at bat, homer to center, single to right.
Okada has also been working on how he uses his lower body when he hits (specifically, trying to hit with and without a step).
And despite the performance, it doesn't appear as though Okada will make it back to the active roster on the 27th (the first day he's available to return).
The Eagles have won 4 in a row and their bullpen has been great during that stretch: in 13 innings of work they've allowed just 1 earned run on 7 hits; they've also struck out 15 and walked 2.