The Hawks announced today that they will be setting up public viewing screens at Hakata, Shin-Tosu, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima Chuo JR stations for the final stretch of the season (beginning on 9/13, remaining home games at Yahoo Dome until the standings are finalized).
For the first time in his NPB career, Brian Falkenborg was called in to close out a game on Wednesday night for the third straight day in a row. While Falkenborg has pitched in three consecutive games during his NPB career, he had never pitched on 3 consecutive days until yesterday.
The Hawks are already beginning to prepare for when they clinch first in the Pacific League -- they sent out staff to Seibu Dome, QVC Marine, and Sapporo Dome to check on potential celebration grounds and media outlets.
Ming-Chieh Hsu tossed BP at Seibu 2 Stadium yesterday (threw 76 pitches, not off the mound but flat ground). If no setbacks, he could return to the active roster some time next week.
Nippon Ham Fighters
Yu Darvish's next start will likely be on 4 days of rest (9/11 vs Rakuten at Kleenex Stadium). After that, he'll most likelygo back to pitching on 5 days of rest -- that will allow him to make at least 2 starts against the Softbank Hawks this month (9/17 and 9/29, both at Yahoo Dome).
Sho Nakata does not have a hit in his last 3 games (0 hits in 15 trips to the plate) and could lose his clean-up spot in the line-up. Earlier on, Masataka Nashida said he didn't plan on moving Nakata out of the 4 spot, but with the team reeling (6-game losing streak during which they've averaged 2.3 runs a game, or more than a run less than their season average) and Eiichi Koyano in the midst of a 9-game hitting streak, Nashida may flip-flop the two batters.
The Buffaloes won their 9th straight game Wednesday night. That's a first for the club since they won 10 in a row in 1997 (between 5/28 and 6/11).
Shinya Nakayama had a no-hitter going last night until he gave up a 1-out double to Akihisa Makida (RAK) in the bottom of the 8th inning.
When told tickets to Saturday's game were already sold out, Senichi Hoshino jokingly said, "Maybe I should change the starting rotation. Make [Masahiro Tanaka] start a day earlier or something."