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[6/1/2013] Nippon Ham Fighters: Shohei Otani News and Notes

by on Jun.01, 2013 @ 11:54 pm, under NPB

Daily Sports and Sanspo has posted portions of Shohei Otani's post-game interview.

First Daily Sports:

You recorded your first victory.  This is you first hero interview.

Otani: The cheering from all the fans helped me throughout the game.  My teammates also helped me.  I think this was a great victory.

What do you think of your first victory?

Otani: I am very happy and while I am not sure I was able to live up to all the cheering, I think it was good the team was able to win.

Your notched your first victory in your second game.

Otani: I did not do a very good job during my last start and my teammates had to help so I wanted to do my best to keep the game scoreless [today].  I am happy I was able to help the team win.

How were you feeling on the mound?

Otani: The only thing I had to do was trust [Shinya] Tsuruoka and throw the ball where you put his mitt.  In tight spots [Keiji] Obiki kept me going with calls of support with each pitch I threw.  I really appreciate everything my teammates did for me today.

What will you do with the game ball?

Otani: [Takes the ball out of his back pocket and looks at it.]  I want to give it to my parents.

Please tell us what your goals are as a pitcher.

Otani: I still have a lot of things I need to work on, but I want to work hard to help the team win.

How about as a position player?

Otani: I want to put up results regardless of how they plan to use me.

Tsuruoka, this was your first home run in two years.

Tsuruoka: I think I was more surprised about it than the fans.  I forgot what it was like to hit a home run.  I did not think I got enough of it...  I am glad I was able to provide Otani with support so soon.

What did you think of Otani's performance?

Tsuruoka: He won so 100%.

Do you have any expectations for Otani as a pitcher?

Tsuruoka: I would like to see him become the kind of pitcher that can give the team a victory when it is going through a rough patch.

Any last comments for the fans?

Otani: I am number eleven, Shohei Otani.  Your cheering gave me power.  I will continue to work hard as I convert your cheers into motivation.

Source: Daily Sports 6/1/2013

Now Sanspo:

You recorded our first victory.

I am not satisfied with how things went, but I am happy the team won.  I feel like they let me win.  Next time, I want to earn the win.

The defense helped you.

I just placed my trust in [Tsuruoka] and pitched.  In tight spots, Obiki kept me going with words of support.  I am grateful to my teammates.

Your retired the side in order in the 5th.

The way things were going, it was going to by my last inning.  I wanted to do what I could.  I forgot about everything that happened before [and pitched].

Did you get a good feel for things as a pitcher?

I gave it my best and got through five innings.  I did not really get a feel.  There are things I need to work on though.

Did this [outing] give you confidence?

I think I have a little wiggle room.  Winning is better than losing.  If I can throw fewer pitchers, then I can go deeper into games.

Source: Sanspo 6/1/2013


Chunichi Dragons Takeshi Yamasaki, Kazuhiro Wada, and Morimichi Takagi also commented on Otani.

Yamasaki: "[Otani] still does not have the knowledge of a pitcher.  He is still feeling things out. ... He could become a great pitcher if he makes that his primary position.  He has what it takes to become a super-ace, like a [Yu] Darvish or a [Toshiya] Sugiuchi."

Wada: "[Otani] has good velocity, but he took a hit after throwing about thirty pitches.  Might be that he needs more practice."

Takagi: "[Otani] can throw 150km/h, but he is still not a pitcher. ... [Being a two position player] is difficult, but he is showing the possibilities."

Source: Sponichi 6/1/2013


Daily Sports provides a break down of Otani's outing:

  • twenty-two batters faced
  • eighty-seven pitches
  • sixty-four fastballs
  • eleven sliders
  • five curves
  • four cutters
  • three change-ups
  • forty-four fastballs were clocked at or over 150km/h
  • fifteen of the eighteen pitches he threw in the 5th inning were fastballs; all except one was thrown in the 150s.
  • topped out at 156km/h
  • twelve of fifteen outs were recorded on fastballs

Source: Daily Sports 6/1/2013


UPDATE 6/2 @ 11:55am -

Sanspo has posted additional portions of Otani's post-game interview.

You threw a lot of fastballs to clean-up hitter [Hector] Luna in the 5th inning.

He hit my curve in his first at bat so I wanted to stay strong against him.

What did [Hideki] Kuriyama tell you in the dugout in the 4th?

I was beginning to elevate my pitches so he told me that he wanted me to make pitches we could be satisfied with.  I was going to face the middle of the order [in the 5th] so I cleared my mind.

Which makes you happiest, your first hit [or your first victory]?

Both make me happy.  I am not happy with my outing, but I am happy the team won.  The game ball?  I will give it to my parents.

Source: Sanspo 6/2/2013