All-Star news and notes from July 20:
- Kazuhisa Makita is thinking about throwing the ball over the top instead of from the side when he starts Game 2 today. If he does, it will be the first time he throws over the top since his first-year in high school. Source: Sanpso 7/20/2013
- Takahiro Arai could get the start at first and bat sixth in Game 2. Source: Sanspo 7/20/2013
- Of the sixteen pitches Masahiro Tanaka threw on Friday, eleven were over 150km/h. Source: Sanspo 7/20/2013
- Hitoki Iwase got Nobuhiro Matsuda to ground out to first on a knuckleball in the 8th inning on Friday. Source: Nikkan Sports 7/20/2013
- The slow curves Daisuke Miura threw on Friday were too slow for the stadium speed gun. Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013
- Shohei Otani took over in left on Friday because Hideki Kuriyama did not want to remove Yoshio Itoi from right -- Itoi was having a good game and Kuriyama wanted him to try for an MVP. Souce: Sponichi 7/20/2013, Daily Sports 7/20/2013
- It was one year ago on Friday that Otani topped 160km/h on the radar gun during an Iwate qualifier tournament game.
- Yasuhiro Ogawa got some tips on how to throw and use the forkball more effectively from Atsushi Nomi. Ogawa is scheduled to relieve Tomoyuki Sugano in Game 2. Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013
- Kazuo Matsui (right hamstring) and Tadahito Iguchi (right calf) are a little banged up. Both were selected to the All-Star roster by fans but did not make the starting line-up. They did, however, make it into the game as pinch-hitters.
- A number of fans were apparently disappointed when Hirokazu Sawamura was named MVP of the game on Friday. Sawamura was unsure if he deserved the award and wondered if fan reaction would have been better if Itoi had gotten it instead. Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2013
- Akihito Fujii was Tony Blanco's home run derby pitcher on Friday. Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2013
- Shintaro Fujinami was able to play catch with Iwase and Miura during pre-game workouts on Friday. Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2013
- Wladimir Balentien is sporting a special All-Star-themed haircut (he got it cut on the 18th). Source: Sanspo 7/20/2013
- Atsushi Nomi is scheduled to start Game 3 for the Central League. Source: Daily Sports 7/19/2013
- Sho Nakata is wearing black cleats with gold accents. Source: Nikkan Sports 7/19/2013
- Morimichi Takagi is planning to drive to Tokyo after Game 3 at Iwaki Green Stadium in Fukushima and take the Shinkansen to Nagoya on the following day. However, depending on how he is feeling, he might just drive all the way back to Nagoya. Fukushima is about 540 kilometers away from Nagoya. Source: Nikkan Sports 7/19/2013
Notes from Game 1:
- Hirokazu Sawamura was the first Yomiuri pitcher to be named an MVP since Suguru Egawa in 1984 (Game 3) and the first pitcher to win an MVP without getting a win since Yutaka Enatsu in 1980 (Game 3).
- Shohei Otani was: the twelfth rookie out of high school to pitch in an All-Star game, first since Masahiro Tanaka in 2007 (Game 2); the eighth rookie out of high school to hold the opposition to zero runs in his first All-Star appearance, first since Yutaka Enatsu in 1967 (Game 1); fourth rookie out of high school to pitch and hit in the same All-Star game and first to get two trips to the plate; and joined Ichiro Suzuki (1996, Game 2, from right field to the mound) as the only two players in NPB All-Star history to play in a game as both a pitcher and a position player and first to go from pitcher to position player in the same game.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the seventy-eighty player in NPB history to record All-Star appearances in either league.
- Tadahito Iguchi grounded into the twenty-seventh pinch-hit double play during an All-Star game.
- Masahiro Tanaka was the fourteenth starting pitcher to throw two or more perfect innings during an All-Star game, first since Kenta Maeda tossed two perfect innings during Game 1 of the 2010 All-Star Series.
- It was the tenth time in NPB All-Star history that a game ended in a tie, first since Game 2 of the 2010 All-Star Series (5-5).
- It was the nineteenth time in NPB All-Star history that a game ended with no home runs, first since Game 1 of the 1997 All-Star Series.
- It was the first time in NPB All-Star history that a game ended in a tie with neither team recording a home run.
Sponichi has posted a portion of an interview with Otani:
You tossed a bullpen session with [Yusei] Kikuchi.
It felt strange. I never thought of being in that kind of situation so it felt very new.
You played left field while Kikuchi pitched.
I did not think we would ever play on the same team. Getting this opportunity to play defense behind him was a good experience for me.
What was the environment like in the dugout?
Everyone was great. I did not feel uncomfortable and it was a good learning experience.
On Game 2 on the twentieth.
I heard that other 2012 draft class players will be making appearances on the mound so I am really looking forward to that. I will do my best to hit them. I think I will be a position player, so hopefully I can do what I can while learning some things on defense and in the base paths.
Source: Sponichi 7/20/2013