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[7/27/2014] Chunichi Dragons: Hitoki Iwase becomes first player in NPB to record 400 saves

by on Jul.27, 2014 @ 1:28 am, under NPB

Hitoki Iwase recorded the 400th save of his career on Saturday in a game against the Yomiuri Giants at Nagoya Dome.  He is the first pitcher in the NPB to save 400 games.  The milestone save came in his 885th career game.  He recorded his first save on June 23, 1999 against Yomiuri at Nagoya Dome.

Source: Sponichi 7/26/2014


Save Milestones

Save Date Opponent Venue
1 06/23/1999 Yomiuri Nagoya Dome
100 07/30/2006 Yomiuri Nagoya Dome
150 09/09/2007 Yakult Nagoya Dome
200 05/12/2009 Yakult Nagaragawa Stadium
250 06/16/2010 Nippon Ham Nagoya Dome
300 09/03/2011 Hiroshima Mazda Stadium
350 04/18/2013 Yakult Jingu Stadium
400 07/26/2014 Yomiuri Nagoya Dome


Sanspo posted portions of Iwase's interactions with the media.

Hero Interview

You reached a significant milestone with 400 saves.

I suppose.  I kind of feel relieved, but it wasn't perfect.

The Giants kept at it after two outs.

It was good it happened after two outs.  But I also rushed myself a little because there were two outs.

You lost your balance on the last pitch.

I threw a slider and lost my footing.

What does 400 saves mean to you?

I got here by taking things one at a time.  But there's still more to come and I'd like to work on keeping the opposition to zero runs.

Unlike previous milestones, you said you were looking forward to your 400th save the last time it was mentioned.

I went out there wanting to get it done today.  I kept telling myself to keep it together.

You struggled for your 400th.

It was a struggle.  But you could say it was very me.

Out of all the people that have supported you, is there anyone you want to thank first?

Just everyone around me.  Also my parents.  They struggled even more than I.

Anything for the fans?

Thank you very much.  I will continue to work hard.

The Dragons are now 4.5 games behind the Giants.

We were swept the last series so I'd like to get that back with another victory tomorrow.

Television Interview

You lost your balance at the end.

I lost my footing.  I just wanted it to be an out.

What were your thoughts when you got the call?

I wanted to get it done on the first try today because I always messed up in the past.  I never really thought too much about things and it never went well so I tried focusing on it today.

Now that you have your 400th save, are there any games in the past that stick out?

I couldn't say even if you mentioned specific games.  There were probably many, but I can't really say.  There was one game, it wasn't one of the 400, but that Nippon Series game (2007, Game 5, relieving Daisuke Yamai during a perfect game attempt) was special.

What do you think got you here?

I never really suffered any serious injuries, that's probably the biggest reason.

Interview with Reporters

You said the outing was very you.

Nothing ever comes easy for me so.

What about the swinging strike you got with the last pitch?

It slipped.  I wasn't really sure where it was going.  I ended up turning into a change-up.

General Manager Hiromitsu Ochiai mentioned another 100 saves.

I'm not really thinking about that.  Numbers add up over time as you accomplish things one at a time.  It's just about trying your best everyday.  I won't change my style.

Interviews after saves are common, but there has been an increase in interviews after losses.  You got the save today and you're getting interview, does it feel different?

Not much of a difference [since I gave up runs].  It does seem strange.

You're always in front with the saves.  How does that feel?

I haven't really thought about it in any special way, but I sometimes think about what my goal is.  I'm not really sure when I'll reach it.  I just know I want to keep doing what I can while I can.

Has anything become difficult?

Not really, but I am beginning to leave my pitches up.  It was able to keep my pitches down before without ever really thinking about it.

There have been times where you don't get to pitch much this season.  Has that made it more difficult to prepare?

I'm the type of pitcher that gets a chance to pitch depending on how the game is progressing.  I do my best to fill in the gaps.  I never really had to worry about a lack of work before.  When I have time, I use it to figure out what I need to do.

Source: Sanspo 7/26/2014