Nippon Professional Baseball’s SoftBank Hawks are in third place. One game out of fourth place. They are in danger of missing out on the Climax Series (CS), where the top three spots are up for grabs.
The Hawks dropped a 6-1 decision to the Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday at PAYPAY Dome in Fukuoka, Japan.
Imamiya led off the game with a solo home run in the first inning, but gave up a two-run double to Wakatsuki with the bases loaded in the third. In the fourth, a sacrifice fly by T-Okada and a two-RBI double by Kurebayashi with the bases loaded cut the deficit to 1-5.
SoftBank did not score a run after the first inning.메이저사이트 Orix starter Tajima pitched eight innings, allowing one run on six hits with eight strikeouts.
The loss drops SoftBank to 65-2-66, one game ahead of fourth-place Rakuten (64-1-67). They trail second-place Chiba Lotte (63-5-62) by one game, but are being chased by Rakuten.
After losing the Pacific League crown to the Oryx for the past two years, SoftBank invested heavily last winter. “SoftBank invested 8 billion yen (about $72 billion, estimated) last offseason to bolster its roster, raising expectations for this season,” said Japanese media outlet Full Count.
When former Japan national team player Kensuke Gondo became a free agent, the team signed him to a massive seven-year, 5 billion yen contract. Former Chiba Lotte closer Roberto Osuna signed a one-year, 650 million yen deal. Pitcher Kohei Aihara, who returned from a two-year stint in the United States, signed a three-year, 1.5 billion yen deal to bolster the starting staff.
Gondo is on pace for career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (82). He leads the league in RBIs and is fourth in home runs, two behind first. His batting average (.297) is third in the league. He’s doing his part.
Osuna joined the Chiba Lotte in June of last year and went 4-1 with a 9-1 record, 10 saves and a 0.91 ERA in 29 games. He was acquired by SoftBank for a hefty sum in the offseason. In 45 games this season, he is 3-2 with 11 shutouts and 23 saves with a 1.00 ERA.
Aihara had a late start to the season, returning in June, but has been a pillar of the starting rotation, going 9-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 15 games.
Japanese media outlet Sportschi homepage
The big-money players are doing their job, but SoftBank is worried about missing the CS, let alone contending for the title.
SoftBank was the league leader at the beginning of July with a +15 win percentage. The nightmare was a 12-game losing streak from July 7-24. The 12-game losing streak tied the franchise’s first such disgraceful record, a 15-game losing streak in 1969, with a draw in between. Since the 12-game losing streak, the team’s winning percentage has been up and down, and they haven’t recovered.