No matter how well your starting pitcher pitches, no matter how many scoreless innings you throw, if your batters can’t score, you can’t win.
Yuya Yanagi, 29, of the Junichi Dragons in Japan, found this out the hard way this season. Yanagi finished the season with one run or less run support in all 10 of his late-season starts.
In those 10 games, Yanagi allowed a total of 11 runs and received just two runs of run support. No matter how well he pitched, he lost more games than he won. In the second half of the season, he had a 1.44 ERA, but went 1-5. Nippon Professional Baseball may call him a “two-hitter,” but he hasn’t been this unlucky.
Yanagi was unlucky until his last start. On September 24, he started a game against Hanshin and threw 111 pitches over eight innings, allowing just three hits while striking out four and walking none. From the first to the fourth inning, he retired 12 consecutive batters and pitched a perfect game.
He was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth inning, but got the next three batters to pop out to end the inning. Retired the side in order in the sixth. He gave up one hit in the seventh and eighth innings, but finished with a no-hitter.
But the Junichi bats were unable to capitalize on Hanshin’s Hiroto Saiki’s 10-inning (130-pitch), five-hit, seven-strikeout, no-run monster performance. The game ended in a 0-0 tie in 12 extra innings.
It’s not uncommon for Chunichi batters to fail to score in Yanagi’s starts. On Sept. 17 against Hiroshima, Yanagi gave up two runs on four hits in eight innings (117 pitches) as the Junichi fell to 0-3 and took the loss. The Junichi bats self-destructed with four walks.
On August 20, he pitched eight innings against Yakult, allowing one run on five hits with eight strikeouts. It was a perfect game, except for one home run, but Junichi was unable to score a run, falling to 0-1 and taking the complete game loss.
The most unfortunate game came on August 13 against Hiroshima. Yanagi pitched a no-hitter until the ninth inning, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five.
Yanagi threw 121 pitches to continue his “nine-inning no-hitter,” but the Junichi offense failed to score a run off three Hiroshima pitchers until the ninth inning. Yanagi was unable to complete the no-hitter as he was replaced in the 10th inning. Junichi gave up a run in the top of the 10th, and a back-to-back home run in the bottom of the 10th gave them a 2-1 victory.
Yanagi did not receive any run support in the first five games of the second half, throwing 33⅓ innings. On August 27 against Yokohama, he received one run support, but it was a no-decision after seven innings. 메이저사이트
On September 3 in Hiroshima, he pitched 6⅓ scoreless innings with one run support in the third. Yanagi finally got his first win of the second half as Chunichi scored two runs in the eighth inning to win 3-0. It was one of 10 games in which he received run support.
In 24 appearances this season, Yanagi has a 4-11 record with a 2.44 ERA. Despite winning just four games, he finished the season ranked sixth in ERA. Junichi finished with 56 wins, 82 losses, and five ties for a .406 winning percentage, the best in the Central League.