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Nippon Professional Baseball: News, Notes, and Where to Watch

 Conor Liguori  |    May 14th, 2024 2:00pm EDT

Yu Darvish #11 of the San Diego Padres reacts after striking out Andy Pages. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Yu Darvish One Win Away from 200  


San Diego Padres Japanese right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish is one win away from 200 between his Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball career. Darvish won 93 games in seven seasons from 2005-11 with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and has 106 wins in his 12-year MLB career.  

Darvish is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday, May 18, against the Atlanta Braves. If he can pitch deep into the ballgame and the San Diego lineup puts up some runs, Darvish will join the Meikyukai (Golden Players Club). Japanese players are inducted if they reach 2,000 hits, 200 wins, or 250 saves.  


Giants’ Tomoyuki Sugano Records 1,500th NPB Strikeout  


Yomiuri Giants starting pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano recorded his 1,500th career strikeout in a 4-3 win against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows on Saturday.  

In his 12th season with the Giants, Sugano allowed two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts in six innings in Saturday’s contest. The Giants posted Sugano in December 2021, but he could not reach a contract agreement with an MLB organization.  

The 34-year-old has won countless awards throughout his NPB career, including Central League MVP in 2014 and 2020 and the Eiji Sawamura Award in 2017 and 2018, the NPB equivalent of the Cy Young Award.  


Top Pitching Performance: Hiroto Saiki  


Hanshin Tigers starting pitcher Hiroto Saiki threw a complete-game shutout in a 1-0 win against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars on Sunday. The righty dominated the BayStars all night, allowing just four hits while striking out five.  

Saiki, allowing one earned run in five innings, helped even the 2023 Japan Series at two games apiece against the Orix Buffaloes. The Tigers won the series in seven games, their first Japan Series championship in 38 years.  

In seven starts this season, Saiki is 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA in 45 innings for Hanshin.  


This Day in Japanese Baseball History  


On May 14, 1971, Japanese left-handed pitcher Takashi Kashiwada was born in Tokyo, Japan.  

Kashiwada played 10 seasons in NPB with the Yomiuri Giants (1994-96, 1998-2004) and one season in MLB with the New York Mets in 1997. He made 35 appearances for New York out of the bullpen, posting a 4.31 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 31.1 innings.  


NPB Standings as of Tuesday, May 14  


Central League  


  1. Yomiuri Giants (20-16-3) 
  2. Hanshin Tigers (18-15-4) 
  3. Hiroshima Toyo Carp (15-4-4) 
  4. Chunichi Dragons (16-17-4) 
  5. Yokohama DeNA BayStars (16-19-1) 
  6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows (15-19-2) 


Pacific League  


  1. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (23-10-2) 
  2. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (20-14-1) 
  3. Chiba Lotte Marines (17-18-1) 
  4. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (16-19-1) 
  5. Orix Buffaloes (15-20-1) 
  6. Saitama Seibu Lions (13-23-0) 


You can stream NPB games on DAZN all season long.