165km-long monster, ‘2 games, 33 points’ 7 innings against the batting line, KKKKKKK, ‘Though I threw 35 pitches in the first inning’

In front of Sasaki Rocky (23, Chiba Lotte Marines), a monster pitcher who threw up to 165 kilometers per hour, Kang Jung-sun, who scored 33 points in two games, was also helpless.
Sasaki won his fourth game of the season against the Softbank Hawks on Monday by striking out eight and allowing one run, five hits and three walks (two walks, one body ball) in seven innings at the 2024 regular season home game at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

He has pitched well for the second consecutive game since he was defeated by five runs in five ⅔ in an away game against the Nippon-Ham Fighters on May 10. In a rematch with the Nippon-Ham Fighters on May 17, Sasaki completely avenged his performance with three hits and two walks in eight innings (one walk, one body hit) and 12 strikeouts and one run. Sasaki, who failed to secure a victory despite throwing 106 pitches at the time, secured a victory in 24 days by throwing even more overwhelming pitches.

On the day, Sasaki garnered a total of 21 swings and misses with his fastball of up to 101 miles per hour (about 162.5 kilometers). Softbank’s batters were not weak. As a favorite to win the Pacific League title with 29 wins, two draws and 11 losses, Softbank boasted a very strong batting average of 0.266 with 31 home runs and OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 0.742. Nippon-Ham and Seibu Lions, the second-ranked team, had 21 home runs, and Chiba Lotte, the second-ranked team in OPS, had a gap of 0.641.

The two games against the Rakuten Golden Eagles on the 21st and 22nd were a good opportunity to check Softbank’s firepower. Softbank scored a whopping 33 points and won two consecutive shutouts, 21-0 and 12-0. Softbank, which took a day off, pushed Sasaki from the beginning and showed off its firepower. Kenta Imamiya got on base with a hit to the left with one out in the top of the first inning. Yuki Yanagita, the third batter, was struck out with a fork at the end of the ninth pitch, but allowed Hotaka Yamakawa to hit a hit to the right. Here, the crisis continued as Kondo Kensuke hit a timely RBI double over the left field height and Ryoya Kurihara took a walk. Fortunately, he managed to finish the first inning by striking out Richard Snigawa with three pitches.

Sasaki only threw 35 pitches in the first inning. However, Sasaki started to gain momentum afterwards. The team ended the second inning with three outs, and despite an error in the left field in the third inning, it skipped the game without losing a point. Softbank’s batters failed to create any opportunities, except for Kai Takuya’s double to the left-center field in the top of the fourth inning. In the top of the fifth inning, he allowed Imamiya a hit to right field, but threw a fastball to Yanagita’s body to pull out a double play. He already exceeded 70 pitches in the third inning, but pitched 119 pitches through the seventh inning, completing quality start plus pitching (more than seven innings and less than three earned runs). Chiba Lotte came from behind to win 3-1 as its batters also scored three runs off foreign pitcher Livan Monello.

As a result, Sasaki has secured the top spot in strikeouts in the two major leagues with four wins and two losses, an earned run average of 2.18 and 61 strikeouts in 53 ⅔ innings. According to Japanese media Nikkan Sports, Sasaki said after the game, “I thought it would be an uphill battle due to the strong momentum of Softbank recently, but I persisted. After the second inning, I threw while reorganizing what I could and could not do.”

Lotte manager Yoshii Masato Chiba praised Sasaki, saying, “It seemed impossible for Sasaki to throw more than 30 balls in the first inning, but I’m glad he got back on track and threw until the seventh inning.” 토토사이트

With Sasaki showing off his powerful pitching again, his advance to the Major League is becoming a reality. With many scouts already following Sasaki, attention is focusing on whether he will be able to win the contract worth more than 300 million U.S. dollars as expected. When Sasaki tried to post in the Major League in December last year, U.S. media outlet CBS Sports assumed Sasaki’s estimated ransom of 300 million dollars.

The reason is Sasaki’s all-time pitching. Sasaki is a fastball right-hander who sprays fastballs with an average speed of 159 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 165 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 149 kilometers. At a home game against the Orix Buffaloes on April 10, 2022, he garnered attention from all over the world with his perfect game, in which he struck out only 19 times during nine innings. Analysts say that he has proved to some extent his competitiveness in the international arena. At the World Baseball Classic last year, Sasaki contributed to Japan’s third win with one win and no loss, 3.52 ERA, and 11 strikeouts in seven ⅔ innings. He further boosted his stock price by appealing directly to Major League scouts with a fastball with a maximum speed of 164 kilometers per hour.

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