The pitching of Loki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte), the ‘monster pitcher’ of Japanese professional baseball, continues to be delayed. It’s a 2 week break. The reason is ‘blisters’.
Sasaki took the mound as a starting pitcher in a game against Softbank on the 5th and recorded a no-hit in 5 innings (89 pitches). He was a powerful pitcher, giving up only one walk and striking out 12 in five innings.
At the time, he showed an overwhelming performance by throwing a fastball with a maximum speed of 161 km in the midst of a strong wind blowing at 17 m per second. However, since his start, his break has been lengthy with a blister on his right middle finger. Even in the 5th game, he was substituted after throwing only 5 innings due to the blistering effect.
Masato Yoshii, director of Chiba Lotte메이저놀이터, commented, “It seems that the skin has not completely regenerated yet.” Even if it takes time, he is receiving proper treatment and is preparing to return in perfect condition.
According to Japanese media, Sasaki played a catch ball at a distance of 50m on the 15th, and played a catch ball at a distance of 20m on the 18th.
As Sasaki’s absence got longer, Chiba Lotte operated the mound on the 18th as ‘Bullpen Day’ for the game against Orix. Eight bullpen pitchers took the mound one after another, and won 5-1 to secure the top spot in the Pacific League.
Sasaki, who played as a member of the winning team in the World Baseball Classic last March as a member of the Japanese national team, boasts an overwhelming record of 0.84 with an average ERA of 0.84.
After the opening, he recorded 20 consecutive scoreless innings, threw 32 innings and struck out 50, which is a pace of 14 strikeouts per 9 innings. At the end of April, he was in the spotlight by throwing 165 km, the highest speed by a Japanese pitcher.
During Sasaki’s two-week break, he has been pushed out of the No. 1 spot in the individual titles. The number of wins is one win behind the joint first place group (four wins). The average ERA is the first place outside of the field because of the lack of regulation innings. Hayakawa Takahisa of Rakuten is ranked first with an ERA of 1.41. In the strikeout category, Sasaki’s teammate Atsuki Taneichi (52 strikeouts) gave up the first place and took second place.