‘Perfect Pitcher’ Sasaki Loki (Chiba Lotte) set the record for the most strikeouts for an individual this season.
Sasaki took the mound as a starting pitcher in a match against Orix held at Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan on the 12th, and threw 104 pitches in 토토꽁포인트 7 innings, giving up 3 hits, 14 strikeouts, and 1 run, becoming the winning pitcher.
Chiba Lotte’s 5-3 victory. Sasaki recorded 7 wins (2 losses) and 14 strikeouts, the most this season. His earned run average slightly lowered from 1.50 to 1.48. Sasaki is ranked 2nd in the Pacific League for most wins, 1st in ERA, 1st in strikeouts, and 1st in winning percentage.
Sasaki recorded double-digit strikeouts eight times in 12 games this season. According to Daily Sports, a Japanese media outlet, in the history of the Chiba Lotte club, 8 double-digit strikeouts in a season is the second record ever since Hideki Irabu (12).
In particular, in the last 3 appearances, 10K (1 run) in 7 innings – 11K (no run) in 8 innings – 14K (1 run) in 7 innings were overwhelming.
Sasaki took two outs in the first inning, got a right-handed hit by Kurebayashi, and allowed one run first with a double hit by Cedeño that hit the fence in the middle. No additional run was allowed with a second baseman grounder from 2nd and 2nd base.
After that, he struck out with his best speed tie, 165km fastball and sharp forkball as his main weapons. He got one hit after one out in the second inning, but struck out all three of the out counts.
In the third inning, he eliminated two strikeouts and committed a three-way offense. In the 4th inning, after 2 outs, he sent a runner out due to an error by the first baseman, but recorded all 3 out counts as swinging and striking out.
He ended the inning with KKK in the 5th. The 6th inning ended with a strikeout-grounder-strikeout. He was the only one who failed to record a strikeout as he ended up with a catcher foul fly and two infield grounders in the 7th inning.
After the game, Sasaki commented, “Today, the fielders helped me a lot, so I was able to suppress the opponent’s batting line.”
Chiba Lotte turned the game around with a come-from-behind two-run home run by Katsuya Kakunaka on first base in the second inning, trailing 0-1. In the third inning, he added 3 runs by concentrating on 5 hits in one inning, including 3 hits in a row.