‘7th inning, 164 km at light speed…’ Opening 20 consecutive scoreless innings, ‘New history is seen’

Rocky Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte), the “monster pitcher” who left a strong impression with his light-speed ball at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), succeeded in pitching 20 consecutive scoreless innings. Now, it is Sasaki who has only 11⅓ innings left until the Japanese record.

Sasaki started the 2023 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) home game against the Softbank Hawks at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba Prefecture, Japan on the 21st, and made a good pitch with 3 hits and no runs in 7 innings.

In the end, the team won안전놀이터 3-2. Sasaki, who became the winning pitcher, pitched 20 consecutive scoreless innings after the opening and succeeded in winning three in a row.

On the 6th, Sasaki started against Nippon Ham and reported his first win of the season by struggling with 6 innings (80 pitches), 1 hit, 11 strikeouts and no runs. On the 14th, he won 2 wins by fighting Orix with 7 innings (105 pitches), 1 hit, 11 strikeouts, 2 walks and no runs. And in the game against Softbank that day, he won his 3rd win with 3 hits, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk and no runs in 7 innings (88 pitches).

Sasaki gave up a right-handed hit to Yuki Yanagita after two outs in the top of the first inning, but finished the inning without conceding a run. In the second episode, it was a three-way offense. In the third inning, he allowed a hit to left field to Akira Nakamura after two outs. The moment when Sasaki gave up two or more hits in a game for the first time since the start of the season. However, he struck out the subsequent Kensuke Kondo.

Three way offense in both 4th and 5th times. In the 6th inning, after two outs, Kondo managed to walk on base, but no follow-up hit. and 7 times. After one shot, he got a heavy hit from Taisei Makihara, but ended his pitching that day by guiding Kenta Imamiya into a double stroke. According to Japanese media such as Full Count, Sasaki recorded 164km (84th ball) as his highest speed on the day in the 7th inning.

According to Daily Sports, a Japanese media, Sasaki said after the game, “I had an experience of being tired in the last game, so I threw while adjusting the pace in this game.”

Now, Sasaki is challenging the Japanese professional baseball record. It is a record of consecutive scoreless innings right after the opening. This is 31 innings recorded by Etsuo Nakai (June 24, 1943 – August 23, 1979) of Hanshin in 1963. How far will Sasaki’s scoreless streak go?


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