For only the third time in history, the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball have won nine or more games in a season, boosting their chances of winning the league title.
Hanshin extended its winning streak to nine games with a 1-0 victory over the Yomiuri Giants on Wednesday at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Starting pitcher Yuki Nishi pitched nine innings of two-hit ball with two walks and six strikeouts for his first complete game of the season.
Japanese media outlet Nikkan Sports said, “Hanshin has won nine straight games since the first game against Yakult. This is the third time Hanshin has won nine or more games in a row this season, following a nine-game winning streak from May 20-30 and a 10-game winning streak from August 3-13. It is only the third time in Nippon Professional Baseball history that a team has won nine or more games in a season three times, joining Yomiuri in 1955 (13 straight, 10 straight, 9 straight) and Yomiuri in 1990 (three nine-game winning streaks). Hanshin had three eight-game winning streaks in 1947, but this is the first time in the club’s history that the club has won nine games in a row,” explained Hanshin’s record.
During the nine-game winning streak, Hanshin’s starting pitchers earned the victories. Nikkan Sports said, “This is the first time since SoftBank from September 30-October 13, 2011 that a starting pitcher has won nine or more games. It is the first time in 55 years since August 18-31, 1968 that Hanshin has achieved this feat.” “Hanshin also won 11 consecutive starts in 1937 and 1963. Let’s see how far he can go this time.”
With their nine-game winning streak, Hanshin have 78 wins, four draws and 44 losses, widening the gap on second-place Hiroshima (68 wins, four draws and 58 losses) and reducing the magic number of league titles to three. They could clinch the league title as early as the 14th. According to Japanese media outlet Sportshochi, “With their third nine-game winning streak of the season, Hanshin improved their win-loss margin to 34, the highest since the arrival of head coach Akinobu Okada. It is also the most under previous coach Akihiro Yano. We have a chance to clinch the league title in our home game at Koshien Stadium on April 14, and we’ve already secured Class A (3rd place or higher) and a spot in the Climax Series.”
Coach Okada said, “Yuki Nishi pitched really well today. Her control was outstanding. She had two really dangerous pitches, but other than that, she really kept the ball down low. She had good control and I think it was her best pitch of the year. Her pitch count was just right, so I left her until the ninth inning.” He praised Yuki Nishi for the complete game victory.
On the possibility of clinching the title at home on April 14, Okada said, “That depends on the result of the other team (Hiroshima). In any case, we will do our best tomorrow to reduce the magic number one by one.”먹튀검증
Hanshin has won the Central League title five times (1962, 1964, 1985, 2003, 2005). However, they only won the Nippon Series in 1985. Fans are eager to see if Hanshin, who is looking for a sixth league title, can win the Japan Series for the first time in 38 years.