The Nippon Professional Baseball Orix Buffaloes have been the strongest team in the Pacific League for the past two years. 1 in the league for two consecutive years, and won the Japan Series last year. Following 1996 when Ichiro Suzuki was active, he lifted the Japan Series championship trophy in 26 years.
The first condition for a strong team is a strong mound. Orix posted a team ERA of 2.84 last year. Hanshin Tigers and Seibu Lions finished third out of 12 teams in both leagues. Only the three teams placed 1st through 3rd maintained the 2-point range.
Three Orix pitchers will participate in the World Baseball Classic (WBC). Aces Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25), Hiroya Miyagi (22), and Yuki Udagawa (25) were on the national team list. 20% of the 15 pitchers on the roster belong to Orix. It is the largest number of people on a single team.
4 pitcher awards for 2 years in a row, Sawamura Award for 2 years in a row. Yamamoto is undeniably the best pitcher in Japanese professional baseball. Last year, 15 wins and 5 losses, an average ERA of 1.68. Miyagi, a 22-year-old starting pitcher, is one of the symbolic players of the generational change, winning 11 wins (8 losses, 3.16) last year.
A breakout was added here. In August of last year, Udagawa, who first appeared in the first team game, was selected as a surprise. He joined as a foster player in 2021, joined in the second half of last year, and quickly established himself as a winning team in the bullpen. He went 2-1 with 3 holds in 19 regular season games with an earned run average of 0.81. He struck out 32 in 22⅓ innings pitched. He posted a record of 1 win and 4 holds in 6 postseason games with a fastball of 159km, and an earned run average of ‘0’.
But Udagawa was given a bad command in the beginning of spring camp. Orix coach Satoshi Nakajima (54) strongly criticized Udagawa, saying, “It is useless as it is now.”
There was a reason. Udagawa pitched in the bullpen on the 5th. He threw the ball out of the bullpen for four consecutive days with the WBC official ball along with Yamamoto and Miyagi. A total of 51 pitches.
In Nakajima’s eyes, it looked like a lack of preparation. He reprimanded, “Miyagi and Yamamoto are sure to throw, but Udagawa is not at all. I am not ready. I am not aware that I am entering the national team.”
It was pointed out that both his physical condition and ability to adapt to the official ball were poor. A rookie player who debuted in the first team in the second half of last year. He joined the camp with a body weighing 5 kg more than he did during the season. It’s all about his poor body care during the off-season. The WBC official ball is different from the Japanese professional baseball official ball. Pitchers nominated for the national team were provided with the official WBC ball in advance so that they could adapt. 먹튀검증
Japanese media reported that coach Nakajima sent a strong warning message to Udagawa, telling him not to settle for last year’s results and selection for the national team.
From the 17th, the Japanese national team will conduct camp training in Miyazaki. From the end of this month, six practice matches and evaluation matches will be played, and the first round of the WBC will begin on March 9th.