Saturday, 25th March 2023

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“The monster broke his nose with three gold medals”” A perfect pitcher who won the MVP, his first revenge play in 2 years

The monster’s arm broke the nose of the three-time winner.”안전놀이터

Japan’s Chunichi Sports expressed the confrontation between Loki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte) and Munetaka Murakami (Yakult) like this.

On the 15th, Sasaki and Murakami competed against each other in a practice match held in Itoman, Okinawa, Japan. Sasaki was the starting pitcher for Chiba Lotte, and Murakami was the 4th hitter for Yakult and played head-to-head.

So far, including both the regular season and the All-Star Game, Murakami has the upper hand over Sasaki with 2 hits (1 home run), 1 walk and 1 strikeout in 4 at-bats. In the exchange match on June 10, 2021, Murakami hit a home run in the first at-bat. It was Sasaki’s first home run since his professional debut. After that, the first confrontation was completed by exchanging strikeouts and walks one by one. On July 27 last year, in Game 2 of the All-Star game, Murakami recorded a heavy hit and laughed again.

But the third match was different. Sasaki recorded the highest speed of 160 km per hour in a match against Yakult on the 15th. It was the decisive ball thrown at Murakami. With a 1-2 ball count advantage, Sasaki stabbed this 160km fastball right into Murakami’s body. Murakami took a big miss and returned to the dugout.

According to Chunichi Sports, Sasaki looked back on the confrontation with Murakami after the game and said, “I went into a good place in the end. I didn’t want to hit a home run even though it was a practice game. I’m glad I could stop it.”

Sasaki threw 29 pitches that day and was replaced. It was an overwhelming pitch with 1 hit, 4 walks and 5 strikeouts in 2 innings. He filled all three out counts in the first inning by striking out, and struck out four consecutive batters after starting the game until the lead batter Murakami in the second inning. Unlike the evaluation match against Australia in November last year, the forkball control was stable. At the time, it seemed that there was no problem using the WBC official ball.

Chiba Lotte head coach Yoshii Masato, who is also the pitching coach of the Japanese national team, said, “I am improving my condition smoothly.” Sasaki will move to Miyazaki on the 17th and join the WBC national team camp in Japan.

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