There was a long wait for Roki Sasaki’s perfect game, the first in Japanese tournaments since 1994. But it turned out that the wait paid off. Sasaki knocked out 19 of the 27 people he faced, ending what should be described as one of the greatest games ever played.
Chiba Lotte Marines ’6-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes on Sunday not only broke Japan’s record for shots in perfect play, but also far surpassed its 14th in the major league rating of 14 by Matt Cain of the 2012 Giants and Sandy Koufax for Dodgers 1965
Sasaki, 20, hit the third hitter he faced in the first inning and then hit the side in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. 13 consecutive strikeouts is a Japanese baseball record. The equivalent Major League Baseball record for any game is 10 and is shared by Tom Seaver, Aaron Nola and Corbin Burnes.
It was the first complete game in Sasaki’s young career, and even with a high total number of shots, only 105 throws were needed.
“The most important thing today was to advance in numbers, the opportunity to strike,” Sasaki told Kyodo News. “Now I want to do my best to set up a good field next time.”
Three times he cheered on Masataku Yoshida, the Buffaloes striker of choice. Yoshida has hit just 26 times last season, the lowest total number of regular players. “I was completely beaten,” Shimbun told Asahi. “There was no point of contact.”
Surely young Sasaki was used by a wise old hand in catching. Not really. His backstop, Ko Matsukawa, is only 18 years old.
Major League Baseball has a perfect lack of games, though not nearly as long as the 28-year drought in Japan before Sasaki. From 1998 to 2012, there were nine perfect matches in major tournaments, but none since.
Of course, supporters will point out that Sasaki’s game could have been better: eight guys actually avoided the blow.
A softball pitcher from the University of North Texas Hope Trautwein cheered 21 of 21 in an NCAA game last year.
And in 1952, Ron Necciai hit 27 strikers for the Bristol Twins against the Welch Miners in nine inning shifts in the lower leagues of Class D. He also had a game of 24 junior strikeouts, but rotator cuff problems limited him to a few games first. league.
Last year, as a teenager, Sasaki made his debut in Japan with 4-2 and 1.84 ERA in 16 games. That and his 100-mile-fast ball attracted U.S. scouts, but it will probably be a while before he fits into MLB
Due to the agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball, the Japanese players who signed a contract with the club there do not become free before they have nine years of professional experience. Before that, players are subject to a complicated publishing system, which carries with it a number of restrictions and built-in fees, as well as an international bonus fund, which limits the amount a team can spend on players born outside the United States to 25 and playing six years of professional baseball. .
Sasaki, in his second professional year, will have to wait.