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Suda Stops the Flow - July 4, 2013

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Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.


Suda Stops the Flow - July 4, 2013

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Finally, some good news about a BayStar starter. Kota Suda stopped the flow of home runs off of Yakult bats and became the second BayStar this season to throw a complete game shutout, the first complete game of Suda's 3 year career so far.

Suda was the BayStars' #1 draft pick in the fall of 2010, entering NPB out of the Industrial League JFE (Japan Steel) East. He was immediately thrown into the starting rotation in 2011 where he put up a 2 and 6 record in 17 games. In fact, it was a game against the Swallows at Jingu on August 17, 2011 when, with a 9-0 lead in the 4th inning, he allowed 4 runs in the 4th then 3 more in the 5th in what eventually ended as a 10-10 tie. That performance exiled the young pitcher to the farm for the rest of the season. Two poor starts in June of 2012 did nothing to help his cause.

This season, facing 9 batters over two innings after Kai-wen Cheng failed to get an out in the second inning against Yakult on June 27, Suda got a win when the BayStars exploded against Orlando Roman and Itsuki Shoda in the 4th inning for 6 runs. That was the game that Wladimir Balentien tied Tony Blanco with 25 home runs apiece in the Home Run race. Suda also had no decision in Yokohama's 1-6 loss to Chunichi on June 29, loading the bases on a hit between two 2-out walks in the 9th, but getting Motonobu Tanishige to strike out on a 2-2 pitch to end that threat.

In tonight's game, when Suda shut down Yakult's numbers 5, 6, and 7 batters in order in the 7th inning, he surpassed his longest outing to date. And he did it after only allowing the first batter of the game, Tetsuto Yamada, to single to center as the only hit he allowed so far.

With a 7-0 cushion, a 1-hitter going, and a bullpen that's been very busy, Suda was sent to the mound for the 8th inning. Would this be his unwinding?

He took care of the first two batters he faced, getting Keizoh Kawashima called out on a full count pitch then Ryosuke Morioka to ground out to second. Back to the top of the order and Yamada had his second single of the night followed by Tsuyoshi Ueda poking the ball to right field, allowing Yamada to go to third. Ueda broke for second on the first pitch, to which Kazunari Tsuruoka didn't even bother with a throw to second. Pinch! This isn't going to be a replay of the August 17, 2011 game, is it? (In his hero interview, he mentioned that game.) Mori-pitching coach went out to the mound, told him to keep the ball down - repeatedly. Suda did jus that and got Lastings Milledge to ground out to second to end the threat.

To finish off the Swallows, he got Balentien to ground out peacefully to short, Yuhei nakamura to ground out to third, then pinch hitter Yasushi Iihara to go down swinging on 4 pitches to end the game, Yokohama up 7-0.

The batting hero of the game was Blanco. No, he didn't hit any out of the yard, but he did have two doubles off the top of the right and left field walls. But fatal blow to the Swallows, though, was his single through the left side in the first inning on Roman's first pitch with the bases loaded. That scored the first 2 of 4 runs in the first inning.

Roman was eventually chased after walking in a run in the 3rd inning. In just 9 innings over 4 appearances against Yokohama this season, Roman has allowed 12 runs (all earned) for a 12.00 ERA, allowing 13 hits (3 doubles but no home runs), walking 10, and striking out 7. 3 of those 4 games were at Yokohama Stadium where he has an 11.81 ERA.
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