There was a perfect revival this season. Although he did not become a winning pitcher, he was a brilliant pitcher even in the postseason.스포츠토토

Azuma Katsuki (Yokohama DeNA Baystars) started on the mound against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Game 1 of the 2023 Japan Professional Baseball Postseason Central League Climax Series First Stage held at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan, and allowed 2 runs (2 earned) in 8 innings. ) He recorded 5 hits, 5 strikeouts, and 2 walks.

Azuma joined Yokohama as the first pick in the 2017 rookie draft. He pitched in 24 games in the 2018 season and had a perfect first season in his debut, recording 11 wins, 5 losses, 45 runs (42 earned) in 154 innings, 155 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.45.

But after that, an elbow injury bothered him. He finished the 2019 season with 7 games, 4 wins, 2 losses, 38⅓ innings, 17 runs (16 earned), 31 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.76, and underwent Tommy John surgery in the 2020 season. He returned for the 2021 season and recorded 3 games, 1 win, 2 losses, 19⅔ innings, 5 runs (5 earned), and 20 strikeouts. In the 2022 season, he recorded 12 games (9 starts), 1 win, 6 losses, 50⅔ innings, 30 runs (26 earned runs), 41 strikeouts, and an average ERA of 4.62.

Azuma, who had been struggling to recover from his slump, succeeded in making a complete comeback this season. He appeared in 24 regular season games and performed well with 16 wins, 3 losses, 172⅓ innings, 40 runs (38 earned), 133 strikeouts, and an ERA of 1.98. He pitched four complete games and two shutouts.

# Azuma was stable in the early stages, and his crisis management skills were perfect, and

he started in the first game of the first stage against Hiroshima. He started the game by grounding leadoff hitter Ryosuke Kikuchi to shortstop. He allowed a hit to Takayoshi Noma, but induced Ryoma Nishikawa to hit a grounder to first base, capping the first inning with a double play.

Azuma looked stable even in the bottom of the second inning. He struck out the first strikeout of the day against Shota Tobayashi. He then set up Kaito Gojono with a grounder to shortstop and Shota Suekane with a fly ball to right field.

Azuma was hit in front of center field by leadoff hitter Shogo Sakakura in the bottom of the third inning. He then allowed a walk after a battle with Matt Davidson that reached a full count. For the first time in the game today, a runner was sent out in scoring position. Then, Hiroki Tokoda’s sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third base with one out.

However, Azuma’s crisis management skills shone. Kikuchi returned with three pitches and a strikeout. He threw a three-pitch, 144 km/h high fastball, causing a missed swing. He then grounded Noma to shortstop, ending the inning without allowing a run.

Azuma, who overcame the crisis in the bottom of the 3rd inning and responded to the good pitching, showed a stable performance in the bottom of the 4th inning. He set up Nishikawa, the lead hitter, with a looking strikeout. He pinned Nishikawa with a four-seam fastball that poked into the outside corner. Then, Tobayashi also struck out and got Gojono on a grounder to first base.

He did not falter in the 5th inning. After catching Shota Suekane with a straight hit to shortstop, he returned Sakakura with a grounder to second base. He then threw a ball deep into his body at 1B2S to Davidson. The ball hit Davidson’s leg, but Davidson’s check swing was recognized and he struck out for the fifth time in the game.

Yokohama’s batting line also responded to Azuma’s good pitching. In the top of the sixth inning, leadoff hitter Daishi Ota reached base through a walk. After Shugo Maki retired with a foul fly, Toshiro Miyazaki, who came to the plate, hit a two-run home run to go first against Hiroshima starter Hiroki Tokoda.

# However , Azuma, who received scoring support from the lead batting line that could not protect despite good pitching, gave up a run in the bottom of the 6th inning. He caught pinch hitter Ryan McBroom with a fly ball to center field, but was hit by an infield hit by Kikuchi and a hit by Noma, putting him in danger with one out and runners on first and third base. Nishikawa then scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly to left field. However, Dobayashi was treated as a pitcher’s ground ball and no additional runs were allowed.

Azuma, who remained on the mound in the 7th inning, treated Gojono with a fly ball to center field, Suekane with a ground ball to second base, and Sakakura with a fly ball to center field.

Azuma continued to stay on the mound in the bottom of the 8th inning. However, he walked leadoff hitter Davidson. Pinch runner Masaya Yano’s sacrifice bunt put pinch runner Ryutaro Hatsuki on second base. Hatsuki succeeded in stealing third base during Kikuchi’s at-bat. Then came Kikuchi’s squeeze bunt. Azuma took a glove toss home, but he was unable to tag. In the end, he allowed the score to be tied.

Azuma threw 101 pitches until the 8th inning and passed the baton to Taiga Kamichatani in the bottom of the 9th. Kamichatani was hit by leadoff hitter Nisakawa. Then, Dobayashi’s sacrifice bunt put the team on second base with one out. Yokohama sent Gojono to the 4th automatic defense. Hiroshima sent out pinch hitter Ryuhei Matsuyama, but he retired with a fly ball to left field. Then, Sakakura was out due to a pitcher’s ground ball, and the game continued into overtime.

# Hiroshima smiled at the end of the overtime game and successfully took the lead.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, Hiroshima ended the game. Leadoff hitter Tobayashi hit a double against replaced pitcher JB Wendelken. Go Jo-no reached base on an automatic 4th ball in a 2B situation. Next, pinch hitter Kosuke Tanaka came out to bat. But he failed on a sacrifice bunt. One out, first and second bases.

Sakakura sent a strong ground ball to the second baseman. Only first base runner Gojono was out at second base. A situation was created with 2 outs and 1st and 3rd bases. In a situation where one single hit could end the game, Shogo Akiyama came to the plate. Akiyama hit a ball that passed the center fielder’s height. Hiroshima won the first game thanks to Akiyama’s walk-off hit.

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