After 24 wins in 2013, Tanaka blows final save… ‘197-win’ U.S.-Japan career, first time in bullpen in 10 years, last game with fall baseball on the line

The 143rd game of the season, the final game of the pennant race, will determine whether or not they advance to fall baseball. Rakuten Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (35) will be in the bullpen for the first time in 10 years.

Rakuten will advance to the first stage of the Climax Series (postseason) in third place if they win at home against the Chiba Lotte Marines on Sept. 9.

With the Orix Buffaloes clinching first place in the Pacific League by a comfortable margin, the final game will decide second through fourth place. The second-place SoftBank Hawks and third-place Chiba Lotte are one game back, with fourth-place Rakuten a half-game behind. SoftBank’s opponent on Monday will be the Oryx, who are in first place and are headed directly to the Final Stage.

Rakuten has announced Takahiro Norimoto (33) as its starter for Game 9. The veteran right-hander, who has 114 career wins, is 8-7 with a 2.60 ERA this season.

Norimoto started against SoftBank on April 3 and allowed three runs in six innings. He’ll get five days of rest before his most important start of the season on the sixth. There were reports that Tanaka, who pitched the previous two days against SoftBank, could get the start, but manager Kazuhisa Ishii opted for Norimoto. Tanaka gave up three runs in five innings in Game 2.

He scored and was removed.

It’s been 10 years since Tanaka pitched in relief in an official game since 2013. That year, Tanaka, who was 24-0 in 27 games as a starter, closed out the final game of the pennant race. He clinched the franchise’s first league title. He went 24-1 with a 1.27 ERA.

Rakuten defeated the Yomiuri Giants four games to three in the Japan Series to lift the championship trophy. Tanaka pitched the ninth inning of Game 7 of the Japan Series to preserve a 3-0 victory. He pitched one scoreless inning to seal the win 메이저사이트.

After the season, Tanaka was traded to the New York Yankees via the postseason system. He signed a seven-year, $155 million contract. In seven seasons in the majors, he went 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA before returning to Rakuten in 2021.

“I have bullpen experience, so I don’t have any problems,” Tanaka said. The final game of fall baseball in two years. A two-hitter.

Tanaka said that even if he couldn’t pitch, he would do what he could in the dugout. “I want to share the joy with the fans (by winning the final game),” he said.

Tickets for the game are sold out.

After getting the start to open the year, Tanaka did not perform as expected. He’s 7-11 with a 4.11 ERA in 24 starts, his second straight year of double-digit losses. It’s the most losses in the Pacific League. Tanaka has 197 career wins in Japan and the United States.