The improbable form of Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki has continued as he pitched another eight-perfect game. The right-hander struck out 19 batters in a game, tying the record for a single game. Sasaki’s fastball averaged 98.9 mph during the game and he threw 105 pitches.
The 20-year-old hurler didn’t pitch a perfect game Sunday, but his previous effort featured 19 strikeouts. Sasaki struck out 13 batters over the last two innings, and the total pitch count was 105. His game score of 106 is the highest for a nine-inning start in Major League Baseball, topping Yusmeiro Petit’s previous record of 46. The perfect game also marked Sasaki’s first in Japan since 1994.
Despite the concern about Sasaki’s arm health, he has continued to impress baseball fans. Last season, he pitched a perfect game in Japan for the Marines, which led to a promotion. He also reached double digits in high school. In his senior year at Ofunato High School, he threw a 163-kilometer pitch. After graduating, he was drafted to the NPB by the Marines. The Japanese team was so impressed with his pitching abilities that they decided to give him the opportunity to play professional baseball.
Even though Sasaki has a history of arm problems, he continued to impress fans with his eight-perfect innings Sunday. Clayton Kershaw, another Japanese pitcher, was relieved from a game after seven innings. Despite that, Kershaw said he would have loved to have kept him. While he did not get to finish a full 16-inning season, he is considered the best pitcher in the world and is routinely referred to as the best in the game.
In addition to eight perfect innings, Sasaki has thrown 17 clean innings in a row. His fastball reached 103 mph before leaving the game. The marines lost the game 1-0, but Sasaki remains on his way to a perfect game in the major leagues. It will be interesting to see how his career develops after this. You never know what can happen.
If Sasaki is posted by the Marines before his 25th birthday, he will be eligible for international free agency. The Marines have a $4.75 million cap for international players, so Sasaki could ask the team to post him earlier. However, the Marines have no obligation to do so. Previously, a player with similar form was posted to the Angels when he was just 23.
On Sunday, the Rakuten Eagles rallied to beat the Lotte Marines in Chiba, Japan. Sasaki struck out nine batters and walked four. Despite the early deficit, he still managed to strike out the last batter he faced. The Eagles have now won six straight games. So far, Sasaki has allowed just two earned runs in eight innings, which is the most in the league.
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Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki continued his improbable form with eight perfect innings in a row, with just one error. After two improbable innings against the Yomiuri Giants on Monday, the veteran pitched five innings and yielded no runs. The Japanese team is now 5-1-1. The series between the two teams remains at 2-0. However, the game will decide who has the advantage.