GP W L T GB HR
1 Yakult 11 6 3 2 - 10
2 Hiroshima 12 6 4 2 .5 4
3 Yomiuri 8 4 3 1 .5 6
4 Hanshin 11 5 5 1 .5 4
5 Yokohama 11 4 6 1 1 15
6 Chunichi 9 2 6 1 1 5
GP W L T GB HR
1 Softbank 11 7 3 1 - 9
2 Nippon Ham 11 7 4 0 .5 11
3 Rakuten 12 6 6 0 1.5 7
4 Lotte 11 5 6 0 .5 6
5 Seibu 11 4 7 0 1 11
6 Orix 12 4 7 1 0 6
Crazier still: the top batter in the CL right now is Yakult's elder statesman Shinya Miyamoto with a .436 average, and the PL's top batter is Seibu rookie (he played a few games at ichi-gun last year but) Hideto Asamura with a .450. WTF? Asamura was a year behind Sho Nakata at Osaka Toin; maybe he can get in some good trash-talking.
The home run numbers are a little easier to figure out: Sledge had that 3-HR game and has 6 total on the season now, and Brett Harper has 3, so that's where most of Yokohama's gaudy total comes from. Hatakeyama (5) and Balentien (3) make up most of Yakult's. Similarly over in Pacific-Land, Okawari-kun is leading the HR total with 6, accounting for half of Seibu's, and the Fighters have gotten 4, 3, and 2 out of Hoffpauir, Itoi, and Koyano respectively.
I'm guessing that Yakult's doing well because I moved away! I guess we'll see how things continue. I've watched a few of their games over the internet because they're at a decent time for here in Seattle (day games in Japan start at 9pm for me here) and there's a guy on justin.tv who's a big Swallows fan and broadcasts them all. So I saw Shohei Tateyama pitch a gem against the Dragons the other day, and then last night saw Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi face off against the Carp and Yuya Fukui. (Fukui, now that he's no longer at Waseda, is someone I'd like to see succeed, especially since he turned down the Giants in the draft back in 2005 and then got his first pro victory against them last week.) So Fukui came out of the game with the Carp down 0-2 to Yakult, and then Masubuchi ran into a roadblock and suddenly loaded the bases and then BAM, next thing you knew Tracy and Kurihara had hit the Carp up to 3-2, and Fukui would get the win if they won, except then Yakult's Hatakeyama decided to hit a 2-run homer and make it 4-3, with the Swallows eventually winning 8-3.
I've joked for ages that Hatakeyama sucks whenever I'm at the stadium watching him and is awesome otherwise, so he'll probably have a monster year, it seems. On the other hand, Yasushi Iihara got taken off the active roster a few days ago and is now playing in ni-gun alongside Miyade, making me really wish it was still just a bike ride away to their minor-league facilities.
As an aside, the guy who pinch-hit for Fukui was none other than my former favorite Baystar Takuro Ishii, who apparently played a full game the night before and went 3-for-3 with a walk and a sac bunt. He walked in this game too and is thus still 1.000 for the season with an OBP of 1.000 as well. Takuro turns 41 this summer and it's nice to see him still have some success down there in Hiroshima.
I couldn't sleep the other night and caught a Fighters game against the Eagles at the Stadium Formerly Known As Skymark. Though even from the start of the game I was like "Yagi doesn't look so good out there", and he even gave up an oshidashi run by hitting Toshiya Nakashima with a pitch. Leave it to former golden rookie Sho Nakata to tie the game up, though, before they eventually lost on a sayonara home run by Randy Ruiz.
Just as I feared, Yuki Saitoh won his first two starts for the Fighters, so his "Golden Rookie" status is only escalating more and more by the day. Would you believe that when I went looking for baseball cards before I left Tokyo, they were already selling his Rookie Edition card for 1000 yen? This is the first time in years that I didn't buy the Fighters RE set.
I suspect it'll take a few years and hopefully some hype dying down before I can accept him. (I made the mistake of re-watching the Waseda Jitsugyo vs. Nichidai San high school West Tokyo finals from 2006 the other night, a nailbiter that Saitoh won in 11 innings; I wonder how different things might be had Sanko won that game and gone to Koshien instead?)
On another note, I am happy that Ryota Imanari is sticking with the top team -- I was hoping that the team would get to a point where him and Shota Ohno were the team's regular catchers, but so far Ohno's doing the majority of the work behind the plate. We'll see, I guess. Tsuruoka's going to be out for a while, so the other two really have a shot to prove themselves.
I've been following Tokyo Big 6 but haven't gotten a chance to actually watch the back games yet, so haven't written much. The most interesting thing so far, IMO, is Keio's decision to convert Koji Fukutani into a closer role, sort of along the lines of what Waseda did with Tatsuya Ohishi. I think it's a great idea since Fukutani is actually a very Ohishi-like player, and this way he can get even more gaudy strikeout ratios and still wow people with his ability to hit 96 mph on the radar gun. Hopefully both him and Daisuke will make it to the Japan-USA college tourney this summer!
(Well, also interesting was the Battle of the Koryo Aces yesterday, as Koryo 2007, Meiji's Yusuke Nomura, took the mound and won against Koryo 2010, Waseda's Kohei Arihara. I suppose you could say that the Keio-Hosei game was between two former Chukyodai Chukyo teammates who are both captains of their respective college teams now, Keio's Hayata Itoh and Hosei's Masashi Nanba. Nanba was team captain when they were both in high school, but Itoh has unquestionably had the much more successful college career...)