Roki Sasaki, 22, of the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, pitched seven innings of five-hit, 10-strikeout, two-run ball against the Hiroshima Carp in an interleague game on Nov. 11. He topped out at a Nippon Professional Baseball record 165 mph and threw a career-high 109 pitches. After throwing 95 pitches in the sixth inning, Sasaki informed pitching coach Tomohiro Kuroki that he wanted to pitch into the seventh inning.
Since joining the team as the No. 1 rookie in 2020, Sasaki has had his innings managed. After sitting out his first year, he pitched 63⅓ innings in 2021. He started last year in earnest, but never pitched more than 130 innings. He was given time off during the season to regroup. In 129⅓ innings, he went 9-4 with a 2.52 ERA and 173 strikeouts.
Sasaki, who represented Japan in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), returned to the field in mid-April. After five games, he took over 20 days off. He took a well-deserved break as his finger blisters returned. When he returned, he started three games and pitched 19 innings.
The Hanwha Eagles’ “future” Moon Dong-ju (20) is following a similar path to Sasaki. A young pitcher with a hard fastball and a high risk of injury. What’s more, Moon started pitching as a sophomore in high school, so he’s still developing. As in previous years, he is facing a club-level innings limit this year. It’s 130 innings, including the national team’s schedule for the Hangzhou Asian Games in late September. It’s like a treasure to be used sparingly and pampered.
He threw 51 innings in 10 games until June 7 against the Doosan Bears. Coincidentally, that’s the same number of innings as Sasaki. That’s about 60 innings in the regular season.
There is a change this week. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be out of the lineup for 10 days after his start against the Lotte Giants on Tuesday the 13th. After pitching the first day of the three-game midweek series, he’ll have four days off before pitching the final game of the two-game weekend series. This twice-weekly schedule is still too much for Moon, a second-year pro.
However, Moon wanted to pitch instead of taking administrative rest. After returning from an 11-day absence in late April, Moon had a rough time. He lost his balance and struggled with his pitches. This was after he had pitched well for three consecutive games and had rested.
Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said that it was better to take a break when the pace dropped than to take a planned break. The idea is that it’s best to continue a good trend when it’s good. 스포츠토토
Moon Dong-ju has pitched well in his last two games. On June 7 against the Doosan Bears, he allowed one run (unearned) on seven hits in six innings with four strikeouts. The second-year pro threw over 100 pitches for the first time in his career, tossing 101, and he also threw a fastball that reached 160.1 kilometers per hour (per Trackman).
On June 1, he threw a seven-inning, two-hit shutout against the Kiwoom Heroes. He threw 87 pitches, his most in a single game.
Choi said he would manage his pitching and innings against Lotte on June 13. The 18th game against the Kiwoom Heroes should be taken into account.