The Saitama Seibu Lions went a combined 4-1 against the Chiba Lotte Marines and Rakuten Eagles. They current sit in A-class just above the Marines and Buffaloes with a 36-34-1 record.
Chiba Lotte Marines
The Lions were able to split the series with a strong pitching performance from Wataru Matsumoto and a bullpen which shut the door. Matsumoto even carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning.
While the Lions were able to stay aggressive on Roki Sasaki's fastball, they couldn't stop his secondary pitches from the slider to curve in a Game 2 loss where Dietrich Enns did all that he could.
Lions 3 Marines 0
Marines 2 Lions 1
The Lions swept the Eagles with just enough pitching to do so. Jantzen Witte hit his first career HR and even had a three-hit game over the weekend.
Hotaka Yamakawa had two solo HRs on Sunday while Seiji Kawagoe also has a strong series with three RBIs in the first game. Kaito Yoza, Kona Takahashi and Katsunori Hirai did their jobs as starters while Tatsushi Masuda escaped a late jam in one of the games.
Lions 4 Eagles 3
Lions 2 Eagles 0
Lions 2 Eagles 0
Ikusei departure reveals a scandal
Seibu Lions OF Keishin Kawamura resigned and left the team for personal reasons earlier this month.
A report this week revealed he was wanted for receiving fraudulent benefits as a university student. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he posted as a small business owner and applied for financial aide with false tax returns.
He returned the money since, but the damage and investigation was already done. Kawamura was not arrested as a result and surrendered by leaving the team.
After seeking a Spanish interpreter in the offseaon, the Lions made midseason ikusei signings with OF Romer Cuadrado and P Jasier Herrera joining the team.
Akiyama signs with Hiroshima
After taking a picture with Lions legend Koji Akiyama, Shogo Akiyama returned to Japan after being granted a release from his minor league contract with the San Diego Padres.
Akiyama will sign a three-year contract worth ¥500 million with the Hiroshima Carp. It was reported the Lions offered a two year contract while the SoftBank Hawks had a three-year offer like the Carp.
In the report, he said he wanted a new challenge in the Central League and valued the stability in a three-year contract. Before the 2022 season began, the Cincinnati Reds released him and are paying Akiyama $8 million for the year.
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