Tokyo (Japan)] “Shown off a ‘100 mile performance’ of the best”
Roki Sasaki faced the Czech Republic in the third round of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) Group B group stage held at the Tokyo Dome in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan on the 11th. In 3⅔innings, he pitched 66 pitches, 2 hits, 8 strikeouts, 3 walks, and 1 run (unlawful).
The 11th was a very special day for Sasaki. It was because his family, including his father, passed away due to a ‘catastrophe’ during the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Sasaki made his WBC debut on the 12th anniversary of his father’s death, and blocked the Czech lineup with a fastball of 164 km/h. On this day, Japan won 10-2, and Sasaki tasted the emotion of winning his first victory.
It was intense from the start. Sasaki threw a fast ball with a 162km first pitch against Voytek Mensik, the first batter he faced on the WBC stage. This was judged as a ‘ball’ with a low outside ball, but the Taoist Dome started to stir. And he threw two 161km fastballs in a row and cooked the first batter with a fly ball to right field. And he struck out Eric Sogard, who played 11 seasons in the major leagues, with a 146km forkball and accumulated an outcount.
The highlight was the match with the third batter, Jacob Grapple. Sasaki showed off the fastest 164km ball of the day against Grapple. This was also judged a ‘ball’, but the Tokyo Dome, which was heated by Sasaki’s fastball, was excited. However, the only flaw was that he was hit with a 163km fastball on the third pitch and hit a double in the left field. Afterwards, Sasaki succeeded in inducing a shortstop ground ball to Martin Chervenka, and the inning seemed to be over, but at this time, a defensive error occurred and gave the first run. Still, Sasaki struck out Mite Menshik with a 145km forkball and finished the first inning without conceding any additional runs.메이저사이트
Powerful pitching continued. In the second inning, Sasaki struck out Martin Muzik with three pitches (143km slider), and also struck out William Escala in three pitches (163km fastball), quickly producing an outcount. He then allowed a walk to Phillip Smola, but turned Jakob Heimar on a shortstop grounder to produce a scoreless inning. Sasaki was once again in danger by giving up a hit to Sogard and a walk to Grapple in the 3rd inning, but he struck out both the Voytek-Maite Mensik brothers and Chervenka and staged a show of force.
Sasaki, whose pitch count increased due to his many strikeouts, did not complete the fourth inning, but was replaced with impressive pitches. Sasaki struck out with a 144km forkball after an 8-pitch match with Muzik, the lead hitter in the 4th inning, and gave a hit ball to the follow-up hitter, but Smola also struck out with a forkball and completed the mission. Then, Udagawa Yuki took the mound and ended the inning.
Sasaki, who has received a lot of attention by throwing a fast ball over 160km since high school, achieved the ‘youngest perfect game’ last year, and set an unofficial world record by striking out 13 consecutive batters. He has grown into a pitcher representing Japan. And based on his performance, he has been attracting attention from the major leagues from an early age.
The American baseball statistics site ‘Fangraph’ evaluated Sasaki’s future value at 50 points and selected him as the third best prospect in the world. This is one step higher than Lee Jung-hoo (4th, Kiwoom Heroes), who will challenge the major leagues after the 2023 season, and higher than Ahn Woo-jin (7th, Kiwoom), who is considered the best pitcher in the KBO League.
According to Japan’s ‘Nikkan Sports’, Sasaki threw a total of 10 fastballs against the Czech Republic on the 11th, all of which were measured over 100 miles (about 161 km). His fastest ball was 101.9 miles (about 164 km). Of the 66 pitches thrown that day, 21 of them exceeded 100 miles. It was a mound that could once again confirm the reason why the major leagues have already been unable to take their eyes off Sasaki.
Sasaki said in the ‘Hero Interview’ at the stadium after the game, “I’m glad I was able to pitch today. I was replaced in the middle of the inning, and there were a lot of pitches and walks, but it was fortunate that I was able to throw with minimal runs.” Thank you for making it possible. The support of the fans has been a lot of strength, but there are still many matches left, so please continue to support us in the future,” he smiled.