Nippon Professional Baseball’s Roki Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte) is getting better and better at striking out batters.
With a fastball in excess of 160km/h and a forkball in the 140km/h range, Sasaki has been turning batters like leaves in the wind. Since May, his strikeout rate has reached 50 per cent.
Sasaki suffered his first loss of the season against Hanshin in an exchange game on 4 April, but he struck out 10. She allowed just one hit in six innings, walking four and striking out 10 to take the loss. Lotte Chiba took the 0-2 loss.
She pitched a no-hitter through five innings, striking out nine. She gave up just four hits and four walks. After walking the leadoff batter in the sixth, she gave up her only run on a stolen base, a wild pitch and a single.안전놀이터
Sasaki is now 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA in seven appearances this season. In 44 innings pitched, he has allowed 17 hits, walked 10 and struck out 69. In mid-May, he was sidelined for over 20 days with a blistered finger. As a result, he hasn’t pitched a full season’s worth of innings (48).
The Pacific League leader in ERA is Hiroya Miyagi (22) of the Orioles at 1.68. Sasaki is first in ERA away from home. Sasaki leads the league in strikeouts with 69. He is ahead of teammate Atsuki Taneichi (65).
In strikeouts, Sasaki is dominant. The third-year pro has 69 strikeouts in seven games this season, facing 161 batters. That’s a whopping 14.11 strikeouts per nine innings. His strikeout rate is 42.9 per cent.
Last year, he faced 490 batters in 20 games and struck out 173. That’s 12.04 strikeouts per nine innings and a 35.3 per cent walk rate. Dr K has been even better this year than last.
Sasaki represented Japan at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, going 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA and 11 strikeouts in two games (7⅔ innings) to help Japan win the tournament. In his first start of the season, he tossed six innings of one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts, and went over 10 Ks four times in seven appearances.
In four games in April, he struck out 38 batters against 98 batters for a 38.7 per cent strikeout rate. But in the three games since May, he has 31 strikeouts against 63 batters, a whopping 49.2 per cent strikeout rate. That’s a strikeout every two batters.