Is it because of the aftereffects of the WBC (World Baseball Classic)?
The fourth hitter of the Yakult Swallows, Munetaka Murakami (23), is struggling to escape from poor hitting. On the 21st, he played 4th and 3rd base against the Yomiuri Giants at Meiji Jingu Stadium in Tokyo, and went 2 at bats without a hit. Both out counts are strikeouts.
He walked in the first at-bat in the first inning, then struck out in the third and sixth innings. He also walked in the last at-bat in the 7th inning. On the 18th, in the first at-bat against the Chunichi Dragons, after hitting a double in left field, he had no hits in 12 consecutive at-bats. There are 5 strikeouts and 6 walks in this period. Strike out or pitch 4. In the game against Chunichi on the 20th, he went 2 at-bats in 5 at-bats, no hits, 2 strikeouts and 3 walks.
If there are a lot of walks, it’s not something I like.
1 hit in 15 at bats, batting average of 6.7 in the last 6 games. He posted one RBI with no home runs. His batting average for the season went down to 1.82 (10 in 55 at-bats). He hit two home runs and has nine RBIs. Last year’s batting average (3.18), home runs (56), RBIs (134), and the youngest ‘three batting champions’, the ‘monster hitter’, even at the beginning of the season, is too sluggish.
Kazuhiro Sasaki, who was called the ‘Great Devil’ during his active career, commented on the Yakult match broadcast on the 20th and worried that “Murakami can’t respond properly to fastballs.”
The start was good.
On March 31, in the opening match against메이저놀이터 the Hiroshima Carps, he hit his first home run of the season. He hit the final two-run home run from second out and second base in the bottom of the first inning, and retired with a hit for the other three at-bats.
And there was silence for a while. On the 11th, against the Yokohama Bay Stars, he hit his second two-run home run of the season in his first at-bat in the first inning. It was his only home run in 9 games and 37 at-bats after his first at-bat home run in the Opening Day. It is the 7th home run missing after this home run.
Murakami hit 56 homers last year, setting the record for the most in a single season by a Japanese batter. He also became the first player in the world to hit home runs in five consecutive hits. This year, the home run pace in the early stages is not good.
Some explain the current sluggish hitting as an aftereffect of WBC. Murakami played as the 4th hitter for the WBC Japan national team and was sluggish throughout 4 games in the first round. He was under too much pressure as the number 4 hitter. From the quarterfinals, he lost No. 4 to Masataka Yoshida (30, Boston), and after going down to No. 5, he found a sense of hitting.
He hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth in the semifinal against Mexico, and hit a home run in the final against the United States. In other words, the fatigue and stress accumulated during the tournament led to a poor performance in the regular season.
Despite the sluggishness of the 4th hitter, the team is doing well. On the 21st, against Yomiuri, starting pitcher Keiji Takahashi pitched six scoreless innings, and three bullpen pitchers blocked each scoreless inning.
The batting line also had good concentration. In the first inning, with 2 outs and 1st and 2nd bases, No. 5 Jose Osuna hit a timely hit to the left and scored the first run. In the second inning with two outs and second base, No. 1 Ryosei Takeoka scored an extra point with a timely hit to the left.
Yakult won 3-0 and won 3 consecutive victories. For the first time in the Central League, he won 10 wins and became the sole leader.
The Yakult batting line has recorded single-digit hits in 17 consecutive games since the opening game. In this game, he scored 3 runs on 5 hits.
Yakult, with a team batting average of 1.84, is the last among 12 teams in Japanese professional baseball. The average ERA is 1.77, the only team in the 1-point range.