The ‘dreaded lefty’ who tormented Korean hitters will try to make it to the majors.
Shota Imanaga, 30, a left-handed pitcher for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball, has finally made it official.
“The Yokohama club has allowed Imanaga to try out for the major leagues through the posting system,” Japanese sports publication Nikkan Sports said on Nov. 11. Yokohama met with Imanaga on Tuesday and made the final decision to approve the posting.
Imanaga pitched three innings of one-hit relief against South Korea in the first round of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, striking out three and walking one. He boasted a fastball that topped out at 96.2 mph (155 km/h) at the time.
Japan’s starter was Darvish Yu, but he struggled, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in three innings, including a two-run homer to left field off Yang Jiechi in the top of the third. Japan responded with four runs in the bottom of the third to take a 4-3 lead and sent Imanaga to the mound in the top of the fourth.
Imanaga stemmed the tide for South Korea in the top of the fourth when he took a straight hit from leadoff hitter Park Gun-woo and struck out Kang Baek-ho on a 95 mph (153 km/h) four-seam fastball. Imanaga, who got Yang Ji Woo to ground out to shortstop to end the inning, gave up a leadoff single to left and a double to left to Lee Jung-hoo in the top of the fifth to put runners on second and third, but got Park Byung-ho to fly out to right field to preserve the scoreless streak. In the top of the sixth, he hit Park Gun-woo with a 95.6 mph (153 km/h) four-seam fastball for a solo home run, but it didn’t have much impact on the game as Japan held a 6-4 lead. 무지개토토 주소
In the end, Japan won the game 13-4, and after losing to Australia and Japan, South Korea’s fate was effectively sealed in the first round.
Japan, on the other hand, breezed through the first round and made it all the way to the final, where they faced off against the United States for the trophy. Japan’s starting pitcher for the final was Imanaga. Imanaga gave up a solo home run to left field to Trey Turner in the top of the second inning, but settled in for two innings of four-hit ball and one run. Japan went on to win 3-2 and claim the long-awaited championship.