SAPPORO, Sept. 13, Kyodo
Shohei Otani, the fastest pitcher recorded in Japan, rewrote his own record on Tuesday, when one of his pitches was clocked at 164 kilometers per hour (101.9 miles per hour).
The 22-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters ace, who has repeatedly touched 163 kph this season, established a new high in the third inning at Sapporo Dome against the Orix Buffaloes. With one out and runners on second and third, the inside fastball jammed Yoshio Itoi, who hit a flare over second for a two-run single.
Otani, who has been the Fighters’ principle designated hitter this season, was making his second start since a blister on July 10 pushed him out of the starting rotation. He allowed two runs on four hits in five innings. Otani threw 87 pitches, walked one batter and struck out nine.
“As far as the quality goes, allowing runners on base was an issue,” Otani said. “Because I was doing better toward the end, I hope to be able to apply today’s lessons the next time out.”
He left with the game tied 2-2, and the league-leading Fighters came back to beat Orix 4-2.
A week ago, in his first start back, Otani threw 38 pitches and allowed a run in two innings.
The right-hander entered Tuesday’s game with an 8-4 record and 142 strikeouts in 118 innings. As a left-handed hitter, Otani has a .326 average with 22 home runs and a .425 on-base percentage in 288 at-bats.