OK, now this is pretty crazy. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Japanese high school pitcher Tomohiro Anraku has logged a total of 22 innings and 391 pitches over a five-day span in “Spring Koshien,” the country’s top national high school invitational tournament. Seriously.
After throwing an eye-popping 232 pitches in a complete-game 13-inning victory on Tuesday, the 16-year-old sensation bounced back on three-days rest today and threw 159 pitches over nine innings as part of a 4-1 win. While Anraku touched 94 mph with his fastball on Tuesday, his velocity was understandably down a bit today. However, he still struck out eight and even reached 92 mph for his final pitch of the ballgame.
While this sounds flat-out crazy given how pitchers are protected these days, it’s not out of the ordinary for high school pitchers in Japan to have extreme workloads. When he was 17, Daisuke Matsuzaka infamously threw 250 pitches in a 17-inning complete game. Ryota Shimoishi, who started against Anraku on Tuesday, threw 219 pitches of his own.
And get this, Anraku might not be done. His team plays again on Monday while the semifinals are on Tuesday and the championship game is on Wednesday. He’s quickly emerging as one of the top high school pitchers in the world, so hopefully his right arm survives the week.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.