Hisashi Iwakuma owns the Minnesota Twins

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Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma took the mound last night against the Minnesota Twins for the fifth time in his career and for the fifth time in his career he defeated them without allowing an earned run.

Iwakuma tossed seven shutout innings in a 2-0 victory, striking out 10 and walking zero while allowing four hits. And he’s now 5-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five starts and 33.2 innings versus Minnesota.

During that 33.2-inning stretch he’s struck out 34 of 132 batters while issuing just eight walks and the Twins have hit .165 with a .198 slugging percentage and .427 OPS off Iwakuma.

Or, put another way: Iwakuma has a 2.89 ERA for his career. If you remove his dominance of the Twins from those totals his career ERA rises to 3.13.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.