SASAKI WITH THE SEATTLE MARINERS IN 2000
Sasaki is rookie of the year On Nov.6, it was announced that Sasaki has been chosen the American League's rookie of the year. He is the 2nd Japanese to win the once in a lifetime award in the US. His predecessor was Hideo Nomo. Sasaki said in Japan that he was just pitching hard, and is happy to receive the award.
American League Playoffs
The season ended for Sasaki when the Mariners lost the New York Yankees its 4th game. He did not have the chance to pitch.
Sasaki had another chance to pitch. In the 8th inning with one out and with the Mariners ahead of the Yankees 6 to 2, Sasaki was on. In the 9th, he got himself in a small trouble by hitting the batter with his pitch, and walking another. But in the end, he closed the game without giving up a run.
The Mariners was ahead of the New York Yankees when Sasaki was commissioned to pitch in the 9th inning. But it wasn't easy for him. Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez got on base. But Sasaki was able to stop the others were making it on base. He successfully closed the game, the first of the best of 7 series. And of course, Sasaki earned a save.
Sasaki's chance to pitch came the next day again. This time, it was smooth. He struck out all 3 in the 9 inning to give his team another win over the Chicago White Sox 5 to 2.
Sasaki for the first time pitched at the playoffs. And it was a very crucial inning. The 10th inning. And his team was winning 7 to 4 to the Chicago White Sox. Although he was doubled by the first batter. He was able to keep the rest from scoring. He marked a playoff save.
October 1 The Mariners were leading the Anaheim Angels by 3 runs, still, Sasaki was summoned to pitch from the 8th inning with one out and a runner on 2nd base. He finished the whole game 5 to 2 for his team, and not only did he break the rookie save record with his 37th, he also took the Mariners to the American League playoffs. Sasaki was shown on Japanese television in a shower of beer and champagne.
September 27 In the 8th inning, Sasaki came up to pitch. The Mariners were leading by 1 run, but at that point, it was a crucial moment. Sasaki finished that inning and the final one too. He not only helped his team win, but he clinched his 36th save to tie with the rookie record in the US Major League. The Mariners won 6 to 4 over the Texas Rangers.
September 20 Sasaki earned another save by keeping the Tampa Bay Devil Ray from scoring.
September 17 Sasaki in a game against the Baltimore Orioles collected his 33rd save. The Mariners won 3 to 2.
September 13 Sasaki has an agreement with his team that he would at most will take 4 outs. But what happened was, he was asked to pitch 2 full innings--the 9th and the 10th. He complied. Although the result of the game did not count on his record, the Mariners defeated the Kansas City Royals 2 to1.
September 5 In the 9th inning, Sasaki was on to pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays. He only needed to hurl 6 pitches to finish the inning. He gained his 32nd save, breaking the rookie record.
September 2 Sasaki tied with the US rookie record. He pitched 1 inning against the Boston Red Sox and the Mariners won 4 to 1. Sasaki earned his 31st save.
August 29 Sasaki marked his 30th save against the New York Yankees. It was in a 5 to 3 game that he finished the final inning. One more save would tie him with a US Major League rookie record.
August 22 The Mariners were losing 8 straight games so Sasaki did not have the chance to come on and collect another save for a while. It was appointed in the 9th inning with runners on first and third. He got the bases full, but managed to close without losing a run. He earned his 29th same in a 8 to 4 game against the Detroit Tigers.
August 10 It appeared that Sasaki was putting himself into trouble when the Chicago White Sox's Chris Singleton succeeded in a bunt. But it was not so. Sasaki finished the 9th inning for his 28th save. The Mariners won 6 to 3.
August 8 Sasaki got himself in trouble in the 9th inning getting runners on 1st and 3rd. In the end, he managed to get out of it and earned his 27th save. The team defeated the Chicago White Sox 7 to 5.
August 7 The Mariners were leading 8 to 4 over the New York Yankees when Sasaki came to pitch. Sasaki like last time succumbed to Posada's homer. The Mariners still won 8 to 5. But the game did not give Sasaki a save.
August 5 The Mariners was way ahead of the New York Yankess when Sasaki's turn to pitch came in the 9th inning. But Sasaki was yielded a 2 run homer. Still he collected his 26th save. And the Mariners managed to win 6 to 5.
August 1 For Sasaki, it was the first experience to pitch in the 19th inning. The Mariners were tied 4 to 4 with the Boston Red Sox. Bases were full but Sasaki was able to overcome the situation. Mike Cameron ended the game with a homer and Sasaki clinched his 2nd win.
July 31 There were runners on first and third, when Sasaki was summoned in the 8th inning. The Boston Red Sox blasted off Sasaki. First, it was a run and then a 3 run homer. For the first time Sasaki lost at his home ground. However, he only took the blame for 2 runs. The game ended a 5 to 8.
July 29 The Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays were tied in the 10th, but Sasaki was summoned. He finished the inning. Then in the 13th inning, the Mariners clinched the game 6 to 5. However, Sasaki's consecutive save record ended.
July 28 The Mariners were leading 7 to 4 against the Toronto Blue Jays when Sasaki came to pitch in the 9th inning. He's got rid of all 3 batters quick and clinched his 25th save--his 15th straight save in a row.
July 24 Sasaki suffered a little bit this time. His team was ahead 6 to 3 over the Oakland Athletics when he came on. But he gave up an RBI. Still the Mariners won 6 to 4 and Sasaki marked his 24th save.
Sasaki did it again. He came on in the 9th with the Mariners leading the Arizona Diamondbacks 5 to 2. He clinched his 22nd save. It's made him tie 3rd place in the American League.
July 16 The Mariners were ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks by 3 runs in the 9th inning. Sasaki had a smooth ride finishing the game and picked up his 21st save. It was a 6 to 3 win.
July 14 In his first appearance after the all star game, Sasaki was suddenly homered. Still he earned a save--his 20th. The Mariners won 7 to 5 over the San Diego Padres.
July 9 It was again in the 9th inning Sasaki was called to pitch. He kept the Dodgers from scoring to win his 19th save in a 2 to 0 game.
July 5 The Marines was ahead 6 to 4 over the Angels when Sasaki came on in the 9th inning. He pitched perfectly to win his 8th straight save. Shige pitched well too for the Angels the last 2 innings.
July 3 Sasaki closed the game for the Marines 8 to 6 over the Anaheim Angels and collected his 17th save. For the Angels Shige pitched 2 innings without giving up a run.
July 1 The Mariners were leading 6 to 2 over the Texas Rangers when Sasaki's time came. He, however, walked 2, and gave up a run but it did not count against him. On the other hand, he gained his 16th save.
June 27 This time, Sasaki pitched against the Anaheim Angels in the 9th inning with his team leading 5 to 3. He did his job and secured his 15th save.
June 25 Sasaki pitched again. This time, his team was ahead by 2 runs. Sasaki finished 3 Baltimore Orioles and clinched his 14th save. The game finished 4 to 2.
It was a packed turnout this day in a game against the Baltimore Orioles.
With the Mariners leading with just one run, Sasaki was on in the 9th inning.
He had no problem finishing the game for his 13th save.
The game was 2 to 1.
Michiyo's Note: I missed some of Sasaki's game, unfortunately.
June 20 Sasaki collected his 11th save by finishing the 9th inning over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mariners won a close 4 to 3 game.
June 18 The Mariners lead was a whooping 10 to 2 when Sasaki was commissioned to pitch in the 9th inning over the Minnesota Twins. He held the Twins perfectly to give the Mariners a win.
June 14 The Mariners were leading 4 to 3 over the Kansas City Royals and Sasaki was called to pitch from the middle of the 8th inning. He finished the 8th all right but in the 9th he was scored. He walked one with bases full. Sasaki succumbed to his 5th loss.
June 12 The ball popped up high, but was caught in front of the fence to give Sasaki his 10th save. The Mariners defeated the Royals 5 to 3.
June 6 Sasaki kept 3 from getting on base in the 9th inning and marked his 9th save. The game was a 4 to 1 win for the Mariners over the Colorado Rockies. Sasaki marked the most number of saves in a season as a Japanese.
June 2 Sasaki was doubled in the 9th, but it did not lead to a score. The Mariners defeated the San Diego Padres 7 to 4, and Sasaki earned his 8th save.
May 31 It was purely an unlucky day for Sasaki. There were flobs in the infield. So although Sasaki was not blamed for the run lost in the 9th, he had to take the team's defeat of 3 to 4 to the White Sox. It's Sasaki's 4th loss.
May 29 This time Sasaki pitched against the White Sox with the Mariners winning 5 to 4. He closed the game and earning his 7th save.
Sasaki was reinstated to his post as the ace closure. He took over in the 9th against the Devil Rays and finished the inning to win his 6th save. The Mariners won 6 to 3.
May 24 Sasaki finished the 8th inning. He was unsure if he was to continue on, but went to the mound in the final inning against the Baltimore Orioles. He walked one, and that was it. He was replaced, but the next pitcher not only walked too, but lost a run. The defeat was counted on Sasaki's record meaning he had to take his 3rd loss. The Oriolies won 4 to 3.
May 21 The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were behind by 4 runs when Sasaki came up to pitch in the 9th inning. It wasn't a smooth ride although Sasaki kept the opponents from scoring. He was, obviously not in the position of winning a save this time in a 8 to 4 game.
May 19 Sasaki was back to pitch in a relevant moment of a game, After his credibility was lost, he was pitching in the middle of not so relevant moments. In the 9th inning, Sasaki got all Tampa Bay Devil Rays players out to win his 5th save. The Mariners won 7 to 6.
May 12 A nightmare again for Sasaki and his team. Japan's talented closure pitched in the 8th inning with his team leading by one run. But he got runner out on base, and Mat Stairs of the Oakland Athletics blasted off him a three run homer. Sasaki succumbed to a gave losing homer for the 2nd game in the row. His team lost 7 to 9 and has lost its confidence in Sasaki's relief.
May 10 It was at at crucial point in the 8th inning against the Texas Rangers that Sasaki was called to pitch. There were runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. Sasaki walked one, but stuck out another to end the inning. The Mariners in the top of the 9th succeeded in taking the lead. But in the 9th, Sasaki gave up a 2 run homer, enabling the Rangers to win 7 to 6. Sasaki marked his 1st loss.
May 6 It was a lucky day for Sasaki. He walked 2 Anaheim Angels in the 9th inning, but was able to complete that inning without succumbing to a run. His team batted in a game ending run for a 1 to 0 victory. Sasaki earned his very first win in the US Major League.
May 2 It's been awhile since Sasaki last pitched. And at last, he was allowed to give a shot in a competitive game in the 9th inning. The Mariners only led by a run against the Minnesota Twins. He closed the game smoothly and earned his 4th save.
Apr. 25 It was against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that Sasaki pitched. He was taken 1 run by the Cleveland Indians, Still the team won 8 to 5.
Apr. 22 This time, the Mariners were winning 4 to 1 against the Kansas City Royals. Sasaki lost a homer, to put the game 4 to 2. And he collected his 3rd save.
Apr. 21 The Mariners were leading 10 to 1 over the Kansas City Royals when Sasaki was up to pitch in the 9th inning. He got 2 runners on base with no outs. He gave a run on a sacrifice fly. So the game came out to 10 to 2.
Apr. 18 The Mariners were 7 runs behind the White Sox. Still Sasaki was on to pitch. And it wasn't the final inning either, but rather the 8th. Sasaki walked one but struck out two and did not lose any runs. The game ended 18 to 111 for the White Sox.
Apr. 14 It's been a whole 6 days since Sasaki had pitched. Suddenly in the 9th season, with The Mariners leading by 4 points, the first Toronto Blue Jay blasted off a homer from Sasaki. Then he was homered by the next. However, he struck out two to end the game 11 to 9.
The Yankees attack against the Mariners was halted by Sasaki. He again did a great job for the team to collect his 2nd save. The Mariners won 7 to 5.
Sasaki clinches first save
Sasaki was asked to pitch the final inning the next day, that's Apr. 6. This time, it was a much close game of 5 to 2 over the Mariners. However, Sasaki pitched with full confidence. He struck out all 3 in the final inning and marked his first save in the U.S. When he finished the game, the stands cheered him on with a standing ovation.
Japan's genius closure debuts in the US
Former BayStars' Kazuhiro Sasaki, Japan's top relief pitcher faced a new challenge-- as the reliable closure of the Seattle Mariners. On Apr.5, he pitched his first official Major League game. He seemed stiff, but with 6 runs ahead of the Red Sox in the 9th inning, it was not such a stressful debut. He lost a base hit but struck out the final batter. The Mariners won 9 to 3.
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