Seibu Takes on Slumping Orix


Seibu Lions pitcher Tatsuya Imai.

Seibu Lions pitcher Tatsuya Imai has a 4.67 ERA in 39 games in NPB. Photo by えすぱにぃ (Wiki Commons).

  • The Chiba Lotte Marines saw their eight-game win streak come to an end, falling 15-4 to Tohoku Rakuten Eagles
  • Losing ways continue for Orix Buffaloes, as Seibu Lions hand them a seventh consecutive defeat
  • See odds and best bets for all the Nippon Professional Baseball action taking place on Wednesday, July 1st

Following the Tohoku Golden Eagles’ 15-4 win over Chiba which ended the Marines’ eight-game winning streak, the Seibu Lions are now the proud owners of NPB’s longest active win streak at four games and counting.

Seibu needs that streak to keep going if last year’s Japan Series finalists are to climb back into the Pacific Division race after starting 2-4. They have a chance to do just that with a six-game series against the Orix Buffaloes, losers of seven straight games and the owners of the worst record in Nippon Professional Baseball at just 1-9.

Here are the odds for all six games on the slate for Wednesday, July 1.

NPB Odds: July 1st

TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Chiba Lotte Marines+1.5 (-160)+130O 8.5 (-135)5 a.m.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles-1.5 (+120)-175U 8.5 (EVEN)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks-1.5 (+135)-135O 7.5 (-135)5 a.m.
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters+1.5 (-180)EVENU 7.5 (EVEN)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Hanshin Tigers+1.5 (-215)+105O 7.5 (+105)5 a.m.
Chunichi Dragons-1.5 (+160)-140U 7.5 (-140)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp-1.5 (+115)-155O 8.5 (-135)5 a.m.
Tokyo Yakult Swallows+1.5 (-150)+120U 8.5 (EVEN)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Orix Buffaloes+1.5 (-110)+190O 9.5 (-110)5 a.m.
Saitama Seibu Lions-1.5 (-120)-250U 9.5 (-120)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Yokohama DeNa BayStars+1.5 (-160)+130O 8.5 (-125)5 a.m.
Yomiuri Giants-1.5 (+120)-175U 8.5 (-105)

Odds as of June 30th.

Pride of the Lions

The Lions have, of late, become masters at winning close games, having triumphed by one-runs scorelines in each of their last three games, highlighted by Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over the Orix Buffaloes.

The Buffaloes, conversely, are on the other side of that equation, having lost their last four games by a solitary run, and six of their nine defeats this season have been similarly slanted towards the opposing team.

Their luck doesn’t appear poised to change on Wednesday, however. While the two opposing pitchers are separated by just over a year in age, Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai has pitched 213 more innings at this level than Orix starter Yu Suzuki. The Buffaloes right-hander is set to make his first start while appearing in just his fifth NPB game. He has a 13.50 earned-run average in his 6.2 innings to date.

Imai hasn’t exactly set the world alight in his 39 games, with a 12-15 record and a 4.67 career ERA. In his season debut, he gave up 12 hits and seven runs over 5.2 innings in last Wednesday’s 9-6 loss to the Fukuoka Hawks.

But experience still counts for a lot.

Pick: Seibu Lions (-250) and -1.5 (-120)

Kris Johnson Tries to Bounce Back

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp left-hander didn’t have an auspicious of season debut last week, giving up six hits and three earned runs in a 3-2 loss to the Yomiuri Giants. But after carving out a 57-31 record in NPB after short MLB stints with Pittsburgh and Minnesota, Johnson knows how to win at this level.

Now in his sixth season in Japanese baseball, the 35-year-old has a career ERA of 2.56 in NPB, registering 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

After Tuesday’s game with the Tokyo Swallows was postponed, the teams will try to open their series Wednesday, with Johnson going up against another former major leaguer in the form of Albert Suarez (San Francisco Giants).

Suarez’s experience at this level pales in comparison with Johnson, however. He has appeared in just five games, most recently last week’s 6-1 win over the Hanshin Tigers. Suarez gave up just two hits and one walk in six innings, while striking out four. And he had a 1.53 ERA across 17.2 innings in 2019, his first in NPB.

Pick: Yakult Swallows (+120) and Under 8.5 (EVEN)

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Paul Attfield

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