Pacific League at a Glance

Interleague play begins today! If you are like me, you may not know a whole lot about the teams the Tigers will be facing over the next three weeks. Here is a brief look at each of them, in schedule order:

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

EaglesJoined NPB in: 2005

Also Known Simply As: Rakuten Eagles

Located in: Sendai, Miyagi

Won Championships in: 2013

Current Record (rank): 20-23-2 (5th)

Managed by: Hiromoto “Dave” Okubo

Top Hitter 2015 (avg): Ginji Akaminai (.318)

Top Pitcher 2015 (ERA): Takahiro Shiomi (2.19)

Other Notable Players (position): Kazuo Matsui (MLB returnee), Yuki Matsui (0.43 ERA, 10 saves), Kazuya Fujita (2014 Best 9)

Face Tigers on (where): May 26-28 (Koshien Stadium)

Saitama Seibu Lions

LionsJoined NPB in: 1950

Previously Known as: Nishitetsu Clippers (1950), Nishitetsu Lions (1951-1972), Taiheiyo Club Lions (1973-1976), Crown Lighter Lions (1977-1978), Seibu Lions (1979-2007)

Located in: Tokorozawa, Saitama

Won Championships in: 1956, 1957, 1958, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2004, 2008

Current Record (rank): 24-20-2 (3rd)

Managed by: Norio Tanabe

Top Hitter 2015 (avg): Shogo Akiyama (.346)

Top Pitcher 2015 (ERA): Kazuhisa Makita (2.14)

Other Notable Players (position): Takeya Nakamura (11 HR, 42 RBI so far), Hideto Asamura (.325 avg), Ernesto Mejia (2014 Best 9), Tomomi Takahashi (0.95 ERA, 14 SV)

Face Tigers on (where): May 29-31 (Seibu Dome)

Chiba Lotte Marines

MarinesJoined NPB in: 1950

Previously Known as: Mainichi Orions (1950-1957), Mainichi Daiei Orions (1958-1963), Tokyo Orions (1964-1968), Lotte Orions (1969-1991)

Located in: Chiba City, Chiba

Won Championships in: 1950, 1974, 2005, 2010

Current Record (rank): 21-23-0 (4th)

Managed by: Tsutomu Itoh

Top Hitter 2015 (avg): Ikuhiro Kiyota (.355)

Top Pitcher 2015 (ERA): Hideaki Wakui (2.59)

Other Notable Players (reason): Tadahito Iguchi (MLB returnee), Luis Cruz (11 HR, 40 RBI so far)

Face Tigers on (where): June 2-4 (Koshien Stadium)

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

FightersJoined NPB in: 1946

Previously Known as: Senators (1946), Tokyu Flyers (1947, 1949-1953), Tokuei Flyers (1948), Toei Flyers (1954-1972), Nittaku Home Flyers (1973), Nippon Ham Fighters (1974-2003)

Located in: Sapporo, Hokkaido

Won Championships in: 1962, 2006

Current Record (rank): 27-19-0 (1st)

Managed by: Hideki Kuriyama

Top Hitter 2015 (avg): Kensuke Kondoh (.323)

Top Pitcher 2015 (ERA): Shohei Ohtani (1.66)

Other Notable Players (position): Sho Nakata (16 home runs already), Kensuke Tanaka (MLB returnee), Mitsuo Yoshikawa (2012 PL MVP)

Face Tigers on (where): June 5-8 (Koshien Stadium)

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

HawksJoined NPB in: 1938

Previously Known as: Nankai (1938-1943), Kinki Nippon (1944), Kinki Great Ring (1945), Nankai Hawks (1946-1988), Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (1989-2004)

Located in: Fukuoka City, Fukuoka

Won Championships in: 1959, 1964, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2014

Current Record (rank): 24-18-3 (2nd)

Managed by: Kimiyasu Kudoh

Top Hitter 2015 (avg): Yuki Yanagita (.356)

Top Pitcher 2015 (ERA): Kenji Ohtonari (2.48)

Other Notable Players (reason): Akira Nakamura (top 5 hitter), Dae-Lee Ho (top 5 hitter), Seiichi Uchikawa (WBC team 2013), Kenta Imamiya (2014 Best 9), Tadashi Settsu (WBC team 2013), Nao Higashihama (my former student)

Face Tigers on (where): June 9-11 (Yafuoku Dome)

Orix Buffaloes

JBuffaloesoined NPB in: 1936

Previously Known as: Hankyu (1936-1946), Hankyu Braves (1947-1988), Orix Braves (1989-1990), Orix Blue Wave (1991-2004)*

Located in: Osaka, Osaka

Won Championships in: 1975, 1976, 1977, 1996

* Merged with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2004.

Current Record (rank): 17-30-1 (6th)

Managed by: Hiroshi Moriwaki

Top Hitter 2015 (avg): Masahiro Nishino (.362)

Top Pitcher 2015 (ERA): Brandon Dickson (1.44)

Other Notable Players (reason): Yoshio Itoi (2014 PL batting champ), Hiroyuki Nakajima (MLB returnee), Chihiro Kaneko (2014 Sawamura Award winner)

Face Tigers on (where): June 12-14 (Kyocera Dome)

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