4 years, 203 games, 94 holds, 31 saves 21 years, 144 games, 11 wins, 147 strikeouts, first year as a reliever, second year as a closer.

After posting 33 holds and nine saves last year, the reliever is the team’s winningest starter this year.

캡틴토토Seibu Lions right-hander Taira Kaima, 24, won his 11th start of the season. On March 23, he pitched seven innings of four-hit ball against the Chiba Lotte Marines at the Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture. He threw 97 pitches, faced 28 batters, walked four and struck out three. Behind his performance, Seibu won 2-1 to extend their winning streak to four games.

He allowed one hit and no runs through three innings. Struck out nine on 43 pitches.

With a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, he was hit by a leadoff home run. A high-course cut fastball to Katsuya Kakenaka at third led to a home run. 1-1.

In the top of the fifth, a single and a walk put runners in scoring position, but Saguaro held them scoreless. With runners on first and second, he got Atsuki Tomosugi at second on a pitcher’s interference. Loaded the bases with one out in the 6th and 7th innings on a hit and a walk, respectively, but got out of the inning without further damage.

Good pace in the second half.

On August 18, he took the loss against the SoftBank Hawks after giving up seven runs in four innings. After that game, he won four of his next five starts (one loss). From Aug. 25 against the Nippon Ham Fighters to Sept. 8 against Nippon Ham, he won three games. Recorded 22 scoreless innings in three games.

Daira, who signed in 2018 and debuted in 2019, was the 2020 Pacific League Rookie of the Year. He appeared in 54 games that year, posting a 1-0 record, 33 holds and one save with a 1.87 ERA.

Seibu right-hander Taira. Photo credit: Seibu Lions Social Media
Until last year, he appeared in 203 games, all in relief. Last season, he recorded 33 saves, ranking first in that category.

The bullpen specialist, who has 94 saves in his career, made the switch to starting this season. When he re-signed at the end of last season, he made the switch contingent on a starting job. He was considered for a spot on the World Baseball Classic (WBC) team, but declined due to the change in position.

His first year was a success.

He started 21 games and threw 144 innings, posting an 11-7 record with 147 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA. Second in wins behind only Yoshinobu Yamamoto (14), the “monster pitcher” of the Orix Buffaloes. Third in strikeouts and ERA. Passed Kona Takahashi (10 wins) for the most wins on the team.

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