- Munetaka Murakami hits 55th home-run against Yomiuri Giants at the Jingu Stadium.
- Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is emulating Murakami’s home run quest in Japan by aiming to break the American League record of 61 home runs.
- Murakami will next face Chunichi Dragons and Hiroshima Carp- the team he has homered against the most this season.
The explosive 22-year-old slugger for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows kept his assault on the single-season home run record on Tuesday night at Jingu Stadium against the Yomiuri Giants. He added two more home runs to his season total, bringing it to 55.
With 55 home runs, Murakami shares second place in a season’s total with Sadaharu Oh (1964), Tuffy Rhodes (2001), and Alex Cabrera (2002). Wladimir Balentien, a former Swallows slugger, established the NPB record in 2013 with a 60.
Murakami said that it was a perfect feeling. “I got it on the sweet spot, so I thought it was going to be a home run,” he added. Murakami tied with Sadaharu Oh for the most home runs by a player born in Japan in a season.
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is emulating Murakami’s home run quest in Japan by aiming to break the American League record of 61 home runs. But on Tuesday, MLB.com’s home page featured Murakami for a few hours.
Although Murakami and three other players are tied, having Oh stand beside him is of particular significance. The legendary former Yomiuri Giants star, who memorably set a record by hitting 868 home runs in his career, is still highly regarded in Japan. No Japanese slugger has previously been able to surpass Oh’s NPB record total, not even former Giants standout Hideki Matsui.
According to Sankei Sports, Oh stated during a press conference in Fukuoka on Tuesday night that it was challenging to smash more than 50 home runs. The physical condition varies as the seasons change from spring to summer to fall, which raises the difficulty level further.
Oh also mentioned problems he did not encounter in 1964, such as the development of analytics in baseball and the rarity of getting four at-bats against the same pitcher in today’s game.
It’s more difficult now than it was in our age to hit as many home runs, he claimed.
Eight home runs were hit on Tuesday at Jingu Stadium. Murakami added to the action with a towering blast to the right off Giants starter Tomoyuki Sugano to open the bottom of the fourth inning.
With his 54th of the year, Murakami matched Hanshin Tigers legend Randy Bass for third most in a calendar year.
Due to a Yomiuri error, Murakami reached base with two outs in the ninth and took full advantage of the situation. Taisei Ota, the Giants’ closer, threw him a 1-0 fastball, and he connected by sending the ball deep into the night sky for an opposite-field, three-run home run to the left.
Can he overtake Balentien in the remaining 15 games for the Swallows?
With 18 games remaining in 2013, Balentien hit his 55th and 56th home runs in the same game. Additionally, he was relieved of the burden of trying to break the record as the season came to a close.
Eight of the Swallows’ final games are on the road, which is suitable for Murakami because he is hitting .385 with 33 home runs while travelling. Murakami has a.278 average and 22 home runs in 61 games with the Swallows at Jingu Stadium, where they will play their remaining seven games.
With four games remaining against the Chunichi Dragons and two games against the Hiroshima Carp, Murakami will also play the two teams he has homered against the most this season. Against each team, he has hit 13 home homers.