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Yoshinobu Yamamoto Struggles in Debut as Padres Beat Dodgers in the Seoul Series Finale

The former Orix Buffaloes star had problems with his control from the start and never recovered in the Seoul Series finale, allowing five runs in one inning.



Seoul Series
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitches in the first inning against the San Diego Padres in MLB's season-opening Seoul Series on March 21, 2024, at Gocheok Sky Dome. (©SANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Yoshinobu Yamamoto Struggles in Debut as Padres Beat Dodgers in the Seoul Series Finale

SEOUL ― Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was shelled in his MLB debut on Thursday, March 21 and the San Diego Padres romped to a 15-11 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers to even the Seoul Series at one game apiece.

Yamamoto, who signed a $325 million USD (approximately ¥49 billion JPY), 12-year deal with the Dodgers in the off-season, lasted only one inning and gave up five runs on four hits at Gocheok Sky Dome while walking one and striking out two batters.

"I wasn't able to control my pitches from the start and I got into a jam right away," said Yamamoto, who took the loss. "It's regrettable that I lost and I feel responsible, but it's a long season and I just have to do my best to turn things around."

The three-time Sawamura Award winner surrendered a single to leadoff hitter Xander Bogaerts, and things just went downhill from there.

Yamamoto hit Fernando Tatis Jr with a pitch and Jake Cronenworth followed with a triple to right that scored Bogaerts and Tatis Jr.

South Korean star Ha Seong Kim hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cronenworth.


"It was just good at-bats, obviously he has amazing stuff but we just went out there and took good swings and that was a plus for us," said Cronenworth.

Luis Campusano would later hit a double that deflected off third baseman Max Muncy, allowing Manny Machado to score from third to make it 4-0.

Tyler Wade hit a line drive to right that would plate Campusano from second before Yamamoto finally got Jackson Merrill on a strikeout to end an inning that was excruciating to watch.

Seoul Series
Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto talks to teammates during the first inning. (KYODO)

Yamamoto Insists Pitch Clock Wasn't a Factor

It was the first regular-season game where Yamamoto had to pitch with the pitch clock but he said that wasn't a factor for the poor results.

"I was aware of it but it didn't affect the way I pitched," the former Orix Buffaloes star said. 

It was not the debut that Yamamoto or the Dodgers envisioned when they signed him to the lucrative contract.

"He just didn't have the command," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's not about the stuff. When you are a command guy, which he has been for his entire career, and you misfire and get behind on batters and hit batters, that's just not who he is."

But Roberts said there is no need to panic.


"We've just got to get back to refining the delivery and tightening up the command and he'll be fine," added Roberts.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.

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