Nomi with the Hanshin Tigers
|Hanshin Tigers – No. 14|
May 28, 1979 |
Izushi, Izushi District (present: Toyooka), Hyogo, Japan
|April 24, 2005, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|Earned run average||3.17|
Atsushi Nomi (能見 篤史 Nōmi Atsushi?, born May 28, 1979 in Izushi, Izushi District (present: Toyooka), Hyogo, Japan) is a Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Central League.
Early Baseball Career
He attended Tottori Jōhoku High School. On his 3rd year, he pitched a perfect game during the Spring Prefecture Tournament. Along with Komoya Tamaguchi and Kei Igawa, they were called the "left-handed high-school trio".
Upon graduation, he joined Osaka Gas where he continued to play as pitcher in the industrial league. But due to injuries and a lot of failures on his part, he rarely appeared on the team's games, and ended up being called "the phantom pitcher" by zealous Osaka Gas fans. After almost five years, his game appearances gradually increased. During the November 2013 non-pro baseball tournament, he delivered a solid performance in championship game with Nissan Co. However, their team lost when Yuuki Itou scored a hit during the 11th inning. In 2004, together with soon-to-be teammates Ryo Watanabe and Yasutomo Kubo, Nohmi was elected as Japanese representative to the 22nd Haarlem Baseball Week where Japan came out 3rd. He was selected by the Tigers during the autumn draft of the same year.
Out of 16 game appearances, he registered a 5.57 ERA and a 1.624 WHIP, allowed 78 hits while striking out 64, gaining a 4-1 win-loss record.
With ace Kei Igawa leaving for the majors, Hanshin was faced with a shortage of starting pitchers. Nōmi was then given a shot to start several games until the end of April, but he produced a disappointing 1-3 record for 5 games, and got reassigned to being a reliever. He continued to display a lack of stability on the mound, and after he gave up 5 runs in 1 inning on the May 5 game against Lotte, he was once again sent to ni-gun. He came back in August where he won 3 of his starts, including a complete game, but suffered a setback in September 11 when he surrendered 7 runs in 4 innings. He had 2 more starts after that, but he ended the season in ichi-gun with a 4-4 record.
He fared better in his ni-gun games, where he won 6 of his 7 starts (2nd highest in the league) with an ERA of 2.51.
He only had one start for the season (May 7 vs. the Giants), and worked as a reliever for 10 more games. He spent most of the year playing in ni-gun, and recorded 5 wins and 11 saves out of 29 games, a 0.83 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.
This year was a breakout year for Nōmi as he made his way back to the Tiger's starting rotation. But despite his reliability on the mound, he couldn't record a win during his starts earlier in the season mainly due to the lack of run support. To make matters worse, ever since he earned the loss during the July 4 game with the Swallows when he gave up 4 runs in the 5th inning, he got demoted to being a relief pitcher in his next 3 appearances. He managed to rebound on his start against the Giants on July 19, where he pitched 9 innings with only 2 hits surrendered and struck out 12, earning his first win of the season.
Since then, he went on a streak in his next 11 starts, recording 9 more victories. He finished the season 13-9, and placed 9th in the league in number of innings pitched (165), 4th in ERA (2.62), and 2nd in strikeouts (154). In addition, he won 4 consecutive starts against Giants pitcher Tetsuya Utsumi, and recorded the lowest ERA of 1.45 against the Hiroshima Carps (4 wins in 7 starts).
He fractured his right foot in May 2 while baserunning, and was taken off the roster. He underwent rehab for several months, and returned on September 9 where he pitched 7 innings against the Dragons and earned 2 runs and 10 KOs. On September 18, he pitched 7 shutout innings on his start against the Giants in Koshien, and recorded his fourth win for the season. His winning streak against the Giants continued on the 29th when he notched his 7th consecutive victory against their archrivals since July 2009, and placed 2nd to Shigeru Kobayashi's franchise record of 8 consecutive wins. He recorded one more win for September, and became the month's MVP. He finished the season with 8-0, and a lower ERA of 2.60.
He notched his first win during the April 12 season-opener against the Carps (7 innings, 3 runs). On May 3, he tied Kobayashi's record of 8 consecutive wins against the Giants, but failed to surpass it when he took the loss on June 26 upon giving away 3 runs in 5 innings. He ended up with a 12-9 win-loss record, and reached a career high of 200 innings pitched, and his lowest WHIP of 1.03.
He again pitched the opening game, and continued to produced quality starts during the earlier part of the season. Come mid-season however, he fell into a slump, and even went into a 3-game losing streak against the Giants whom he usually pitched well against. Luckily, he found his rhythm back in August, and steamrolled through September where he won 3 of his 4 starts with an ERA of 0.55, earning him another MVP of the month award. This became his second season to record double digit wins, and topped the league in strikeout numbers and shutout wins.
In March, he participated as a relief pitcher for Japan's National Team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but was subsequently replaced after giving up a 2-run homer to Puerto Rico's outfielder Alex Rios, that ended Japan's 2-time WBC reign.
He didn't make it to the opening day roster this year, and even incurred a nail injury in April. On May 6, he hit his first career solo home-run off Giants pitcher Shoki Kasahara. According to retired teammate Tomoaki Kanemoto, Nōmi has been doing well during batting practices, and was even quoted to wanting to hit a homerun at least once. On that same match, he also earned the win by pitching the complete game.
He improved to 11-7 this season, and topped the league in number of complete games pitched.
He again opened the season with a match against the Giants, but luck wasn't on his side that time as he gave away 10 earned runs in 5 innings, and the Tigers lost their early 4-point lead against their archrivals. Fortunately, his pace began to pick up in May as he recorded consecutive double digit strikeouts in 5 of his starts, beating the previous league record of 4 set by Yutaka Enatsu (1971), Makoto Kito (1994) & Terry Bross (1995).
In September 6, 2014, he reached the 1000th strike-out mark, making him the fourth quickest pitcher in franchise history, fifteenth quickest in NPB history, to reach 1,000 strikeouts(1,130.2 innings).
Despite these achievements however, he finished the season with his worst record of 9-13 (most number of losses in the league), mostly due to his lack of stability in the mound which at one point caused his ERA to sink below 4. He did make up for it during the postseason, when he pitched a stellar 2nd game during the 1st stage of the Climax Series against the Carps (October 12, Koshien). He surrendered only 5 runs in 8 shutout innings, and the game ended in a 0-0 deadlock, the first ever in Central League CS history. With this, the Tigers advanced to the final stage since they won the 1st game, and ties were awarded to the team with the better season record. He again delivered a quality start in the deciding game of the CS final stage, where he earned only 2 runs in 5 innings, and secured the Tigers' spot in the Japan Series, their first participation since 2005.
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