This article is part of our Dream11 Fantasy NPB series.
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (12-17-2) at Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (17-13-1)
Saturday, July 25th, 1:00 AM EDT
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks: Shuta Ishikawa (2-0, 0.73 ERA)
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters: Toru Murata (0-1, 3.38 ERA)
These two teams are riding opposite runs of form at the moment – while the Hawks sit at the top of the Pacific League with a 17-13-1 record and a .565 winning percentage, the Fighters are in last place with a 12-17-2 mark. Surprisingly, though, both teams have the same form if we look at what they've done over their last five games – both have gone 3-2 and are 2-2 in their ongoing six-game series. The Hawks have a clear advantage in the pitching department, though, as they will send Shuta Ishikawa – and his impressive 0.73 ERA – to the mound. The Fighters will counter with Toru Morata, who has a solid, yet unspectacular 3.38 ERA in 2020.
Alfredo Despaigne - Out - Not Injury Related
7/7 10:42 PM IST - Despaigne (not injury related) is scheduled to arrive in Japan on July 19 and will then quarantine for 14 days before reporting to the Hawks, Yahoo Sports Japan reports. Due to travel restrictions in their native Cuba, Despaigne and infielder Yurisbel Gracial have thus far been unable to join the Hawks, and it appears their season debuts won't be coming at any point in July. Even once they arrive in Japan and complete their quarantine periods, Despaigne and Gracial will likely