This article is part of our Dream11 Fantasy NPB series.
Saitama Seibu Lions (16-15-1) at Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (19-14-1)
Wednesday, July 29th, 5:00 AM EDT
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks: LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (2-0, 3.71 ERA)
Saitama Seibu Lions: RHP Kona Takahashi (2-3, 5.34 ERA)
The Hawks are comfortably sitting at the top of the Pacific League standings and hold a 1.5-game lead over the Rakuten Golden Eagles ahead of Wednesday's slate. Meanwhile, the Lions are in third place and two games back with a 16-15-1 record, so they couldn't go over the second place even if they win here and the Eagles lose. The pitching matchup puts even more pressure on the Lions' offense, as the Hawks starter, Tsuyoshi Wada, has far better numbers than his counterpart, Kona Takahashi. While Wada has posted a 3.71 ERA thus far, Takahashi has a 5.34 ERA. With those figures, it's no wonder the Hawks arrive into this matchup as early favorites.
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 both require