Tetsuya Utsumi (内海 哲也)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", 'Weight 185 lb.
Utsumi drew the interest of the Orix BlueWave out of high school but turned them down as he wanted to play for his grandfather's old team, the Yomiuri Giants. Utsumi pitched for Tokyo Gas in the industrial leagues. He was easily Japan's worst hurler in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, allowing 9 walks, 2 homers and 7 runs in just 3 innings of work. In 2004, he was a first-round pick of the Yomiuri Giants. He led the Eastern League in ERA but had a 5.14 ERA in his three games with the Giants ichi-gun team.
In 2005, the southpaw was just 4-9 with a 5.04 ERA as a regular member of the Yomiuri rotation but he outperformed fading veteran Masumi Kuwata and Scott Mullen to avoid being at the bottom of the staff.
In 2006, he improved to 12-13, 2.78. He was 4th in the Central League in ERA behind Hiroki Kuroda, Shinobu Fukuhara and Kenshin Kawakami. He tied for the CL lead in losses, was 4th in innings (194), tied for 5th in wins, tied for 4th in complete games (6), tied for 4th in shutouts (2), was third in strikeouts (179, trailing Kawakami and Kei Igawa), 4th in walks (52), tied for 5th in hit batsmen (7) and led in wild pitches (9). He made the CL All-Star team.
Utsumi went 14-7 with a 3.02 ERA in 2007. He improved to third in the league in ERA, behind Hisanori Takahashi and Seth Greisinger. He was second in innings (187 2/3, behind Greisinger), tied for second in wins (behind Greisinger), was third in hits allowed (183), led in strikeouts (180, 3 ahead of Kenichi Nakata), was second in hit batsmen (11) but only 10th in walks (48).
Tetsuya remained strong in 2008 at 12-8, 2.73. He was third in the CL in ERA (behind Masanori Ishikawa and Colby Lewis), third in innings (184 1/3), tied for 4th in wins, 5th in hits allowed (166), third in strikeouts (154, trailing Lewis and Greisinger) and leading with 68 walks. He helped Yomiuri post the best record in the CL for the second straight year, but this time they advanced to the Japan Series. Utsumi had a 1-0, 3.38 record in the 2008 Japan Series, winning game 3; Yomiuri lost the Series.
Utsumi started one game in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, giving up one run on 3 hits and a walk in 2 2/3 IP versus South Korea. Japan won the title. In the summer of 2009, he was 9-11 with a 2.96 ERA. He was 7th in the CL in ERA, between Takahashi and Lewis. He also tied for 4th in the league in losses, was 7th in IP (179 2/3, between Kan Otake and Lewis), homers allowed (23, 3rd after Daisuke Miura and Ishikawa), complete games (5, tied for second, one behind Miura) and hits allowed (161, 9th). He lost game 2 of the 2009 Japan Series to the Nippon Ham Fighters. In relief in game 6, he replaced Shun Tono and got the decisive win as the Giants took the Japan Series title. He had a 4.91 ERA for the Series, allowing 12 hits in 7 1/3 IP. In the 2009 Japan-Korea Club Championship, he was a reliever in Yomiuri's win over the KIA Tigers.
Utsumi won on Opening Day in 2010 but faded to 11-9, 4.38. He tied for 10th in the CL in wins, was 5th in hits allowed (168), was 7th in strikeouts (121, between Tono and Kazuki Yoshimi), was second with 84 runs allowed (behind Naoyuki Shimizu) and was 5th in earned runs allowed (72, between Ishikawa and Eric Stults). He did make his third All-Star team. In 2011, he turned things back around, going 18-5 with a 1.70 ERA, .227 opponent average and 1.08 WHIP. He was among the CL leaders in ERA (2nd, .05 behind Yoshimi), wins (tied for first with Yoshimi), innings pitched (185 2/3, 3rd), complete games (tied for 5th with Kenta Maeda and Wei-Lin Chen), hits allowed (153, 6th), homers allowed (13, 6th), strikeouts (144, 5th, between Maximo Nelson and Bryan Bullington), walks (47, 5th between Nelson and Jason Standridge), hit batsmen (tied for 7th) and WHIP (9th, between Nelson and Bullington). He was the first Yomiuri lefty to win 15+ games since Hisao Niura in 1979 and the first Giants southpaw to pace the CL in victories since Kazumi Takahashi back in 1969. He finished third in voting for the 2011 Central League Most Valuable Player Award, well back of fellow pitchers Takuya Asao and Yoshimi and just ahead of teammate Hisayoshi Chono.
In 2012, the 30-year-old posted a 15-6, 1.98 record. He again led the league in wins, was 3rd in ERA (after Maeda and Yusuke Nomura), shutouts (2, tied for first with 6 others), innings (186, 3rd after Maeda and Randy Messenger), hits allowed (173, 2nd, 2 behind Ishikawa) and strikeouts (121, 8th, between D.J. Houlton and Shohei Tateyama). In Game One of the 2012 Japan Series, he tossed a two-hit, no-walk, 8-strikeout gem, allowing no runs in 7 innings to beat Nippon Ham and their ace, Mitsuo Yoshikawa. He returned in Game Five with the Series tied at 2 games apiece and allowed two runs in eight to again beat Yoshikawa. For his efforts, he was named MVP of the Series, which Yomiuri won in 6 games.