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Fumiya Nishiguchi

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Fumiya Nishiguchi (西口 文也)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Fumiya Nishiguchi pitched 21 years and collected 182 wins in Nippon Pro Baseball .

Nishiguchi was drafted by the Seibu Lions in the third round of the 1994 NPB draft. The Lions then sent him to the Sioux City Explorers of the Northern League in 1995, and he went 3-1 with an 1.83 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched. He only pitched 45 1/3 innings with a 1.99 ERA and collected 2 wins in his rookie year in Japan. Nishiguchi was named the opening day starter in 1996, and he went 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA in that season. He was selected for the 1996 NPB All-Star Games and pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings for the Pacific League in Game 3. Nishiguchi ranked 2nd in wins (1 behind Kip Gross), 7th in ERA (.87 behind Eric Hillman) and 2nd in Ks (5 behind Kimiyasu Kudo).

The 1997 season was Nishiguchi's career year. He became the 4th pitcher in NPB history to strike out four batters in a inning on April 12. In 1997 NPB All-Star Game 2, he started but allowed 2 runs in two innings and got the loss against Masahiro Yamamoto and the Central League. The Wakayama native ended up 15-5 with 192 strikeouts, leading the league in wins, winning percentage and strikeouts, while he ranked 7th in ERA (.63 behind Satoru Komiyama) and 2nd in complete games (3 behind Tomohiro Kuroki). He won his first Best Nine, NPB Gold Glove, PL MVP and Sawamura Award. He was the first player in NPB history to win the Sawamura Award without any shutouts. In the 1997 Nippon Series, Nishiguchi completed Game 1 with just one run allowed, but he lost to Kazuhisa Ishii of the Yakult Swallows, who outdueled him with a shutout. He started again in Game 5, but he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings and the Swallows beat him to win the Nippon Series title.

Nishiguchi was still a solid starter in 1998. He went 13-12 with a 3.38 ERA and 148 strikeouts, leading the league in wins and strikeouts for the second consecutive year. He also won his second Best Nine and Gold Glove awards. He allowed 4 runs in 2 innings in Game 1 of the 1998 Nippon Series and got the loss to Hiroki Nomura, then completed the Game 5 with 2 run allowed but the Yokohama BayStars beat him (Hideyuki Awano got the decision) and won the Nippon Series title thanks to Takeo Kawamura's 7 1/3 shutout innings.

The talented starter extended his performance in 1999, and attended the 1999 NPB All-Star Game; he allowed 2 runs in 2 innings in Game 2. Nishiguchi held the Orix Buffaloes to no hits for 7 2/3 innings on September 19, but Takashi Miwa's infield hit broke up his no-hit bid. He had a 14-10 record with a 3.41 ERA in this season, and led the league in shutouts with three. He suffered a right foot injury in 2000, but still collected 11 wins with a 3.77 ERA. The Wakayama native slumped to 14-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 2001.

Nishiguchi bounced back soon, and had a 15-10 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2002. He ranked 2nd in wins (2 behind Jeremy Powell), 2nd in strikeouts (2 behind Powell) and won his third Gold Glove Award. On August 26, Nishiguchi remained hitless for 8 2/3 innings against the Chiba Lotte Marines, but Makoto Kosaka hit a single to stop him from collecting his first no-hitter. He started in Game 4 of the 2002 Nippon Series, allowed 2 runs in 5 innings and the Yomiuri Giants and Hisanori Takahashi beat him to sweep the Nippon Series; his team had dropped all three Japan Series they had played in to this point. Nishiguchi was the only pitcher in NPB history whose team lost 5 consecutive Japan Series games that he started.

The former ace of the Lions struggled in 2003 (Daisuke Matsuzaka was now their ace), his ERA rose to 6.84 because of a right foot injury. He came back with a 3.22 ERA in 2004 (but lost to Kenshin Kawakami in the 2004 Japan Series, though his team topped the Chunichi Dragons for his first title), then collected a career-high 17 wins with a 2.77 ERA in 2005. He was selected for the 2005 NPB All-Star Game, but he allowed 4 runs in 2 innings in Game 1 and got the loss to Ryota Igarashi. He had the second chance to notch a no-hitter on May 13, but Takayuki Shimizu of the Yomiuri Giants blasted a solo shot after he held the Giants hitless for 8 2/3 innings. What's more, the unlucky Nishiguchi completed a 9-inning perfect game against the Rakuten Golden Eagles on August 27, but Yasuhiro Ichiba also shutout the Lions and Yoshinori Okihara's single on the 10th inning ended the record. Nishiguchi never had any no-hitter in his 21-year career.

The Wakayama native was 9-9 with a 3.55 ERA in 2006, then slumped to 9-11 with a 4.28 ERA in 2007. The veteran struggled in the next three years, his ERA never finishing lower than 5.00 and he only collected 15 wins combined. He started in Game 7 of the 2008 Nippon Series, but allowed 2 runs in 2 innings. The Lions still beat the Giants to give Nishiguchi his second Nippon Series title. He bounced back in 2011, when he had a 11-7 record with a 2.57 ERA. He recorded a shutout on August 26, and ended his NPB record for 102 consecutive starts without a shutout. Nishiguchi still had a 5-2 record with a 3.75 ERA in 2012, but his ERA rose to a terrible 8.44 in 2013. He only pitched 10 more games in the next two seasons, then announced his retirement after the 2015 season. He was the pitching coach for the Lions' minor league team in 2017, and worked as the same position for their big club from 2018 to 2021. He started to manage their ni-gun since 2022.

Overall, Nishiguchi was 182-118 with a 3.73 ERA, struck out 2,082 and pitched 2,527 2/3 innings in 21 seasons in NPB.

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