This article is part of our Dream11 Fantasy NPB series.
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (23-17-1) at Rakuten Golden Eagles (22-18-1)
Friday, August 7th, 5:00 AM EDT
Rakuten Golden Eagles: RHP Takahiro Norimoto (3-3, 3.55 ERA)
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks: RHP Nao Higashihama (2-0, 2.35 ERA)
The Golden Eagles and the Hawks have been the best teams in the Pacific League this season and, unsurprisingly, both sit at the top of the standings – although the Hawks have a slim one-game lead over Rakuten ahead of this matchup. The recent form should favor the hosts, however, as they have gone 3-2 in their last five contests, while the visitors are 2-3. The Golden Eagles have also shortened the differential at the top of the standings since they have won two of the three meetings both teams have had this week so far. The pitching matchup Friday faces two productive arms, as Nao Higashihama will pitch for the Hawks and Takahiro Norimoto will get the nod for the Eagles. Higashihama has posted better numbers, going 2-0 with a sterling 2.35 ERA so far 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