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Kenshin Kawakami

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Kenshin Kawakami (川上 憲伸, born June 22, 1975 in Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan) is a right-handed Japanese Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. He originally pitched for the Chunichi Dragons of the Central League. Kawakami was the Rookie of the Year in 1998 as he went 14-6 with a 2.57 ERA. He helped the Dragons to the Central League Title in 1999, but would lose in the Japan Series in 5 games to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. He has pitched a no-hitter in his professional career. In 2004, Kawakami went 17-7 and led Chunichi to the Central League Title, though they fell to the Seibu Lions in 7 games in the Japan Series. That year, Kawakami was named Central League MVP and received the Eiji Sawamura Award as Japan's best pitcher. Kawakami again won 17 games in 2006 and led the Dragons to the Central League title again, winning Game 1 of the Japan Series against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Kawakami is known as a crafty veteran who is said to throw a 90 MPH fastball (hits 94 MPH), a slow curveball, sinker, splitter, and a very good cutter.

In 2007, Kawakami helped the Dragons end a streak of 53 years without a championship as they beat the Nippon Ham Fighters in 5 games.

On January 13, 2009, Kawakami signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. [1][2]

Kenshin Kawakami threw his first game as an Atlanta Brave on February 26 in a Spring Training game against the Pirates. Kawakami pitched two innings allowing one hit and striking out one batter.

Kawakami pitched his first Major League game on April 11, 2009 against the Washington Nationals. He picked up his first Major League win, giving up 3 earned runs, and striking out 8 in 6 innings.[3]. On May 22 and against countryman Daisuke Matsuzaka at Fenway Park, he limited the Boston Red Sox to two hits and two earned runs in six innings and helped the Braves begin a 13-game stretch with an 8-2 win over the Red Sox[4].

A video game version of Kawakami helped Wade McGilberry win $1 million as part of the Major League Baseball 2K10 Perfect Game Challenge. McGilberry used Kawakami to pitch a perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K10, and won the contest by being the first person to do so in accordance with the contest rules. [5]


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Preceded by:
Toshikazu Sawazaki
Central League Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by:
Koji Uehara
Preceded by:
Kei Igawa
Central League MVP
Succeeded by:
Tomoaki Kanemoto
Preceded by:
Kei Igawa
Hiroki Kuroda
Central League Best Nine Award for Pitcher
Succeeded by:
Hiroki Kuroda
Hisanori Takahashi

Template:Central League ROYs Template:Eiji Sawamura Award Template:Central League MVPs

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