Going 1-1-1 vs Daiei over the weekend is a damn sight better than the first series of the season, but it’s hardly ideal. Small steps. Now it’s Orix’s turn to come to frigid QVC, this time for a 2 game set.
Wakui gets the nod in game 1, fresh off his nice work in Omiya last week. It’ll be Furuya and Igawa in game 2.
By Steve Novosel I gotta be blunt, this was easily the most boring game of the year so far as basically everything interesting that happened very early on in this one. And honestly, even that wasn't very interesting as Our Marines dropped Game 1 by a 6-1 score.
The task for the evening was a difficult one, score on young Yuki Nishi and break through the strong Orix pitching staff. Coming into this game, Nishi had yet to give up a run all year, sporting a perfect 0.00 ERA after three starts (including a complete game shutout of Chiba just 2 weeks ago). A steady rain would make things interesting – OR WOULD IT?
It didn’t take long for that scoreless streak to end as Ishimine led off the bottom of the first with a double to right center, and Nemoto immediately drove him in to make it a quick 1-0 Lotte lead. Iguchi drew a no-out walk to put men on first and second, bringing up Ohmatsu to get some more runs for the home fans -
..no. I can’t lead you on like that. Out out out, that’s what came next. With the exception of a Yoshida single in the second and a Nemoto single in the 7th, it was out out out out out all night. Nishi was up to his usual baffling tricks, eventually going the distance on 129 pitches, striking out 7 and giving up – well, you just read the total sum of what he gave up. Suffice it to say, he’s on fire.
But what of Wakui? He looked GREAT… early on. First five Orix batters up, right back down again. Then things just got weird. With two outs in the second, Wakui lost Sakaguchi on 4 pitches, and when Gooch tried to steal second Yoshida winged the ball into center. Next batter Hara – walked on 5 pitches. Kawabata? Got him to a 3-2 count before losing him. Bases loaded, gotta be careful, Itoh up. Wakui gets Itoh to a 2-2 count before Itoh drops a cheap little single up the middle to score 2 and make it 2-1. Then comes German, Wakui gets him to a two-strike count – double. 4-1. Then Hirano? Single. That’s a 5-1 game, folks.
Just as mysteriously as the cloud named “shaky Wakui” drifted across the infield, it was gone. Wakui was perfect for the next 4 innings, gave up another three hits and a fairly cheap run, but honestly looked very nice all the way through the 8th inning. I sure wish I knew where that “shaky Wakui” cloud came from and how it can be kept off the field.
This team is a mystery. The saga continues tomorrow night.