Break open your ledger and put Rival Series Part 1 in the books with an emphatic WIN for Our Marines. After weeks of futility, that’s 2 series wins in the last 3, and of course the one that Chiba lost could easily have swung the other way. I must say, cautiously, that things are looking up.
What’s changed? Huff-n-Hustle’s hot hitting, yes, yes, but also the pitching has settled way, way down. The cliche is that pitching is 90% of baseball and while that’s certainly not the case, it is certainly the case that the fortunes of this 2014 squad are closely linked to the stability of the pitching staff. That might change a bit in this series as new Cuban slugger Alfredo Despaigne is fitted into a lovely Lotte uniform and is ready to destroy some concrete in the back wall of the outfield. Expectations could not be higher for his performance, and hopefully that power bat in the lineup can give the offense a boost for the times that the pitching needs some extra support.
Hamu: Masaru Nakamura (4-0, 3.23 ERA) @ Lotte: Ayumu Ishikawa (6-5 3.06 ERA)
Even though Ishikawa had some rough spots early – a pair of hits allowed in both the second and third innings – Goemon fought through to really get in his groove in the middle innings. Nishikawa recorded a two out double in the third inning, but Ishikawa struck out the next 4 batters and rang up 13 outs in a row, 7 of those by K. The last out of the 7th inning – an easy fly to right by Kondoh – left him at 93 pitches, ready to come out for the pen to finish it up. For some reason, that just didn’t happen, and the game completely fell apart.
More to come!
Game 1 digest from Pacific League TV
Hamu: Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-5, 3.30 ERA) @ Lotte: Takuya Furuya (7-2, 3.79 ERA)
Hamu: (-, — ERA) @ Lotte: Yuki Karakawa (1-6, 6.59 ERA)