Notes – Twenty Game Mark (Games 11-20)

Our Marines have dropped four of their last ten since we last checked in at the ten game mark. This brings us to our current record of 9-11 and 4th place in the early PL standings.

We have a losing record since the first base concourse was outfitted with a wax Daichi. Just saying.

We have a losing record since the first base concourse was outfitted with a wax Daichi. Just saying.

Despite the recent slight down turn, there are still a lot of positives to be drawn from the early season performances of Our Marines. True, leaders Iguchi (.843 OPS), Kakunaka (.787 OPS), Cruz (.749 OPS), and Imae (.746 OPS) have collectively leveled off a bit from their hot starts. Still, Lotte is 2nd in the PL in runs scored thanks to the offensive production from this core group. Cruz is currently leading the PL in RBI with 19.

Despaigne is back too, fresh off his Cuban League MVP season. Although he’s off to a slow start in his first six games, it shouldn’t be long until his power helps lift a lineup that currently ranks last in PL home runs (5). Captain Daichi is showing signs of heating up too after a slow start in which his batting average peaked at .200 in the first 16 games. Back-to-back modashos versus SoftBank last weekend has helped bring his batting average up to .247.

Itoh-kantoku seems to have settled on the two young catchers Tamura and Yoshida as the mainstays behind the plate. The relative stability at the position seems to be paying dividends. Tamura had himself a 4-4 game last Friday against SoftBank. Yoshida’s done well in the back-up spot too, batting .238 with a home run.

As for the pitching, well…maybe that’s a bit more of a concern. Here’s what we know so far: It appears we have three reliable starters in Wakui (2-2 1.86), Ishikawa (2-0 2.25), and Rhee (3-0 3.33).

The remaining spots in the rotation are more-or-less a giant question mark. Kimura has had some bad luck en route to a 1-3 7.71 record in four starts. Kurosawa’s given up 2 ER in 6 1/3 IP in one start and one long relief appearance. We’ve also gotten three scoreless innings pitched from Ohmine in long relief. We haven’t seen a start from Fujioka or Karakawa since they were sent down to the farm, but Fujioka has been recently called back up. With the four through six spots still anyone’s for the taking, second round draft pick Eisuke Tanaka is scheduled to debut on April 29th in an attempt to become a potential fixture in the rotation.

Rosa (0 ER in 6 2/3 IP) and Matsunaga (1 ER in 7 1/3 IP) have been reliable in middle relief. Former closer Masuda has been sent down to ni-gun, and Nishino still isn’t quite back to last year’s dominate form with 8H, 4BB, 2WP, 2ER in 7 1/3 IP and 5 saves out of the closer’s spot.

Last Ten Games – Best Game Highlights, April 18 vs. SoftBank:

The most memorable game for me from the last ten games was a 9-0 Saturday afternoon shellacking of the Hawks at home. Rhee led the way shutting out the defending champs in seven innings pitched. Daichi broke out of his season-long slump with a double, two singles and an RBI for the modasho. The Chiba bats scored seven runs – all with two outs – in the 7th inning. Ogino had a bases clearing 3-run triple in the seven run 7th to blow the game open at 5-0, in addition to a first inning double which eventually led to the game’s first run. Cruz also had a 2-run single in the 7th to cap off the scoring at 9-0.

Notes – First Ten Games

New fan fest uni's - Photo from marines.co.jp

Ten games in and Our Marines are at an even .500 with five wins and five losses.

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Opening Series Recap @ SoftBank

Photo from Steve, cheering Rhee from the Lotte ouendan.

Our Marines took the first series of the year two-games-to-one over the Hawks in Fukuoka. That’s wins for Wakui and Rhee, with Chen taking the tough luck loss in game 2. All three of these guys weren’t even on the team two years ago, with Chen and Rhee coming over as free agents this year. Not bad way to start the season in the defending champ’s building.

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How To Start a Season Properly

Shamelessly stolen from Twitter

Lotte Fans – the season has just begun for Our Marines, and am overjoyed to report so far it is a SMASHING success!

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Despaigne: “Japan Polished Me as a Player”

despaigne

As difficult as the 2014 Chiba Lotte campaign was in so many ways, the play of several newcomers to the team really provided a boost to the spirits. Arguably the most exciting of those newcomers was Cuban legend Alfredo Despaigne, who in just 2 short months in a Marines uniform provided a year’s worth of highlights with his immense power and ability to get on base. The great news is Despa is back at QVC for 2015 and 2016 thanks to great work by the front office, though he is still playing for his Cuban team Granma in the Cuban Serie Nacional and will not join Our Marines until late April.

Continue Reading Despaigne: “Japan Polished Me as a Player”