It’s Legends Series time, and who doesn’t love an excuse to break out the throwback uniforms? Honestly these old unis – they’re the old road blues from the Orions days – are my favorite Lotte uniform. Love the blue with the red accent, and I wish we played in the Orions-era uniforms (both road and home) more often.
Yet another critical series for Our Marines, this one just made more critical by the failures in Sendai. Lotte comes in 5.5 back of first with just 33 games to go, but more importantly is just one game up on Daiei and 3.5 up on 4th place Seibu. This series is about as must-win as an August series can be.
As Steve mentioned at the conclusion of the Seibu series post, Our Marines are heading north to Sendai on Friday for a pivotal 3 game set between the top two teams in the PL. Thanks to Lotte’s 12-5 run, combined with a five game losing streak for Rakuten, we sit only 2.5 games back of the first place Eagles heading in. With our 3 most reliable pitchers slated to start this weekend, hopefully we can at least take 2 of 3 and win our 7th series in a row.
The last series of the nine game homestand got started on Tuesday as Our Marines faced off against the hated Lions of Seibu, with Greisinger on the hill vs former ace Wakui. On this night, Greisinger was the one to look like a former Sawamura award winner and Wakui, well, didn’t, as Chiba shut out Seibu for a 4-0 victory.
For the 5th time in the month of August, Our Marines have won a series, this time vs Orix. That’s every series so far this month, for those of you counting at home. In Game 1, the team won 5-2 behind the start of Karakawa and timely hits from Imae, Kakunaka, and Braz. In Game 3, New Lefty Ace Furuya + a strong pen combined with a pair of timely hits from birthday boy Daichi for a 3-1 win. Overall, Lotte won 2 of 3 and has now moved to within 4.5 games of Rakuten and sits 2.5 games up on third place Softbank.
Things didn’t start pretty for Our Marines on Wednesday night. The first place Rakuten Eagles started the game by putting a crooked number 4 on the scoreboard in the first inning off starter Seth Greisinger. Seth managed to settle down though, going 5 innings while only giving up one additional run. This kept Chiba within striking distance, allowing for a comeback win in one of the most exciting game thus far in 2013. Veteran catcher Satozaki hit a sayonara solo home run in the 11th, giving Lotte a 6-5 11th inning walk off win!
Less than two months ago, an unexpected start by Takuya Furuya resulted in a no-no near miss. Since then, Furuya has been a fixture in the rotation, easily the best pitcher for Our Marines since the resumption of Pacific League play. Tonight, Furuya pitched another gem vs PL leaders Tohoku Rakuten – 7 innings and 8 strikeouts – and the bullpen took it to the finish for a stirring 3-0 Lotte victory.
For the 4th series in a row, Our Marines came into the the 3rd game of the series with a chance to take it. And has been the case for every series so far in August, the Men of Chiba did just that, putting together timely hitting and impressive pitching from a whole host of players to take the finale from Nippon Ham 5-1.
On Saturday the bullpen couldn’t back up Karakawa’s six and a third, one run performance. Little by little, the Nippon Ham Fighters picked away at Lotte’s 2-0 lead to win in sayonara fashion. The final score would read Fighters 3 – Marines 2 in 10x inning.
The Chiba Lotte Marines plan for the last two months of the 2013 season is in full effect. No more of the bad pitching, no more of the losing. The goal was to forget all that went down in July and start playing like we did in May. After a little bit of a stumble to start the month of August Our Marines have been playing like a team destined for A-Class.