For those who follow Our Marines – cheer them at QVC and on the road, catch the games on TV or in the paper, follow the team from overseas and cheer when you can – does it get any better than a crucial, extra inning 1-0 Sayonara victory off the venerable bat of Chiba’s own Fukuura, scoring fleet-of-foot fan favorite (and my favorite) T OGINO?
For the second night in a row the Seibu Lions were involved in a 10th inning sayonara win which concluded on a close play at the plate. In a finish almost identical to the night before, the home side’s winning run snuck in just past a throw from right field and a swipe tag attempt at the plate. Unfortunately for Our Marines, and unlike the previous evening, Seibu happened to be on the winning end of such dramatics today.
Don’t try to tell me that tonight’s game was vs a Rakuten B-team. I don’t care and I won’t listen. They may not be playing for anything anymore but we sure are, and tonight Our Marines dished out a good ol’ ass whooping by the tune of 6-0 to our strong northern rivals. It was necessary and it was good.
It’s the last trip to Sapporo this year for sure as Hamu is basically out of contention in the PL after a 6-13 month that has left them reeling. Meanwhile Chiba’s got a chip on their shoulder after dropping the close last game and squandering the chance to build a big cushion in the race for second. The lead is just one game with 12 to go – this is playoff ball, and we need another series win.
Did I say we were 5-8, and the last series was a “must win”? Oh, I did, and we didn’t, and that 5-6 is now 5-8. Daiei, once 3.5 back, took the lead for second place before dropping back on percentage points on Thursday. Rakuten and first place are just a mirage in the distance – we’ve got 15 games of hard battle to fight to wrap up second. The first three are this weekend.
Ono Shingo announced his retirement on Thursday after 20 years in a Lotte uniform. “Sunday Shingo” was never a star on the team but he was a solid performer, a contributor to two championship teams. He’ll be missed.
I’m not going to lie to you – this team needs wins in the worst way right now. September is not exactly looking like July yet, but the 5-6 record so far this month is the second worst month for Our Marines this season. The team batting average so far this month is a limp .227, and the ERA has ballooned to 4.37. Not coincidentally, Nishino and Greisinger are out with arm injuries, and Naruse is still absent from the roster.
This team needs a boost, and needs it now.
Series Preview: After dropping two of three at home and further back of first place Rakuten, it appears Our Marines will be playing for second place down the stretch. Lotte leads SoftBank by two games for the second slot (and home position in Climax Stage 1) with 19 games to go, three of which are next weekend at home against those very Hawks. Meanwhile, the Lions are clawing and the Fighters are, well…fighting to get back in the race for the top three spots, 3.5 and 4.5 games back of SoftBank respectively. Excluding a make up game in late September, this series is our last scheduled trip to Saitama in 2013. Hopefully, we can knock the Lions further out of contention as a parting gift.
Series Preview: Folks, this is the last stand vs Rakuten. If Our Marines have any chance at all at winning the Pacific League title this year this series must be won. Not only won, we need to sweep it. There’s still 5 games left with the Eagles, 4 of them are at home, and 3 …
This weekend, the Seibu Lions come to town for a rather meaningful three game September set. The pesky Lions are fighting to break through into the third Climax Series spot, but currently sit 2.5 back of SoftBank for that final postseason position. Meanwhile, Our Marines are looking to potentially jockey for one last run at first place – currently 5 games back of Rakuten. At a minimum this weekend, it would behoove us to stake a more comfortable claim to the second place spot (2.5 up on SB) and perhaps knock Seibu further out of contention. The Pacific League standings have certainly began to take a more clear shape as of late, but all it takes is one weekend to turn it all on its head…