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.
Another boost for Our Marines came off the field with free agent signing Alfredo Despaigne earlier in the week. We’re four games out of the post-season heading into this weekend. Maybe the slugger from Cuba is just the man we need to help us catch the 3rd place Fighters, but first we must get past the 4th place Lions. That brings us to this weekend’s rival series with the Lions at the Seibu Dome. The Lions jumped a half game in front of us on Wednesday, but this weekend we have the chance to leap frog them back into 4th place before Despaigne’s debut. We’re not going anywhere though without some more reliable pitching, perhaps the potential returns of Wakui and/or Naruse this weekend can provide that. Fingers crossed.
The All-Star break is over, the second half of the season starts this week. The break actually could not have come at a worse time for Our Marines, as they won the first series in months vs Daiei at QVC behind some great pitching and a superb attack. Fortunately the next opponent is… Daiei, and the pitchers are largely the same.
Despite the series loss, there’s a lot positive to take away from the Rakuten series. The team has put up 3 or more runs for 7 straight games including the pair of 7 run showings in the first two games. Katoh has been crazy good at the plate ever since being called back up, and some of the pitching was quite solid.
The summer collapse has become somewhat of a new tradition in Chiba. We’ve seen it now for a third straight season, just the 2014 version came much earlier and from a lower starting position in the standings. Unlike last year where we stayed afloat long enough to reach the post-season though, the top half of the Pacific League has has moved on without us in early July.
This series could be an interesting one as our intriguing young pitchers go all three games – Ishikawa in game 1, Karakawa in game 2, and presumably Yuta Ohmine in game 3. Let’s see if they can repeat their recent solid performances and more importantly, if the entire team can come together and bring in some Ws.
I resisted writing this up for some time as there’s only so many times I can write “Both the pitching and the hitting were no good, yuk,” but it’s gotta be said. In a fairly critical two game homestand vs Hamu, Our Marines flat-out were outplayed by a less talented club, dropping both games of the weekend set.
As much as I enjoy interleague play, the passion just ain’t there for most of the series. After all, how much can you really hate a team that you see only a few times a year, and early in the season at that? Sure, there’s the Giants, but…