Draft! Draft! Draft! It’s been on your mind as much as it has been on mine, I am sure. And let me tell you, this year’s draft looks to be a really nice one.
I usually write a draft summary each year, but I’ve never taken a stab at a draft preview. This year I am going to make myself look very foolish indeed by trying to speculate what direction Lotte will head in the 2015 Draft, which takes place tomorrow afternoon.
You’ve probably noticed we haven’t updated in a few days, and I am sure you can guess what that means. On Friday night, Our Marines lost their fight against Daiei in Fukuoka by a 3-1 margin. That’s only 4 runs in 3 games and a sweep for the Evil Empire (PL-version). It’s also the first time Chiba has lost to the Hawks in the Climax Series.
Our Marines have reached the end of the season: Thursday’s 6-1 loss at Fukuoka means that if Chiba is to play on we must win 4 in a row.
But, not so easy. Remember back to 2010 and this team was in a similarly precarious position. Down 3-1, needing to win out to advance, having far from the best starters available for the first two games (Shunsuke and Yuta, actually), the guys took those first two close games before Naruse shut down the Hawks to advance.
In some ways what faces Lotte is a bit simpler – yes, it’s 4 in a row instead of 3 in a row, but the next three starting pitchers are sure to be Ishikawa, Chen, and Wakui. That’s really good! All bats are available. The small visitor section is still mighty in voice, easily louder than the rest of the stadium combined. We can do this!
If only that one ball didn’t take that awkward bounce. If only we could have turned just one LOB into an RBI. If only the outfield fence was just a few centimeters shorter. Unfortunately for Our Marines, it felt like Game 1 of the Climax Series Final Stage alone could have fulfilled a season’s quota of “if only”s.
I have no voice, nothing left in me at all right now. But I must tell you this, fellow traveller in Lotte fandom – Our beloved Marines sent Nippon Hamu to an early bedtime on this Monday with a tense, thrilling 2-1 win in Sapporo. The streak of first round victories in the playoffs is intact, the Golden Year dream lives on. It’s a wonderful day to be a Lotte supporter.
Lotte vs the best pitcher in the Pacific this year? No problemo, we got Fukuura and Gori and Kiyota and Captain Daichi and the amazing glove of Cochito Cruuuuuuuz. Oh, and its October & Lotte wins in October.
Two weeks ago Our Marines looked to be dead in the water. Back-to-back losses with only 3 hits combined left the guys reeling at 6 games under – dropping out of 4th seemed more likely than seizing 3rd. 12 games later and Chiba’s racked up 10 wins and just two losses – by a combined 2 runs – and with two games remaining on the 2015 Regular Season calendar Lotte has booked a ticket to Sapporo and the first stage of the Climax Series.
What a truly an amazing turn of events!
Seibu’s season has ended with what is surely a heartbreaking loss for them at Orix.
Lotte’ just wrapped up a 2-game set in Sapporo with a mini-sweep, a total dusting of the second place Fighters.
“But Steeeeeve, what does all this meaaaaaan?” I can hear you ask. What it means is simple – 5 games remain in the 2015 Pacific League regular season for Our Marines, 4 of them at home, and if we can take just two of those five remaining we’re going back to Sapporo for the Climax Series.