Our Marines continued their run of strong play in June this week, taking both sides of a 2-game set at the ‘Zo with the last place Rakuten Eagles1. Those results guarantee a winning record for the month – the team is currently at 13-7 with just two games to play this weekend.
Here’s a few notes about players and recent goings-on around the team:
- Eternal Ace Ayumu Ishikawa looks to have solidified his campaign for the Pacific League Pitcher of the Month after his masterful start on Tuesday. On pace for a Maddux (CG shutout with less than 100 pitches) after 7, 15 pitches in the 8th took that out of play and a run allowed in the 9th ended the shutout, but finally he got the win to cap a perfect 4-0 month. In June, Ayu only allowed 3 runs in 27 innings (1.00 ERA) combined with a 1.07 WHIP. He’s won his last 6 starts.
- Yuki Ariyoshi allowed a pair of earned runs on Wednesday – both on solo shots by Rakuten’s Carlos Peguero – but otherwise pitched well enough to win his third start in a row. He’s not striking out a ton of guys but also is not allowing that many baserunners (1.23 WHIP as a starter) and has emerged as a good option in the middle of the rotation.
- The 13-7 record in June is much more a function of great pitching than of simply outslugging opponents. 11 of those 13 wins have come in the starts of Ishikawa, Ariyoshi, and Mike Bolsinger, who are a combined 11-0 in 11 starts for the month. Doesn’t get any better than that.
- In addition to that starting trio, the back end of the bullpen has been rock solid all month. Naoya Masuda (10G, 1.00 ERA, 10 K/9 IP, 0.89 WHIP in June), Takahiro Matsunaga (11 G, 1.13 ERA, 8 K/8 IP, 1.00 WHIP), and Tatsuya Uchi (12 G, 1.64 ERA, 10 K/11 IP, 0.64 WHIP) are as solid as it gets this month. All three stood on the stage for the Hero Interview after last night’s win.
- Speaking of Mike, he and his wife Lauren welcomed their first baby to the world yesterday. Congrats to the Bolsinger family!
- In sad Lotte news, Shota Ohmine ‘retired’ from baseball this week due to personal issues. The official reason given is that he had accumulated debts starting from 2.5 years ago and he had difficulties paying these back. Obviously there is more to the story than just that – he was actually requested to retire by the team – and I won’t speculate as to what sorts of reasons that might have happened. Shota was the 3rd pick in the 2009 draft and was clearly a part of the team’s plans as a utility player going forward. His older brother Yuta is a favorite of mine and remains on the team.
1 This development is the surest sign I don’t know anything. Last year I predicted Lotte would finish in second and Rakuten in the cellar, instead the Eagles made it to the Climax Series Final Stage. This year I learned my lesson and picked them as my dark horse to win the PL – they’ve been the worst team in the league by far from the get go. I know nothing.