I won’t say I am surprised Our Marines’ 8 game win streak snapped like a small tree getting hit by a bus. It’s baseball – losing’s a part of the game. But man o man o man this was an ugly way to get that first loss of May out of the way. Ineffective bats and the first blown save by Masuda – in spectacular fashion – made this 5-3 loss to Rakuten a game to put in the Insta-Forget-O-Matic.
Here’s the good stuff: Lotte continues to fill the sacks with pinstriped gentlemen – 18 men on base tonight on 9 hits, 8 walks and a very controversial hit by pitch. Karakawa was, well, not bad – great early on but sooo shaky in the 5th, 6th, and 7th – but only gave up two runs. Saburo got a little offense going with a nice RBI double in the 5th. Hattori and Matsunaga were solid as the first men out of the pen. And Craig and I had a blast cheering with some kids from Kesenuma on a school trip to QVC.
But the bad – oh lord. You are good at math; you can tell that only 3 runs were managed out of those 18 baserunners. It was worse than that! 3 times Lotte juiced the bases, and only one run came from those loaded bags, a bases loaded walk to Daichi in the third. The rest? Left at the altar.
And the worst part? Ever reliable Masuda – perhaps a bit worn from a whole lot of recent outings, perhaps distracted but the ever increasingly gusty wind throughout the 9th inning, perhaps just having an off day – got killed to the tune of 4 hits and a walk and three runs courtesy of a bases-clearing double with two outs in the 9th by Fujita (!!!!). The sad thing is that while Masuda was far from his best, Okada would have easily caught the double off Fujita’s bat had he been playing at a normal depth. But instead he was playing shallow, Fujita lined a two-out, 1-1 pitch right over Okada’s head, and just like that the lovely 8 game streak was kaput.
Hey, this happens. It’s a super young team – nobody but Iguchi in the starting lineup was over 30 (including just-turned-21 Emura behind the plate) so we expect some ups and downs.
I just would have preferred the end of the streak came some different way.
Revenge comes quickly as ace Naruse faces Duckworth on Saturday in an afternoon tilt at QVC. Look for more runs to be scored this time by Our Marines, and for Lotte to start another winning streak!