Braz. Braz. Braz. BRAZ. Chiba fans are CRAZY about Braz! Why? After Tuesday’s debut home run (and gyudon celebration), the newest Lotte player extended his Lotte career hitting streak to 8 games with another jack, and capped his night off with yet ANOTHER bomb! The power extravaganza helped propel Our Marines to a 7-3 victory over visiting Daiei, and cements Chiba’s second place standing at the end of the first “half” of the season. What a nice way to finish.
Game 2 Redux?
Yeah, kind of! There were a few differences but really, this game played out much the same as Tuesday’s win. Look at this:
–> Lotte bats scored early and often – 3, 2, and 1 runs scored in the first three innings on Wednesday vs 1, 3, and 1 runs scored in the first three on Tuesday.
–> Braz power! He drilled his first home on Tuesday and ripped an opposite field jack in his second at bat Wednesday and a tremendous bomb in his third – more on that in a minute.
–> T OGINO speed – a triple that few other than he could pull off on Tuesday, and an infield single + error + insane speed quasi inside-the-park homer on Wednesday. Again, something that few other than he could pull off.
–> Fantastic starting pitching – Karaage-kun’s brilliant first five innings before getting in a spot of trouble on Tuesday, Furuya’s lovely first 6 innings of 3 hit, one run ball before slipping in the 7th on Wednesday.
–> Very sloppy Daiei D. Actually, this is a theme in all games. The one highlight from Monday’s game was a sequence where Hawks starter Ohba plunked Nemoto, uncorked a wild pitch that let Nemo go to third, and then another that he scored on. Tuesday had a throwing error by Takaya, and on Wednesday errors by Fukumoto and Tanoue directly led to three runs. So very nice.But Some Differences, Too
And in a good way! More hits, more runs, more fun – really!
Iguchi left Tuesday’s game with a sore leg after getting nailed by a pitch – he was out and Ohmatsu got the start at first instead. And what a nice start – he recorded a modasho including a double and an RBI. Actually everybody in the starting lineup got a hit – in addition to Braz and Ohmatsu, Okada and Nemo also had a pair of hits.
Furuya’s turned into a nice starter! He’s now made 4 starts on the year and has wins in 2, and only one that could be considered bad at all, the 6 runs he gave up in Sendai. He’s consistently featured strikeouts (24 in 25 2/3) and control (only 4 walks). Who knew? His final line for this game – 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 HBP, 4 K, 3 ER. Solid.
The story, though, was definitely Braz. Of course he was signed to give a power jolt in the middle of the lineup as outside of interleague there hasn’t been too many Lotte bombs, but three homers in 5 AB? And 3 HUGE homers? His first on Wednesday put the arch in the word arch – a towering pop that kept going and going, right into the Daiei fans in left. The slo-mo of that was cool (no video, unfortunately) – huge cut in the rain, Braz staring, wondering if it was gonna go, realizing oh yeah, that’s definitely gone, and taking off. Majestic.
But the second homer? Let’s put it this way – I STILL can’t get it out of my head. I will not exaggerate one bit with this statement – it is pure unvarnished truth. In all the games I have seen at Chiba Marine/QVC, I have never see a ball hit that hard, that far. Braz got around on it with such a big swing you could hardly see the ball off the bat. The way he looked at it, I thought it must have been pulled foul or something. Live, it seemed the camera couldn’t find the ball in flight. Next thing you see, it HIT THE ROOF above the right field seats, maybe 1m away from clearing the stadium! The estimates were that it was a 150m shot – that’s about 500 feet for those of you not down with metric. I’m not sure it wasn’t further. I’m not sure that ball didn’t cause structural damage to the roof. As we discussed on Twitter:
@lovelovemarines i think he smashed it so hard fireworks came out of it
— dani (@the_hereford) July 17, 2013
Words ain’t gonna do it justice – here’s my crappy, no sound vidcap of the stream.
What’s next? All Star! A 6 day break for most of the guys before the second half begins. Our Marines have won two series in a row now, the bats are warming back up and we’re getting contributions from a lot of people. I have a good feeling about the second half.