One might think that if the Marines pitching staff would give up only one earned run over 18 innings they would win those two games. Right? Right? Instead Our Marines lost both games – Friday’s game (which I’ve already mentioned) by 3-1, and in a total letdown Saturday’s game, 1-0. 4 games total in the Climax Series Final Stage, 4 earned runs total yielded by the Lotte pitching staff. Lotte’s record: 2-2, and due to the one game advantage owned by the Hawks this advantage is really 3-2.
I figured Lotte would have a difficult time scoring runs on Sugiuchi, Wada, Falkenborg, and Mahara, but the rest of the staff? And it’s not that Our Marines have been filling the bases and just not getting the timely hit – there is really nobody hitting well right now. Kim Tae Kyun leads the pack at .308 for the series. Makoto Imaoka (!!!) has done nicely as well – only .222 for the series but with a run scored on Thursday and a stunning HR on Sunday. Ohmatsu has produced some timely hits. But…. that’s about it for the offense.
Sunday’s game 4 demanded a Lotte victory. The disappointing game 3 loss pushed Our Marines’ backs to the wall. Watanabe Shunsuke made his first start in over a month (though he had several innings of nice relief work in the first stage) and he was great. He pitched 8 innings of 4 hit ball before getting in a fierce jam in the 9th inning. By this time the Lotte offense had managed to put 4 runs on the board – led by the Imaoka HR – so there wasn’t much Daiei could do to come back.
They did try though – 3 straight hits off of the Ol’ Submariner (including a nasty collision in shallow left between Tsuyoshi and Kiyota – hopefully both are OK for game 5) led to Kobayashi’s entrance and a Save Opportunity, capital letters definitely required. A bases loaded HBP and a pop-up to the screen gloved by Satozaki and Lotte squeaks away with a 4-2 victory, and new life.
New life! Our Marines MUST win the next two games. Where have we heard this before? The first of the two is on Monday – Yuta Ohmine gets the start (first time in 3 months!) against Kenji Ohtonari. It’s a bit of an unexpected matchup but one we can win. That’s good because win we must! The offense must come alive and lift the team to victory! Who’s going to be tonight’s hero? Fukuura? Tsuyoshi? Imaoka again? Kim Tae Kyun with a big blast?
We need a hero, that’s all I know.