It’s not my fault, I couldn’t have jinxed them. No really, I couldn’t have — I was watching the game recorded, not live. No, it can’t possibly be my fault, even though I started to write this post – with victory in mind, searching for pictures of brooms to represent ‘sweep’ – before the game ended. I swear I had nothing to do with previously bulletproof closer Ogino – he of the 0.00000 ERA this season – giving up a game-tying 2 run blast in the 9th, and giving up the game winning run on another HR.
Please don’t blame the 5-4 loss in the series finale to Softbank on me! (I’ll keep telling myself that) Also don’t blame any of it on Lotte starter Kobayshi and relivers Kawasaki and Sikorski. Kobayshi pitched through leg pain – it looked like he might get pulled in the 5th due to injury – to put himself in position for to get his first win of the season, giving up 2 ER in 6+ innings of work. Kawasaki relieved him in the 7th, gave up a one-out hit to pinch hitter Tsuji, and got out of the inning when Tsuji was doubled off first on a major baserunning error on a line drive out by Morimoto. Sikorski pitched a perfect 8th, retiring the side on just 11 pitches.
No, this is all on Ogino, who must have not been properly warmed up or was feeling a bit ill. Ogino gave up the 2-run lead and the Sayonara HR on just 8 pitches, which is very efficiently horrible. It’s hard to fault Ogino too much as he’s been so good this year, and this is just one game. But I think this game really would have meant alot to the team as it would have been the first series sweep by Lotte this year, and an opportunity to jump into 3rd (though that possibility was later dashed as Seibu beat Orix tonight).
Saburo got the Lotte scoring started in the 4th with a 2-run line drive HR to left scoring Fukuura. Fukuura got in on the act himself in the 5th with a 2-run double down the right field line. Kobayashi’s leg started to give him trouble in the bottom of the 5th, a frame where he gave up 2 runs. That was it for the scoring until Softbank’s last minute fireworks. Also ending tonight for Lotte was Iguchi’s HR streak. He had homered in 4 straight game but went 0-4 this evening.
Lotte returns home to Chiba Marine tomorrow to start the final Pa-league series before the interleague play begins. Seibu is in town, and the Marines will look to put Ogino’s collapse behind them and continue their recent winning ways.