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Interleague Game 19: Monsters of Makuhari

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Who are these guys? Whoever they are, I like them – alot.

After weeks of frustration, missed opportunities, and men left on base like unwanted promotional items, the Lotte offense has turned into the Monsters of Makuhari. In the past week, they’ve put up games of 9, 23, and now 9 runs again as they beat the heck out of visiting Hanshin, 9-1.

If these are indeed monsters, then Gojira definitely is Ohmatsu. In the 5 games this week alone he has 3 HR, 10 hits, and 11 RBI. Today he was yet again the hero with a 2-4, 4 RBI performance.

Ohmatsu doubles home a pair in the 4th

Ohmatsu doubles home a pair in the 4th

The first two innings were scoreless thanks to Lotte starter Ono Shingo and Hanshin starter Fukuhara. Lotte would get on the board first in the bottom of the third. Imae led off the frame with a single, and Hayasaka laid down a bunt to advance him to second – except Fukuhara winged the throw over second baseman Sekimoto’s head and all were safe.

Hayasaka beats out Fukuhara's wild throw to first

Hayasaka beats out Fukuhara's wild throw to first

Fukuura laid down a sac bunt that was played properly this time. After a fly-out by Ohmatsu Iguchi singled home both Imae and Hayasaka to make it 2-0. DH Hashimoto walked to put two on, and Satozaki singled to bring in Iguchi to run the score to 3-0. All three runs were scored unearned, which always seems a bit dodgy to me as they were clearly attributable to Fukuhara – the error was his. But more importantly: Lotte had the lead.

In the bottom of the 4th Lotte would extend their lead. Benny dug hard for a double to lead off the inning, and Hayasaka singled to move him to third. With two outs, Ohmatsu smacked a double into the right field gap to score both. Iguchi walked, and Hashimoto singled in Ohmtasu to make it 6-0.

Ohmatsu beats the throw home to give Lotte a 6-0 lead

Ohmatsu beats the throw home to give Lotte a 6-0 lead

In the 5th, Saburo led off with a single, and Chase Lambin singled to move Saburo to third. Imae knocked a deep drive to left that scored Saburo on the sac fly to get the score to 7-0.

Lambin eyes his single in the 5th

Lambin eyes his single in the 5th

In the 7th, Hanshin scored a run to cut the lead to 7-1. Recent signee and ex-Seibu slugger Brazell fought a painful battle against Ono. He fouled a pitch off his leg, knocking him to the ground in pain. After getting back up and limping a bit, he fouled the next pitch off his leg again. He laid on the ground a while clutching his leg, and in fact the stretcher was brought out in case he couldn’t walk. After a time he got back on his feet to continue his at bat.

Hanshin staff checks out an injured Brazell

Hanshin staff checks out an injured Brazell

He popped the next pitch off his foot but it didn’t hurt him. Ono slotted the next pitch and Brazell cranked it into the right field stand for a solo HR. I wasn’t sure he was going to make it around the bases, he was obviously in so much pain. We Lotte fans applauded him for his tenacity. Quite honestly, he’s normally not my favorite kind of player – ex-Seibu, low-OBP, free swinging slugger – but that was an at-bat made of pure heart.

Brazell shows the 1st base ump how hot it is

Brazell shows the 1st base ump how hot it is

Unfortunately for Hanshin, Lotte got that run back and tacked on another in the bottom of the 7th. Imae led off with a single and both Hayasaka and Fukuura walked setting up a 2 RBI single from the red-hot Ohmatsu. That made it 9-1, which was how the game would finish.

Ono made it through the 8th and Kawasaki mopped the 9th without allowing a runner (and with 2 Ks) to seal the victory.

Kawasaki blows fastballs past the Hanshin lineup

Kawasaki blows fastballs past the Hanshin lineup

It was another fantastic victory for Lotte, with barely a chance wasted in a 13-hit attack. Ono never let Hanshin into the game, scattering 8 hits but shutting down all Tiger chances (save Brazell’s HR). Lotte pitching has been solid these past few weeks and it’s nice to see the offense finally kick it into gear and give the pitching the support it needs.

Tigers fans were out in force, of course, though they were quite quiet after the game got out of hand. Hanshin fans – if any of you are reading this – why only use the noisemakers and not your hands? I’ve never understood that. You turn out in such numbers yet use this plastic nonsense instead of your hands. It’s sort of like hiring someone to cheer for you. I’ve got a lot of respect for the fanaticism of the Hanshin fans, but these noisemakers are like a wooden leg on a supermodel.

Hanshin fans using noisemakers, of course

Hanshin fans using noisemakers, of course

For reference - Lotte fans, going at it naturally

For reference - Lotte fans, going at it naturally

For some reason, there were some Geisha in attendance (or are they Maiko?). They were involved in the first pitch ceremony, too. Plus, instead of the “Lite 70s” music usually played outside Chiba Marine on game days, the stadium staff were playing some odd Lanna Thai-style instrumentals. I’m stumped.

They love love love, love Marines

They love love love, love Marines

Comments 7

  1. Because it hurts like hell to clap your hands for so long if you do the baseball cheers where you are constantly clapping and there are drums beating. Lotte has a lot more of the jumping and waving variety of cheers so it isn’t quite as dramatic, but I remember that after my first Fighters game several years ago, before I bought noisemakers, my arms and hands actually HURT after the game and the next morning. I went out and bought a set before the next game I attended and was pretty happy about the choice.

    Different teams have different things they use, and some really identify with the noisemakers and other props (before the Kanto chance theme became popular, we actually often did the Kita no Kuni Kara chance theme, using clicky-clacky wood festival flipper noisemakers, though that’s kind of rare these days) and some just don’t. It’s also like how some team do jet fuusen balloons and some just don’t. I could similarly ask: Lotte fans turn out in such numbers, why not actually get some real LYRICS to your songs? It’s all a matter of preference.

  2. Fair enough. It’s just that when I look around the ‘regular’ Hanshin fans so many of them aren’t singing, they’re just sort of banging the noisemakers mindlessly. It doesn’t seem a lot like cheering to me. For those who are actually cheering (like in the outfield) it makes perfect sense.

    It just seems like a Hanshin thing – most other teams’ fans use noisemakers to varying degrees but it always seems like those who use them are cheering, not just making noise.

    And we Lotte fans have plenty of lyrics – clap, clap, clap, clap, “Kattobase, (player)!” “(player) hit-to!” “Come on Gary Burnham, oh oh oh oh oh, Let’s go Gary Burnham, oh oh oh oh oh”

    Um, wait…

  3. 3 consective wins for Marines! I think they are in rythm right now. 5 more wins to get even. By the way, Geisha ladies from Oosaka?

  4. Nah, I’ve seen plenty of teams where the people in the infield are just banging the noisemakers and don’t know the words. To some extent I’ve also thought that people are a little embarassed to sing the songs if they’re not in the outfield, but feel they can bang noisemakers a little (and wave flags or towels if it’s a team that does that, or release balloons, etc).

    Oh! And btw the maiko were at the game because of some “Let’s go to Kyoto” promotion that was going on this weekend with the Marines and JR Tokai, I think? I got a paper about it when I went into the stadium today.

  5. Amazing report and photos. Lotte is looking stronger now. Ohmatsu is coming around ad the pitching is improving. Hope to see this trend continue.

    I read reports about this game that it was a complete sell out. Though many will disagree and say that no game can match a Tigers, Giants rivary. However I doubt any game can match the intensity from the stands as much as when these 2 teams meet.

  6. I just need to poke fun at Hanshin fans as they are an irresistibly large force. There were just so many of them – even on the Lotte side of the stadium – that the ones not singing really stuck out. Unless it’s a road game I am almost always surrounded by “my people” at the game so I don’t always know how other fans are. Though I did sit in a pile of Softbank supporters on the 3rd base side at Chiba Marine earlier this year – it was tough work out-yelling and out-singing the lot of them but someone had to do it…

    I saw the Kyoto promo thingy but didn’t connect the dots as there’s always JR Tokai ads for Kyoto in the stadium. I only got to my seat about 10 minutes before first pitch both days so I missed what they were saying about the Kyoto thing. I haven’t gotten any of the promotional papers in about 3 games for some reason – they always seem to be out of them at A gate.

  7. Ed, I agree – the Lotte-Hanshin rivalry is alot of fun. There’s not any hatred between the teams but both fan bases are really spirited so it makes the stands super lively.

    Both games were sell-outs, and very tough tickets to get. Much tougher than when the Giants were in town, though those were weekday games.

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