The summer collapse has become somewhat of a new tradition in Chiba. We’ve seen it now for a third straight season, just the 2014 version came much earlier and from a lower starting position in the standings. Last year we stayed afloat long enough to reach the post-season. This year, it’s early July and the top half of the Pacific League standings has moved on without us.
Our Marines snapped a six game losing streak last night, barely holding on for a one run win. This weekend, we head up to Sendai to try and reverse our fortunes versus the last place Eagles. We’ve seen Friday’s starting pitcher Naruse twice in the last five weeks. The first start was a one inning four run performance that sent him to ni-gun. The second start was his triumphant seven inning two run return, which unfortunately sent him back to ni-gun with shoulder pain. He’s back after a two and a half week break, let’s hope this return marks the beginning of a 2014 summer redemption.
By: Craig Roberts Our Marines dropped their seventh of eight games Friday night, losing a see-saw battle to the Eagles. Naruse came away with a no decision after 4 1/3 innings of 6 run ball. Ohtani got charged with the loss for giving up the go-ahead run, a Hijirisawa 2-out RBI triple in the 8th... (Click above to expand)...
The Lotte bats at least showed up scoring 7 runs on 13 hits. Our Marines were led by a 4-for-5 (HR, 1B, 2B, 1B) 2-RBI performance by Shohei ‘Why has he been buried in ni-gun for the better part of two years?’ Katoh.
There were plenty of other big hits and a handful of key defensive plays in this one. Huffman and Imae contributed back-to-back 2-out singles (1 run & 2 runs respectively) with the bases loaded as part of a 4-run 3rd. Cruz also had a game tying RBI single in the 6th, but him and Iguchi got caught up on the base paths resulting in an inning ending out. Highlights and box score are below.
By: Craig Roberts Our Marines have now won two of their last three games. Today's pitcher Takahiro Fujioka got the win, just hours after his wife gave birth to their first child. Congrats papa! The Chiba bats scored 7 runs for the 3rd game in a row, totaling a whopping 16 hits. I like these feel good Lotte Marines... (Click above to expand)...
Fujioka went 7+, allowing 3 ER on 7 hits, with 9 strike outs. Take away the two batters he faced after coming out for the 8th after 100 pitches, and it’s 1 run on 5 hits. That lone run came in on a wild pitch in the 2nd inning. The two runs after that came in the 8th on a Nishida home run, chasing Fujioka from the game. Carlos Rosa continues to struggle in relief, allowing a 2 run home run of his own later in the inning to Zach Lutz. Luckily, the Lotte bats supported Fujioka’s strong 7 innings by spotting him a 7-1 lead heading into the 8th. So even after the 2 homers by the Eagles, it was still 7-5 Marines.
How did we get those 7 runs? Kakunaka had an RBI single in the second inning to drive in Huffman for the first run. Iguchi (5-for-9 in the series) hit a 2-out 2-run home run in the 5th and a 2-out RBI single in the 7th, knocking in Shohei Katoh both occasions. Katoh himself was 3-5 out of the leadoff spot today, pushing his average up to .314.
Lotte’s 3 run 8th inning proved to be the difference in this one. Imae and Kanazawa hit back-to-back one out singles to get things going. Chad Huffman then pulled a line drive past the left fielder and to the wall, scoring Imae and Kanazawa. Huff was barely thrown out diving into third base on a throw from home to clear the bases with 2 outs, but the scoring wasn’t done yet. Katoh came right back with a base hit, and Daichi one hopped a deep fly ball off the wall in left center for an RBI triple making it 7-1 Marines!
There was the aforementioned 4-run Raukten 8th, but Nishino closed out the Eagles out in a scoreless 9th to preserve the win. Back to Huffman for a second, because we must also mention his ridiculous catch on a sinking line drive that took two Eagles runs off the board in the 5th. See it below in the highlights.
By: Craig Roberts It was announced that Wakui will be joining Naruse in ni-gun after this one. Our game 1 and game 3 pitchers, the two guys that on that paper should be our number 1 and 2 starters, head to ni-gun after this series. Wakui lasted only 4 innings today, after giving up 6 runs (5 ER) in the first two innings. That's about all you need to know about this one... (Click above to expand)...
There were a couple of missed chances at the plate. We scored a run in both the 5th and 8th inning, but left the bases loaded in the 4th and two men in scoring position in the 8th. Imae (1B in the 6th) and Cruz (2B in the 8th) had our only RBI hits, the other two runs coming in on ground outs. You can’t really blame the offense for this one, it’s tough to expect them to come back from 6 runs back very often. Highlights & box below.
– Naruse & Wakui are sent to ni-gun after their starts.
– Katoh: 9-for-15, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5R
– Iguchi: 6-for 12, 1 2B, 1HR, 1 BB, 3 RBI, 4 R
– Imae: 6-for-12, 2BB, 3 RBI, 2R
– Cruz: 6-for-14, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R