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Nishino Is At It Again!

From marines.co.jp

From marines.co.jp

Last we saw young Yuji Nishino at QVC Marine Field he was making Carp batters look foolish in a dominating 8 2/3, 12K performance. Tonight Nishino was up to old tricks – he completely shut down the offense of the visiting Tokyo Yakult Swallows and earned a well-deserved 4-0 victory. With the win and a Seibu loss, Our Marines are back to a 3 game lead in the PL race and are within 0.5 games of Rakuten for the interleague crown. Very nice.

For 6 out of the 7+ innings he pitched Nishino was damn near perfect. In fact, he WAS perfect for the first 4 1/3, not allowing a baserunner until Hatakeyama’s single in the 5th. An Iihara walk got Nishino in a bit of a spot right after Hatakeyama’s knock but there was never a feeling of a real rally developing, and in fact Nishino escaped unscathed via ground out to Nemo.

Bat Masters
All the Lotte offense came in one gigantic lump in the 4th inning, but that explosion was all Nishino, Matsunaga, and Masuda would need to get through this game. In the 4th, Iguchi led off with a double down the left field line, and Imae immediately brought him home with a rocket off the left field foul pole. Instant 2-0 Lotte lead!

Our Marines weren’t done – T OGINO smashed a ball into the right field gap and never hesitated getting all the way to third. That’s why we love T OGINO – he’s always exciting. Daichi brought Ogino home on a single to center to make it 3-0 Lotte.

But wait – there’s MORE! Emura singled to right and Ishimine (starting in center) brought in Daichi to make it a 4-0 Lotte lead. Our Marines recorded a cycle as a team in this inning – 3 singles, the Iguchi double, T OGINO triple, and the Imae homer. Cool.

From marines.co.jp

From marines.co.jp

A Touch of Drama
Lotte had another chance in the 5th inning with bases loaded and two outs, but Emura grounded out to end it. The 5th featured an extremely rare beast – a Saburo infield single. I’m sure that’s happened before but not anytime I can remember.

Nishino’s pitch count was running a bit high – 114 after 7 – but he still came out to start the 8th. That’s because he hadn’t allowed another hit or walk since the two runners in the 5th, and who’s going to pull a young pitcher hurling a 1-hitter? But in the 8th it was clear he was tiring, as Nakamura, Hiyane, and Yamada singled with one out. In comes Matsunaga – last time he faced Tokyo a sayonara grand slam resulted (incidentally, those 4 runs are over half his total for the year on one swing. He’s had a very nice rookie campaign!). This time on a 2-2 pitch Matsunaga gets Miyamoto to ground into the inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. That’s a nice bit of payback.

There were a few nice defensive plays in this one. Of course I need to mention T OGINO some more, in this case well-deserved. In the third Iihara belted a deep ball to the wall – it looked like it would be the first hit off Nishino but Ogino made a violent catch at the fence to keep the slate clean. No Okada Index on that one. Okada made an appearance as a defensive sub for the last two innings (giving us the super speed outfield of T OGINO-Okada-Ishimine), actually.

Masuda closed it out as usual (even though it was a non-save situation) and Our Marines salvaged one win from the season series. Up next is two games in Hiroshima vs the Carp (only one in Zoom-Zoom, though). Wish I could go, gonna have to settle for Koshien next weekend instead.

Comments 15

  1. I forgot to mention – we had a very cool Emura the Elder vs Emura the Younger matchup in the 8th. Our Emura battled hard but big bro won this one. This time šŸ˜‰

  2. Nice moment in the 8th when the Emura brothers faced off. Unfortunately Yakult’s Masaya Emura got his little brother, our Naoya Emura, to ground out.

  3. Hi there – I’m a Yakult fan who trekked out to Kaihin-Makuhari for this one (I like your site, and as a Yakult fan, I have no major qualms with any PL teams – although our offense was non-existent last night). Also, I’m a Philadelphian, so I have fond memories of Iguchi filling in for Chase Utley occasionally in 2008.

    I was wondering if you could provide some Marines trivia and info for me though. What is the significance of “26” (as in “Team 26”, the fan club name). Is it a play on words with some meaning (like “ni-roku” with an alternate meaning), or was there a Marines star in the past who wore that number?

    Also, you’re likely aware, but if you’re ever around Nippori, there’s an Irish pub across from the main entrance of the station which is run by Marines fans and has lots of memorabilia on the walls. Friendly staff there.

    1. Hey Kevin,

      Thanks for reading – I’m honestly a bit of a Yakult fan when I watch CL games and I occasionally hang out in the Jingu ouenseki when Lotte’s out of town.

      The Team 26 meaning is just that the ichi-gun team has 25 members, so the 26th member is the fans. That’s why there’s a #26 uniform in the dugout at all games.

      I’ve never been to that Irish pub in Nippori – I gotta check it out! There’s only a few Marines-oriented pubs around.

  4. Hey, thanks for the quick reply!
    I figured it was maybe like the “12th man” concept, but I was at a loss because I was thinking of only players on the field (so wondering what 26 could be instead of “team 10”.
    Good to hear you support Yakult in the CL. Some of my close friends of Hokkaidoans, so I usually cheer for Ham in PL, but Chiba is also likable, so I wish you well (only PL team I have irrational dislike for is Softbank – mainly because of their awful in-stadium announcer and Mr. Oh running the show down there)

    At Jingu, I usually sit in the front of E block in the right field wearing a happi with a big group (Jiyuu-seki), so swing by when you’re there!

    1. I only have dislikes for two PL teams myself – intense hatred of Seibu and strong dislike of Softbank. I dislike Softbank’s annoying-as-hell songs more than anything.

      Do you normally sit with the Tsubamegun guys? I know a few of them so I tend to sit there when I am at Jingu, though I am flexible. Anyway next time I am there I’ll definitely say hey.

      1. I know the Tsubamegun gang, but am part of another group (of course, I tend to make the rounds to spend an inning here or there with some other regulars when I hit Jingu).
        I’ll be there on Wednesday (today now), vs Rakuten. I have some connections with Seibu employees (who surprisingly are Nippon Ham fans) but am ambivalent about the team.
        Anyway, I’ll keep in touch, and hopefully we can get some Jingu meetup soon.

  5. Hi guys, where is Nippori, the pub sounds like fun. Is Soft Bank one of those teams with lots of money ? Sort of like a certain pin-stripe wearing team in New York ? Or is that the Giants ? I am still learning about Japan baseball, but it sure is fun to watch.

    1. Nippori is just north of Ueno. If you’re coming from Narita the Keisei line to Tokyo stops in Nippori, so it’s super convenient.

      Softbank is definitely a filthy rich team. Their owner is the second richest man in Japan (he’s a good guy, too) so they spend tons of money to get the best free agents and foreign players.

      Our Iguchi used to be a star for them before he went to MLB.

  6. Thanks Steve, yes I looked up Nippori, I can take the Skyliner as well as the Keisei normal train. I see that there is a pub near Marines stadium but have not been in there. Nice to hear that SB has a good owner. My favorite owner is Arte Moreno of the Angels. The first thing he did when he bought the team was to LOWER beer prices, albeit from absurdly high to just crazy high. Our team is young and good, I wonder how long before the richer teams start stealing our players !

    1. The “pub” that’s near the station is not really a pub, it’s just an addition to the Lotteria there. If you are wanting to watch a game in Makuhari you’re better off at Outback, Tony Romas, or Chiba Chan.

      This is the cool thing about NPB – there isn’t that much free agency movement so by and large you’ll get to see the same players for a long time (unless you’re a Carp fan).

  7. Hey guys!
    Thanks for watching this game with me!!
    It was my outfield seat debut.:)
    I was really enjoyed and excited!
    Coz I could watch Emura brothers Match,Dauchi’s good hitting
    and I met Chiba jets who are basketball player!
    Hahaha!
    Let’s meet at QVC again.;)

    1. Please join us again! Going on the field after the games is probably my favorite thing ever. Meeting the Chiba Jets was pretty awesome too.

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