The two most recent games in Osaka versus Orix finished with the same final score of 2-1. The B’s got the walk off win in the 9th in game 1, with Nishino giving up the game winning sayonara double to Shunta. Nishino held on for the save in game 2 though, preserving Kimura’s first career win in seven seasons with the club. Game 2 featured another first, with rookie Shogo Nakamura’s first career hit.
Working backwards, the most memorable game of the preceding home opening five game set was a 12-9 loss to the Fighters. Hamu struck first in the weekday matinee with a 8-0 lead, only to see our Marines to come back and tie it 8-8 in a 5 run 6th. The comeback excitement was short lived though, as the Fighters quickly retaliated with 4 runs in the following inning en route to the win.Throughout the first ten games, it’s been the heart of the lineup and front end of the starting rotation carrying the team. Nemoto (.908 OPS) Kakunaka (.920 OPS) Iguchi (.890 OPS) Imae (.814 OPS) & Cruz (.735 OPS) have lead the way out of the 2-3-4-5-6 spots respectively. Ogino has 3 SB in the leadoff spot, and the combination of Cruz (team leading 9 RBI) & Daichi have kept the middle infield defense looking especially sharp as well.
Opening day starter Wakui is 2-0 with 1 ER in 15 innings thus far, following his opening day victory at SoftBank with win at home versus Rakuten ace Norimoto. Ishikawa has followed up on his rookie of the year campaign by starting 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA. Free agent Rhee Dae-Eun is also 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA in two starts. The numbers weren’t great in free agent Chen’s first start, mostly thanks to some bad luck on a close play at first. Despite the 0-1 4 ER 4 IP line, Chen’s lone start was encouraging. Of course, there’s also Kimura and his aforementioned first career win in a 5 inning 1 run performance.
With exception of Carlos Rosa’s 3 scoreless IP, the bullpen has looked a bit shaky. Even Samurai Japan closer Nishino has given up 6 hits, 4 walks, and 1 HBP in his first 4 2/3 IP. He has 4 saves and 1 sayonara loss to his credit.
Here’s a little “WE ARE! CHIBA LOTTE!” video celebrating victory in our home opener: