We also saw the debut of our second round draft pick Eisuke Tanaka since we last checked in. In front of a sellout crowd for Marines Fan Festa, Tanaka gave up 5 runs in 3 innings en route to a 7-0 loss to Seibu. He pitched 3 innings of relief two days later versus the Fighters, giving up another 4 runs and earning himself a trip back down to the farm totaling 12 hits and 7 walks in 6 IP.
Ok, with the negative developments out of the way, let’s talk about some of the positives. The Tanaka Fan Festa disaster came in game 2 of a 3-game Seibu set. That loss was actually book-ended by victories over the Lions thanks to two great pitching performances. Ishikawa threw a complete game shutout Friday night in game 1 with Our Marines taking the win 3-0. In game 3, Wakui defeated his former club tossing 8 innings of 2 run ball leading Lotte to the 3-2 win. Rookie Shogo Nakamura set the tone on the victorious day leading off the first inning with his first career home run.Wakui (4-3 2.55) and Ishikawa (3-1 2.51) continue to anchor an otherwise shaky – and I’m being kind with that term – starting rotation. Rhee suffered his first NPB defeat and saw his ERA blow up to 4.19 after a 5 run 3 inning effort in which he allowed 5 walks in a blowout loss to Hamu. The following afternoon brought another blowout loss to the Fighters, this one the result of 3 inning 8 run start from Fujioka. We did get a mildly encouraging start from Karakawa (5 IP 3 ER) toward the end of the long Golden Week stretch. Ohimine also gave us back-to-back 5 inning 2 run starts in the two most recent Sunday games.
The pitching really couldn’t get much worse, as Our Marines still rank last in the PL in runs allowed. It was possible for the offense to drop in the PL rankings though, and they did just that dropping from 2nd in runs scored to 3rd, just 1 run ahead of the 4th spot. The power is up however, as the Chiba bats belted 13 home runs in the last 12 games, compared to 5 in the first 20.
Cruz now leads the team in OPS (.858), HR (7), and RBI (31). Kakunaka remains his consistent self at the plate with a team leading .417 OBP, while Imae also remains solid with a .294 BA. After a good start, the aging Iguchi hit a rough patch, looking lost both at the plate and in the field. Two home runs versus SoftBank on Monday may be a sign that he’s turned things back around. The dynamic Kiyota also had two home runs in the past week, as he’s taken an outfield position and lead-off spot away from Ogino.
Despaigne also got his first and second home runs since our last post. Despa and Captain Daichi, two guys who are safe bets to rebound as the season carries on, still struggle though. Tamura also looks like a safe bet to have the catcher’s starting spot secured, with Yoshida -coincidentally or not- being behind the plate for the two huge blowout losses.