Series Preview: The second series of the Legend Series. Is it a big series? It’s September! We’re in contention! They’re all big! But this one is biggerier – Our Marines need to put away an Orix team that is totally imploding to a last place PL finish. Can we help them stay there?
By Steve Novosel This was not a very enjoyable game, to be perfectly honest. After wasting a big chance in the second inning against Orix starter Kaneko, Lotte bats failed to do anything at all the rest of the way, limping to a 4-0 defeat.
The big chance was a bases loaded opportunity – a single by Imae to lead off the inning got things started. Kakunaka next lined out to right, then Braz crushed a deep, high fly that died at the track. That seemed to shake up Kaneko a bit, as Daichi singled to right just after and Satozaki drew a walk to bring up Okada. Okada weakly flied out, though, and the threat was extinguished.
Despite running Kaneko to 47 pitches at that point, the Orix ace would go very deep into the game, staying in all the way to the 7th. It’s as if the failure to score led Lotte batters to try to swing at pitches early in the count the rest of the way. Don’t be fooled by his record this year – when healthy Kaneko is easily one of the premier pitchers in the PL. To my eyes, on this night, the success of Kaneko (and the Orix pen) laregely came as a result of the batters’ failure to execute.
For the record, Kaneko, Satoh, and Hirano got the final 21 Lotte batters out in order. You don’t win a whole lot of games that way, folks.
But what of The Baby-Face Killer? How’d he go? Hasn’t he been pitching well lately? Yes, yes he has. But for some reason his recent success has only been for the first 2 trips through the order – he hasn’t pitched past the 7th inning in 2 months, and not even into the 7th in the last 4 starts. In this game, he fit that same pattern.
For the first 5 innings Karakawa looked better than Kaneko. After the last out of the 5th, Yuki had only thrown 66 pitches, with 4 hits, a walk and no runs. In the 6th, he allowed 4 more hits and a walk an 4 runs, including a towering shot by the imposing Lee Dae Ho to dead center. Itoh pulled Karakawa for Hattori with Ueno following after – both pitching well enough, allowing no more runs – but the damage had been done.
I honestly don’t even have a hypothesis about this. If Itoh pulled Yuki after the 5th automatically in every start, he’s probably have a full run lower on his ERA. I’d run the numbers but it’s too depressing.
Rakuten and Seibu tied while Softbank beat Hamu in the longest game in PL history, so Our Marines are now 4.5 behind the Eagles and 2.5 up on the Hawks. I still think we will win the pennant this year, to be honest.
By Steve Novosel What a pile of junk this series was. It's the second time in 2 weeks that Our Marines have had a chance to push upwards in the standings that they have done nothing of the sort. This time, New Righty Ace Nishino got beat up for the third game in a row (not coincidentally, every game since his return from injury) and Orix beat Chiba 8-1.
I am not going to write much in detail about this game. Ishimine hit a homerun in the first for a 1-0 Lotte lead, but Nishino gave up 2 in the bottom of the inning, another in the 4th, and 4 more in the 5th before getting pulled for the pen. I have to think that shoulder is still bothering him – he had no bad games at all, really, before being taken off the roster in early August, and since then he’s had nothing but bad games. Nishino gets credited with 7 earned runs in a bit over 4 innings of work, this despite being caught by his favorite catcher Emura.
He is of course not the only one to blame – the offense was basically non-existent again. Lotte bats recorded just 4 hits and no runs after the Ishimine homer. That’s not good.
I’m going to try to forget that this series ever happened.