What fantastic pitching we’ve seen lately! Here’s the TOTAL line from last weekend’s series with Daiei in Fukuoka:
27 IP, 15 H, 3 ER, 25 Ks.
Nice start after nice start after nice start! Only a lack of runs against Settsu and the Hawks bullpen on Friday prevented a clean sweep of the series. And how about the next game, the first game of the rain-abbreviated 2-game set with Rakuten at QVC Marine? Here’s 5th starter Hayden Penn’s line:
7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 7 Ks
Wonderful! Every member of the staff is dealing strikeouts (except Karakawa, but that’s not his game) and 13 games in you can’t point to a single bad start. In the Fukuoka series both Karakawa and Fujioka pitched complete games and Naruse went 8. In a very limited sample size, Karakawa’s WHIP is the highest of all the starters so far, and it’s all of 1.07 at this writing. This good pitching, in a time when our offense has really yet to ignite, has led us to a 8-4-1 record and first place in the very early part of the season.
The great thing is, there are signs that the offense might be heating up. Saturday’s game – 4 runs on 9 hits. Sunday’s game – 5 runs on 11 hits. Wednesday’s game – 7 runs on 9 hits. The batters are drawing walks, and in the last few games the batters behind them are bringing them home. Only veterans Iguchi, Saburo, and Satozaki are having what you would call solid starts with the bat, yet just this last game Captain Imae (I love the sound of that!) and Oretachi no Fukuura delivered 3 runs (on a big jack to deep left) and 4 runs (on a sac fly and a bases-clearing double), respectively.
With pitching like we have seen so far, if the bats continue to get warm and stay warm, it could be a very happy season in Makuhari.
There’s a good chance the rest of this month to put a ton of wins in the bank. 7 of the next 10 games are at home and the other 3 are at Tokyo Dome, where we fans always show up well. I have a good feeling about this start to the season, make no mistake!
As you may have noticed I haven’t been writing all that much here lately. I have been live commenting on almost every game on Twitter – see me at @lovelovemarines. I have a ton of unfinished blog posts, photos, notes, comments but sometimes I have a hard time fitting them into a narrative that I like, so I never post them. Mottainai!
Anyway, here’s some photos I didn’t get around to posting earlier this spring from Ishigaki camp. I have a ton more of these that I will post soon!