You’ve probably noticed we haven’t written in a while. There’s a reason for that – it’s been a tough team to write about for many months now. But here we are roaring into the final 8 games of the season and… we’re alive. Not only that, but we’ve got a real chance, but Our Marines need to play by far their best baseball of the season – without two of the best players on the team – for the Climax Series to become a reality.
The most important game of the year is tonight – last game of the season versus the hated Lions, the team we are chasing, in a virtually sold-out Seibu Dump.
Where We Stand
The short of it is Our Marines are a tantalizingly close 1.5 games behind Saitama with 8 to go. The Lions only have 3 games left plus have one fewer loss, 4 more ties than Chiba. There’s no doubt Lotte must win tonight’s match – a loss does not eliminate Chiba but would require Seibu to lose the final two games and Chiba to go 6-1 in the final 7, or Seibu to lose 1 and Chiba to win out. Not good.
With a Chiba win, though, scenarios become much simpler. Even if Seibu wins the final two games, Chiba would need to go 5-2 to take 3rd, and if Seibu loses out Chiba just needs to win 3 of the final 7 to advance. That’s a much, much easier road.
What Do We Have In Our Favor
Our Marines have played great this past week, winning three close games, blowing out two others, and just losing the sixth at the wire. The pitching has been superb all month, probably the best pitching of the year on average. T OGINO is back and on a tear, Uchi and Ohtani are back and pitching well, and after a prolonged slump it looks like Despa is heating back up.
On the hill in Tokorozawa? Last year’s Rookie of the Year and this year’s most consistent starter (and one of the top starters in the league), Ishikawa. I like our chances.
What Is Working Against Us
Other than the sheer numbers as I mentioned above? Two huge issues remain: no Kakunaka, and no Nishino. Both are out for the season due to broken bones, Nishino’s just this past week while fielding the final out in the last Rakuten game. There’s a chance Kakunaka could return should we advance to the Nippon Series, but Nishino is done for sure. Uchi’s stepped into his role and… well, I love Uchi. But it’s an adventure when he’s in to close. We’ll see.
In the meantime, we can’t forget the fact that in big games, at Seibu, we just can’t lose.