The math is very simple; Our Marines really need to win these last three games of the season.
I wrote and deleted a few posts in my head as my mood changed this week. First there was the thrilling end to the game three of the Lotte-Rakuten series in Sendai – I thought that might inspire the team on to a final strong push. The next night it looked like I was right – Lotte crushed the Eagles to split the series.
But the air came out of the balloon on Thursday as Our Marines, needing a great pitching performance versus the Hawks and Wada (total runs scored on him this year by our offense: 1) in Fukuoka, got 1/3 of an inning and 6 runs by Bryan Corey. Corey had been really nice the previous two starts but in that one the game was over before everyone was settled in their seats.
Saturday was redemption day – the Fighters lost, and Lotte beat Orix in Osaka behind the bat of 200-hit Captain Tsuyoshi, who recorded not only his 200th (and 201st) hits that game but also his 27th Modasho, best of all time.
But then it all flips again on Sunday, as our boys lose a crusher to Orix – a blown lead by Shingo Ono out of the pen, and a Sayonara blast off of Yabuta in extra innings to end it. It was the 3rd sayonara loss by Lotte in the past 7 games. It hurt. Really bad. On top of it all, the Fighters coaxed a sayonara victory the same day off our old friend Brian Sikorski.
So tonight Lotte cannot possibly clinch a spot in the climax series. But if Our Marines lose to Rakuten at Chiba Marine, and Nippon Ham beats Orix in Osaka, the season is over. It’s simple math – a win has never been more critical.