For the second night in a row the Seibu Lions were involved in a 10th inning sayonara win which concluded on a close play at the plate. In a finish almost identical to the night before, the home side’s winning run snuck in just past a throw from right field and a swipe tag attempt at the plate. Unfortunately for Our Marines, and unlike the previous evening, Seibu happened to be on the winning end of such dramatics today.
Did I say we were 5-8, and the last series was a “must win”? Oh, I did, and we didn’t, and that 5-6 is now 5-8. Daiei, once 3.5 back, took the lead for second place before dropping back on percentage points on Thursday. Rakuten and first place are just a mirage in the distance – we’ve got 15 games of hard battle to fight to wrap up second. The first three are this weekend.
This weekend, the Seibu Lions come to town for a rather meaningful three game September set. The pesky Lions are fighting to break through into the third Climax Series spot, but currently sit 2.5 back of SoftBank for that final postseason position. Meanwhile, Our Marines are looking to potentially jockey for one last run at first place – currently 5 games back of Rakuten. At a minimum this weekend, it would behoove us to stake a more comfortable claim to the second place spot (2.5 up on SB) and perhaps knock Seibu further out of contention. The Pacific League standings have certainly began to take a more clear shape as of late, but all it takes is one weekend to turn it all on its head…
Yet another critical series for Our Marines, this one just made more critical by the failures in Sendai. Lotte comes in 5.5 back of first with just 33 games to go, but more importantly is just one game up on Daiei and 3.5 up on 4th place Seibu. This series is about as must-win as an August series can be.
As Steve mentioned at the conclusion of the Seibu series post, Our Marines are heading north to Sendai on Friday for a pivotal 3 game set between the top two teams in the PL. Thanks to Lotte’s 12-5 run, combined with a five game losing streak for Rakuten, we sit only 2.5 games back of the first place Eagles heading in. With our 3 most reliable pitchers slated to start this weekend, hopefully we can at least take 2 of 3 and win our 7th series in a row.
For the 5th time in the month of August, Our Marines have won a series, this time vs Orix. That’s every series so far this month, for those of you counting at home. In Game 1, the team won 5-2 behind the start of Karakawa and timely hits from Imae, Kakunaka, and Braz. In Game 3, New Lefty Ace Furuya + a strong pen combined with a pair of timely hits from birthday boy Daichi for a 3-1 win. Overall, Lotte won 2 of 3 and has now moved to within 4.5 games of Rakuten and sits 2.5 games up on third place Softbank.
Things didn’t start pretty for Our Marines on Wednesday night. The first place Rakuten Eagles started the game by putting a crooked number 4 on the scoreboard in the first inning off starter Seth Greisinger. Seth managed to settle down though, going 5 innings while only giving up one additional run. This kept Chiba within striking distance, allowing for a comeback win in one of the most exciting game thus far in 2013. Veteran catcher Satozaki hit a sayonara solo home run in the 11th, giving Lotte a 6-5 11th inning walk off win!
On Saturday the bullpen couldn’t back up Karakawa’s six and a third, one run performance. Little by little, the Nippon Ham Fighters picked away at Lotte’s 2-0 lead to win in sayonara fashion. The final score would read Fighters 3 – Marines 2 in 10x inning.
The Chiba Lotte Marines plan for the last two months of the 2013 season is in full effect. No more of the bad pitching, no more of the losing. The goal was to forget all that went down in July and start playing like we did in May. After a little bit of a stumble to start the month of August Our Marines have been playing like a team destined for A-Class.
What a nasty weekend for Our Marines in Sendai! Friday’s 9th inning disappointment carried over to a total pitching disaster and an 8-1 loss on Saturday and another inexplicable meltdown – a 5-4 loss – on Sunday.