Want some good news? Sure it’s thin on the ground here, but our lovely rookie Ishikawa (arguably the best pitcher on the team this year, and undoubtedly the best among the starters) is back and starting game 1. The next three games are against the Fighters, sitting in third. The math is very poor indeed, though, and Chiba really, really, really needs a sweep of this three game set in Tokyo Dome to even begin to think about making a run at A-Class.
It’s actually quite simple – don’t worry about Hamu. Lotte’s just gotta win some games. There’s 30 games left for Our Marines, 33 for the Fighters. Assuming no ties, that means if Hamu maintains its season winning percentage of .509, Chiba’s gotta go 22-8 in these last 30 games to overcome. Can it be done? Sure, why not? 7 of the remaining are vs those same Fighters (all in Kanto), and 13 of the remaining are vs the nothing-to-play-for Lions and Eagles. Why not win a whole lot of those games?
We fans should never complain when our team goes into the final game of a series with a chance for a sweep, especially versus a solid team like Orix. So even though the result in that final game feels disappointing, like an opportunity missed, we’ll be happy with taking 2 of three.
Our Marines and the Fighters of Nippon Ham meet again. It’s been two weeks since the Makuhari Massacre, when Hamu swept us out of the building and seemingly out of contention. We came into the series 4 games back, and ended up 7 back. A day later, we were 8 back of the Fighters for the final post season spot.
After dropping game 1 in Osaka Our Marines blew the doors off the best pitching staff in the PL and took the series. Who saw that coming? And which team is going to show up at QVC, that team or the team that dropped the series to the Fighters? 48 games left, 6 games out of third, if there’s going to be a run it’s gotta be now.
There’s really no other way to put it. This week’s sweep at the hands of the Fighters basically ended our chances for a late summer post-season run. Sure, crazier things have happened than a 7 game comeback with 51 games to go. For all intents and purposes though, we’re probably finished. I’m ok with that. Overall, I’m satisfied with the effort and fight put forth from our guys.
Despite the series loss, there’s a lot positive to take away from the Rakuten series. The team has put up 3 or more runs for 7 straight games including the pair of 7 run showings in the first two games. Katoh has been crazy good at the plate ever since being called back up, and some of the pitching was quite solid.
I resisted writing this up for some time as there’s only so many times I can write “Both the pitching and the hitting were no good, yuk,” but it’s gotta be said. In a fairly critical two game homestand vs Hamu, Our Marines flat-out were outplayed by a less talented club, dropping both games of the weekend set.
So our last 9 games? LWLWLWLWL. Yep, that’s alternating wins and losses. This of course gets us to where we are now. 11-11 in interleague with two makeup games left. Hopefully we can finish interleague the way we started it with a sweep of the Swallows.
This month has been a disaster so far in Lotteland. The pitching has been pretty suspect at times, and when the pitching is not suspect the bats have mostly remained silent. Chiba has lost 7 of the last 9, it is time for the talent we all know is here to start showing what they can do. No need for dominance, competence will do just fine.