Yes, four members of our Lotte Marines have been selected to represent the Pacific League in the 2015 All Star Series: Ikuhiro Kiyota, Hideaki Wakui, Katsuya Kakunaka, and Luis Cruz. Before we get into that though, let’s do a quick update on the state of Lotteland.
Our Marines finished the 2015 interleague season with a winning record of 10-8, pulling themselves back up to the .500 in the process totaling 31 wins and 31 losses on the season.
We come into the forty game mark at 4-4 since we last checked in and 18-22 overall.
Golden Week concluded with the ninth game in nine days for Our Marines. Lotte went 4-5 in those 9 days, and 5-7 overall in the 12 games since we last checked in at the 20-game mark.
Our Marines have dropped four of their last ten since we last checked in at the ten game mark.
Ten games in and Our Marines are at an even .500 with five wins and five losses.
Our Marines took the first series of the year two-games-to-one over the Hawks in Fukuoka. That’s wins for Wakui and Rhee, with Chen taking the tough luck loss in game 2. All three of these guys weren’t even on the team two years ago, with Chen and Rhee coming over as free agents this year. Not bad way to start the season in the defending champ’s building.
Here in NPB we’ve already finished our Spring Camps, and we’re over halfway through the open-sen (preseason) campaign. The “tons of changes” that were promised after last year’s highly disappointing finish didn’t really materialize this offseason, with the only really headline-grabbing change being the (as expected) departure of long-time ace Yoshihisa Naruse for the yogurt peddlers at Jingu.
Rookie phenom Ayumu Ishikawa completed his season – and Lotte’s – season in style with his best pitching performance of his nascent career. Backed by a ferocious offensive attack and the collective will of a jam packed home outfield cheering section, Ayu went the distance in a complete game, no walk, 10 strikeout masterpiece. It’s the sort of performance that wins a guy a Rookie of the Year award.
If you want to be totally negative, you can say the 2014 Chiba Lotte Marines’ backs are flush against the wall. The margin of error is not slim; it’s non-existent. Our Marines must win every game – 6 of them. Hamu must lose every game – 11 of those. If that happens, if these guys can pull off that miracle, Hamu collapses that badly – Chiba STILL needs help in the form of Rakuten and Seibu losing a game or two.
Yes, it’s the unlikeliest of scenarios, indeed, but until all chance is drained from the season we will cheer and cheer with ALL our zeal for Our Marines to move on.