Lotte Fans – the season has just begun for Our Marines, and am overjoyed to report so far it is a SMASHING success!
There’s just nine games left to go, all of which are at home, with the last full three game weekend set starting tonight. It’s still a tight race for the bottom three spots in the PL, with Rakuten and Seibu tied for forth, and Our Marines a half game back. If for some strange reason you’re curious, the puts of nine games back of third. So technically we are not eliminated from the post-season just yet, but the magic number is three.
Ah, the fun time of the year, right? We fans, resigned to our fate as a B Class team, get to enjoy the stress-free pleasures of meaningless September ball. But is it so stress-free when the team can’t seem to put any runs across the plate?
It’ll be interesting to see what surprises us await us in the last month of the season. For starters, let’s see if we can take something positive from this weekend’s home series versus the last place Eagles.
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.
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.
I know I’ve written off the team on two separate occasions in just the last three weeks. We’re fans, that what we do. We’re still mathematically alive though, and this coming two week stretch is likely going to be the true determining period for Our Marines. The next two weeks features a home-and-home with the 2nd place Buffaloes, a home set with the 1st place Hawks in between, and then we end the month with a 3-game Tokyo Dome series versus the 3rd place Fighters.
Suffice it to say that the previous series with Rakuten could not have gone any better for Lotte. Not only did the series sweep push the guys closer to Hamu in 3rd place, but the gap over Rakuten has widened so much that it’s unlikely they will escape the PL cellar this year, let alone challenge for a Climax Series spot. Schadenfreude? Sure. That’s how it goes.
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.