Two weeks ago Our Marines looked to be dead in the water. Back-to-back losses with only 3 hits combined left the guys reeling at 6 games under – dropping out of 4th seemed more likely than seizing 3rd. 12 games later and Chiba’s racked up 10 wins and just two losses – by a combined 2 runs – and with two games remaining on the 2015 Regular Season calendar Lotte has booked a ticket to Sapporo and the first stage of the Climax Series.
What a truly an amazing turn of events!
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.
The batting order seems to have been optimized – after weeks of frustration at the plate, Our Marines have put up 8, 7, 8, 5, 6, and 6 runs up in the past 3 series. Now the pitching needs some optimization as well, as despite those high scoring outputs Chiba is just 3-3 in those six games.
The start of interleague could not be any better for Our Marines. The 4 game sweep of Yakult and Kyojin means Chiba has won 5 in a row. The pitching last series was great, and the bats have kept up the efficient production. Can everyone keep it up as the team hits the road?
Wednesday’s win in Osaka halted a four game losing streak, pulling Our Marines back to a game below .500. Lotte followed a six game win streak that earned them a place in the top half of the PL standings by Lotte going 2-5 in their last seven games. We still occupy the third spot in the Pacific League even after the skid, as we prepare to host Rakuten for a three game weekend set at the Q.
The last series started with a no-hitter and ended in a true heartbreaker. After a nice winning streak for Our Marines, the ship has started to list a bit, with 3 losses in the last 4 games.
So it’s on to Osaka and Orix, and time to face the best pitching team in Japan. Orix has had its issues as well as of late, just getting swept by Hamu.
I ask you, Lotte fans – what do you want in a playoff game? Victory, yes, sure. Lots of offense? Great. Strong pitching? Uh huh. A close game? Well… Sorry, can’t help you with the last one.
The good news is, we are in Climax Series. We’re playing Seibu on Saturday. The bad news is, we could not possibly be slumping more, and Seibu could not possibly hotter. On the last night of their 2013 season, Our Marines got steamrolled by the Lions in Tokorozawa, 10-2. That’s three losses in a row to end the year for Chiba, compared to 8 wins in a row for Saitama.
To be honest, this game was pretty depressing. Our Marines had some huge early opportunities to put a major hurt on Seibu starter Togame but generally failed to convert, while Lions bats had little resistance in beating up Fujioka. It adds up to a 4-2 Seibu win.
Don’t try to tell me that tonight’s game was vs a Rakuten B-team. I don’t care and I won’t listen. They may not be playing for anything anymore but we sure are, and tonight Our Marines dished out a good ol’ ass whooping by the tune of 6-0 to our strong northern rivals. It was necessary and it was good.