It’s the last trip to Sapporo this year for sure as Hamu is basically out of contention in the PL after a 6-13 month that has left them reeling. Meanwhile Chiba’s got a chip on their shoulder after dropping the close last game and squandering the chance to build a big cushion in the race for second. The lead is just one game with 12 to go – this is playoff ball, and we need another series win.
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.
Series Preview: After dropping two of three at home and further back of first place Rakuten, it appears Our Marines will be playing for second place down the stretch. Lotte leads SoftBank by two games for the second slot (and home position in Climax Stage 1) with 19 games to go, three of which are next weekend at home against those very Hawks. Meanwhile, the Lions are clawing and the Fighters are, well…fighting to get back in the race for the top three spots, 3.5 and 4.5 games back of SoftBank respectively. Excluding a make up game in late September, this series is our last scheduled trip to Saitama in 2013. Hopefully, we can knock the Lions further out of contention as a parting gift.
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.
Our Marines won back to back games in the Sapporo Dome on Friday and Saturday, taking Friday night’s game 4-1, and Saturday’s game 7-3. Here’s a quick recap of each…
Our Marines traveled to Sendai for a three game set with the second place Rakuten Golden Eagles, bringing with them a two game lead over Rakuten in the Pacific League. Two blowout losses (by a combined score of 15-4) and a rain-out later, and we are now no longer in sole possession of first place. Two poor outings by Lotte starting pitching are in part what allowed the Eagles to stake their claim for a share of the top spot in the PL. At nearly the half way point of the season, the two teams now find themselves tied with 40-30 records – Lotte has played one additional game resulting in a tie (40-30-1).
Forget all that stuff that happened on Friday – we are all about good news at We Love Marines, and we want to celebrate the great weekend Our Marines put together! On Saturday, Lotte got a sayonara single from Saburo in the bottom of the 9th to walk away with a 3-2 victory. And on Sunday, Lotte bats beat the heck out of Softbank arms to the tune of 11 runs on 17 hits, cruising to a 11-3 win. This makes Our Marines the first Pacific League team to 40 wins!
Quick recaps for the games of 6/27 (@Orix) & 6/28 (v.SoftBank)
Talk about your unexpected surprises! We’ve been lamenting the lack of quality starters in the Lotte rotation for ages now, and it seems we may have had one in our midst the whole time and not known it. Quality? You want quality? My buddy Takuya Furuya – plucked from ni-gun and the bullpen, making his first career ichi-gun start – utterly and completely dominated Orix in Osaka, decisively grabbing a 7-0 victory in one-hit style.
It was rough afternoon for the Marines at Koshien Stadium, scoring only 3 runs on 15 hits while committing 2 errors. The season finale with the Tigers was punctuated by a Matt Murton sayonara homerun, as Hanshin walked off with a 4-3 win. Lotte hit into four double plays on the day, contributing to a total of ten men left on base. Starting pitcher Ohmine was pulled after three innings (0ER) for the second straight start, while the NPB save leader Masuda was charged with the blown save and the loss. The Marines finished the year winless against the Tigers at 0-3-1. Their lead in the Pacific League also falls to two games, and Lotte is now two games out of the inter-league title with only four games left to go.