The preaseason is over, the 2014 NPB regular season kicks off this Friday! Let’s take a look at the players who will be starting the season at ichi-gun for Our Marines. First, the pitchers.
Friends, this was a hard-fought win. I said in yesterday’s writeup that this one was a must win, and win we did. It was classic playoff baseball – Our Marines needed some heroics to overcome the great pitching of Rakuten’s Norimoto and boy did we get it both from the mound and at the plate.
This weekend, the Seibu Lions come to town for a rather meaningful three game September set. The pesky Lions are fighting to break through into the third Climax Series spot, but currently sit 2.5 back of SoftBank for that final postseason position. Meanwhile, Our Marines are looking to potentially jockey for one last run at first place – currently 5 games back of Rakuten. At a minimum this weekend, it would behoove us to stake a more comfortable claim to the second place spot (2.5 up on SB) and perhaps knock Seibu further out of contention. The Pacific League standings have certainly began to take a more clear shape as of late, but all it takes is one weekend to turn it all on its head…
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.
The last series of the nine game homestand got started on Tuesday as Our Marines faced off against the hated Lions of Seibu, with Greisinger on the hill vs former ace Wakui. On this night, Greisinger was the one to look like a former Sawamura award winner and Wakui, well, didn’t, as Chiba shut out Seibu for a 4-0 victory.
Things didn’t start pretty for Our Marines on Wednesday night. The first place Rakuten Eagles started the game by putting a crooked number 4 on the scoreboard in the first inning off starter Seth Greisinger. Seth managed to settle down though, going 5 innings while only giving up one additional run. This kept Chiba within striking distance, allowing for a comeback win in one of the most exciting game thus far in 2013. Veteran catcher Satozaki hit a sayonara solo home run in the 11th, giving Lotte a 6-5 11th inning walk off win!
The Chiba Lotte Marines plan for the last two months of the 2013 season is in full effect. No more of the bad pitching, no more of the losing. The goal was to forget all that went down in July and start playing like we did in May. After a little bit of a stumble to start the month of August Our Marines have been playing like a team destined for A-Class.
Things were looking good for Our Marines heading into the 9th inning on Friday night with a 2-1 lead. Greisinger pitched 7 innings of 1-run ball, putting himself in position for the win over Rakuten’s ace, the 13-0 Masahiro Tanaka. Lotte had the 2-1 lead thanks to Iguchi’s 2000th career MLB/NPB hit, a solo home run in the 6th. Most importantly, we were about to pull ourselves within one game of the first place Eagles.
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…
Tonight at the Seibu Dome, Lotte bats launched a 7-hit barrage against Seibu starter Yusei Kikuchi – 2 doubles, 5 singles, and throwing in 5 walks for good measure. Seth Greisinger took the mound for Our Marines, looking at times super sharp, holding Seibu to hits in only two innings and going 17 batters in a row without giving up a hit at one point. I don’t even have to tell you how this one ended up, do I? Seibu 7, Lotte 2. Egads.