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.
Well, this should have been interleague series number eight. Friday and Saturday’s games got rained out though, so we’ll be making our annual trip to Jingu at the end of the interleague calendar. Unlike the Swallows, the other Tokyo club happens to have a roof over their stadium. That means Our Marines will definitely be playing baseball for the first time in four days Sunday afternoon against Yomiuri.
Even after last week’s 2-4 campaign, we are still in a tie for 2nd in the interleague top record race, only a half game behind the Chunichi Dragons. Tuesday & Wednesday’s opponent just happens to be those very Dragons. The end of this series marks the halfway point of the interleague portion of the season. We’ll have played each CL team twice. Let’s try and end this first leg with a couple of wins and get back in the first place spot.
Our Marines head back home after a four game interleague road trip that took us to Koshien and Hiroshima. We split two games in each series, yet our 6-2 interleague record still leads NPB. The BayStars make the trip to the other side of Tokyo Bay for this weekend’s series at QVC. DeNA currently resides in the CL basement, with Seibu being the only other team in NPB with a worse record. Speaking of the standings, we start the weekend tied for 3rd in the PL with the Fighters. The Fighters and Marines have identical records, with Lotte leading the season series at 7-2. All-Star voting has commenced, the weather is warming up, and the calendar turns to June. It’s starting to feel a bit like summer, let’s hope Our Marines heat back up as well.
The focus shifts to Hiroshima and the first game with the CL leading (!) Carp this year. Interleague has not been so good to Hiroshima as they dropped the first four road games before picking up a pair of wins over Seibu (yay!) this past weekend. Games with Hiroshima tend to be interesting affairs, both on the field and in the stands as the fans battle for cheer supremacy.
Revenge is a dish best served cold…and windy. If there’s one thing QVC Marine Field in April elicits in most people’s minds, is the cold and wind. That makes this an appropriate time to welcome the 2013 Japan Series Champions, the Rakuten Eagles. You may recall that our 2013 campaign was halted in Sendai, in the Final Stage of the PLCS. Well, let’s give the Ma-kun-less defending champs a rude welcoming back to Chiba.
We just took a look yesterday at the pitchers for the 2014 version of Our Marines. The pitching situation is pretty straightforward with a lot of depth both in the rotation and in the pen. The situation for position players is a bit different, though, with lots more variables to consider.
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.
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.