Last road trip of the year? Yup, last road trip of the year. Hard to believe we’re at that time of year already but indeed it’s true – this series in Sendai makes the last three road games of the 2014 season.
This series sadly also is the final opportunity for Our Marines to win a season series with a PL team. Chiba has 12 losses (exactly) in every head-to-head matchup except with Rakuten, against whom we have 11. Hey, it’s not much, but it would be nice to be better than at least one PL team.
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.
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.
Our Marines and the Fighters of Nippon Ham meet again. It’s been two weeks since the Makuhari Massacre, when Hamu swept us out of the building and seemingly out of contention. We came into the series 4 games back, and ended up 7 back. A day later, we were 8 back of the Fighters for the final post season spot.
As much as I enjoy interleague play, the passion just ain’t there for most of the series. After all, how much can you really hate a team that you see only a few times a year, and early in the season at that? Sure, there’s the Giants, but…
So our last 9 games? LWLWLWLWL. Yep, that’s alternating wins and losses. This of course gets us to where we are now. 11-11 in interleague with two makeup games left. Hopefully we can finish interleague the way we started it with a sweep of the Swallows.
This series in Yokohama is tough to predict. One might think a warming up Chiba offense could give Yokohama arms fits, but it didn’t play out that way two weeks ago at QVC. The starting pitching is full of intrigue as Yuta Ohmine makes a surprise start in Game 2, with New New Lefty Ace Fujioka in Game 2.
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!
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.