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The 100% Biased Climax Series First Stage Preview

You know it's coming.

You know it's coming.If you came to this site looking for balanced, level-headed coverage of Our Marines and their trip through the NPB post season – well friend, you came to the wrong site. I have a standard that I apply to fan blogs, especially my own: If you’re not biased in your coverage, you don’t love your team enough. And this is We LOVE Marines – so clearly we love Our Marines, it says so in the title. Seibu coverage can be found at I Enjoy Lions (Even Though Being A Seibu Fan Is Not As Much Fun As Being A Lotte Fan, But Whatever).com.

As Chiba prepares to roll into Tokorozawa and beat those Lions – again – I think it’s important to take a brief look at the position matchups between the two teams, to see how they stack up. How else can we know who will in? Other than knowing who is obviously going to win, that is?
 
 


lotte-smseibu-logo-smInfielders (Click to Expand)

Let's first take a look at the infielder matchups.
 

First Base

Tadahito Iguchi vs Hideto Asamura

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Maybe you’re one of those weird people who wants to look at “stats” to know “who’s better” but I don’t like to do that. No sir. Asamura had an OK year I guess – no Triple Crown winner for sure, just a .317 BA / 27 HR / 110 RBI season. ONE season. What was he doing last time we met in the Climax Series? That’s right, nothing.

Iguchi is a Proven Winnertm and a hero to millions. He’s stolen both bases and hearts. Plus we call him “Tad” or “The Gooch”. Anyway, he’s obviously the superior player – advantage, Lotte.

 

Second Base

Shunichi Nemoto vs Yasuyuki Kataoka

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Strangely enough, I don’t even need to make an extremely dodgy justification for this one. Nemoto’s had a solid year, and the move to second has suited him well. He still strikes out too much and sure we’d like him to get on base more, but he gives solid defense and some power at the top of the lineup.

There was a time when Kataoka was one of the rising young stars but it seems to be in the past now due to injury, though he’s still got a great glove. This one goes to Lotte, though.

 

Shortstop

Daichi Suzuki vs Yuji Onizaki

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I’ll be honest here – I watch a ton of PL ball and I had no idea who Onizaki even was before this year, despite him being 30 and having been on Seibu for 3 years. He’s been starting the last bit of the season so I assume he’s starting in CS.

Our second year player/first year All-Star Daichi has tapered off a wee bit offensively later in the year, though he’s been better in basically every category over last year. He’s played every game, tied the team record for triples, had his first HR (and at Seibu Dome) and first grand slam (vs Seibu). He’s gonna be huge.

 

Third Base

Toshiaki Imae vs Esteban German

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I honestly like German, not only is he wonderfully named Esteban but he’s fun to watch. He’s matching up with GORI though, so come on.

Even if you write off Imae’s hot hitting late in the season as a fluke – and he did finish second in the race for the batting title – the man’s crushed it in past Octobers, and that’s including key hits vs Seibu. I’ve seen nothing this year to indicate he’ll be any different this time around.

 
 

no-check_mark_100Outfielders (Click to Expand)

And in the outfield...
 

Left Field

Saburo? Kakunaka? vs Takumi Kuriyama

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This one’s a bit of a wild card as I have no idea who will start for Lotte. It should be T OGINO but he’s out. Could be Saburo (probably) and could be Kakunaka (though he’s probably in right) or Ishimine. Who knows with Itoh-kantoku.

Kuriyama is the Lions captain and the beating heart of their team. All of our guys are cooler, though. I hate the Lions. You know which way I’m going on this one.

Center Field

Yoshifumi Okada vs Shogo Akiyama

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Akiyama is a veritable human highlight reel. He makes all sorts of acrobatic, diving catches. What a fun guy to watch.

Okada is more funner, though – a vacuum cleaner for anything in his area. Plus he’s got the most memorable moment from the most memorable game I’ve ever been at. Offense? He’s no power hitter for sure but he can get on base, and when he’s on he’s very dangerous. Of course he gets my vote.

Right Field

Kakunaka? Kiyota? vs Ryo Sakata

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A rare moment of snark-free commentary from yours truly.

It would be hard to argue that Sakata is better than Kiyota or Kakunaka. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t – he’s only played in 50-ish games this year, and while he played well, it’s not much to go on. We know what we are getting from Kakunaka and Kiyota, though. I’ll take those two any day.

 
 
no-check_mark_100Catcher + DH (Click to Expand)

The men behind the plate - the key to success?
 

Catcher

Tomoya Satozaki vs Ginjiro Sumitani

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Again, 100% snark free. Satozaki is getting old, but he’s produced for years at the plate, in the playoffs, at Seibu Dome. He’s the best defensive catcher we have and is at least as good at handling pitchers as Ginjiro.

No question Satozaki is the better choice. (NOTE: this answer could be different if Satozaki does not start. Naaaah.)

Designated Hitter

Braz vs Okawari-kun

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Lots of power from both guys. Okawari-kun’s been injured for over a year and is just now back. He’s not back fully for sure, though. He hasn’t hit well at all in 100+ PAs since his return. Still, he’s very very dangerous.

Braz has been great. The only knock on him is not him, it’s Itoh-kantoku’s refusal to play him against lefties for no reason at all. So if Braz is in the lineup, this clearly goes to Braz. If not, who knows???? But all ties go to Chiba. It’s my site, dammit.

 
 
no-check_mark_100Pitching (Click to Expand)

Probably where the series is won or lost.
 

Starting Pitching

Game 1 – Furuya vs Kishi

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Other than Game 1’s starters – that’s Furuya vs Kishi – I have no idea who is starting Games 2 & 3, and neither does anyone else, I bet. Furuya’s awesome of course – he’s not called New Lefty Ace for nothing – and there might just be a steady diet of lefties. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matsunaga get the start in Game 2 nor would I be surprised to see Naruse in Game 3. Other possibilities are Nishino and Karakawa, but I would bet on those three unless a righty is needed.

Kishi is solid, there’s talk of Okamoto and Makita next and I welcome such discussion. Doesn’t matter, Lotte Pitchers > Seibu Starters, inevitably.

Relief Pitching

Bosses vs Not..ses

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Yet again – no snark necessary. Masuda, Rosa, Uchi, Fujioka are clearly superior to the Seibu pen. I don’t know that anyone would dispute that even on the Seibu side of things. Despite a nice lineup and good starters the Lions needed a push to get in – the reason they needed a push is their pen was awful.

They were better late but I don’t believe it for a second. Strong advantage Lotte.

 
 
no-check_mark_100Management & Summary (Click to Expand)

What's going to happen, Steve? TELL US!

On second thought, I probably shouldn’t discuss management, right??? Although let’s be fair – this team has played way above its head all season and some of the credit for that has to go to the bench. That was the regular season and this is the playoffs, though – Seibu has a recent history of underachievement especially at home, and Lotte has won the whole damn thing two of the previous three times we’ve made the PL playoffs.

My rankings were a clean sweep for Our Marines, and Our Marines are going to take the series as well.

Comments 2

  1. Hmmm, I don’t think you’re being biased. I’m pretty sure this is all 100% TRUE! haha

    Man, I’m so excited for tomorrow’s game but I have to work through it. Geh. I hope Matsunaga gets the start on Sunday. Not missing that.

    I’ve known he’s been out, but I totally missed what was going on with Ogino. Is he hurt pretty badly? It’d be amazing to get him back out there.

    The Gooch… lol

    1. Oh I KNOW it’s true.

      Matsunaga should get the start – he deserves it. He’s made 6 starts and we’ve won 5. If you told me in March that we had Climax Series games at Seibu Dome in October and the first two starters would be Furuya and Matsunaga I would have very slowly backed away from you. Verrrrry slowly.

      I don’t think Ogino’s hurt badly but it is his hamstring. When he hurt it (before he scored the winning run in the 1-0 game last week – he was hurt when he scored) they said it would take 3 weeks for a full recovery. That’d be Nippon Series time.

      I’ve been known to call him “The Gooch” at the stadium 😉

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