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The Silver Medal Push vs Rakuten: 27 Sep 2013

Moooon
Game Preview: The race for first in the Pacific League is over. We didn’t get there. Rakuten did just last night, and tonight they’re coming to QVC. Let’s hope they are really hung over this game.

So we’re not winning first but that’s OK. Despite the poor play the last two games, we’re in a better position than we were at the start of the series thanks to the Hawks playing even worse and getting swept at home. That puts Our Marines at two games up for second with 9 to go (7 for Daiei). We can’t clinch a spot for a minimum of four more games. We NEED to win these games, not leave things to those last few contests.

It’s just a one game set tonight, a makeup for the rainout in April. Matsunaga faces Kawai – a beautiful evening for a Lotte win.

 


27 September - Lotte WINS 6-0

Rakuten: Takashi Kawai 3-1, 3.24 ERA @ Lotte: Takahiro Matsunaga 3-1, 2.47 ERA

Don't try to tell me that tonight's game was vs a Rakuten B-team. I don't care and I won't listen. They may not be playing for anything anymore but we sure are, and tonight Our Marines dished out a good ol' ass whooping by the tune of 6-0 to our strong northern rivals. It was necessary and it was good.

From marines.co.jp

From marines.co.jp

Lotte’s rookie sensation, reliever-turned-starter Matsunaga, was super effective this evening. He ended up going 6 innings but it was clear from his ((SPOILER ALERT)) hero interview that he wanted more. Well, what he gave us was his best start so far this year – 6 IP, 4 hits, 6 K’s, and no runs. Questions? … Yeah. 7 or 8 IP would have been fantastic, but call me silly – I think 6 shutout is just great.

It’s not as if Chiba was at full strength, either. Kakunaka and Satozaki were deregistered today due to their recent injuries; Kawamoto, Kiyota, and Tamura took their roster spots. It’s so wonderful to see Kiyota back at ichi-gun! And you know what? He delivered tonight, delivered a single and a double, scored two runs on the night. Kiyota-kun – please stay a while.

I commented in the preview about Rakuten being hung over for this game, and they sure played like it for a good portion of it. The dodgy Rakuten defense directly led to 4 of the 6 Lotte runs (and in fact, three were unearned). Our first run came in the 4th inning. Kiyota and Imae led off with singles. Saburo grounded into what should have been a double play but it as misplayed at second (no error assessed, though it was erroneous). That put runners on the corners for Daichi, who lifted a fly to Okajima in right. Okajima looked like he would get it but it was off his glove (again, no error. Ruled as a ‘Grounder to right field’ – I have NO idea what that means.) Kiyota scored easily, 1-0 Chiba.

Let’s got to the 6th – veteran Katoh (who???) has taken over for Kawai. Kiyota is leading off again, and he hits a mid-range pop to Enomoto (who???) in center, who lets it plop harmlessly off his glove. Kiyota gets all the way to third on the three base error. Imae grounds to third – it’s hard hit and Kiyota can’t score. That brings up Saburo – and the veteran makes up for last night’s gaffe by bashing a 2-2 pitch DEEP into the Rakuten fans. That’s a 3-0 game now, and tons of delirious Lotte fans1!

1 Not so many delirious fans where we sat, though. For no good reason I decided to sit in the 2F unreserved area on the third base side. Turns out the last few sections by the foul pole have these little tables there for food and drink – who knew? The fans up there were generally quiet as you might expect for those sorts of seats, with the exception of me. I like being the loudest dude in the section.

Daichi and Hosoya followed that up with a pair of singles. Still just one out. Ishimine’s up (Good Ishimine) – he hits a little check swing grounder to first. Ginji fields it and whips it home to nail Daichi at the plate nooo he whips it clean past catcher Ishimine (Bad Ishimine). Daichi scores easily, and that sets up our much-maligned2 backup catcher Kanazawa to lift a sac fly to center, scoring Hosoya. 5-0 Men of Lotte.

2 Maligned by me mostly, but whatever.

Chiba tacked on one last run in the 8th thanks to a Daichi double and Kanazawa single (there he is again – co-hero of the game) – that made it 6-0, the final score.

Notice I didn’t mention a thing about any dramatic escapes by Lotte pitching? That’s because there weren’t any. As I mentioned Matsunaga was great. The bullpen team of Hattori, Masuda, and UCHI were top-notch as well, picking up the final three innings and allowing only one hit and one walk. That’s such a welcome sight given the struggles of the pen vs Rakuten this year.

This game was the only one in NPB for the night, so the win means Our Marines take a 2.5 game lead for the silver medal with 8 games to go. We’re off on Saturday, but Sunday is a big grudge match with the suddenly competitive Lions at Seibu Dome. That’s going to be fun. I expect Furuya to get the start.

Comments 10

  1. Hi y’all….

    I know that I am not a very good fan, in fact I am terrible. I offer apologies for anger induced statements, please forgive me….

    Nevertheless, I would like to thank you all, for all that you do, its been a tremendous year, this my first year here, you guys are great. Next year, bunts don’t fly and drop tween catcher and pitcher, broken bats don’t fly at Daichi. My Chiba Marine doll hangs from my rear view mirror, I love you all, go Chiba….jeff

    1. Hey Jeff – if you want to see anger induced statements come check me out on Twitter during the game – especially on a game like today. Part of being a fan, right?

      Glad you appreciate the site – we love hearing from people and talking baseball. There’s not much left this year but if you are going to any games let me know. I’ll be at all of them.

  2. (Little late to comment here but) I was sooooooo happy for this win. I ran home from work, checked the score, jumped in the air, then went back out to grab dinner (which I normally do first). I don’t know why, but I really, really wanted to win this game. Whether they were playing their best game or not, we beat the number one team in the Pacific right after they claimed the title!

    But I had a question about the post-game events… I saw you wrote something about the ouendan not wanting to do a cheer exchange at the end or something, and some of my friends alluded to it as well on facebook. Was something up?

    1. I’m not sure what was up with that, but yes, our ouendan refused to do a cheer exchange. Rakuten fans waited around to cheer with us and the dude leading at the time (whose name I don’t know, he’s the young guy) refused calls from our fans to cheer with Rakuten.

      No idea why, but I didn’t like it. Rakuten and Lotte as teams have not always been friendly but the fans sure have been, especially with the history of Lotte in Sendai.

      1. Ahh, that makes me sad. ๐Ÿ™ Pretty much everyone I know was excited to congratulate Rakuten on first place and seem have a high opinion of them. I hope he was just being stupid and it’s not a trend for the ouendan. :/

        1. I think he was just being stupid. Our fans were booing him. They did wave sayonara at each other.

          At the last Fighters game, there was a small cheer exchange and wishes of good luck. We were actually expecting some songs from them but they didn’t start. Maybe nobody’s into prolonged cheer exchanges anymore.

        2. Laaaame. Win or lose, I always wanna hang out after and do some more singing. Especially at the end of the year if there aren’t many chances left, I’d be all over that.
          Then again, some of our games run pretty late into the night. Maybe not everyone has that kind of energy. f(^^;;

        3. VERY lame. There’s a lot of that going around with those guys these days (I have a personal example I shouldn’t discuss in public!) but suffice it to say there’s some weirdness/lameness going on.

          One example – the Chibatto song. When they introduced that everyone wanted to sing along, so they started to sell player Chibattos and last year everyone did sing along. This year the ouendan leaders started singing a different song every time the Chibatto song came on. Why? Dunno. But pretty lame.

          Anyway more singing = good. I find the cheer exchanges to be one of the highlights of the year. It’s so fun to sing other teams’ songs now and then.

        4. Oh, it’s that bad? Hmmm. I really like the ouendan, so I should probably know what it is I’m liking. Though I’ve been kind of less interested in the group the more games I go to. They don’t seem very approachable or friendly. I might ask you to elaborate more the next time we meet up…

          I watched a video of an exchange with Ham last year. It’s such a cool idea!! And I’m sure it builds some camaraderie within the Pacific. I’d really hate to see that go.

        5. Yah, I’ll tell you about it later. Just a strange, random, and extremely rude encounter with the ouendan.

          I’m there for the fun and the fans and the games anyway, so I don’t really care if the ouendan is unfriendly anymore ๐Ÿ™‚

          We had a cheer exchange a few years ago (2009 or 2010, I would say) with I think the Fighters that went on for at least 30m. We were exhausting each other’s song catalogs ๐Ÿ™‚

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