Ever since we were aware of the existence of Shohei Otani, there has been this question somewhere in our minds: how does his explosive fastball play in a short-inning relief …
You’ve probably noticed we haven’t updated in a few days, and I am sure you can guess what that means. On Friday night, Our Marines lost their fight against Daiei in Fukuoka by a 3-1 margin. That’s only 4 runs in 3 games and a sweep for the Evil Empire (PL-version). It’s also the first time Chiba has lost to the Hawks in the Climax Series.
Our Marines have reached the end of the season: Thursday’s 6-1 loss at Fukuoka means that if Chiba is to play on we must win 4 in a row.
But, not so easy. Remember back to 2010 and this team was in a similarly precarious position. Down 3-1, needing to win out to advance, having far from the best starters available for the first two games (Shunsuke and Yuta, actually), the guys took those first two close games before Naruse shut down the Hawks to advance.
In some ways what faces Lotte is a bit simpler – yes, it’s 4 in a row instead of 3 in a row, but the next three starting pitchers are sure to be Ishikawa, Chen, and Wakui. That’s really good! All bats are available. The small visitor section is still mighty in voice, easily louder than the rest of the stadium combined. We can do this!
If only that one ball didn’t take that awkward bounce. If only we could have turned just one LOB into an RBI. If only the outfield fence was just a few centimeters shorter. Unfortunately for Our Marines, it felt like Game 1 of the Climax Series Final Stage alone could have fulfilled a season’s quota of “if only”s.
I have no voice, nothing left in me at all right now. But I must tell you this, fellow traveller in Lotte fandom – Our beloved Marines sent Nippon Hamu to an early bedtime on this Monday with a tense, thrilling 2-1 win in Sapporo. The streak of first round victories in the playoffs is intact, the Golden Year dream lives on. It’s a wonderful day to be a Lotte supporter.