The Pacific League is trying to cut back on travel this season and is having teams play six game Series, at least for the next couple months. Some people were on the record saying that it was very unlikely that a team would get swept in a six game Series. HOWEVER - Orix managed to do it (at the hands of the Chiba Lotte Marines) in the very first week that there were six game Series. And they did it in excruciating fashion, dropping five of the six after having led at some point in the game - including losing two of them on walk offs.
Let's recap the week...
On Tuesday the Buffaloes led the Marines 5-4 going into the bottom of the ninth but Lotte managed to push across the tying run and load the bases on a couple hits and a couple walks. And then this happened with Takashi Ogino at the bat:
A walk-off hit-by-pitch! A painful way to end the game for both the Buffaloes and Ogino.
On Wednesday the Buffaloes had a 4-3 lead after the top of the second but gave up two runs in the bottom of the third and ended up losing 6-4. On Thursday the Marines scored five runs in the bottom of the first and that turned out to be all the runs scored in the game.
On Friday Orix was leading 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth before they gave up a pair of runs. But they were on the verge of getting out the inning when Yudai Fukioka stepped up with two outs and runners on first and second and did this:
A two run double to put Lotte up 6-5 which was how it ended. Even worse than the loss was the fact that starting pitcher Taisuke Yamaoka had to be taken out of the game after throwing only three pitches after he suffered some discomfort on his left side.
In yesterday's game both teams scored single runs in the first inning and the game remained tied after nine innings. Extra inning games this year will only go 10 innings so after Orix didn't score in the top of the tenth the best they could do was a tie. The Marines got a couple runners on but were down to their last out when rookie Toshiya Satoh stepped up to the plate. Satoh had never had a hit at the top level which isn't quite as bad as it sounds as it was only his second at bat at that level. This is how it turned out:
First career hit and it's a game-winner! Final score - 2-1 Marines.
Finally in today's game Orix scored three runs in the top of the first and had ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the mound. Yamamoto had pitched a great game last Sunday for the Buffaloes only win so far this season and Orix fans had to be feeling good. But the Marines got to him for five runs in five and two thirds innings and he left the game down 5-3. The Buffaloes tied it up in the top of the eighth but then Brandon Laird led off in the bottom of the inning with this:
That made it 6-5 which was how it ended.
I thought I'd share cards of the heroes of the four games I've highlighted here:
|2018 Epoch One #203/CM-018|
|2018 Calbee ES-06 (Fujioka)|
|2019 Panini USA Baseball Stars & Stripes "Rack Pack" Japanese Collegiate All Stars #12|
|2020 BBM 1st Version #097|