...18-9-1 (1st place): The Marines are coming off one of their worst weeks: 2-3. They also suffered their second 2-game losing streak this season. Tsuyoshi Nishioka went 8-for-21 (.381) with 4 runs scored. Rookie Takashi Ogino cooled off a bit and went 4-for-17 (.235) with 2 runs scored; he did have three stolen bases. Tadahito Iguchi had 6 RBI.
The Marines got back Tomoya Satozaki back on Tuesday, but then lost Shingo Ono -- he was taken off the active roster on the Thursday with an injury to his left buttock. They got some more bad news on Sunday when Hidetaka Kawagoe had to be lifted from his start after just one inning with stiffness in his right hamstring.
As a team, they are hitting .294 (tops amongst all NPB teams) and are averaging 5.5 runs per game (second only to the Yomiuri Giants in the NPB). Their 3.46 ERA is the lowest in the Pacific League, but they have also given up league-leading 23 home runs. With 97 earned runs allowed, they are the only PL team that has yet to allow 100.
Upcoming schedule: the Marines begin a 9-game stretch on Tuesday. They will be play three against Seibu (at Seibu Dome), three against Softbank (at Yahoo Dome), and three against Nippon Ham (at Chiba Marine).
...Hiroyuki Kobayashi earned his international FA rights on Monday with 9 years of service in the books. Kobayashi has wanted to play in the Majors for quite some time now and may test the waters during the off-season. Said Kobayashi, "I just want to focus on pitching right now. I'll think about [what I want to do] when the season ends."