Last night was a big night for the Chiba Lotte Marines, especially after the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Orix Buffaloes.
A Marines' loss would have eliminated the club from any chance at a third place finish. It would have also kept alive the Buffaloes' chances of overtaking the Marines and finishing in fourth.
But the Marines won and accomplished two things:
- the Fighters have no more games left on the schedule and the Marines have two and are only 0.5 games out of third. That means if the Marines win their last two games, they'll overtake the Fighters in the standings and squeeze their way into the Climax Series.
- they guaranteed themselves at least a fourth place finish.
The one thing that might be of concern is the Marines opponent for their last two games: the Orix Buffaloes.
The Marines are 14-8-0 against the Buffaloes so far this year. While that record is enough to instill at least some hope in a Marines' sweep, but what that 14-8-0 doesn't show is that the Marines are also 1-4 against the Buffaloes over their last 5 games.
That said, it should also be noted that the Marines will be starting Yuji Yoshimi (4 G, 4 GS, 2-1, 3.33 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) and Yoshihida Naruse (6 G, 6 GS, 6-0, 1.91 ERA, 0.77 WHIP) in these two games against the Buffaloes.