The Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball are in a “super emergency” situation. In the midst of a fierce battle for a postseason berth, the team has lost nine key players.
Chiba Rode snapped a long seven-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Nippon Professional Baseball 2023 Nippon Ham Fighters on Sunday (July 27) at Escon Field in Kitahiroshima, Hokkaido, Japan.
Chiba Lotte’s postseason hopes were in jeopardy when they lost seven straight games, starting with the Oryx Buffaloes on April 19, followed by the SoftBank Hawks, Seibu Lions, and Nippon Ham on April 26. They snapped the losing streak on the 27th and moved back into third place, but before the game, Chiba Lotte had slipped to fourth place in the Pacific League.
The reason for their sudden fall from grace was the departure of their “mainstay” players. In the last few days, the first team has lost a whopping nine players from the first team. The reason for the surge of players being removed from the roster was not injuries, but a massive ‘fever’. This is an “ongoing process,” and it’s possible that more players will leave.토토사이트
The departures have occurred over the past 22 days, and with every game and every win crucial, the most painful departure is Sasaki. Sasaki could be a “must-win”. Sasaki threw 45 pitches in his first start and 70 pitches in his second after returning from a major injury, a torn adductor muscle, and was expected to start against SoftBank on April 24, but a sudden fever took him out of the lineup. It is currently unclear when he will return.
In addition to “Perfect Game” Roki Sasaki, Chiba Lotte currently has nine other players, including former Boston Red Sox big leaguers Hirokazu Sawamura, Kazuya Ojima, Kouki Yamaguchi, Yudai Fujioka, Hiromi Oka, Takashi Ogino, Hisanori Yasuda, and Yuki Kuniyoshi, out of the first team through a program called “Special Exception 2023”.
“Special Exception 2023” is a system that can be used for players who are suspected of having the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Players who need to rest due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, such as a fever, can use it in the same way as a traditional de-enrollment, but if they do not test positive for COVID-19, they can return to the first team after 10 days. However, no players have returned to the first team yet.
Right now, the Pacific League is a mess. The Oryx Buffaloes clinched the title early with a dominant performance, but second through fifth place are all very close. The gap between second-place SoftBank and fifth-place Seibu is 4.5 games. While Seibu’s chances of punching their ticket to the postseason are slim to none, fourth-place Rakuten is just one game behind SoftBank, and third-place Chiba Lotte is just 0.5 games back. It’s impossible to predict which of the teams ranked second through fourth will secure a ticket to fall baseball.
It’s hard enough to fight for a spot at the top of the standings when you’re at your best, but Chiba Rodeo is facing the worst of it. According to Sports Ho Chi Minh, the team was in contention for the Pacific League title until the end of the 2020 season, but fell to 8-17 in October and was unable to claim the throne. In 2021, they led the league through the end of September, but went 9-10 in October and lost four straight games to end the regular season.
The fact that they played the fewest games in the Pacific League is likely to be a ‘variable’, assuming that players who are out with the fever return quickly. It will be interesting to see how the Chiba Lotte, who were caught off guard by the ‘pandemic’, will handle the crisis of a large-scale ‘fever’.