World Baseball Classic Thread: 3/17

What does Yu Darvish have that Jung-Keun Bong doesn't?

Well, for one thing, his own persian rose perfume.

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via www.darvish-gallery.com

More hotness to come.

Yesterday:

Pool 1: Cuba 7 Mexico 4

Man, what would Cuba do without Frederich Cepeda? He's the Classic's leader in hits, RBI, and HR. Last night was no exception, as the Cuban left fielder hit 3-4, including a 3 run double in the fifth inning that put Cuba in the lead, and Yoennis Cespedes hit a triple in Cuba's 2 run 7th that put the game solidly in their hands. Mexico made efforts to come back with solo home runs from Cantu and Presichi in the 8th and 9th. Norge Vera had a nice start, splitting the game almost evenly with Pedro Luis Lazo (who is a starter in Cuba but nearly always pitches in relief in international play). Which was a nice way to make up for the absence of Gonzalez and Maya, both of whom threw exactly 30 pitches on Sunday - because the Cubans were given a badly translated rule card which said more than 30 pitches, when the rule is 30 or more. Props to the Cubans for handlying it very gracefully. I mean, probably they should've known the proper rules anyway, but that kind of sucked. No harm for now, as Mexico is eliminated and Cuba will face the winner of Korea/Japan today.

Pool 2: Venezuela 2 Puerto Rico 0

You don't need me to tell you that Venezuela's pitching staff did an enormous job yesterday. Seattle's Felix Hernandez was a bit wild, walking four, but also struck out seven and kept the Puerto Ricans scoreless in his 4 2/3 innings. Ramon Ramirez started the 8th inning, pitching until K-Rod came in for the last 1 1/3 innings to wrap things up. Ian Snell also had a nice start for Puerto Rico - allowing only 1 run in his four innings, but even that one run would have been too much, as his teammates bats were simply not up to it - their best performance of the night was Carlos Beltran's 3 walks and a double. Venezuela wasn't honestly a lot better, but their two runs were enough to win the game. One of them came on a controversial solo home run by new Red Ramon Hernandez, originally scored a triple. The umpires are now saying that it wasn't actually instant replay - they couldn't get the video - and that it ended up just being called by consensus. So Venezuela will automatically get into the semifinals and Puerto Rico plays the US for elimination today.

Today:

Pool 1: 11:00 PM ET Korea v. Japan

My "Be the Reds" shirt is on. My first ever batch of kimchi is fermenting as I type. I am so ready for this game.  Beautiful-and-all-around-fantastic-person Yu Darvish is starting for the Japanese.

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via blog.roodo.com

Previously, Darvish started against China, throwing 4 hitless innings (...but against China). He also threw an inning in the second Korea v. Japan, striking out three, but allowing a hit and a walk. Bong Jung-Keun is pitching for Korea - he started in that second Korea/Japan game, pitching excellently - 5 1/3 innings allowing only 3 hits and no walks. But the Japanese batters may not have so much trouble with him this time around. Whoever wins will have a guaranteed final four spot, and the loser faces Cuba tomorrow.

Pool 2: 7:00 PM ET Puerto Rico v. US

Tonight, the six gets cut down to five, and either the US or Puerto Rico are out. the US, plagued with injuries, will be led on the mound by Ted Lilly. Um, also, Derek Jeter will be playing shortstop, with Jimmy Rollins as the designated hitter. Uh...did Jimmy Rollins BREAK HIS LEG OR SOMETHING? I mean, whatever. Puerto Rico will be starting the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez who was fantastic in his one other WBC start, going four innings, allowing no runs and only 2 hits. The Puerto Rican bullpen has still allowed only 1 run in relief. It's a little crazy. (The US bullpen has allowed 18). So, while the talent side may still lie with the US, this game could be really interesting.

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