World Baseball Classic Thread: 3/18

The USA and Korea both earned semifinal berths with a win yesterday. Puerto Rico goes home, and Japan is relegated to the loser's bracket to face Cuba today. 45634255_medium

via www.newsday.com


 

Yesterday

Pool 1: Korea 4 Japan 1

Korea definitely got a little lucky - scoring four runs despite hitting only 4 singles in the game (to Japan's seven). Although Darvish got into trouble right away in the first, he still pitched five innings, striking out seven, and all three of his runs came after a fielding error, 1 was unearned. Bong was certainly not as flashy, but allowed only one run to the Japanese, though he walked three - that run came in the fifth when Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a force out that scored Fukudome. Korea's most notable performance offensively came from Jin-Young Lee, who batted in two on a single in the first inning and walked twice later in the game.

Pool 2: USA 6 Puerto Rico 5

In an close came that ended in an exciting comeback, I have to say that Davey Johnson's brilliant managing really saved the day, as Derek Jeter's veteran fielding excellence...oh...wait...no, actually he was terrible. David Wright was the hero last night, hitting a walk-off single in the ninth that scored two runs. Not a pantheon of pitching excellence, on either side, but after the starters left, both bullpens did alright. Man, Nelson Figueroa has been really good. I'm a little sad Puerto Rico is out, they played a really good classic.

Today

Pool 1: 11:00 PM Japan v. Cuba

The 2006 champion and runner up face each other again, and this time for elimination. Japan will throw Hirashi Iwakuma on the mound, as the remaining member of their rotation, and Cuba will turn to veteran Yunieski Maya. Well. Cuba is fresher, but Japan may be stirred up after losing to Korea. I don't really know. I feel like in late innings, the Cubans could hit the Japanese bullpen hard, but they certainly didn't have anything going last time they met, when Japan beat them 6-0. It sort of feels a shame that either of these teams will be left out of the final round.

Pool 2: 7:00 PM Venezuela v. USA

Venezuela's manager has already that he'll be sitting Hernandez, Mora, and K-Rod for tonight's game. As a seeding match, I can't imagine either team is all that motivated, especially since who knows what the results of Pool 1 will be. The US, I think, though will be a little less rested, and a little more preoccupied with injury concerns, as so many on the roster have gone down already. Jeremy Guthrie is starting, and Davey Johnson has joked that he'll be going six innings, because there's no one left in the bullpen. isn't that comforting, Jeremy? I can't find Venezuela's starter (less than three hours before the game, thanks mlb.com) Id think they'd toss Enrique Gonzalez or Victor Zambrano up there (and save Carlos Silva for long relief in the finals).

 

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