WBC Semifinal 2: United States v. Japan.

It sounds like a vaguely familar matchup, especially when you consider that both teams are competing for the right to invade korea, that is, meet them in the final game.

Game Time: 8:00 PM ET

Probable Pitchers: Daisuke Matsuzaka v. Roy Oswalt.

More after the cut.

Notes: You know, I have to agree with the couple of posts on here that have mentioned how nonchalant the US team seems to be about this whole thing. I'll add this to the mix - Chipper Jones complaining about how the city of Toronto is "not exactly Las Vegas." I'm sorry, Chipper, that Toronto doesn't boast the slot machines or call girls of the biggest waste of water ever, but there are lots of great things about Toronto. Granted, there's no Cher or Wayne Newton, but there's plenty of attractions. Plus, a Tim Horton's on every corner. Basically, what I'm getting at, is that maybe instead of whining about the lack of Wolfgang Puck, Chipper could've been conditioning a little more on his offdays, and not hurt himself.

But he's gone. Still, Team USA's choices for this game area bit strange. I can understand Oswalt over Peavy, as favoring the hot hand, so to speak, but Johnson is AGAIN putting Jeter at shortstop and designated hitting Jimmy Rollins. He's not starting Adam Dunn at first again, but has gone with Mark DeRosa instead, who has a played just less than 70 innings at first in the majors (and none in the minors).  Of course, this isn't really Johnson's fault. DeRosa's less than 70 innings at first are the most on the roster (other than Adam Dunn) by about less than 70 innings. Defaulting to position players with greater defensive prowess in roster selection is not unwise, exactly - but as DeRosa himself points out, you necessarily end up with a guy at first who is not all that prepared to receive pick offs. I imagine the Japanese will take advantage of this and take some pretty adventurous leads off first tonight. Japan is tied with Korea for most stolen bases in the classic (9).

Japan, on the other hand, is missing Shuichi Murata, whose 2 HR, 7 RBI and .379 OBP were instrumental in getting Japan as far as its got.

Some pitcher v. batter (as a bonus: in poorly formatted tables!). Not enough PA to really matter, but a couple of US batters have had some success against Matsuzaka, in any case. And Ichiro fares well against Oswalt.

 

Daisuke Matsuzaka v. US players (career) (from bb-ref)

PA AVG OBP SLG
Brian Roberts 15 .500 .600 .667
Derek Jeter 14 .333 .429 .833
Curtis Granderson 10 .444 .500 .889
Ryan Braun 4 .500 .500 .500
Evan Longoria 4 .500 .750 .500
Brian McCann 2 .000 .000 .000

 

Roy Oswalt v. Japan players (career) (from bb-ref)

PA AVG OBP SLG
Ichiro Suzuki 7 .571 .571 .571
Akinori Iwamura 4 .250 .250 .250
Kenji Johjima 3 .000 .000 .000
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