I've got results (result) from yesterday's Pool A game, the exhibitions, and a preview of tomorrow's game,
March 5 - Pool A, Game 1 - China 0 Japan 4
As expected, defending champions Japan had little trouble, shutting out China 4-0. Darvish ‘burst' onto the world scene throwing four innings of no-hit ball. He threw 46 pitches (which I believe makes him eligible for their next game, even), struck out three and walked one, but faced the minimum 12 batters Both teams were limited to five hits, but all of China's were singles, while Japan had three extra-base hits, including a two-run homer by third baseman Murata Shuichi. Chinese pitching actually did a fairly impressive job holding Japan to 4 runs, although the Japanese walked an impressive 8 times (7 of those walks came from 2 players - shortstop Nakajima Hiroyuki and Cubs outfielder Fukudome Kosuke). BTW, contrary to my own preview, Lu Jiangang did not start for the Chinese - Li Chenhao, who I can find virtually nothing about, was the starting pitcher. Player of note: Ichiro went 0 for 5, leaving five men on base, Ray Change (Pirates prospect) went 1 for 4, and made an error, Liu Kai (Yankees prospect) pitched one scoreless inning with no hits, no strikeouts and one walk.
Australia 11 Mariners 9
The Australians had a nice offensive show, highlighted by the work of designated hitter Ben Risinger, who had 4 hits in 5 at bats, and 3 of the were doubles. Twins prospect Luke Hughes also hit well (2-3, 2 2B, BB). Their pitching, obviously was a bit lacking, but Tigers prospect Brendan Hughes threw 1 scoreless inning with no hits and 2 Ks.
Puerto Rico 9 Boston 5
Hector Mercado, who played for us a bit in 2000-01, started for PR, pitching 4 innings while allowing 1 run and striking out 4. However, JC Romero (Phillies) didn't look so good, allowing 2 earned runs in only 2/3 of an inning. In non-WBC news, Charlie Zink, a Red Sox knuckleball prospect did not make much of a case for himself, giving up two hits, walking three, and allowing 4 runs without getting a single out. (Sad face. Andromache has a soft spot for trick pitchers.)
United States 9 Phillies 6
Team USA does what it will likely do best, scoring 8 of 9 runs on homers by Chipper Jones, Ryan Braun, Brian McCann, and Adam Dunn (Still miss you, Adam! Author's note: I will stop doing that at some point this season). Pitching was blah. Jeremie Guthrie got the win, although he pitched only 2.1 innings, and allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks.
Panama 5 Astros 7
Ruben Tejada, Mets shortstop prospect, had a good day at the plate, going 2-3 with a double, but made a fielding gaffe that cost Panama runs. Rafael Medina came in to pitch the fifth and allowed 6 runs, but only 1 of them was earned. Tough luck. Well. Bad defense.
Canada 6 Yankees 0
Votto von Bismarck, who has been looking more like Votto Diesel in his last few games, didn't start, but came into the game only to go 0-2. Thankfully, his Canadian comrades did ok, scoring 6 runs on 6 hits. More impressively, the Scott Diamond and the rest of the Canadian pitching staff shut out the Yankees. (More non-WBC news - Joba Chamberlain allowed 5 of Canada's 6 runs, on 1 hits and four walks - he didn't get a single out)
Dominican Republic 1 Cardinals 4
Meh, not the kind of offense the DR wanted to see after yesterday's loss to the Orioles. (Especially as A-Rod is sidelined with a torn labrum...) Robinson Cano went 2-4, Jose Reyes hit a double, and Carlos Marmol seemed to be in less than mid-season form, allowing one run in the inning he pitched, giving up a double and two walks, striking out 2.
Italy 2 Mets 3
Deno went 2-3 with an RBI and a stolen base, but the Italians managed only 2 runs on their 10 hits and 8 walks. (The mets played 24 different players in this 9 inning game. Impressive!)
Netherlands 2 Twins 4
Not much to say here. Netherlands didn't have much going for them offensively. On the pitching side, the Dutch had two pitchers named Stuifbergen, which is clearly a victory for any team.
Venezuela 4 Braves 8
Venezuela, like the DR, is looking strangely offensively weak as well - Miguel Cabrera, who led the AL in HRs in 2008, was 2-4. K-Rod struck out the side in his one inning.
Australia 5 Brewers 10
Australia did a nice job putting only three different pitchers on the mound, but it didn't do them much good as they collectively allowed 10 runs. Brad Harman (Phillies) was good, hitting 2-4 with a HR.
South Africa 1 Athletics (split squad) 6
Oh, South Africa. Shortstop Anthony Phillips was 1-4 with an RBI. Sidenote: Anthony Phillips was a founding member of Genesis. I'm sure it's the same dude.
Mexico 7 Rockies 2
Scott Hairston seems to be doing pretty well, hitting 3-4 today with 3 RBIs, a HR, and a 2B. The Mexicutioner pitched a scoreless inning, with 1 hit and 1 K.
4:30 AM EST - Pool A - Game 2: Chinese Taipei v. South Korea
This is definitely a closer match than China and Japan. South Korea has the upper hand definitely, but an upset is fairly possible here. The matchup will likely be Taiwan's Lee Chen-chang (who goes by Chen Lee in the states) against Ryu Hyun-Jin. Lee is actually signed with the Cleveland Indians and pitched well against Cuba in the 2008 Olympics (6.3 innings, 1 R, 7 K); Ryu, I did mention in the Pool A Preview, and also pitched well against Cuba in Beijing (in the Gold Medal game). The Koreans got some good news recently - that Choo Shin-soo has been cleared to play (elbow pain - and I get the impressions that the Indians still don't want him to play. But he was cleared by MLB, and he's in Japan, so they'll just have to be slightly unhappy. ) - he'll probably be the designated hitter. I might even stay up to watch this game, as I don't have any class tomorrow. Dae han min guk! (Note: I thought for about 5 minutes about how I could use Korean baseball to justify posting another picture of semi-nude Daniel Henney. I couldn't really come up with anything, so you guys are safe for now. Yuu's still looking dreamy at the top of the post, so it's ok.)
I'll do the same thing tomorrow night - but the WBC goes into full swing Saturday with Pool C and Pool D games.