Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Japan 5, Korea 3 (10) Turn Out the Lights...



The party's over.



Both sides left everything on the field. The difference in this game was pitching. Japan's Hisashi Iwakuma threw a gem. He tossed 7 2/3 strong innings. He surrendered a homer to Choo Shin-soo in the 5th, but other than that he was essentially untouchable and if he did allow a ball to be hit hard, a fielder of some sort would leap in front of it. He was noticably laboring through the 8th and he was finally lifted after allowing a 2nd Korean run to score. He threw 97 pitches in the game, 54 were strikes. He allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk with 6 K's.




Yu Darvish came in for the 9th inning. I was stunned to see him striding out from the bullpen. He had just closed out the game against the US. I can't imagine his club is going to be very happy that he worked two days in a row. The second of which he threw 41 pitches. He struck out pinch hitter Jeong Geun-woo and walked the next 2 batters. Then, Choo Shin-soo struck out swinging. Third baseman, Lee Beom-ho delivered an RBI single through the left side to tie the game at 3. Predictably, Koh Yeong-min struck out swinging.

Bong Jung-geun wasn't exactly the "일본 킬러"(their word, not mine) the Korean media made him out to be. Bong threw 94 pitches during his 4 innings of work. He allowed only 1 run(unearned) on 6 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 1. The Japanese hitters worked deep into every count. The goal wasn't to beat Bong, but to wear him out and get into the Korean bullpen. Japan succeeded.

The Korean bullpen wasn't bad, in fact Jeong Hyeon-wook did his best to keep them in the game for 3 innings. Lim Chang-yong ran into trouble in the 10th. I have no idea why he was out there instead of Yoon Seok-min. Lim got into trouble early in the 10th and nearly pitched his way out of it. He was ahead of Ichiro 1-2, but couldn't put him away. Ichiro fouled off 4 pitches during his 8-pitch at bat. He finally drove a 2-RBI single into center field to give Japan the lead for good.



Darvish stayed on to record the final 3 outs in the 10th and the party was on. Go crazy, Tokyo.



This was a fun WBC. I'm not a huge fan of the final result, but I think it put the world on notice that some fine baseball is being played outside of the Americas and not just in Japan.

Next, KBO opening day is less than 2 weeks away! I know this guy is excited!

3 comments:

Aaron said...

This has all made me look forward to the new KBO season. Lots of nice storylines coming in, including the possibility of Kim Tae-keun playing in Japan or the U.S. next year.

Anonymous said...

after watching the WBC, man I want Kim hyun soo on my Kia team... but i highly doubt the Doosan would ever sell him anywhere~~;; anyway, can't wait till the season starts, a lot of records would be broken when this season starts, with Yang Jun Hyuk(samsung) being the all time homerun leader, and Song Jin Woo with his 3000th inning pitched and etc...

Anonymous said...

Tae-Keun Kim Should try for MLB instead of Japan, I think...

They way he power-play and worked the field would suit him better in the MLB instead of overly fundamental/fast-paced games of NPB...