With China and Taipei both losing yesterday, Japan only needs one more win in order to advance to the next round.
3:56PM JST: SportsNavi is reporting that Hideaki Wakui might get the call to start for Japan today.
In his start against Taipei, Wakui tossed 6 innings while giving up a run on 3 hits (2 doubles) and 2 walks and struck out 6.
6:50PM JST: Sports Hochi is reporting that Yano will get his first start of the Olympics. Tsuyoshi Nishioka will also be in the lineup as the DH.
1st AB: ground out to second
2nd AB: ground out to second
3rd AB: fielder's choice
4th AB: walk (!)
Staring Lineups CHINA JAPAN 1 Lingfeng Sun CF 23 Norichika Aoki CF 16 Fenglian Hou DH 2 Masahiro Araki 2B 88 Fei Feng RF 3 Hiroyuki Nakajima SS 9 Yufeng Zhang SS 25 Takahiro Arai 1B 2 Yang Yang C 41 Atsunori Inaba RF 6 Lei Li 2B 55 Shuichi Murata 3B 7 Wei Sun 3B 46 G.G. Sato LF 25 Chao Wang LF 39 Akihiro Yano C 13 Yubing Jia 1B 7 Tsuyoshi Nishioka DH
Top of the 1st
Lingfeng Sun is caught looking at strike three.
Fenglian Hou strikes out swinging.
Fei Feng grounds out to first.
Bottom of the 1st
Norichika Aoki grounds out to second.
Masahiro Araki grounds out to second.
Hiroyuki Nakajima pops-out to the shortstop.
Observations: Korea is looking pretty tough out there as they beat Cuba. Japan really had a good shot at beating them the other day. Now Korea appears to be riding a fairly strong hot streak and in a short series, it might be difficult to knock them off.
Top of the 2nd
Yufeng Zhang grounds out to short.
Yang Yang grounds out to the pitcher for the second out.
Lei Li strikes out swinging.
Bottom of the 2nd
Takahiro Arai flies out to center.
Atsunori Inaba walks on 5 pitches.
Shuichi Murata strikes out swinging. Inaba steals second.
G.G. Sato drills one to deep right. It bounces off the wall. Inaba rounds third and scores. Sato into second with a double.
Akihiro Yano hits one over the right fielder's head, the ball will roll to the wall. Sato scores from second, Yano into second with a double.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka pulls one through the left side into left field. Yano rounds third and crosses the plate. Nishioka with an RBI single.
Aoki steps into the box. Nishioka is running, the pitcher throws over to first. It looks like China has him out. Throw over to first, the throw is high, stolen base for Nishioka. Aoki grounds out to second.
Yano hitting a double
Observations: Japan's offense is looking pretty lifeless right now. ... Nan Wang appears to top out at about 130km/h ... Murata is now 2-for-18 with 6 strikeouts ... Wouldn't you know it, minutes after posting that Japan's offense was looking lifeless, they go and score 3 runs.
Top of the 3rd
Wei Sun grounds out to second.
Chao Wang grounds out to second.
Yubing Jia grounds out to short.
Observations: It'll be important for Wakui to start this inning strong. Don't want to give up a lead-off runner after Japan just scored 3 runs. ... Nice inning by Wakui, three up, three down.
Bottom of the 3rd
Araki walks on 5 pitches.
Nakajima up to bat. Araki steals second with the count 3-2. Nakajima walks on 7 pitches. Pretty nice at bat for Nakajima.
Pinching change: Lv Jiangang comes in for Wang
Arai bounces back to the pitcher. Jiangang throws to second for the first out. Li throws over to first for the second out. Double play. Araki moves over to third.
Inaba rockets one back up the middle. Araki comes around to score. Inaba with a double.
Pinching change: Guoqiang Sun comes in for Jiangang
Murata is hit by a pitch. Runners on first and second with 2 out.
Sato flies out to deep center. The center fielder almost dropped that... Not sure if he lost the ball or if the ball just kept carrying.
Inaba hitting a run scoring double.
Observations: Wow, it looked like Araki watched at least 2 pitches go by him that were strikes ... China has 12 pitches on their roster ... Another GIDP for Japan gives them 6 over 6 games.
Top of the 4th
L. Sun grounds out to second.
Hou hits a grounder to semi-deep short. Fielded their by Nakajima, throw to first, not in time. Infield single.
Feng grounds to second, toss to Nakajima for the first out, on to first, double play. Inning over.
Observations: Lingfeng Sun's speed has been compared to Ichiro by the Japanese media.
Bottom of the 4th
Yano grounds out to the pitcher.
Nishioka drops a bunt, the catcher fields, throw to first, not in time. Infield hit.
Aoki hits a grounder to third. Throw over to second for one, on to first, not in time. Fielder's choice.
Araki grounds out to third for the final out.
Observations: Nishioka appears to be able to run at full speed ... Nishioka went hard into Lei Li to break-up the double-play. Li was on the ground for a while, but it appears he's alright. ... Aoki looks like he's struggling a bit at the plate. He is now 0 for his last 7.
Top of the 5th
Zhang grounds out to first, unassisted.
Yang grounds out to first.
Li strikes out swinging.
Observations: In Japanese, Yang Yang is pronounce, Yo Yo. Go figure. ... Li's strikeout was Wakui 4th strikeout in 5 frames.
Bottom of the 5th
Nakajima is hit by a pitch.
Arai steps into the batter's box. Nakajima is off on the 2-2 pitch and steals second. Arai is hit by a pitch. Runners on first and second, no out.
Inaba hits a little bloop to third, dropped but quickly recovered. W. Sun runs over and steps on third, throw to second, double play. Inaba at first.
Murata dribbles one to the pitcher, throw over to first for the final out of the inning.
Observations: It's a little strange seeing Jim Lefebvre and Steven Ontiveros over in the China dugout ... Sun is looking pretty wild out there right now ... Mound visit with Ontiveros ... Murata looks lost out there.
Top of the 6th
Defensive change: Masahiko Morino comes in for Murata at third.
W. Sun flies out to the second baseman.
Wang lines out to second.
Jia strikes out looking.
Bottom of the 6th
Sato grounds out to third.
Yano walks on 5 pitches.
Nishioka in the batter's box. On the 2-0 count, pass ball by the catcher. Yano rounds second and coasts into third. Looks like the catcher was calling a timeout but the ump never made it official. Nishioka drives one down the right field line. Fair or foul?! Fair ball, 2-run homer by Nishioka!
Pitching change: Kai Liu comes in for Sun
Aoki walks on 8 pitches.
Araki in the batter's box. Aoki starts, Araki hits the ball through the hole for a single. Runners on first and third with 1 out.
Nakajima in the box. Liu bounces the ball, Araki on the run, steals second. 1 out, runners on second and third. Nakajima hits one to deep left, off the wall. Aoki and Araki score. Nakajima into second with a double.
Arai hits one into deep right. Nakajima comes around to score. Arai coasts into second with a double.
Pinching change: Youhua Guo comes in for Liu
Inaba singles to right. Arai scores from second.
Morino strikes out swinging.
Sato in the batter's box. Pass ball by the catcher, Inaba to second with two out. Sato pops out to the shortstop.
Nishioka hitting a 2-run homer
Observations: Sun almost hits Nishioka ... Nishioka hit Sun's 3-1 pitch for a homerun -- must have felt good after almost getting hit. ... Nice at bat by Aoki as he fouled off 4 pitches to get the walk ... Ontiveros doesn't look very happy in the dugout ... Shinya Miyamoto might come in for Morino as he scrounges around for his glove. Probably as a defensive change as Morino is in the box ... Japan has batted around this inning ... Lefebvre's not looking very happy in the dugout either .... Morino is now 0 for his last 8.
Top of the 7th
L. Sun singles through the left side (the ball went under Morino and Nakajima's glove).
Hou grounds to Araki. Throw over to second for the first out, on to first, double play!
Feng strikes out swinging.
Observations: Miyamoto has not come into the game. He was warming up his arm so it seemed like he was getting ready to come into the game. ... Let's see if L. Sun tries to steal, now that he's on base ... If Japan doesn't allow China to score this inning, the game will be called. ... Araki's throw to Nakajima was a bit high, but Nakajima did a nice job re-gaining his balance to make a strong throw to first to complete the double play.
Game over, Japan beats China, 10-0. Japan secures a spot in the next round.
Post Game Notes
Looks like Japan's offense might be getting hot at just the right time. But not everyone appears to be catching fire. Murata and Morino both appear to be mired in slumps. Aoki also appears to be in something of a slump, but he had a nice last AB, fouling off four pitching.
With Wakui going tonight, it would seem Yu Darvish will get the start against the US.
What are your thoughts right now.
Just need to continue taking games one at a time.
What did you think about the game?
It was a 7 inning game so it'll give our players a chance to rest up a little.
About the game against the US?
We'll go for the win.