Talk about ouch. It really "hurt" to watch this game, especially because I was partially rooting for China (what a nice story it would have been for them to get to the second round).
It also came as quite a surprise that they were beaten so badly by Korea. The way I saw it, Japan only managed 4 runs against China on Thursday (albeit with a slumping Ichiro) and China managed to beat Taipei 4-1. I figured they would give Korea a little more trouble, but it was really no contest -- the hitters looked over-matched at the plate and none of the pitchers looked comfortable on the mound.
In looking over the box score, I see China committed 2 errors (although it felt like they made a lot more than that and doesn't include the mental miscues they made on the field) and hit three batters. That doesn't include the 7 walks they also gave up. And don't forget to throw in 2 wild pitches and a balk. Pitchers for China were all over the place last night.
So that's what, 12 base runners without even counting the 10 hits Korea knocked out. It's no wonder that China was beaten so badly.
But you know what, I think the biggest problem for China was Sun getting settled in. Giving up 2 quick runs in the first really set the tone for the entire game. After that first inning, China already started looking a little down. And even after he settled down for the second and third inning, he never seemed completely comfortable out on the mound (he kept shaking his shoulders and wandered around behind the mound a couple time trying to loosen things up).
The only reason I can think of as to why Collins didn't take Sun out sooner, was because he was a side-arm pitcher. Korea has a weakness with pitchers that throw from the side and I think Collins was hoping to capitalize on that. Unfortunately, Sun was wild and ended up giving up 4 runs over 3.1 innings of work.
By the time Sun left and the 4th inning ended, China was down 4 runs. And with the way the China's offense was being over-powered by Korea, it just didn't seem like there would be any sort of comeback in the works.
It was a really tough game to watch if you were rooting for China. And as things couldn't get any worse, they just absolutely fell apart in the 5th and 6th innings. Makes me wonder what Collins was doing in dugout.
In any case, this now means Korea will play Japan again tomorrow. You can bet both teams will be absolutely pumped for the game. I'm not quite sure who will make the start for Korea yet, but I'm fairly certain Iwakuma will be starting for Japan. And I'm almost 100% positive that Darvish will be ready in the pen if Iwakuma doesn't have his stuff. You can also bet on Watanabe making another outing if necessary (he only tossed 7 pitches yesterday).
It's going to be a great game. And the Dome is going to be absolutely packed. I'm psyched!
And don't forget to check out my WBC Korea vs China images.