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WBC: Japan at Korea – Japan can’t hit Bong, Korea wins 4-1

by on Mar.17, 2009 @ 10:46 pm, under WBC

Here are the starting line-ups:

Code:
JAPAN            KOREA
RF Suzuki        CF Lee, Y
SS Kataoka       2B Jeong
LF Aoki          LF Kim, H
3B Murata        1B Kim, T
1B Ogasawara     DH Choo
DH Uchikawa      RF Lee, Jin
CF Fukudome      3B Lee, B
C  Johjima       C  Park, Ky
2B Iwamura       SS Park, Ki

SP Darvish       SP Bong

Not really sure what's up with Nakajima. I thought he'd be in the line-up, but Kataoka is in there again. I'll see if I can find more information about his status.

Top of the First
Not exactly the first inning I had in mind, but I'll take it. Japan managed to see 21 pitches (13 strikes) that inning from Bong. But Bong also appears to have all his pitches working. Could be a tough night for Japan's offense.

Bottom of the First
Not a good inning for Darvish. You could tell from his first three pitches that he didn't have his best control. It seemed like it was getting better there toward the end of the inning, but unfortunately 3 runs have also crossed the plate.

Darvish tossed 25 pitches (13 strikes) that inning -- 13 fastballs, 7 sliders, 3 cutters, and 2 curves.

Japan will really need to try and get a run or two back in the top of the second, otherwise Korea could end up winning this game, 3-0 (assuming Darvish manages to settle in).

Top of the Second
Bong had his plus fastball working. Japan continues to struggle against him. Uchikawa had a nice cut against him, but other than that, no one else really has been able to make solid contact on him.

It "feels like" Japan has switched over to defensive mode. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but since Korea has a 3-0 lead, they are going to continue being really aggressive.

Bottom of the Second
Darvish retired the side in order on strike outs -- all three went down swinging. Darvish tossed 15 pitches (10 strikes) in the inning.

Top of the Third
The inning started off nicely enough with a walk. But Ichiro hit into a fielder's choice and then Kataoka grounded into a double play. I know it's early and I know it's Ichiro up to bat, but I think it could have been interesting to see Ichiro drop a bunt (or at least fake dropping a bunt).

And an update on Nakajima: apparently he still has a slight fever and wasn't ready to play. Don't know of that means he won't be available at all for the game tonight though.

Bottom of the Third
Not an altogether bad inning for Darvish, but he's still not attacking the zone. The announcers also beginning to lay into Johjima for his play calling.

16 pitches (9 strikes) for Darvish that inning.

Top of the Fourth
With the HBP and then the infield single, this seemed like a great inning for Japan to plate a runner, but once again, they ground into a double play to end the inning.

So far it looks like Japan has failed miserably in making the necessary adjustments against Bong. And you have to give Bong credit: he's doing a great job keeping Japan off-balance.

Bottom of the Fourth
Darvish has settled in nicely after that rocky first inning. Korea's lead-off hitter, Lee, really set the tone that inning (single, stolen base) -- it's exactly what Japan wanted to do in their first inning.

13 pitches (9 strikes) that inning for Darvish. He's sitting on 69 pitches (41 strikes) overall. 16 more pitches to 85... That's maybe good for one more inning.

Top of the Fifth
Japan finally scores a run against Bong. It wasn't pretty, but at least they get rid of the big fat 0 on the scoreboard.

I don't wanna take anything away from Kataoka, but this game is making me miss Nakajima.

Bong is currently sitting at 78 pitches (49 strikes).

Bottom of the Fifth
Outside of that first inning, Darvish pitched a pretty decent game.

His final line:

5 IP, 20 BF, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 SO, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 GO, 2 FO, 85 pitches (51 strikes)

Top of the Sixth
Bong was taken out of the game after retiring the first batter he faced.

His final line:

5.1 IP, 21 BF, 3 H, 3 BB, 1 SO, 1 R, 1 ER, 12 GO, 3 FO, 79 pitches (50 strikes)

A very nice game for Bong. You really have to give him credit for keeping Japan off-balance.

Bottom of the Sixth
Yamaguchi did pretty well against the two batters he faced, but Watanabe really struggled against the 3 batters he face. He walked the first before finally getting an out on a liner to Iwamura.

Still, they kept Korea from scoring so mission accomplished.

Top of the Seventh
I think Korea has this game won. With Johjima getting thrown out, I think all the forward moving momentum is now going in Korea's direction.

And it doesn't help that Ichiro is still mired in his awful slump (now 0-for-4).

Bottom of the Seventh
The bullpen continues to do a nice job keeping Japan in the game. Watanabe faced two batters and got two outs. Wakui then came in and got the first batter to line out to Kataoka.

Top of the Eighth
Murata managed to bloop another single into right, but unfortunately it came after two outs. Ogasawara struck out swinging to end the inning.

It doesn't look good for Japan right now. The hitters are really pressing.

Bottom of the Eighth
A big question mark: why did Hara go to Iwata with runners on second and third with 2 out? And why Iwata?

Iwata ended up walking both of the batters he faced. Wakui probably could have done, at the very least, the same. I would have left Wakui in for one more batter and then perhaps brought in Tanaka to face Bum Ho Lee.

This isn't anything against Iwata, but I think Tanaka is a more versatile pitcher than Iwata is.

Top of the Ninth
Another very good game for Korea. They did EVERYTHING Japan was supposed to do -- they were aggressive out of the gate, they scored first, and they kept the opposition's offense off-balance.

Code:
     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9   R  H  E
JPN  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0   1  7  1
KOR  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  x   4  4  0

0 comments on “WBC: Japan at Korea – Japan can’t hit Bong, Korea wins 4-1

  1. Gwynar

    Hmm… Still can’t find anything about Nakajima and why he isn’t in the starting line-up. Going from his comments in the news yesterday, it seemed like he was ready to play. I guess Hara feels Kataoka is the hot hand here.

  2. Gwynar

    And the game is underway. First pitch to Ichiro was a fastball, low and away, out of the zone.

    UPDATE 1: Ichiro grounds out to second for the first out of the inning. But he did get to see 6 pitches.

    UPDATE 2: Aoki is really choking up on the bat…

    UPDATE 3: Nice AB by Aoki. He was down 1-2 at one point.

  3. Gwynar

    Darvish gives up a lead-off single to Lee. Looks like he’s having a little bit of trouble getting a good grip on the ball (at least for the first few pitches).

    UPDATE 1: Not a very good start here for Darvish. He’s really struggling with his control.

    UPDATE 2: Iwamura probably should have gone to first for the sure out, but instead he went to second and couldn’t make the play. So first and second with no out and a run in.

    UPDATE 3: Darvish keeps on pitching to the the outer portion of the zone (which makes sense since Japan had been going inside a lot during the first two games). But I don’t know that Darvish’s control right now is good enough to live on the outer portion of the zone right now.

    UPDATE 4: 2 more runs cross the plate, Korea up 3-0.

    UPDATE 5: Double play to end the inning, but the damage is done.

  4. Gwynar

    Darvish really needs to attack the strike zone more. He’s trying to be too "cute" with pitches on the corner.

    UPDATE 1: Darvish has started 7 of 9 batters off with a ball so far.

    UPDATE 2: Looks like Darvish is starting to settle in. Three strike outs that inning.

  5. Gwynar

    Iwamura leads off with a walk. Ichiro is now up. Let’s see what he does here.

    UPDATE 1: Ichiro hits into a fielder’s choice.

    UPDATE 2: Kataoka hits into a double play to end the inning.

  6. Gwynar

    heh… A couple of the announcers just broke into a conversation about cotton candy and another announcer had to break in and tell them to get back to the game.

  7. knucklehead7

    After three innings, the score is still 3-0. Darvish has thrown 56 pitches, thirty-two of them for strikes.

  8. Gwynar

    Murata gets hit. So man on first with 1 out.

    UPDATE 1: Ogasawara records Japan’s first single: an infield hit. Runners on first and second with 1 out.

    UPDATE 2: Another double play to end the inning.

  9. Gwynar

    Consecutive singles by Japan (Fukudome and Johjima) to start the 5th. Iwamura now up to bat. Might we see a bunt? But with a slumping Ichiro standing on deck, maybe not?

    UPDATE 1: no bunt, but a grounder to short. Runners at first and third with 1 out and Ichiro up to bat.

    UPDATE 2: Ichiro hits a grounder to second. Fukudome scores, Iwamura out at second. Japan finally plates a run against Bong.

    UPDATE 3: Kataoka grounds out to end the inning.

  10. Gwynar

    Suguichi is warming in the pen. He might be coming in if Darvish hits 85 this inning.

    UPDATE 1: 75 pitches after the first out.

    UPDATE 2: Lee really gets in close to the plate… 79 pitches after the second out.

    UPDATE 3: 85th pitch strikes out Ko to end the inning.

  11. Gwynar

    Pitching change Korea. Japan shouldn’t be too sad to see him go.

    Suk-Min Yoon is now in the game.

  12. Gwynar

    Dae Ho Lee is coming in as a pinch hitter for Shin-Soo Choo.

    Pitching change for Japan: Watanabe is coming in for Yamaguchi.

    UPDATE 1: ugh, two consecutive walks from Watanabe. He’s really struggling with his control.

    Mahara and Iwata are warming in the pen for Japan.

  13. knucklehead7

    Ichiro’s woes continue with that pop-up. He’s now hitless in four at-bats tonight.

  14. Gwynar

    Ishihara is in for Johjima.

    The ump had a really quick hook for Johjima. The announcers over here seem surprised, but considering there’s an MLB ump behind the plate, I’m not.

  15. Gwynar

    I really want Iwamura to get on base because I’m curious to see what Ichiro does in a runners first and second, 2 out situation.

  16. knucklehead7

    The first three spots in the lineup combined to go hitless in eleven trips to the plate.

  17. emath

    Am I really the only one who thought the title of this entry was funny?

    Japan can’t hit Bong.

    Maybe Ichiro should hit the Bong. It might help him relax for tonight’s game…

  18. Gwynar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emath;bt2704

    Am I really the only one who thought the title of this entry was funny?

    Japan can’t hit Bong.

    Maybe Ichiro should hit the Bong. It might help him relax for tonight’s game…

    Hey, Japan lost so I figured, why not have a little fun with the title.

    I’m a little surprised that you’re the only one that has pointed it out though.