Here are the starting line-ups:
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.
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