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WBC: Japan at Korea – Japan beats Korea, 6-2; Kurihara to replace Murata?

by on Mar.19, 2009 @ 8:49 pm, under WBC

Here are the starting line-ups:

JAPAN            KOREA
RF Suzuki        2B Jeong
SS Nakajima      RF Lee, Y
CF Aoki          LF Kim, H
DH Johjima       1B Kim, T
LF Uchikawa      DH Lee, D
1B Murata        3B Lee, B
2B Iwamura       CF Lee, T
C  Abe           C  Kang
3B Kataoka       SS Choi

SP Utsumi        SP Jang, W

I'm a little surprised to see such a huge change in the line-up. I'm guessing Hara is trying to change things up because they're playing against Korea. Batting Johjima higher in the line-up could make sense because he's been one of the hotter hitters on the team right now.

I guess we'll soon see how this all works out for Japan.

As for starting Utsumi... I was a little surprised at first, but then I thought that perhaps Hara wanted to throw someone completely fresh out there, especially since this is now the fourth time the two teams are meeting.

Top of the First
1-2-3 inning. The inning ended a little more quickly than I would have liked, but the players look a little more relaxed.

Bottom of the First
Utsumi gave up a single to start the game. A sac bunt later, a run-scoring double and then a walk. But he bore down and got the next hitter to ground into a double play.

Can't really get on him too hard since this is his first official appearance at the WBC. It's expected that he'll be a little rusty out of the gate.

14 pitches (7 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Second
Japan definitely looks more relaxed out there. The fact that Abe struck out and was still able to laugh and smile in the dugout says a lot.

Luck also appears to be on Japan's side tonight -- a bobble in CF leads to Murata on second, a bad throw by the SS leads to Murata on third and Iwamura on first, and then a little bloop shot manages to drop in front of the RF.

Bottom of the Second
Not a bad second inning for Utsumi. He got the first batter of the inning to ground out. He did give up a single after that, but then struck out Kang and got Choi to ground out. Looks like he's beginning to settle down.

14 pitches (8 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Third
Korea probably wasn't really expecting it (and perhaps not too concerned about it either), but with a lefty on the mound, how can you let someone like Johjima steal second? Fortunately for Korea, it didn't lead to any runs. But if not for a nice play by Jeong, Johjima may have ended up being the third run of the game.

Bottom of the Third
Utsumi started off the inning with a strike out, but then hit the next batter in the back of the helmet. He was visibly concerned about Lee, Y. The next two pitches he threw were balls, but he still managed to get Kim to ground out to first. He was lifted after that (41 pitches; 23 strikes).

Final line for Utsumi:
2.2 IP, 12 BF, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO, 6 GO, 0 FO, 41 pitches (23 strikes)

Komtasu came in for Utsumi and quickly ended the inning by striking Kim T. out (he's been hitting Japanese pitchers pretty well this WBC).

Top of the Fourth
Even if Japan ends up winning this game, it could still end up being a loss if Murata's injury is as serious as it looked.

Bottom of the Fourth
Nice job by Komatsu to keep Korea from scoring the tying run that inning. He struck out Kang with a runner on third to end the inning.

Top of the Fifth
1-2-3 inning for Japan.

Bottom of the Fifth
Nice 1-2-3 inning for Komatsu, the first for Japan against Korea tonight.

Top of the Sixth
Kamei was thrown out stealing second to end the inning. Korea has done a pretty good job containing Japan's offense so far -- the top three batters are currently 0-for-9 with 2 strike outs.

Bottom of the Sixth

Komatsu was taken out of the game after giving up a line shot that Ichiro managed to track down and catch.

Final line for Komatsu:
2.2 IP, 9 BF, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 SO, 1 GO, 2 FO, 39 pitches (27 strikes)

Tanaka came in after that and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Top of the Seventh
The first two batters of the inning reached base but Japan failed to push them across the plate.

Nakajima grounded into a double play to end the inning. He is now 0-for-6 since returning to the line-up after being held out of the first 2 games with a high fever.

Bottom of the Seventh
Bum Ho Lee drilled a homer to dead center off Tanaka to start the inning. The next batter reached on a throwing error by Kataoka. Tanaka was then lifted in favor of Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi got the next batter to hit into a double play and was then replaced by Wakui.

Final line for Tanaka:
0.2 IP, 4 BF, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO, 0 GO, 0 FO, 17 pitches (12 strikes)

Final line for Yamaguchi
0.2 IP, 1 BF, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 SO, 2 GO, 0 FO, 2 pitches (1 strikes)

Wakui ended the inning by striking out Choo.

I feel a little bad for Tanaka. He looked pretty down about giving up that home run to Lee.

Top of the Eighth
Aoki got the inning started with a drag bunt single. Inaba followed with a single to right, moving Aoki to third. Ogasawara fell behind in the count 1-2, but managed to hit a single to right, plating Aoki at third. Kamei bunted the runners over and Iwamura singled up the middle to score Inaba. An error allowed Ogasawara to also cross the plate.

Bottom of the Eighth
Nice job by Mahara to settle down after giving up a lead-off single. The runner ended up reaching third (stolen base and a throwing error by Abe) with only 1 out and Mahara kept the door shut with a tapper back to the mound and a chopper to second.

Top of the Ninth
Ichiro finally got a hit with a nice double to center. Aoki drove him in after Nakajima bunted him over to third.

Bottom of the Ninth
Fujikawa replaced Mahara in the ninth.

Final line for Mahara:
1.0 IP, 4 BF, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO, 2 GO, 0 FO, 18 pitches (11 strikes)

Fujikawa gave up a single, but otherwise pitched a solid ninth.

Final like for Fujikawa:
1.0 IP, 4 BF, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO, 2 GO, 0 FO, 18 pitches (11 strikes)


Japan may have won the game, but they also lost Murata. Kenta Kurihara (Hiroshima Carp) is said to be on his way to the States to take over his spot on the roster.

As of now, it seems most likely that Matsuzaka will get the start for Japan against the US.

     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9   R  H  E
JPN  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  3  1   6  15 3
KOR  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0   2  6  3

60 comments on “WBC: Japan at Korea – Japan beats Korea, 6-2; Kurihara to replace Murata?

  1. Gwynar

    Welcome to today’s game day blog for Japan at Korea.

    Weather: 58 degrees and cloudy.
    Wind: 11 mph, varies.

  2. Gwynar

    And Korea takes a 1-0 lead. Not the way Japan wanted to start the game here.

    UPDATE 1: Utsumi walks Kim T on four straight pitches after giving up a double. Runners on first and second with 1 out.

    UPDATE 2: Nice double play to end the inning.

  3. emath

    Gee, must be hard for the Korean coach to keep his players names straight…

    Doesn’t matter who he wants, just call out Lee, or Kim, and the whole team will answer… lol

    Does Fukudome even play much for this team?

  4. Gwynar

    Nice solid contact by Johjima. Looks like the ball isn’t carrying very well though.

    UPDATE 1: And Uchikawa drills one out. Tie score, 1-1.

    UPDATE 2: Murata follows with a single. The CF bobbled the ball a bit, Murata to second on the CFer’s error.

    UPDATE 3: Kataoka drops a single in front of the right fielder, Murata scores from third, Iwamura to third. Japan now up, 2-1.

  5. knucklehead7

    Does Fukudome even play much for this team?

    He’s played in all six of the games (4-17 with a .235/.435/.235 line).

  6. emath

    Thanks Mike. Seems he didn’t do much in 2006 either, except hit a couple of big home runs.

    I hate to take this too far off topic, but when is Darvish slated to pitch next? Is he due to pitch this weekend at all? I’d like to watch if he does (I’m not watching tonight, as of yet anyway).

  7. Gwynar
    Originally Posted by emath;bt2776

    I hate to take this too far off topic, but when is Darvish slated to pitch next? Is he due to pitch this weekend at all? I’d like to watch if he does (I’m not watching tonight, as of yet anyway).

    Darvish last pitched on the 17th. The earliest he’d be able to go would be Sunday. A lot will depend on which pitcher Japan decides to start the next round with (Matsuzaka or Darvish) and whether or not they advance to the Finals.

  8. knucklehead7

    If Japan wins tonight, they would play on Sunday (8 PM EST) versus the US, and if they lose they would play on Saturday (9 pm EST) versus Venezuela.

  9. emath

    Damn, I hope they win. I’d LOVE to see him pitch Sunday vs the US…. I want them to win anyway, but that makes it even sweeter (if he actually ends up pitching.)

    I’m starting to get caught up in Darvish Mania. I want to put him on my Japanese all-time roster so bad it’s not funny, but I also want to wait another few years before I put him up there with all the greats…

  10. Gwynar

    Nice 2-out single back up the middle for Johjima.

    UPDATE 1: Nice play by Jeong to dive and then throw out Uchikawa at first to end the inning.

  11. emath

    My girlfriend fell a sleep on the couch tonight, so I can’t really watch the game. The TV in our room, the power button is broken, so you can’t turn it on without the remote, and the friggin batteries are dead… I guess I could steal them outta another remote… Maybe I will just watch on MLB gameday…

    Anyway, since you guys are watching, how is the turnout for tonight’s game? Being in the US, I was just wondering…

  12. Gwynar

    Itsumi just hit Lee, Y. He’s on the ground right now. The team is attending to him.

    Looks like the ball hit him in the back of the helmet.

    UPDATE: he got up and walked off on his own power.

    Pinch runner enters the game Lee, Jong comes in to run for Lee, Y.

  13. knucklehead7

    Anyway, since you guys are watching, how is the turnout for tonight’s game? Being in the US, I was just wondering…

    Hard to tell about the actual amount of fans, but the crowd is really into the game.

  14. Gwynar

    uh-oh… Murata is grabbing at his right leg. Could be a hammy injury.

    He’s being helped off the field. Doesn’t seem like he can put any weight on that root.

    Kamei comes in to run for Murata.

  15. Gwynar

    Ichiro up to bat with runners on first and third with 2 outs.

    UPDATE: Ichiro flies out to right with runners on second and third. Inning over.

  16. Gwynar

    Komatsu walks Dae Ho Lee to start the inning. Japan has been giving up way too many of these kinds of walks to Korea.

  17. knucklehead7
    Originally Posted by Gwynar;bt2798

    Is it just me, or does the crowd seem louder?

    They seem really into to me.


  18. Gwynar

    Update on Murata (from TV): looks like he’s currently in the trainer’s room getting his leg iced. As of now, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be going to the hospital to get it checked out.

  19. Gwynar

    I wonder what the TV ratings in Japan are going to be like for this game. It’s an national holiday and it’s a day game so the ratings could end up fairly high.

  20. Gwynar

    Nice 9-pitch walk for Kataoka. He tried to bunt the runner over but failed in his first 2 tries. Down 0-2, he managed to eek out the walk.

  21. Gwynar

    Japan not scoring in their half of the seventh looms really large right now. They had the perfect chance after getting the first two batters of the inning on.

    Pitching change: Tanaka out, Yamaguchi in.

    UPDATE 1: Man, Choo’s bat really shattered there. Double play to erase the runner at first.

    Pitching change: Yamaguchi out, Wakui in.

  22. Gwynar

    Pinch hitter for Japan: Inaba in for Johjima.

    Seems like Ogasawara is also getting ready in the dugout as well.

    UPDATE 1: Nice hit by Inaba there. Aoki to third. No out.

    Pinch hitter for Japan: Ogasawara in for Uchikawa.

    Pitching change for Korea: Seung Hwan Oh out, Kwang-Hyun Kim in.

    Ogasawara with a single to give Japan a 3-2 lead! Runners on first and second, no out.

    Nice bunt by Kamei to move the runners up.

    Iwamura hits a single back up the middle to score Inaba from third. The CF bobbled the ball allowing Ogasawara to score.

    Pitching change for Korea: Kwang-Hyun Kim out, Tae Hoon Im in.

  23. knucklehead7

    Iwamura comes through with a single that plates two more runs. 5-2 Japan with only one out still.

  24. Gwynar

    Update on Yong-Kyu Lee: Sounds like he’s alright. And I think they said that he rejoined the team in the dugout.

  25. Gwynar

    Ichiro leads off the ninth with a double.

    UPDATE 1: Nakajima bunts Ichiro over to third.

    UPDATE 2: Aoki singles Ichiro home. Japan now leads 6-2.

    UPDATE 3: Inaba follows with a double to right. Runners on second and third with 1 out.

  26. Gwynar

    Update on Murata: sounds like he left the ball park during / after the eighth to go to the hospital.

    Hiroshima’s Kenta Kurihara appears to be heading to the US as his replacement.

  27. knucklehead7

    Nice game for Japan. This sets up Korea to play Venezuela on Saturday, and Japan to play the United States on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it.

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