...Shuichi Murata suffered a serious injury in the 4th when he pulled up and grabbed at his right leg while running to first. The exact severity is still unknown, but it was enough for Hara to call for a replacement.
Said Hara, "It's a serious injury. He definitely won't be able to play through it, so we've call on for [Kenta] Kurihara to join us in LA."
...When Kenji Johjima asked Munenori Kawasaki whether or not he was in the starting line-up against Cuba, Kawasaki quickly replied:
"Nope. I'm on the starting bench!"
...Norichika Aoki became the first Japanese player to collect 4 hits in a WBC game when he went 4-for-5 against Cuba.
One of the reasons cited: timing of the off-day. The winner of the first game of the Semifinals gets an off-day prior to the Finals game while the winner of the second game of the Semifinals gets their off-day before their Semifinals match-up.
...Japan will enter the semifinal round with the best ERA out of the four teams that have made it.
- Japan - 1.20 (WHIP 0.95)
- Korea - 3.05 (WHIP 1.25)
- Venezuela - 3.46 (WHIP 1.46)
- United States 6.18 (WHIP 1.73)
...As of this moment, it would appear as though Daisuke Matsuzaka will get the start against the US. If Japan advances to the finals, Yu Darvish will most likely get the call to start that game. (Various sources including TV and online articles.)
...The fans at Jingu Stadium, watching the Swallows play the Lions in an exhibition game yesterday, started to cheer out for Aoki when results of the Japan / Cuba were posted on the scoreboard.
...Two movie theaters in Tokyo and Osaka broadcasted the Japan / Cuba game on their screens yesterday. In Shinjuku, Tokyo at the Shinjuku Wald 9, some 40 people gathered to watch the game. And about 30 fans gathered at the at the Umeda Burg 7 in Kitaku, Osaka.
Seems like one of these theaters also attracted about 130 fans for the third Japan / Korea game.
...Some more Ichiro comments from yesterday (after the Japan / Cuba game):
On being one of the four teams remaining...
"The game was going to decide where we'd be heading: heaven or hell. I'm glad we went up [to heaven]."
On feeling isolated during the slump...
"Everyone was really working hard. But I had a lot of support from my teammates, just take a look at how things turned out tonight. Every time my eyes met the manager's, it pained me."
On Aoki's performance...
"I'm really grateful for his support. I was the one killing the rallies and that could have easily spread down the line-up, meaning an early ticket back to Seattle... It's just great what my teammates were able to do. It re-affirmed the importance of my contribution to this team through hits and runs."