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WBC: Japan at Korea – Game day – Japan beats Korea in 10, 5-2

by on Mar.23, 2009 @ 8:43 pm, under WBC

Starting pitchers:

Hisashi Iwakuma
1-1, 3 G, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 R, 4 BB, 9 SO, 0.73 ERA, 0.97 WHIP

Jung Keun Bong
2-0, 3 G, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 0.66 ERA, 0.80 WHIP

Early reports indicate that Johjima will be hitting clean-up and that both Kurihara and Kataoka will be in the starting line-up (Hara is loading up the line-up with righties).

Starting line-ups:

JAPAN            KOREA
RF Suzuki        CF Lee, Y
SS Nakajima      DH Lee, Jin
CF Aoki          LF Kim, H
C  Johjima       1B Kim, T
1B Ogasawara     RF Choo
LF Uchikawa      3B Lee, B
DH Kurihara      2B Ko
2B Iwamura       C  Park, Ky
3B Kataoka       SS Park, Ki

SP Iwakuma       SP Bong

For those wondering, this article mentions that Darvish could be available to pitch in relief again tonight against Korea.

Here are his exact comments from the article:

"I threw that last pitch with all my might so I'm not sure how my shoulder will feel tomorrow, but I intend on being ready if needed."

Umpires: HP: Derryl Cousins. 1B: Carlos Rey. 2B: Ron Kulpa. 3B Willie Rodriguez. LF: Paul Emmel. RF: Paul Hyham.

Weather: 70 degress, clear.
Wind: 10 mph, Out of CF.


Top of the First
Decent inning there for Japan. They made Bong throw 28 pitches (15 strikes) that inning. Johjima had a really nice 9-pitch at bat -- he was down 0-2 and managed to fight his way back to get a walk.

I'm not really sure how I feel about bunting Nakajima so early in the game.

Bong also seemed to be struggling with his command a bit, like having a hard time getting his curve over for a strike.

Bottom of the First
Nice first inning for Iwakuma: a strike out and 2 ground ball outs.

10 pitches (6 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Second
Japan threatened again, getting two runners on after 2 out. Ichiro ended the inning with a ground out to first.

With the 23 pitches (13 strikes) Bong threw that inning, he's now sitting on 51 (28 strikes) for the game.

Bottom of the Second
1-2-3 inning for Iwakuma. Foul out, strike out, and a ground out to second. So far so good for Iwakuma.

13 pitches (7 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Third
Tough inning offensively for Japan. They did manage to score the first run of the game, but they ruined a great chance to put a couple more runs on the board when Kurihara grounded into a double play. This is where you begin to wonder how things would have turned out had Murata not gotten injured.

Japan did make Bong throw more pitches that inning -- 74 pitches (46 strikes) overall.

Bottom of the Third
Iwakuma continues to pitch well -- he's on a really nice pace right now. Pop out to first, strike out looking, and a ground out to second.

7 pitches (5 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Fourth
First 1-2-3 inning for Bong. He only needed 8 pitches (5 strikes) for that inning. He's now sitting at 82 pitches (51 strikes) for the game.

Bottom of the Fourth
Iwakuma had a bit of a problem in the fourth in his last start against Korea (he held Korea hitless through 4 innings in that game as well) and he almost ran into some problems again here after getting the first two outs of the inning.

But he got out of the inning on a LONG fly ball to right.

17 pitches (10 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Fifth
Another inning where Japan should have been able to score at least 1 more run. Instead Johjima strikes out for the first out and a strike 'em out (Ogasawara), throw 'em out (Aoki) double play for the final 2 outs of the inning.

Jong really did a great job in relief there for Korea.

Bottom of the Fifth
Iwakuma gave up a lead-off gaming-tying homer to Choo, but bore down and got the next three outs (including a great play Uchikawa made for the second out).

Incidentally, Iwakuma only has 5 ground ball outs and 4 fly ball outs in the game so far. Based on these two numbers alone, Iwakuma isn't really having a very effective game.

13 pitches (8 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Sixth
1-2-3 inning for Jong -- Japan is having hard time catching up to his fastball. Jong now has 3 strike outs over 2 inning of work.

Bottom of the Sixth
A bit of a scary inning there for Japan. Walks have come back to haunt Japan a number of different times and Iwakuma walked Lee, Y after getting the first out of the inning -- he's probably the last batter you really want to walk.

Fortunately for Japan, they managed a strike 'em out (Lee, Jin), throw 'em out (Lee, Y) double play to end the inning.

14 pitches (6 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Seventh
Another bad inning for Japan's offense. They did manage to score a run, but they really should have been able to score at least one more run. Instead, Johjima hits into a double play to end the inning.

Bottom of the Seventh
1-2-3 inning for Iwakuma, but all three outs came on fly balls.

10 pitches (6 strikes) that inning.

Top of the Eighth
Iwamura comes through with a really big sac fly to give Japan another run.

Now the question is, who pitches the 8th and 9th for Japan?

Bottom of the Eighth
For some reason, Hara trotted Iwakuma out against for the eighth. Why he did, I have no idea. If that weren't enough, he left him in even after giving up a lead-off double.

They bunt in the first inning to try and get a run and yet they don't take a pitcher out to protect a 2-run lead in the 8th. Makes no sense.

And not only did Japan give up a crucial run, Korea gets to send up their 2, 3, and 4 batters to plate in the bottom of the 9th.

Iwakuma's final line:
7.1 IP, 27 BF, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 SO, 7 GO, 8 FO, 96 pitches (54 strikes)

Top of the Ninth
Japan had another good chance to tack on a run (runners on first and second with 1 out), but failed. This is why giving up that second run in the 8th is big.

Bottom of the Ninth
It looked like Sugiuchi would start the ninth, but after Korea announced a pinch hitter, Hara made the move to bring in Darvish.

Sugiuchi's final line:
0.1 IP, 1 BF, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 GO, 1 FO, 5 pitches (2 strikes)

Darvish quickly got the first out, but then walked the next two batters. He struck out Choo for the second out, but then gave up a game-tying single to Bum Ho Lee. Darvish struck out Ko to end the inning.

Top of the Tenth
Just as Hara suffered from a brain fart in leaving Iwakuma in, seems like Korea also suffered a bit of a brain fart in the top of the 10th by pitching to Ichiro. They probably felt they could get him out based on how they've pitched to him in the past 4 games, but this isn't the same Ichiro they faced in those 4 games.

Bottom of the Tenth
Darvish walked the lead-off batter but bore down after that and got Choi to strike out swinging, Lee to fly out to center, and Jeong to strike out to end the game.

Darvish's final line:
2.0 IP, 10 BF, 1 H, 3 BB, 5 SO, 0 GO, 1 FO, 41 pitches (25 strikes)

102 comments on “WBC: Japan at Korea – Game day – Japan beats Korea in 10, 5-2

  1. Gwynar

    And Ichiro leads off with a single.

    UPDATE 1: Nakajima bunts Ichiro over to second. Seems a bit early to be bunting. And I’m not sure why they didn’t try to have Ichiro steal second first. I think this play shows just how important Japan thinks of scoring the first run of the game and how much respect they have for Bong.

  2. knucklehead7

    On the ESPN broadcast they were talking about Cousins’ tight strike zone during the top of the first when Bong didn’t seem to like a few of the calls.

  3. knucklehead7

    Japan had a shot there with Ichiro up and two men on, but he grounded out to end the inning.

  4. knucklehead7

    From the look and sound of watching on television, the atmosphere at the the game seems very good.

  5. Gwynar

    Nakajima legs out an infield single to start the third.

    UPDATE 1: Aoki gets on with an error by the second baseman. Runners on first and second, no out.

    UPDATE 2: Two failed bunts for Johjima and then he hits into a force. Runners on first and third with 1 out.

    UPDATE 3: Ogaswara pulls one through the hole between first and second for a single, Nakajima scores. Japan up, 1-0. Runners on first and second, 1 out.

    UPDATE 4: Uchikawa singles to right, bases loaded, 1 out.

  6. knucklehead7

    5-4-3 double play to end the inning. It could have been a lot worse there for Bong and Korea.

  7. Gwynar

    That inning could come back to haunt Japan later. It’s also why I would have rather had Kawasaki in the starting order.

  8. Gwynar

    That strike out pitch to Park seemed low. Looks like Iwakuma’s getting some calls to go his way.

  9. knucklehead7

    1-2-3 inning for Iwakuma. I don’t think Park liked that called third strike for out number two.

  10. knucklehead7

    Kim gets the first hit of the game for Korea with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

  11. Gwynar

    Kim H. breaks up the no hitter. Looks like that pitch got away from Iwakuma a bit (according to a Japanese pitch-by-pitch report, it was forkball that I guess didn’t break).

    UPDATE 1: that last fly ball out traveled quite a bit.

  12. knucklehead7
    Originally Posted by Gwynar;bt2937

    Does Cousins always have such a friendly low-pitch zone?

    FWIW, the Hardball Times ran this article back in the fall of 2007 which had him rated as the 10th smallest low strike zone umpire.

  13. Gwynar
    Originally Posted by knucklehead7;bt2940

    FWIW, the Hardball Times ran this article back in the fall of 2007 which had him rated as the 10th smallest low strike zone.

    Thanks for the link. Wonder what’s making him call those lost pitches strikes tonight.

  14. knucklehead7

    Hit and run single by Aoki puts runners at the corners. And that’s it for Bong tonight.

  15. Gwynar

    Nice hit and run play there. Aoki poked a single through the right side.

    Runners on first and third, no out.

    UPDATE 1: Ugh… What an awful inning for Japan on offense.

  16. knucklehead7

    Ouch. Strike ’em out, throw ’em double play to end the inning with no runs scored for Japan.

  17. knucklehead7

    Wow, things changed fast. Japan wasted a great opportunity to score in the top of the inning, and then Choo hits a homerun to lead off the bottom of the inning to tie things up.

  18. Gwynar

    Failure to push runs across in the third and fifth inning loom really large for Japan right now. And with the way Jong is pitching right now…

  19. Gwynar

    Now this is what I like to see from Japan — stolen bases (Kataoka) and drop bunt infield singles (Ichiro).

    Runners on first and third, no out.

    Now Japan really NEEDS to score a run here.

    UPDATE 1: Nakajima comes through with a line single to left. Kataoka scores from third. Japan up, 2-1. Runners on first and second, no out.

  20. Gwynar

    Aoki drills one but Choo makes a great play to catch the ball up against the wall. Ichiro tags up to third. Runners on first and third, 1 out.

    UPDATE 1: Johjima wraps into a double play to end the inning.

  21. Gwynar

    Japan might want to consider taking Iwakuma out soon. His last couple of innings haven’t exactly been all that great.

  22. Gwynar

    Uchikawa gets on with a single to right. 1 out.

    UPDATE 1: Ground rule double for Inaba. Runners on second and third, 1 out.

    UPDATE 2: BIG sac fly for Iwamura. Japan up, 3-1. Inaba to third. 2 out.

  23. knucklehead7

    Ko grounds out to Nakajima for the first out. It looked like Iwakuma got away with one on that pitch that Ko popped foul.

  24. Gwynar

    Dae Ho Lee comes in to pinch hit for Park, Ky.

    Iwakuma really needs to focus on keeping his pitches down.

    UPDATE 1: Dae Ho Lee hits a sac fly to deep center, Japan now up, 3-2.

    I still have NO IDEA why Hara is letting Iwakuma pitch. Why try and stretch him out? This is the last game of the WBC.

    UPDATE 2: Iwakuma walks Park.

    Regardless of how this inning ends, Hara should have brought in a new pitcher for the 8th. There’s really no good reason for him to trot Iwakuma out there again.

  25. Gwynar

    Ichiro leads off the inning with a double.

    UPDATE 1: Nakajma lines one, but Ko makes a nice diving grab for the first out of the inning.

    UPDATE 2: Intentional walk to Aoki. Either Korea has a lot of respect for Aoki, or they feel better about pitching to Johjima and perhaps getting him to ground into a double play.

    UPDATE 3: Johjima flies out to shallow center for the second out of the inning. Runners still on first and second.

  26. Gwynar

    Darvish and Fujikawa warming in the pen.

    Sugiuchi is soft-tossing in the dugout to stay loose.

  27. Gwynar

    Sugiuchi ran out on the mound for the 9th, but Korea announced a pinch-hitter.

    Pitching change Japan: Darvish in, Sugiuchi out.

  28. Gwynar

    I get the feeling that there are more Korean fans in the stands (a lot of light blue and a louder crowd that appears to be cheering for Korea). Can any one else confirm that?

  29. knucklehead7

    Darvish strikes out the side, but the game is going into extra innings. Japan has to be kicking themselves at all the base runners that were left on throughout this game.

  30. Gwynar

    Uchikawa bloops a single to right to start the 10th.

    UPDATE 1: Inaba bunts Uchikawa over to second. 1 out.

    UPDATE 2: Iwamura serves one into left for a single. Runners on first and third, 1 out.

    UPDATE 3: Kawasaki pops out to third.

    UPDATE 4: Ichiro with a 2-run single. He goes to second on the throw hom.e

    UPDATE 5: Nakajima awarded first on an HBP.

    UPDATE 6: Intentional walk to Aoki.

    UPDATE 7: Johjima strikes out to end the inning.

  31. hydrostar

    TERRIBLE decision to pitch to Ichiro. If that’s me, I put him on first and get a righty up with a chance for an out at any base.

    Lame bravado or poor strategy- whatever that was, that should lose the game for Korea.

  32. Gwynar

    In all fairness to Korea, prior to this game, they had held Ichiro to 2 hits in his last 13 at bats. And there were a number of times in previous match-ups where they were able to get Ichiro out under similar situations.

    Unfortunately for Korea, this isn’t that Ichiro (he has only recently started heating up).

    The games not over yet though. Darvish still needs to get three outs.

  33. Unregistered

    hi Gwynar
    i have read all your summaries for major 5th season and i really like your work =)
    Thanks for the fast summaries but that is not the main reason why i write you.
    I missed the wbc finals and now i have read all this comments and there saying that this was a great game and absolutly exciting i wanted to watch this game so badly but here it was aired at 2 o´clock in the night and the day after i had to go to work so … i wasnt able to watch it TT
    I want you to ask if you recorded the game that would be so nice or anyone else who is reading this it would be so great if i could watch this game.
    Thanks in advance and thanks for your great summaries =))
    (sorry for my bad english i hope you could understand what i was trying to say)

  34. Gwynar

    Thanks for the kind words regarding my summaries.

    As for a recording of the game, I’m afraid I don’t have one since I didn’t bother to record it. Depending on where you live though, you might be able to catch a re-broadcast of the game.

  35. Unregistered

    hm thats sad but not problem thanks anyways ^__^
    i will search the internet for a re-broadcast (i live in germany do you think there will be a chance? ^^)

    p.s.: i cannot wait for the release of the summary for ep 115 =) do you have found some time for watching the stream of the ep to catch the missing scenes? =)

  36. Sasske

    No problem no problem ^___^
    there are things in life that are more important i can wait because i know your work will be great =D

    best wishes and good luck =)

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