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WBC: Japan vs. Korea, Take 5

by on Mar.23, 2009 @ 2:27 pm, under WBC

Japan is set to face Korea for the fifth time in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. After having seen each of the first four match-ups, I'd be lying if I said I was really looking for to this fifth (and final) game, even though there is a Championship Trophy riding on the results this time around.

I'm also not quite sure how much more I can write about these two teams without repeating myself ad nauseum, so I'll try to keep this short.

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There's so much emotional and mental baggage involved in these games that the team that scores first usually gains the upper-hand.

In three of the four prior match-ups, the team that has scored first has gone on to win the game.

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Japan needs to take a breath and try to relax on the field. They did a better job of that during the fourth match-up, but there were still times when they looked uptight and uncomfortable.

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The biggest thing missing from Japan's game when they play Korea has been timely hitting.

In the two games Japan has lost, they have outhit Korea 13 to 8.

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Japan give up way too many walks to Korea.

In 33 innings of work, Japan has given up 19 walks.

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Tonight's starter for Korea, Jung Keun Bong, has been VERY effective against Japan.

2 G, 2 GS, 10.2 IP, 40 BF, 6 H, 3 BB, 21 GO, 8 FO, 1 R, 1 ER

Hisashi Iwakuma, Japan's starter, did fairly well against Korea during his start on the 17th.

1 G, 1 GS, 5.1 IP, 18 BF, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 GO, 2 FO, 1 R, 1 ER

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Japan really needs to go deeper into the count. It's one of the things that really drove me nuts when they faced Bong (and Korea in general).

Of the 40 Japanese batters Bong has faced, 13 saw 2 or fewer pitches. Here are their resulting at bats:

While taking more pitches doesn't guarantee better results, it does mean that the pitcher is forced to throw more pitches. And the more pitches a pitcher throws, the more likely he'll make a mistake.

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Japan needs to continue being aggressive on the base paths. Being aggressive means the defense will need to be on their toes and the pitcher will be distracted. It's just another way to gain control of the game.

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Munenori Kawasaki.

Kawasaki could actually hold the key for Japan. His aggressive style of play and do-or-die attitude could be just what the team needs in the starting line-up.

3 comments on “WBC: Japan vs. Korea, Take 5

  1. reds1

    I’m just curious: how is this different from a 5 or 7-game series where the same two teams meet each other in a short timespan? Is it more of a ‘Japan-Korea’ dynamic or just fatigue in general from seeing the same two teams go at it in a short period of time?

  2. knucklehead7

    It’s an odd breakdown of games for both teams. After tonight, Japan will have played Korea five times, Cuba twice, China once, and the US once. And Korea will have played Japan five times, Mexico once, Chinese Taipei once, China once, and Venezuela once.

    What highlights it even more is that two of the games were solely for seeding purposes. I think a potential fix is to have teams from the same first round pool go to different pools in the second round. That would have eliminated two of the games.

  3. Gwynar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by reds1;bt2919

    I’m just curious: how is this different from a 5 or 7-game series where the same two teams meet each other in a short timespan? Is it more of a ‘Japan-Korea’ dynamic or just fatigue in general from seeing the same two teams go at it in a short period of time?

    That’s just it, this isn’t a 5 or 7 game series. If it were, I wouldn’t have a problem with 2 teams meeting so many times.

    I think Mike more or less covered it in his comment.

    That said, I do think that a "Japan-Korea" dynamic also exists — because this is such a bi rivalry, it seem like every game is the "final" game. And the media takes that aspect and runs away with it, sensationalizing every little angle that it can.

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