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WBC Game Chat: Korea vs. Japan, 7 pm PT
2006-03-15 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Live from Angel Stadium! This game is scheduled to be shown live on ESPN Deportes and will appear on ESPN2 at 11 pm PT.

One and possibly two spots in the semifinals will be settled tonight in this rematch of a first round game that Korea won 3-2 in the Tokyo Dome.

Korea's starting pitcher will likely be Chan Ho Park, who has three saves in the tournament. He may not pitch much to stay ready for the semis. Sidearmer/submariner Shunsuke Watanabe will start for Japan.

The Koreans have yet to lose in the tournament, winning their first five games, including a surprising 7-3 win over the USA on Monday. Japan recovered from a disappointing and controversial loss to the USA on Sunday 4-3 to beat Mexico 6-1.

Here are the scenarios:
If Korea wins, it goes on to the semifinals and:
1) The USA advances to the semifinals with a win over Mexico Thursday
2) Japan advances if Mexico beats the USA and the USA allows more than one run to Mexico in a nine-inning game.
3) There seems to be a scenario where Mexico can win if they hold the U.S. scoreless for 13 innings, although that math seems to not add up.
If Japan wins:
1) The USA advances to the semis if it beats Mexico AND if Japan scores more than six or seven runs (your tiebreaker numbers may vary, actual tiebreaker numbers may not match actual performance) against Korea. Japan and the USA would be semifinalists.
2) Korea and Japan both advance to the semifinals if Japan wins by scoring seven runs or fewer. The USA-Mexico game would be just for show.

The whole problem about relying on Japan to score a lot of runs is that Korea has given up 7 runs in five games so far. And both teams are likely to rely on one-run strategies such as sacrifices and stolen bases. Japan had three sacrifices against Mexico and leads the WBC in stolen bases with 10.

Korea's recipe for victory has been, get a guy on base for Seong-Yeop Lee, wait for a homer and then pitch well and catch every batted ball. Japan's hitting has come and gone at times and its defense appears a little shakier than Korea's. However, the game is filled with emotion, so the outcome is hard to predict.

I will be at that game, so I hope everybody enjoys the game! I hope to have a full report for you Thursday or Friday with some photos. Most likely I will just be heading to bed once I get home tonight.

Comments (78)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-15 18:17:47
1.   grandcosmo
The reliance on tiebreakers is really a huge flaw in this tournament.
2006-03-15 18:24:33
2.   D4P
Choi is in the starting lineup, sandwiched by 3 Lee's ahead and 2 Lee's behind.
2006-03-15 18:37:44
3.   Garnered
Let the Chan Ho Park revival tour roll on!
2006-03-15 19:04:44
4.   Aug C
would you suggest more games to break ties in pool play?
2006-03-15 19:07:40
5.   Strike4
I see Game Day lists the location as Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Did the city blow that lease so bad they can't even go back to calling it Anaheim Stadium?
2006-03-15 19:08:54
6.   Sam DC
What, no wifi liveblogging?
2006-03-15 19:09:55
7.   Garnered
Watanabe was the starter in Korea-Japan round one as well. Is anybody else a bit dismayed at the strong possibility these two teams could play each other three times out of a possible eight games?
2006-03-15 19:14:48
8.   mikesamuel
I think that the U.S. can give up two runs if they lose as long as it is in extra innings.
2006-03-15 19:15:12
9.   Garnered
Seung-yeop Lee is having a Tuffy Rhodes like spring. He may end up getting the Bonds treatment before it's all said and done.
2006-03-15 19:15:24
10.   kngoworld
Nice at bat for Seung-Yeop Lee.
2006-03-15 19:16:51
11.   Sam DC
I'm a little surprised to find ESPN2 occupied by College Softball (Bruins v. Michigan, Bruins up 2-1 in the fourth), although my cable guide explains that this is a rematch of last year's College Softball World Series, so that sort of explains it.
2006-03-15 19:19:38
12.   Garnered
This is the matchup (Park vs. Ichiro) that really get's the nationalists of both sides over here all in a sweat.
2006-03-15 19:21:29
13.   kngoworld
Well Ichiro wins round one tonight.
2006-03-15 19:28:23
14.   Sam DC
My new favorite player -- Bum Ho Lee -- with the touch!
2006-03-15 19:34:12
15.   kngoworld
This has probably been discussed before, so I am sorry for asking, but how is it decided which team will bat first?
2006-03-15 19:46:01
16.   Aug C
Shades of Raul in right...
2006-03-15 19:47:58
17.   kngoworld
Great Play!
2006-03-15 19:56:18
18.   Garnered
round two goes to Chan Ho!
2006-03-15 20:03:33
19.   D4P
Choi fouled out to 3B in his second AB. Hee doesn't seem nearly as patient at the plate as Hee used to be...
2006-03-15 20:08:25
20.   Garnered
shaking head
2006-03-15 20:09:54
21.   Garnered
Looks like the other side is set with a Cuba win.
2006-03-15 20:16:19
22.   letitrain
whats the score guys? and what channel?
2006-03-15 20:19:26
23.   kngoworld
0 - 0, I dont know channel, watching the gamecast
2006-03-15 20:19:35
24.   Ken Arneson
0-0 here in the fifth. As for the channel, read the first sentence above.
2006-03-15 20:19:46
25.   kngoworld
Top of the fifth
2006-03-15 20:20:16
26.   hokie316
mid 5th 0-0...

ESPN Deportes, I think. Or MLB.TV.

2006-03-15 20:21:47
27.   letitrain
thanks guys! i appreciate it
2006-03-15 20:22:19
28.   Garnered
anybody else see the "Korea hit Homer" sign? Brilliant!
2006-03-15 20:31:52
29.   Sam DC
4-4 9th inning in the Bruins/Wolverines softball game on ESPN2 (in place of this game, it goes without saying) (or well, I said it, but you get my point).
2006-03-15 20:37:22
30.   Sam DC
How did Japan's third baseman injure his league on a fly to right?
2006-03-15 20:37:46
31.   Garnered
As an Astros fan I've seen way too many of these type of games the last few seasons...
2006-03-15 20:38:33
32.   Sam DC
uh oh, baserunner for japan.
2006-03-15 20:39:24
33.   De Ruijter

I wondered that too, then I noticed that his replacement already had an at-bat. In the second, Iwamura was thrown out at home, and in the top of the third, he was replaced by Imae. Apparently, gameday decided to give an injury update.

2006-03-15 20:47:11
34.   Garnered
My girlfriend (she's Korean) is constantly telling me how "hot" Byung-hyun Kim is, so I tell her I think he's gay. Is that wrong?
2006-03-15 20:47:35
35.   Barkin
Was Kinjoh intentionally walked, or was BK Kim just really missing?

Either way, nice job getting Matsunaka to ground out. Now lets get some runs?

2006-03-15 20:54:30
36.   Sam DC
Bum Ho Lee up with a runner on second!
2006-03-15 20:56:13
37.   Sam DC
36 nope.
2006-03-15 20:59:30
38.   Garnered
Bum Ho Lee's been lifted
2006-03-15 21:02:54
39.   das411
34 - LOL

28 - No, I suspect most of us did not see it because ESPN hates their audience, grr...

2006-03-15 21:12:11
40.   Garnered
I wish someone from ESPN could explain to me how it's not in their best interest to make these games as widely available as possible. You can read more about the upcoming NFL draft on their website than you can about this tournament. I understand the NFL pays the bills, but
2006-03-15 21:12:34
41.   Garnered
woah! Big break here!
2006-03-15 21:17:32
42.   Sam DC
what was the break?
2006-03-15 21:18:23
43.   Garnered
Koreans on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Jeong Bum Lee at the plate with Seung Yeop Lee in the hole!
2006-03-15 21:19:39
44.   Garnered
er...on deck--Jeong Bum Lee double scores the two runs!!!! He's thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple
2006-03-15 21:26:03
45.   Garnered
Dae-seong Koo coming in to relieve BK Kim. They call Koo "Japan Killer" over here. Apparently he's been nigh-on unhittable against them in the last decade of their international skirmishes.
2006-03-15 21:26:40
46.   das411
Aw, and Sam breaks up Garnered's attempt at the cycle too!

40 - Seriously, do they really think that softball game would have drawn better ratings than the WBC?

2006-03-15 21:35:39
47.   Garnered
Glad to see it Sam--I was about to go on a Jimmy Rollins style streak there if someone didn't come in to stop it. 3 outs away from a giant (some might say undeserved)second chance for the USA...
2006-03-15 21:38:45
48.   Garnered
oh my how do you delete previous posts???
2006-03-15 21:38:56
49.   De Ruijter
Wow. If only Korea had Chan Ho Park avaliable to close out this game.
2006-03-15 21:39:49
50.   Sam DC
Hmmm . . . well, the scenario where Japan scores 7 is now not possible (well, quite unlikely, I guess).
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-15 21:41:29
51.   Sam DC
One down!
2006-03-15 21:45:25
52.   Sam DC
SO, will they bunt this go over with their #5 hitter?
2006-03-15 21:45:53
53.   Sam DC
er, pinch hitter . . .
2006-03-15 21:48:06
54.   Kayaker7
Maybe he's a pinch bunter?
2006-03-15 21:49:31
55.   Garnered
They keep showing Ichiro in the dugout--he looks like he'll swallow his tongue if Japan loses...
2006-03-15 21:51:39
56.   ziggy
what;s the score?
2006-03-15 21:52:02
57.   Garnered
sam-jin!!! on more out to go...
2006-03-15 21:52:11
58.   Garnered
2006-03-15 21:52:35
59.   Sam DC
2-1 PRK over JPN, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth, runner on first.
2006-03-15 21:52:51
60.   Barkin
2-1 Korea. 2 outs, bottom of the ninth, Japan has the tieing run at 1st.
2006-03-15 21:53:30
61.   Barkin
2006-03-15 21:53:41
62.   Sam DC
down to the last strike.

(and its ROK, nor PRK, D'oh)

2006-03-15 21:53:44
63.   das411
Does Hitoshi Tamura have any Mookie Wilson in him??
2006-03-15 21:53:48
64.   Kayaker7
59 You mean ROK. PRK sounds a lot like DPRK--Democratic People's Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea. :)
2006-03-15 21:54:36
65.   Barkin
got him swinging!!! USA is still alive!!
2006-03-15 21:55:29
66.   ziggy
eek. 2-1?! yeah, def not DPRK
2006-03-15 21:56:41
67.   Sam DC
64, 66 -- see 62, not trying to subvert anyone here, just hurrying.

Great game; can't wait to hear from Bob.


2006-03-15 21:57:32
68.   ziggy
it's over! yay!!!
2006-03-15 21:58:18
69.   Garnered
Man that was awesome! This team was tailor made for a park like Petco too! later all...
2006-03-15 21:59:47
70.   De Ruijter
What a finish. With the Casey at the Bat final swing, the Korean celebration, and Ichiro (apparently) cursing in the dugout, this game sure lived up to my expectations.
2006-03-15 22:14:31
71.   Howdy
Good game.

Suck it up Itchy-san. I wonder what he`ll be eating after the game.

A rather arrogant dude.

2006-03-15 22:17:40
72.   das411
It's amazing how well baseball always sells itself once all of the background noise is tuned out...
2006-03-15 22:35:26
73.   tmurase
A great game! USA lives! No complicated tiebreakers necessary! Guys who make more than the GDP of small nations will be at Petco!

The stadium was like 99.999999% Korean, especially if you count the Americans rooting for Korea. They were enthusiastic, but they seemed to know little about baseball. Maybe they'll start learning now. Or not, since the vast majority of them were basically there to root for Korea and against archenemy Japan. Japan and Korea could've been playing shuffleboard or curling, and you'd see the same dynamic play out.

2006-03-15 22:48:39
74.   tmurase
73 Aw, crap. We have that game vs Mexico, don't we?
2006-03-15 23:06:52
75.   Linkmeister
Here's an explanation for why so relatively few games have been televised.

Interviews with ESPN explain that Deportes got rights to all of the games, but that ESPN and ESPN2 already had schedules set in quick-drying cement by the time the WBC was looking for TV time.

C'mon, Bob! Get home and tell us about it already!

2006-03-15 23:14:52
76.   das411
Argh, and I want to tape this game but whoever's programming at ESPN2 is indulging their Andy Roddick man-crush, hmph!
2006-03-15 23:29:40
77.   coachjpark
Seriously. Can't a Korean just watch some Korea-Japan action on ESPN? Delayed or otherwise????
2006-03-16 00:14:45
78.   Bob Timmermann
Dae han min gok!

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