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WBC Game Chat: USA vs. Korea, 7 pm PT
2006-03-13 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Live from Angel Stadium! ESPN says this game will be shown live in certain markets. Southern California doesn't appear to be one of them. There will be a delayed broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, but at different times. Check your local listings.

Monday's play concludes with a battle between the two unbeatens in the Anaheim Regional. And one of the is undefeated in four games. And much to everyone's surprise, it's not Team USA. It's Korea.

Korea has rode the hot bat of Seung-Yeop Lee, aka "The Lion King", aka "The People's Slugger" (see here). Korean pitchers have held their first four opponents: Taiwan, China, Japan, and Mexico to just a 1.00 ERA. But the hitters have the second lowest OPS of the eight remaining teams starting play today. All four home runs from Korea have been off the bat Seung-Yeop Lee and the last two have been game-winners. The Korean team has five players named Lee.

Team USA has a Lee of its own in Derrek Lee and he's been no slouch in the WBC either. He's hit three home runs and driven in eight. Of players who have appeared in all four games, Ken Griffey leads the team in OPS at 2.333, with the bulk of his production coming against South Africa.

Team USA needed the help of a questionable call on a potential sacrifice fly by umpire Bob Davidson to get past Japan Sunday 4-3 on a 9th inning single by Alex Rodriguez. The Americans were supposed to be rolling through the WBC with little worries, but the team has given its fans a lot of gray hairs.

Tonight's starter for Team USA, Dontrelle Willis, was awful against Canada in his team's 8-6 loss. He got knocked out early and that forced manager Buck Martinez to turn to Al Leiter in relief, who managed to be worse in a shorter period of time.

If Willis is sharp tonight and can contain "The People's Slugger" Lee (who is a lefty), then Korea may have a hard time getting any runs. Korean manager In Sik Kim is starting Min-Han Son (a pitcher who wears #1). Son pitches for the Lotte Giants in Korea. (Not to be confused with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan.) Son won his first start, but it was against China. He may find the bats of the United States a bit formidable.

A win for Team USA would be huge for them because it would put them in a position to possibly dictate their semifinal opponent in its final game against Mexico Thursday since it would know exactly what it has to do. Korea likely is not expecting much from this game and will be saving its big guns for its rematch against Japan Wednesday. Korea is banking on a 2-1 record getting them to the semifinal.

Barring ties, the teams have to finish in one of four patterns:

  • 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, 0-3
  • 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 0-3
  • 3-0, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2
  • 2-1, 2-1, 1-2, 1-2


WP -- Min-Han Son (2-0)
LP -- Dontrelle Willis (0-2)
HRs -- Seong-Yeop Lee (his 5th), Hee-Seop Choi (his 1st), Ken Griffey (his 3rd)

Willis has second straight bad outing. Lee hits his tournament-leading 5th homer and Choi adds a 3-run pinch homer in the 4th. The USA gets 15 runners on base and score just three times.

Korea is now 5-0 in the tournament and 2-0 in the Anaheim Regional. The USA is 1-1.

So ... if Mexico beats Japan Tuesday, Korea moves on to the semifinals. If Japan wins, there could be a scenario where the US-Mexico could have nothing at stake.

Comments (95)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-13 18:29:49
1.   Bob Timmermann

Wells RF
Jeter SS
Griffey CF
Rodriguez 3B
Jones DH
Varitek C
Texeira 1B
Holliday LF
Utley 2B

M Kim 2B
SY Lee 1B
Song RF
BH Lee 3B
Jin C
J Park SS

2006-03-13 19:23:10
2.   Steve
1) Why is Holliday playing?

2) Why is Vernon Wells leading off?

3) Is this game on TV?

Really only the last question needs an answer.

2006-03-13 19:24:40
3.   Bob Timmermann
The game is only going to be shown on delay unless you watch online.

The other question is why isn't Derrek Lee playing?

2006-03-13 19:27:01
4.   Bob Timmermann
Son loads 'em up, but Varitek K's with the bases loaded.
2006-03-13 19:33:05
5.   Bob Timmermann

Homer #5 for Seong Yeop Lee, the People's Slugger!

2006-03-13 19:35:02
6.   Sam DC
Another rough start for DW.
2006-03-13 19:35:45
7.   Sam DC
Meanwhile in the other game an 8-pitch walk for Cora and now PR has two on in the bottom of the seventh for I-Rod.
2006-03-13 19:36:14
8.   Bob Timmermann
15 pitches, 5 strikes to start off for Willis.
2006-03-13 19:36:20
9.   Sam DC
But Rodriguez pops out. PR still down by 2.
2006-03-13 19:37:27
10.   Bob Timmermann
You missed Alex Cintron bunting into a 2-6-5 DP earlier in the game. Truly a play to behold.
2006-03-13 19:39:12
11.   Bob Timmermann
17 pitches, 6 strikes in the first for Willis. One of the strikes being deposited into the RF bleachers.
2006-03-13 19:41:58
12.   Sam DC
10 !!
2006-03-13 19:47:23
13.   Bob Timmermann
I don't think Son has thrown a fastball yet. Or at least not a pitch that looks to be straight.
2006-03-13 20:00:35
14.   Bob Timmermann
I've seen a few fastballs from Son now. He appears to get it up to 88.
2006-03-13 20:02:32
15.   Bob Timmermann
Griffey with a solo homer to make it 2-1.
2006-03-13 20:12:18
16.   For The Turnstiles
The teams could also finish 2-1,2-1,1-2,1-2.
In fact, it looks like that's what will happen in the other bracket. I was actually thinking about this earlier today, and one interesting implication is that the first tie-breaker (head-to-head results) is never used to decide who advances - there can't be a two-way tie for second place - but it can effect the seeding.
2006-03-13 20:13:13
17.   Bob Timmermann
Bum Ho Lee with an RBI Olney.
2006-03-13 20:14:43
18.   Bob Timmermann
I'll make that change.
2006-03-13 20:17:32
19.   Bob Timmermann
Byung Doo Jun in to relieve Son in the fourth.
2006-03-13 20:27:30
20.   Sam DC
Teixeira trying that Oakland thing watches strike three (although the trick did work for those two guys ahead of him).
2006-03-13 20:27:52
21.   Bob Timmermann
Jun leaves after two walks and a K.

Byung-Hyun Kim in to pitch.

2006-03-13 20:28:45
22.   Bob Timmermann
124 pitches in the game.

Only 63 have been strikes.

2006-03-13 20:34:34
23.   Bob Timmermann
Eric Karros said he couldn't hit Kim.

He was right. He was 1 for 12 against him in his career, although the one hit was a home run.

2006-03-13 20:39:59
24.   Bob Timmermann
Dan Wheeler in to relieve Willis.
2006-03-13 20:44:01
25.   mikeplugh
Could someone reset me on where the game is now? I'm in Japan, at work, and I can't get the "Gameday" to load, plus no TV.

3-1 Korea. Bottom 4th?

2006-03-13 20:46:19
26.   D4P
Hee Seop Choi! is pinch-hitting.
2006-03-13 20:48:05
27.   D4P
2006-03-13 20:48:37
28.   xaphor
Hee Sop Choi, 3 run HR
2006-03-13 20:50:05
29.   Bob Timmermann
6-1 Korea after four after the pinch homer by Choi off of Wheeler.

Ironic comment of the night:

Eric Karros: "Choi is a good hitter. He just needs to play every day."

2006-03-13 20:51:24
30.   Steve
Dan Wheeler is the poster boy for fake middle relief
2006-03-13 20:54:39
31.   Bob Timmermann
40 batters in the game. 10 have walked and one reached on an HBP.
2006-03-13 20:58:39
32.   Sam DC
Even on gameday it looked like A-Rod was just hauling off and swinging from his ankles on that one.
2006-03-13 20:58:41
33.   Bob Timmermann
In Sik Kim wants to make the three switch hitters all bat righty and out goes Kim in favor of Koo.
2006-03-13 20:59:59
34.   Sam DC
Bum Ho Lee is a very good name, by the way, although not an obvious Olney kind of name.
2006-03-13 21:00:37
35.   Bob Timmermann
With one out in the 5th, US batters have stranded 16 runners.

The team LOB is 6.

2006-03-13 21:01:26
36.   xaphor
This Korean team is pumped up. They don't want to rely on beating Japan again, they want to book their trip south right now.
2006-03-13 21:02:33
37.   D4P
Um, either Larry Jones is really slow, or he was lolly-gagging down to 1B.
2006-03-13 21:03:58
38.   Bob Timmermann
Bum Ho Lee's first name and Jong Beom Lee's middle name are pronounced the same way I was told today. It's simply "bum". The Korean speaker told me that Koreans aren't standardized in transliterating names. That's why some guys are Hee-Seop and some are Chan Ho and others just push them all together.
2006-03-13 21:05:30
39.   Bob Timmermann
Even if Korea wins, they don't clinch a spot in the semis. If Japan beats Mexico, it's likely that game will be for the final spot.

If Korea can hold on and Mexico wins tomorrow night, then Korea is through to the semis I believe.

Please check my math.

2006-03-13 21:06:18
40.   Kayaker7
34 Not as bad as my brother's friend, Suk-hee. No wonder he prefers his baptismal name of John.
2006-03-13 21:06:19
41.   Aug C
Yup that's true, Bob. There's no pingyin like in Chinese.
2006-03-13 21:07:41
42.   Aug C
Wow I would HATE to be sitting in front of that guy with the trumpet.
2006-03-13 21:09:20
43.   schoffle
What are the tie breakers?

Oh and thanks for the updates

2006-03-13 21:09:25
44.   Bob Timmermann
This sort of reminds of watching a Royals-Yankees game. The Royals could be ahead, but you keep thinking that something bad is going to happen if you're a fan of them. Meanwhile, the Yankees fan would be really upset at how bad their team is playing.
2006-03-13 21:09:46
45.   Kayaker7
41 There are a few different standards, but no one seems to be able to agree on one. Ummm...kinda emblematic of the Korean situation...
2006-03-13 21:14:21
46.   Bob Timmermann
The first tiebreaker is head-to-head which doesn't really matter.
The second tiebreaker is runs allowed in games against teams that are tied.
The third tiebreaker is EARNED runs allowed in games against teams that are tied.
The fourth is batting average in games among teams that are tied.

If the U.S. doesn't rally, they could again be in the position to be eliminated before they play their final game of the round.

If Korea holds on. Then Japan beats Mexico. If Japan beats Mexico in a low-scoring game, it's so long USA.

2006-03-13 21:15:21
47.   Daniel Zappala
In a perfect world, we could have seen Ken Griffey Jr playing many healthy years for the Reds. I think his story is one of the great tragedies in baseball.
2006-03-13 21:17:11
48.   schoffle
"If Japan beats Mexico in a low-scoring game, it's so long USA"

Thats assuming that Japan beats Korea

2006-03-13 21:17:49
49.   Daniel Zappala
Isn't Scot Shields playing for the US? Why would they bring in Wheeler instead of Shields?
2006-03-13 21:19:04
50.   Bob Timmermann
48 -- That's what I meant, but I was typing too fast.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-13 21:19:43
51.   Steve
I think Shields pitched a couple of innings yesterday.
2006-03-13 21:22:48
52.   Kayaker7
49 Someone give Mr. Shields another "t."
2006-03-13 21:28:37
53.   D4P
Pleasant surprise: I didn't realize Choi had stayed in the game after his HR.
2006-03-13 21:30:50
54.   D4P
Then Hee swings at balls 3 and 4.
2006-03-13 21:30:58
55.   tjshere
53 Apparently the Korean manager feels that Hee's in a position to succeed.
2006-03-13 21:41:53
56.   Bob Timmermann
Since Choi is in the DH slot, he was going to stay in. I doubt there's anyone on the bench who is a better hitter. Korea is not exactly brimming with good hitters.

Yet, Korea has scored 7 times.

2006-03-13 21:48:49
57.   capdodger
54- Hee was trying to show Grittle and Flanders that Hee isn't into that oakland thing, uh, Eithier.
2006-03-13 21:50:23
58.   Bob Timmermann
Speaking of Oakland, Huston Street in to pitch the bottom of the 7th.
2006-03-13 21:51:20
59.   D4P
Yeah, but Hee made the mistake of hitting a homerun in his first AB rather than laying down a perfect sac bunt or beating out an infield dribbler by sliding head first into 1B.
2006-03-13 21:52:33
60.   Bob Timmermann
Dave O'Brien is mentioning that Korea doesn't wait around for the long ball.

Korea has scored four of its seven runs on homers tonight. Korea scored both its run on a homer Sunday. Korea beat Japan on a 2-run homer.

Of course, Korea just has two guys who could possibly hit a homer in Seong Yeop Lee and Choi.

But the Korean fielders can, as they say in the parlance, pick it.

2006-03-13 21:53:20
61.   Bob Timmermann
The US fielders, to use the parlance, suck.
2006-03-13 21:54:58
62.   D4P
Korea plays an elegant form of baseball.
2006-03-13 21:56:09
63.   Bob Timmermann
If you're following on Gameday, the description is wrong of Jin's play.

He hit a sharp ball off of Street's body. Jeter picked it up, but threw low and Texeira couldn't scoop it.

2006-03-13 21:56:41
64.   Bob Timmermann

Korea is like one really well-done math proof?

2006-03-13 21:58:00
65.   Bob Timmermann
Buck Martinez hasn't subbed any of the position players yet.

Where's Derrek Lee? What's he saving him for? Is he assuming that Mark Texeira is going to have a magic resurgence?

2006-03-13 22:02:41
66.   Bob Timmermann
Koo out after three innings giving up two hits with one walk.

Tae Hyon Chong in to relieve with Jones on first and one out with Texeira due up.

2006-03-13 22:04:48
67.   Bob Timmermann
One roster says Tae Hyon Chong and another says Tae Hyun Chong. We'll settle on Chong.
2006-03-13 22:07:55
68.   D4P
When is Choi due to hit in the 9th?
2006-03-13 22:09:09
69.   Bob Timmermann
The #9 guy made the last out in the 7th. Choi is in the #4 slot.

If Choi bats in the 9th, he would likely be leading off.

2006-03-13 22:10:48
70.   Bob Timmermann
Finally, Martinez uses a pinch-hitter and it's Randy Winn?

Go figure.

2006-03-13 22:11:49
71.   Bob Timmermann
Utley, Wells, and Jeter are scheduled for the US in the 9th.

Majewski in to relieve.

2006-03-13 22:13:07
72.   D4P
Oops. I thought it was already the 9th inning. So, it looks like Hee'll hit again in this game.
2006-03-13 22:13:44
73.   Bob Timmermann
If Hee hits in the 9th, that means the US has scored at least six times too! Korea is the home team tonight.
2006-03-13 22:15:19
74.   D4P
Geez, I'm all confused. Basehit! Let's hope no double play...
2006-03-13 22:16:17
75.   D4P
Someone in the stands has started a one-man "Hee Seop Choi" chant.
2006-03-13 22:22:33
76.   Bob Timmermann
The US team really needs Jack Bauer right now.
2006-03-13 22:23:28
77.   Bob Timmermann
If Jack Bauer had been the pitching coach, he could have come out to Willis early and say "Throw the ball over the plate or MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WILL DIE!!!"
2006-03-13 22:24:02
78.   D4P
Or Tony Wonder.
2006-03-13 22:27:18
79.   Bob Timmermann
Bong and Oh warming up for Korea with two on and one out and Griffey up.
2006-03-13 22:30:19
80.   Bob Timmermann
Griffey flares a single to center to make it 7-2 Korea. First and third with one out and Rodriguez due up.

A-Rod is 0 for 4 tonight.

2006-03-13 22:30:30
81.   D4P
Was the Korean centerfielder's arm as weak as it looked on that throw to 2nd?
2006-03-13 22:30:35
82.   Eric L
60 Even from the view level at the Big A, that shortstop from Korea looked like he was good with the leather.

To cover my behind, it was a small sample size, but I was pretty impressed. Despite what folks have said, this WBC has been pretty fun to watch.

2006-03-13 22:33:04
83.   Bob Timmermann
Rodriguez grounds out to first. Jeter scores. Griffey goes to second. 7-3 Korea with two outs and Seung Hwang Oh in to face Jones.
2006-03-13 22:34:36
84.   D4P
I'd love to hear a "Lar-ry" chant.
2006-03-13 22:35:32
85.   Bob Timmermann
You can go to BTF for your share of derogatory Chipper Jones chants.
2006-03-13 22:37:02
86.   D4P
2006-03-13 22:37:32
87.   Bob Timmermann
2006-03-13 22:42:10
88.   Steve
86 -- The Big Leagues
2006-03-13 22:43:59
89.   Cliff Corcoran
ESPN really punted the coverage of this game. They start the broadcast at 1:30am?! Just as the actual game finishes no less. Awful. The WBC has been a stunning success, far better than I think anyone has expected. Sure would be nice to be able to see the home country's games live, especially when they're played in primetime.
2006-03-13 22:47:19
90.   Sam DC
And especially since this might be the last one that mattered.
2006-03-13 22:48:03
91.   Bob Timmermann
I still think ESPN thought the US would be the top seed and wouldn't be playing today.
2006-03-13 22:54:08
92.   coachjpark
Ridiculous that ESPN is showing the game on delay...

Good thing for Yahoo! Korea. I was able to see the live feed on ESPN HDTV via Korea broadcasting.

How doubly satisfying for a Hee Seop fan/Team Korea fan... I'm wearing my Hee Seop jersey to work tomorrow...

Deh Han Min Gook! Pil-sung Korea!

2006-03-13 22:56:16
93.   Bob Timmermann
I'll have a summary of today's games after I watch "24".

I hear that millions of peoples lives are at stake!

2006-03-13 23:05:30
94.   das411
Does anyone else think Griffey should have retired after 1998? That HR was barely over the wall and his kid looks almost as old as "Junior" was back when he was the best player in the game...did anyone else see him come up in front of ARod and think "wow, is it 1996?"
2006-03-13 23:09:16
95.   Bob Timmermann
Again I ask? Where was Derrek Lee?

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