Japan v Korea! (Olympic Baseball)
Posted by simon c on 2008 August 16日 Saturday
Yesterday’s games featured 2 games decided using the new fairy dust extra innings rule in the early games, and the 2 late games were both shutouts. Get the gory details from EWC for the new superball extra innings that led to Chinese victory over Taiwan and Cuba’s win over the US, and also for Korea and Japan shutting out Canada and the Netherlands, respectively.
China’s victory over Taiwan was huge (possibly) for Chinese baseball. But this was engineered through having Taiwan play the night before against Japan after a rain delay at 8pm, while the China-Korea game was suspended because of the same rain, then the fatigued Taiwanese had to play the Chinese at 10am the next morning. Coincidence? Likely not.
US is put in a tough spot with a 1-2 record, but their 2 losses are against the only undefeated teams in the tournament, Cuba and Korea.
Though, the Korean lineup seems to definitely lack punch, as they were unable to score a run against China, of all teams, in 5 innings before the game was suspended scoreless. Then the lone run against Canada came on a homerun against a pitcher (Mike Johnson) who was below average when he did play in the majors, and that was 7 years ago!
But Japan, in a seemingly stupid move by stubborn manager Senichi Hoshino (whose knowledge of PL baseball is often put into question), used their best pitcher Toshiya Sugiuchi against an easy opponent in the Dutch (though this does put Sugiuchi on schedule for the final round robin game against the States), and Kenshin Kawakami closed out the game, so the starter of the Korea game is the only unused pitcher in this tournament, Tsuyoshi Wada, who has been very effective the past 3 years, but is having a subpar season by his standards (3.78 ERA, 83/29 K/BB). But seeing how ineffective ace Darvish was against Cuba (though they were very patient), and Wakui succeeding against Taiwan (whose squad may be weaker than usual), who knows how Wada will perform tonight, we may see Hoshino magic(!) after all.
Canada’s fought valiantly against both the Cubans and the Koreans, losing both games by the smallest margin of 1 run. But they were clearly the inferior team. So, Canada, along with fellow 1-2 record holders Taiwan appear to be out of the running for the medal rounds. The US also has a 1-2 record but they’ll be facing relatively weaker opposition from here on in.
Standings after day 3 (Korea-China game is suspended and will resume play on the 17th):
Games today (day 4):