Archive > 21 August 2008

Korea 6, Japan 2

» 21 August 2008 » In npb » 2 Comments

No gold medal for Japan in baseball — the Olympic team took a 2-1 lead into the 7th, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Kyuji Fujikawa took the mound in the 7th and gave up a run on a walk and two hits to allow Korea to tie the game. Then Hitoki Iwase got the call to start the 8th and promptly gave up a single. Manager Hoshino visited Iwase after the hit, but left him in the game only to watch him give up a 2-run homer to Yomiuri Giants slugger Seung-Yeop Lee. Iwase had to give up another hit before finally being replaced with Hideaki Wakui, who gave up a couple of run-scoring doubles to make the score 6-2.

Japan went down quietly in the 9th, ending their shot at the gold. I didn’t get to watch the game, I just followed in on Yahoo Live, so I could only read what was going on. I found it strange that Hoshino used five pitchers in an 8 inning game, pulling starter Toshiya Sugiuchi for Kenshin Kawakami after Sugiuchi give up a run in the 4th inning. And I don’t understand why he went to Iwase again despite his recent struggles.

Congratulations to the Korean team – they beat every team in the tournament and deserve their chance at the gold medal.

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Olympic League Play Recap

» 21 August 2008 » In npb » Comments Off

Well, Japan squeaked into the medal round of the Olympics with a 4-3 record in group play. Japan is the 4th seed and draws top-ranked Korea in the opening game of the medal round.

Japan blew out Taiwan, the Netherlands and China, edged Canada, and lost to Cuba, Korea, and the United States. Japan beat the teams it needed to beat, and lost to the stronger competitors. The lose to Cuba was the only game that Japan didn’t have a chance to win, mostly due to Yu Darvish’s disappointing performance (5 earned runs, 12 baserunners in 4 IP).

The losses to Korea and the USA were closer — both games were tied until the late innings. Japan had Korea tied 2-2 going into the 9th, but Chunichi closer Hitoki Iwase gave up 3 runs in 1 1/3 IP to take the loss. Simon from jhockey does a much better job breaking down the game than I could possibly do here.

Japan and the US took a scoreless tie into the 11th, when the lottery tie-breaker rule kicked in. Japan left Iwase on the hill for a second inning and he gave up 4 runs. Japan responded with 2 in the bottom of the inning but that obviously wasn’t enough to win. I’ll have to admit that I didn’t see Iwase pitch in the Olympics, so I don’t know what kind of impression he’ll have made on the many scouts present.

I’m a little disappointed to see Japan and Korea play in the first game of the medal round. I don’t really want to see either of these teams go home without a medal, but one of them will (what was I thinking — the loser will have a shot at the bronze). A Japan-Korea gold medal game would have been phenomenal but that isn’t going to happen.

I’ll close out this post with some random Olympic-related notes and articles I’ve picked up over the last week. These links are all to Japanese articles:

And finally, John Donovan shares his picks for Japan’s “Dream Team” simply by adding Japanese Major Leagurs to the existing Olympic roster.

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