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Japan edges Mexico 6-5 to reach WBC final against U.S.By ALANIS THAMES MIAMI
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Finally Murakami got a big hit! Wow what a thriller. Ohtani and Yoshida came up big again. Tomorrow should be awesome. Hope to see Ohtani vs Trout
Yoshida is the man. That guy's been on a tear and is guaranteed to come through in the clutch. Gotta hand it to Kondo too. That pair has been guaranteed runs. Although Murakami hit the game winning hit, they need to switch someone in for him since he's constantly striking out. This was a really good game!
Mexico's closer was awful. Damn.
Great game. Come-from-behind wins are so great, especially in must-win situations.
Weren't you watching the previous game that got Japan here? Murakami got the timely hit in that one, too. It appears that he may have gotten over his WBC slump, with two timely hits in two must-win games.
The doubters are running out of “just wait until they play XYZ” excuses to put Team Japan down with.
*WHAT A GAME!!! Congratulations, Japan…; baseball is NOT boring (maybe sometimes)…; *
now I wanna watch the final but the schedule is horrendous(!), who’s the genius(?), why not play the semifinals and final during the weekend(?) (Friday night-Saturday morning or Saturday night-Sunday morning)
I know what you're saying but every other at bat he's been at for these six games have been mostly strikeouts or easy pop-ups with many of those leaving runners stranded on base. They can't afford to do this tomorrow.
What a close call! This match was unbelievable. No wonder Mexico manage to win against US in their pool match. They were insanely strong and almost make you despair with their defenses. The 9th inning was so intense. Ohtani sure knows how to fire up the crowd. Yoshida, Ohtani and Murakami truly were remarkable during this match.
Really looking forward to USA vs Japan.
And I think Japan's going to take it this time.
As an Angels fan, tomorrow's game is a win-win. Would love to see some Trout HRs, Ohtani HRs and Ohtani Ks in relief. Oh yeah, Aaron Loup can come in to for a few Ks lol
Great game! Hope it quiets the haters but I doubt it.
Not really surprising considering team Japan has the second highest number of MLB players on their team. So team USA versus USA-trained team Japan! Sasaki has a lot of power… it’d be interesting to see if he can sustain that when he transitions to the states.
That is far from the truth. Japan only has 4 MLB players on their team, 1 of whom is barely entering the MLB this coming season.
Such a shame to see Japan win and the pepper grinding nonsense.
Come on America in the next game
Most exciting game of the series, so far! The final should be amazing!
All the Japanese MLB players except Nootbar spent their early career in NPB, they weren’t trained as pros in the US.
Baseball one of those things have to sit through 3-4 hours to get that 5-10 minutes of excitement.
But totally worth it and makes plenty of time to eat and drink.
@gaijinland--Many of the J contingent in MLB are vets like Maeda who is attempting a comeback after missing a full year with Minny, Cubs Suzuki who was a WBC injury scratch, etc. Yoshida has yet to play a regular season game with Boston, yet you say his heroics today are the result of his American team training him? I would say the Kuriyama-Ohtani connection from winning a Japan Series together is a more logical reason this team is doing so well.
Welp, here we go.
US bats have to get red hot tomorrow and pike on the runs because they can't rely on their pitching because US pitching is questionable at best.
Merill Kelly anyone? Anyone ever hear of him? I have never heard of him. Welp, he's the starting pitcher tomorrow. Unbelievable.
Good luck US, you'll need it against and more well-rounded, balanced japanese team.
Nevertheless, let's go USA! Leave it all on the field!
U-S-A ! U-S-A! U-S-A!
...pile on the runs...
No. He was in a slump for the first 4 games.
But, in the 5th game against Italy, he hit two doubles, walked once, got an RBI, and scored 3 runs. Then today, in the 6th game , he doubled **again, with the winning RBI**.
He has obviously broken out of his 4 game slump. If I was the manager, I'd be leaving him in for the next game against USA.
In the previous game against Italy, he hit two doubles, one of which RBI'd. He also walked, scoring all three times he got one base.
Did you not watch that game?
What a game! The back-and-forth between two great teams. My hats off to Team Japan and Team Mexico. They provided one of the best, if not the best, and most exciting baseball games. And the energy from the crowds there. Wow! This is why the WBC is so special and needed. It is good for the game of baseball. To see players play with pride for their country.
Sensational win to Japan!
I've said all along - I cannot see any other team beating this outstanding Japan team. The skill and depth is just too strong. I stand by that. Prediction - Japan 10 - USA 5.
125 million people from Hokkaido down to Okinawa will be roaring them on all the way!
US will need a bare minimum of 10 runs to win because the US has weak pitching.
One game, but I would bet that every game, between Japan, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or Mexico, would have been the same.
The group Japan was placed in was done that way for TV ratings and money.
Interesting game tomorrow!
Great win for Japan! I'm not sure if Mexico would have gotten this far without the brawl they had with Canada... after that Mexico was on a mission. The fans have been the biggest winners, we've been treated to a lot of great ball.
On the America's side of the group play yes, I agree, but the group that played in Japan....hardly
What a see-saw game! Great entertainment.
I didn't get to see the winning runner reach the plate in real time because my wife was jumping up and down in front of the tv. All I saw was Murakami smash it to deep center.
Great game Japan beating Mexico.
The final, a full on Japanese team vs. a top end hitting, so so pitching of the USA...good closer and set up, but starters and mid inning relief could be a problem tomorrow night.
USA could have used better lefties. Merrill Kelly is like not a whole lot of great, but can be capable. I might have started lefty Kyle Freeland, but he's inconsistent with his control at times, and when he loses it, he's terrible. But a lefty vs. lefty lineup, as shown by Mexico's starter, can be problematic for Japan.
A one off game, in Miami, should even things out pretty well, and defensively, the US players know the field pretty well. There are great defensive players in Arenado, quite possibly the best defensive 3rd baseman to ever play the game, Goldschmidt at first, Betts, Trout, Turner.
No sure thing as some seem to believe here for Japan. Not at all.
Dismiss this US lineup at your own risk, it's really good. Some people seem to not even know how great a hitter Arenado and Goldschmidt are. The entire lineup is capable and just put up 14 runs vs. Cuba, so coming on strong.
Two good teams coming together. What’s not to like?
Yes, Masataka Yoshida, Shohei Ohtani and Munetaka Murakami…, what an amazing trio…(!); and then there’s Roki Sasaki…; I was reading an ESPN article about him today (calling him the best pitcher in the world and MLB’s/baseball’s next great superstar…);
(I’ll share this with my fellow jt readers)
[ Sasaki possesses two demon pitches: the fastball that still crackles with unmatched velocity and an apparition of a split-fingered fastball that renders standard bat paths worthless.
Sasaki's exploits earned him the title of kaibutsu, the Japanese word for monster, an honor reserved typically for Koshien standouts such as Daisuke Matsuzaka. At 17, Sasaki was christened kaibutsu no reiwa -- the Monster of the Reiwa era, referencing the time period under the current Japanese emperor.
On March 11, 2011, when Sasaki was 9 years old, the Tohoku earthquake struck the east coast of Japan and caused a tsunami that unleashed waves estimated as tall as 130 feet. Nearly 20,000 people died, including Sasaki's father and paternal grandparents. 3/11 is now a day of national mourning, and on that date this spring, Sasaki pitched in the WBC against the Czech Republic and seemed to be channeling something bigger, almost mystical.
"He pitched every single pitch with his soul, and his performance gave us a lot of energy," Team Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama said. "I'm not talking about his velocity. It's not talking about the speed. It's hard to explain, but to me, it's as if he is throwing his soul, not the baseball."
Through baseball, Sasaki found some semblance of solace, and it's a pursuit he continues to chase at the highest level in the country he loves enough to have passed up the opportunity to jump straight to a major league organization. That doesn't lessen his desire to do so eventually, to be like Ohtani and Darvish and Tanaka and Hideo Nomo and the other pitchers who have plied their trades in MLB. ]
"When Shohei Ohtani reached second base after hitting a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth inning, he immediately looked up at the crowd and waved his arms, in a rare sign of emotion, as if he knew what was coming next."
Garbage writing. Did he "seem to know what was coming next" when thrown out at second in the bottom of the 6th? If so, why did he even bother staying on first and just not walk back to the dugout? He clearly doesn't know what's coming next when he strikes out, or he wouldn't, right? So the whole, "as if he knew what was coming next" is such rubbish. Even as fiction it ranks at about the writing ability of an 11-year-old at best.
Anyway, it was a good game for a change, and I watched the entire second half (which is to say, from about inning five to the end). When Japan was down my co-worker, whom I was watching with, seemed really on edge and was complaining about Mexico. I said, "Look, whomever wins, at least this is a good game. Japan is the stronger team, but if Mexico stays on top and wins, it'll be great for them and sport, right?" She replied, "I don't care if it's a good game, I just want Japan to win." It's a feeling expressed by the majority of "fans" I know, and most of the media here as well. Japan is truly great at coming back in the end, as was the case here yet again. Pity for Mexico, but at least it was a good game. After Japan won, she agreed with me, of course.
Here's hoping tomorrow is a good game, too, regardless of whomever wins.
Because right now, the NCAA college basketball championship tournament March Madness is happening in the US. It's very very big, and they play Thursdays to Sundays (Monday too if ya count the women's tournament)
But on Tuesday, the WBC Final would have the spotlight to itself
The US weakness in the WBC is typically the pitching since the best American pitchers usually avoid risking injury on their arms and lose out on millions of dollars on future contracts. Injuries on batters are usually not as serious as injuries on pitchers (even Altuve's injury). Injured batters can miss weeks, but injuries on pitchers' elbows can miss months or a whole season if it's a Tommy John surgery.
"Nolan Arenado calls out baseball’s stars for skipping the WBC"
One player was doing a karate cradle hilarious!!
@Hiro I agree it was a great game Mexico's problem was there bull pen no pitching the pitchers got far into the pitch count and that put men on base which allowed the heart of Japans batting order to come up. I had predicted Japan would win this game, and on another note you wrote "****No wonder Mexico manage to win against US in their pool match". The Mexican players play major league baseball in the US so these players see each other during their season and play against one another that was not a surprise to me. What I will say is this. Yu Darvish will be the starting pitcher for Japan against the USA and these players have seen Yu many times and they are on to him. If I were Japan I would have started Sasaki because the players in the USA had not seen him and he could have at least gave them a good 5 innings before they got to the 6th inning and this is where you see batters adjusting and start hitting. Also the majority of the Japanese players have not seen the USA team players they will rely heavy on Ohtani and Nootbar for advice and what ever scouting report they have. I think Japan has a deeper bull pen and I always say pitching wins. I give the edge to Japan because the pitchers throw strikes they go at the batters not pitch around them. The only other problem most Japanese pitchers do like Sasaki did was telegraph his pitchers. Yu did this in the World Series and the Astros was on to him. Hopefully he changed because these are smart batters they read the pitcher motion and any little different thing tips off the pitch that is coming. They teach that in the minor leagues. I give the edge to Japan on pitching but Yu us going to have to have a good 4 solid innings.
What a close call! This match was unbelievable. No wonder Mexico manage to win against US in their pool match.
We watched the game in Auckland, New Zealand.
Looking forward to the final.
Murakami has shown he is a great hitter, winning MVP twice in a row. However, he has struggled mightily in this series. And yet he came through when it mattered most. His boss bet on him and he delivered. THAT was the drama.
He is one of the youngest members of the team, and yet carrying such a heavy responsibility. His boss kept trusting him and that was a good decision regardless of the results. The WBC final is not the end. There are many years ahead for this young man.
Well done Japan to the victory!!!..