The Koreans managed to squeek out a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night thanks to an 8th inning offensive EXPLOSION. Well… they got 3 runs, but considering the way they hit in this tournament I think that qualifies. Despite the victory Korea failed to advance to the 2nd round of the tournament, in which they were runners up in 2009. This unfortunate situation arose when the Netherlands team, who beat Korea 5-0 in the first game, defeated Australia 4-1 earlier Tuesday afternoon. This all meant, due to complicated math formulas labelled TQB which involve run differentials among tied teams, Korea was eeeeeliminated.
Kang Jeong-ho was the “hero” if you can call it that, hitting a 2-run homer in the 8th off Hung-Chin Kuo, that guy who used to be good for the Dodgers but stopped pitching well due to anxiety issues…
Jeong Keun-woo was pretty disappointing. He walked a few times but kept getting thrown out on the base paths due to his foolish aggressiveness. Keun-woo’s SK teammate Choi Jeong didn’t even play! Lee Dae-ho had 2 hits, while sluggers Lee Seun Yeop and Kim Taegyun were generally disappointing.
With Korea disappointing tremendously, calls for change are inevitable, but outside of luring Choo Shin-soo and Ryu Hyun-jin back to the team, I don’t see what Korea could have done to field a better team. Strategically, there isn’t much a coach can do when nobody gets on base and all your best hitters play 1b/DH. This is 3 games in March, when pitchers and hitters are in pre-season form and Korea won 2 of them. I don’t doubt the Korean team prepared as well as they could, but in this kind of tournament anything can happen. C’est la vie.
In other WBC news, Japan and Cuba have punched their tickets to the 2nd round after they both beat Brazil and China. The two teams will play in the finale of their groups games today to decide who gets the top seed in the next round.
China ended up defeating Brazil, ensuring they will stay part of the tournament in 2017. The Chinese team were embarrassed 12-0 in 7 innings against Cuba, in a game which involved lots of mental mistakes by China and no mercy from the more savvy Cubans, and looked like they would be in tough against Brazil, failing to score in the first 7 frames. But in the 8th Twins triple-A player, and China’s best player Ray Chang put China ahead with a big 2-run single. Chang, who finished 3-4 with a double and 2 RBI was glowing after the game:
“I did it, and I trusted in myself. I just did what Ray Chang could do.” — Ray Chang
So with Korea’s WBC over it’s time to hope Japan doesn’t win (they won’t) and look ahead to the KBO season, which I will begin doing next week, after the sting of defeat wears off.