With the way things have been going at the World Baseball Classic, I can't really call America's losing to Mexico and getting knocked out a shock. After all, they are leaving with a record of 3-3. Maybe next time.
In the meantime, we are going to be treated to another Japanese-Korean grudge match.
I wish the Koreans luck and hope that the Americans bring their A-game next time.
After getting a clutch two-run double in the eighth inning from Jong Beom Lee and an equally clutch relief performance from righty Seung Hwan Oh on the way to a 2-1 victory in a beautifully pitched game Wednesday night at Angel Stadium, Korea's unbeaten (6-0) squad celebrated as if it had indeed moved on to a glorious baseball afterlife.
"We gave everything we had," said Japanese manager Sadaharu Oh. "We learned that our opponents' desire was higher than ours."
That desire paid off in front of a noisy, mostly pro-Korea crowd of 39,679, many of them incessantly banging blue versions of the omnipresent ThunderStixx that provided the cacophonous accompaniment to the 2002 Angels' World Series run here.
"I was aware of the fact that a lot of Korean-Americans lived in this area, but I didn't know there were that many," Lee said. "I was very touched by their cheering."
Korea's victory means that the USA automatically advances to the semis (and another game against Korea) if it beats Mexico. They might still advance even if they lose and create a three-way tie at 1-2:
U.S. advances if:
It defeats Mexico
It loses to Mexico, allowing 1 run in a regulation game (8 innings in the field)
It loses to Mexico, but does not allow a 2nd run until after it has played 8 2/3 innings in the field
It loses to Mexico, but does not allow a 3rd run until after it has played 12 1/3 innings in the field
It ties with Mexico, allowing 3 runs in 14 innings
Japan advances if:
The U.S. loses to Mexico, and allows 2 runs or more before it has played 8 2/3 innings in the field
The U.S. loses to Mexico, and allows 3 runs or more before it has played 12 1/3 innings in the field
Mexico advances if:
It defeats the U.S., 3-0, in 13 innings
Let's be clear about this; Korea is my second favorite team in the classic and I hope the USA has a chance to get some revenge and move on to the finals.
Korea once again used solid pitching to stay the only unbeaten team in the World Baseball Classic:
The only unbeaten team in the World Baseball Classic powered its way to another victory Monday night as surprisingly adept-at-everything Korea defeated Team USA, 7-3, before 21,288 at Angel Stadium.
First baseman Seung-Yeop Lee hit another home run, his fifth of the tournament, Hee-Seop Choi slugged his first -- in a pinch-hit role -- and the Korea pitching staff stymied the best lineup it has seen so far in the 16-team tournament as Korea improved to 2-0 in Round 2 and 5-0 overall.
Baring a complete meltdown against Japan in its next game (something I don't think national pride will allow) Korea is basically assured of a spot in the semi-final round even if it loses. The second tie breaker is based on runs allowed per nine innings and Korea has the lowest RA in their pool.
The good news for team USA is that, if they beat Mexico, they will advance no matter who they are tied with in second place since they will have beaten both the Japanese and Mexicans head-to-head.
In the other pool Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Puerto Rico are all tied at one-at-one.
I'm not much of a baseball fan but this World Baseball Classic thing is great. The should have done this years ago.
It seems that team Korea can not get any respect at the Baseball World Classic. First they they get stuck in some three-star dive while the Japanese live it up in a luxurious three-and-a-half star hotel.
OK, that was a little sarcastic but I was checking out the shopping section and noticed something strange.
Less than 24 hours after nearly falling to an unheralded South Africa team, Canada made some serious waves in the World Baseball Classic's Pool B by beating Team USA, 8-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field....
..."They have the most talent, I won't lie," Stern said of the United States. "But that's why we play the games. One game, you don't know what's going to happen. Over 162, I don't know if we'd fare so hot. But one game, you've just got to go out there and bust it, and that's what we did."
While losing to Canada sucks, any comparisons to the 2004 men's basketball Nightmare Team would be premature. As I said before, baseball is among the most unpredictable of sports. The USA team might have just rolled snake eyes on this one. They also have lowly South Africa in the last game while Canada has to face Mexico. Canada is 2-0 while the USA and Mexico are 1-1 each.
My guess is that the most likely outcome of the next round of games will make it a three-way tie at 2-1 each. The first link above gives the tie-breakers:
POOL B SCENARIOS
Canada advances: • If it wins Thursday in its game against Mexico, finishing Pool play with a perfect 3-0 record.
• If it loses Thursday against Mexico, but allows two runs or less.
Team USA advances: • If Canada defeats Mexico on Thursday, and USA defeats South Africa on Friday.
• If Mexico defeats Canada and scores three or more runs, and USA defeats South Africa on Friday.
Mexico advances: • If it defeats Canada on Thursday.
• If it loses to Canada, and USA loses to South Africa by seven or more runs.