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Mar '09 23

Five Times is a Charm: Japan and Korea meet in WBC Finals



World Baseball Classic Schedule March 23:

Tuesday, 2.30am CET, WBC Final: Japan – Korea
(Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, ESPN America, ESPN, MLB.tv live)
The new double elimination format led to exciting three weeks of play during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. But the system also has his flaws. Thanks to the unnecessary seeding games, we’ll have the pleasure to see a matchup between Japan and Korea for the fifth time in this year’s WBC. The two arch rivals already knew everything about each other before the event, but now there will be no secrets tonight in Chavez Ravine, which hopefully leads to a thrilling game.

Each team has won two of the four duels so far. The Korean hero, who was responsible for both of their victories, will step to the mound to make it 3-0 against Team Nippon. Jung Keun Bong has a 2-0 record and an overall ERA of 0.66 in 13 2/3 innings in the tournament. He allowed just six hits in 10 2/3 innings against Japan and should receive the MVP trophy, if he repeats his performance from the first two matches.

On the other side Hisashi Iwakuma (12.1 IP, 1-1, 0.73 ERA) will go out to silence the Korean offense, which is batting .255/.385/.421 with a WBC best 50 runs scored. Especially Tae Kyun Kim (.385/.515/.769) is thriving with three homeruns, nine runs scored and eleven RBI. Norichika Aoki leads Japan (.287/.359/.388) with eleven hits and seven RBI. The loss of slugger Shuichi Murata (.320/.379/.560, 4 runs, 2 HR, 7 RBI), who is sidelined since the end of the second round with a torn hamstring, could be decisive in a close matchup.




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