Wed. May 31st, 2023

The Japanese national team heading into the finals declared an ‘all-out pitcher war’.

The Japanese baseball team defeated Mexico바카라사이트 6-5 in the semifinals of the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic) held at Londipo Park in Miami, Florida, on the 21st (hereinafter Korean time). In the bottom of the 9th inning, Murakami Munetaka’s come-from-behind 2 RBIs and a timely hit in the finals led Japan to advance to the finals with a thrilling end-game victory.

Japan, who won the WBC in 2006 and 2009, succeeded in re-entering the finals for the third time in this tournament. On the 22nd, Japan will have a final match against the United States over the championship trophy.

The starting pitcher for the final match announced by Japan is left-hander Shota Imana. Imanaga, who belongs to the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, is a league-leading left-handed pitcher who recorded 11 wins and 4 losses with a 2.26 ERA in the regular season last year. Even in the group stage game against Korea, he delivered impressive pitches from the bullpen.

Although he only appeared in the bullpen this WBC, manager Hideki Kuriyama chose Imanaga as his first pitcher. Darvish was the starting pitcher for the finals that the media initially predicted. He started against Korea in the group stage and was the fourth pitcher in the quarterfinals against Italy, giving up two runs including a home run in two innings.

Coach Kuriyama did not reveal the specific reason for choosing Imanaga over Darvish, but it seems that there was a judgment that Imanaga’s recent pitch was better than Darvish, who had conceded every time he started.

And since the finals are the last match, it is unconditionally an all-out battle. According to the Japanese media, Japan waits in the bullpen for the final, followed by Darvish and Otani Shohei, following Imanaga. In particular, Ohtani drew the line that he would not pitch as a starting pitcher after the match against Italy, but he is motivated enough to pitch in the bullpen himself. Ohtani could be used as a closer depending on the situation.

In an interview with the Japanese media ahead of the start, Imanaga said, “During training two days ago, the coach told me not to be afraid and prepare because I will start as a starter. I was nervous alone thinking about going to the starting lineup,” he said, revealing the story behind it.

Imanaga said, “Since we won in the semifinals, I will throw as usual without any burden. There are many really great players on our team, so we can throw with everyone’s help.” I will hit a home run. I will pitch while carefully examining the course and type of pitch the opponent is weak in.”

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