The Japanese came saw and concurred. In a game that couldn't live up to the hype coming into last nights contest it sure as hell had everyone on the edge of their seats for nine innings. In what has turned out to be some of the most exciting baseball in my lifetime Japan came out on top of the world going undefeated and untied (thats a thing) to take the 2023 World Baseball classic by shutting down the thing the Americans were supposed to do best. Hit the baseball.
Things started out fine for the Americans as Trea Turner kept doing Trea Turner things, launching a mammoth home run in the top of the second inning.
Munetaka Murakami, Japan's third baseman, matched Turner in power in the bottom of the third. Launching his own dinger into the second deck. This has to be the best non-bat flip ive ever seen.
Japan would take the lead 2-1 lead via an Americans bat. Lars Nootbar born in El Segundo. that's in California boys and girls. drove in Okamoto on fielder's choice. Then Japan opened it up 3-1 on another longball, this time by first baseman Kazuma Okamoto.
in the eighth and ninth Japan's manager, Hideki Kuriyama, went with his two Major League Arms . Right-hander Yu Darvish was first up, checking in for the eighth. He got into some trouble, surrendering a long home run to Phillies Kyle Schwarber, cutting Japan's lead to 3-2. Darvish also gave up a hit to Trea Turner, but he worked out of this jam too easily. or should we say Team USA let him off the hook.
The Ninth inning was set up as everyone was dreaming . it ended up in as every Americans nightmare. Shohei Ohtani took the mound for the ninth. Set to close out the victory and send Japan home with their third WBC championship. Jeff McNeil worked himself a walk. Mookie Betts came to the plate MVP vs MVP time I thought to myself. Yea we didn't get that as Mookie hit into a textbook double play. I mean you couldn't have thrown a better ball to turn a DP. This set up the matchup everyone wanted to see: Ohtani and Angels teammate Mike Trout. It was deep blue hero time. As you all know Ohtani ended up the Hero. Trout battled baseball's brightest star to a full count but Shohei 100 MPH fastballs set up a 95 mph slider. Trout couldn't fight it off and he went down swinging. 3-2 end game
As I said earlier. Team USA had its chances and blew them. Darvish didn't get the start and the Americans didn't take advantage. They went to the dish last night with no plan to succeed. Hacking away at first pitch after first pitch. Putting themselves behind, not working counts, not getting themselves into favorable situations vs anyone Japan had on the mound. They were impatient. Looking to use launch angle to propel them to victory. You can't depend on muscle to win you games every day. The Americans left nine men on base. Hit into two double plays and left seven in scoring position. It wasn't a bad plan, it was no plan and no plan in baseball is a losing proposition. But like Japan Baseball as a whole won. This WBC was electric. The love of this tournament grew by leaps and bounds. I like many of you out there, can't wait until 2026. What’s the old saying? leave an audience wanting more ? Well, we all want more.
as always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207