Reporter Lee Sang-cheol = The Korean baseball team led by coach Kang-cheol Lee is coming March 10 at the Tokyo Dome, Japan at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) 1st round Group B match against Japan by Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels). is not expected to face
It is fortunate that batters have bad memories of being tied up twice against ‘pitcher Ohtani’ eight years ago, but pitchers are faced with an unfamiliar ‘batter Ohtani’.
Ohtani, who was considered a starting pitcher for the WBC Korea-Japan match, is likely to play only as a batter in this game. Japanese media pointed out that Ohtani’s chances of appearing against Korea and Japan are low when the game schedule before joining the Japanese baseball team, which is training at the Angels’ spring camp on the 17th (Korean time), was finalized.
Ohtani plans to play three major league demonstration games after digesting live pitching on the 26th. He appears as a hitter on the 27th against the Chicago White Sox and against the San Francisco Giants on the 28th, and starts against the Milwaukee Brewers on March 2nd. After that, he moved to Japan, joined the Japanese national team, and participated in the WBC.
Ohtani, who recorded 15 wins as a pitcher and 34 homers as a hitter in the Major League (MLB) last year, also doubles as a pitcher in the WBC. However, he can only pitch in a maximum of two games as a starting pitcher due to his limited role as a pitcher.
Japan, which belongs to Group B in the first round of the WBC, will face China (March 9), Korea (10th), Czech Republic (11th), and Australia (12th) in turn. It has not yet been decided which match Ohtani will start in the WBC, but Japanese media have dismissed the possibility of a match against Korea, citing two possibilities.
First, Chunichi Sports expected Ohtani to play in the first WBC match against China. Chunichi Sports said, “Considering the rest on the 6th, Ohtani is expected to play against China on the 9th and the quarterfinals on the 16th.”
On the other hand, there is a prospect that the pitching schedule will be adjusted in line with Ohtani’s starting pitcher in the WBC semifinals or finals to be held on March 21-22. Sankei Sports predicted, “One option would be for Ohtani to start against the Czech Republic or Australia in the first round and then start as a starting pitcher in the semifinals or finals.”
These two scenarios also affect Ohtani’s selection as the starting pitcher for the opening game of the Oakland Major League (MLB) on March 31. Instead of picking up the pace in preparation for the current WBC, Ohtani explained, “It’s better to train like now,” seemingly conscious of the start of the major league season.
Ohtani plans to play as a designated hitter in games in the WBC where he does not pitch as a starting pitcher. As predicted by the Japanese media, Ohtani will only stand at bat in the Korean game. Instead, outstanding pitchers such as Yu Darvish (San Diego Pardis), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes), and Rocky Sasaki (Chiba Lotte Marines) are expected to play against Korea.
If Lee Kang-cheol-ho does not meet Ohtani, the pitcher, he will be able to let go. The Korean hitters struck out 21 in 13 innings against pitcher Ohtani in the opening game of the 2015 Premier12 and the semifinals, and failed to score a single run.
But the situation on the mound is different. Pitchers have to stop Ohtani, who is also top-class in batting ability in the major leagues. Batter Ohtani is a monster who scored 195 RBIs while drawing 80 arches in the last two seasons. 스포츠토토
Korea has no experience of dealing with batter Ohtani in international competitions. Ohtani didn’t bat in the Premier 12 eight years ago.
On the professional stage, Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA Tigers) was the only one among 15 pitchers in the national team to play against Ohtani.
Yang Hyeon-jong made his major league debut in a home game against the Angels on April 27, 2021 (Korean time), meeting lead batter Ohtani in the 6th inning and allowing a hit with a surprise bunt. Hyeon-jong Yang, who was caught off guard by Ohtani at the time and shook, scored his first run with a hit by Mike Trout and a double by Jared Walsh.
Kim Gwang-hyun, a former major leaguer, has been active in the big leagues in 2020 and 2021, but has never pitched against the Angels. Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays), who recorded no hits, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout in a pitching match against Ohtani on May 27 last year, was excluded from the national team because he is recovering from elbow surgery.
With the WBC Korea-Japan match approaching in three weeks, the national team has come to pay more attention to Ohtani’s hitting than to his pitching.