Some notes on Day One of the WBC on Friday, especially on pitch counts for
those on MLB rosters:
Jae Seo (Dodgers) started and got the win in the first game in WBC history in
the Korea-Taiwan opener, throwing 61 pitches (39 strikes) in 3.2 innings. Seo
won't be allowed to pitch again until the first game of the second round on
Sunday, March 12, presuming Korea advances. Seo looked as if he was laboring a
bit in the third and fourth, so he'll need the breather. Most MLB teams started Citrus/Grapefruit league seasons on Thursday, and none of those starters worked anywhere near as hard as Seo, either in pitch quantity or effort.
Chan Ho Park (Padres) threw 37 pitches (28 strikes) in pitching the last
three innings to earn the save for Korea. Park will now have to take Saturday
off, but he would be eligible to pitch against Japan on Sunday.
Byung Hyun Kim (Rockies) threw 29 pitches (22 strikes) in pitching to six
batters in middle relief. Kim is eligible to pitch Saturday against China.
However, if he pitches at all Saturday, he wouldn't be eligible to pitch against
Japan on Sunday, so look for the Koreans to rest Kim on Saturday to keep him
eligible for Sunday.
Neither Sun Woo Kim (Rockies) or Jung Bong (Reds) pitched for Korea on
Friday. Kim almost certainly will start on either Saturday or Sunday.
We also had our first we-told-you-so injury of the tournament. Korean third
baseman and cleanup hitter Dung Joo Kim, who didn't get the word this was a
"meaningless exhibition", suffered a dislocated shoulder in the sixth inning on
a head-first slide. Into ... first ... base. Aaaarrrrggghhh. He's certainly out
for the rest of the first round, likely out for the whole tournament, and
probably misses a chunk of the Korean season.
One last note: crowds at the Tokyo Dome on Friday were, well, pathetic. Only
5,193 fans saw the Korea-Taiwan afternoon game (a game certainly played by both
sides as if it was a playoff game, except for the pitch count rule), and just
15,869 saw the home team beat up on China. This from a city and nation
supposedly jacked sky-high about this tournament.