Japanese baseball team’s oldest member, Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), is not showing as sharp an image as expected on the stage of the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Japan won 9-3 in the match against Italy in the second round (quarterfinals) of the 2023 WBC held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on the evening of the 16th. From the first competition in 2006 to the 2009, 2013, and 2017 competitions, they have succeeded in advancing to the semifinals five times in a row.
Japan’s starting pitcher, Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), struggled harder than expected against Italy’s other lineup, giving up two runs in 4⅔innings, but laughed with the firepower of the other line. Ohtani went 4 at bats, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 walk, Yoshida went 3 at bats, 1 hit, 2 RBIs, 2 runs, Murakami went 3 at bats, 2 hits, 1 RBI, 2 runs, Okamoto went 2 at bats, 2 hits, 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 1 run.
Pitchers who took the mound after Ohtani also effectively put an end to Italy’s pursuit. Hiromi Ito saved Japan from the crisis by blocking an additional run in the top of the 5th inning when Japan trailed 4-2 with two outs and bases loaded. Imana and Shota also blocked the Italian attack in the top of the 6th with a scoreless score in one inning.
Japanese coach Hideki Kuriyama pulled out the Darvish Yu card at the start of the 7th inning, with Japan leading 7-2. More than 40,000 fans gathered at the Tokyo Dome were enthusiastic about Yu Darvish’s appearance.
Darvish Yu treated Italy’s attack in the top of the 7th as a three-way offense, as if to reciprocate the cheers of the fans. However, allowing a solo home run to Dominic Fletcher after one run in the top of the 8th inning was a mistake. Then, he gave up a right-handed hit to Brett Sullivan and seemed a little shaken. Although he finished the top of the eighth without conceding an extra run, he failed to overwhelm the Italian batsmen.
Darvish Yu was the pitcher responsible for the final out count during Japan’s 2009 WBC championship. Wearing the Japanese national team uniform again after 14 years, getting on the mound and pitching in the final game of this tournament held in Japan was a good picture, but the content left much to be desired.
Darvish Yu started the second round of Group B against Korea on the 10th, but was sluggish with 3 runs (2 earned) in 3 innings. In the top of the 3rd inning,안전놀이터 Yang Eui-ji hit a two-run home run, and after a defensive error, Lee Jung-hu even gave up a timely hit, giving Korea a 3-0 lead. Although Japan beat Korea 13-4 with an explosion, Yu Darvish couldn’t just smile.
Superstar Ohtani, proud of Japan, is known to be difficult to pitch in the WBC semi-finals and finals held at Londipo Park in Miami, USA, as he is highly likely to pitch in the opening game of the regular season for his team, the Los Angeles Angels.
Japan’s top aces such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes) and Loki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte) are on standby, but veteran Yu Darvish is not in good shape, which is not a good sign for Japan.
After Yu Darvish landed in the United States, Japan’s third WBC championship will be easier only if he shows the ace that Japan expected.