2023 World Baseball Classic Results: Japan Advances; Panama survives; Chinese Taipei leaves angrily

The 2023 World Baseball Classic has started with pool games in Taichung, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan. All four pools will be in action this weekend, including Team USA’s first game of the tournament against Great Britain on Saturday night. This is one of eight games on Saturday.

As a reminder, the first round of the WBC consists of four pools of five teams. Each team plays every other team in their pool once, and the teams with the top two records in each pool advance to the Quarterfinals in what is essentially an eight-team, single-elimination tournament. Here’s the full WBC schedule and here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event.

Here’s a recap of Friday’s and (very) early Saturday’s games.

Japan advances with a victory over the Czech Republic

Japan advanced 3-0 in pool with a 10-2 win over the Czech Republic and secured their first place in the quarterfinals. Right-hander Roki Sasaki, 21, beat Czech eight batters in 3 2/3 innings and regularly hit triple digits with his fastball.

Left Hiroya Miyagi worked five innings of relief for the save. On offense, Shohei Ohtani doubled and stole a base, and Shugo Maki hit a homer while pinching for Ohtani. Lars Nootbaar added a single.

Panama survives with a shutout victory over Italy

In a game of stingy pitching and some quality defensive play, Panama defeated Italy 2-0 to stay alive in their bid to advance to the next round of the WBC. Panama starter Harold Arauz set the tone with four scoreless frames, and Dodgers contender Jose Ramos went 2 for 4 with a solo homer. One of the many defensive gems belonged to former Met Ruben Tejada:

The result of this puts Pool A in a pretty nice state of insanity:

As a reminder, here’s how pool ties are broken, in the very official-sounding MLB language:

  • The team that won the matches between the tied teams gets the higher position. If three or more teams are tied and one of those teams has won their games against all other teams with which they are tied, they will be seeded in the higher place. Similarly, if any of these tie teams lose their games against all other tie teams, they will be ranked lowest.
  • The tied teams are ranked in the ranking by the lowest ratio of fewest runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded between the tied teams in the games of that round.
  • The tied teams are ranked in the leaderboard according to the lowest quotient of fewest runs earned divided by the number of defensive outs recorded between the tied teams in the games in that round.
  • The tied teams are ranked in the leaderboard according to the highest batting average in games in that round between the tied teams.
  • Placements will be determined by drawing lots.

Chinese Taipei prevails against Netherlands

Speaking of Pool-A madness, Chinese Taipei made it possible with a 9-5 win over the Netherlands. The hosts asserted their authority early on, much to the delight of the frenzied crowd, as first baseman Yu Chang knocked down a second-inning grand slam against Dutch starter Lars Huijer. Louder for this one:

The 27-year-old Chang, who appeared in the majors with four different teams last season(!), is now hitting .500/.571/1.083 with two homers through his first three games of the WBC. Right-hander Che-Yuan Wu also worked hard in the game, keeping the Netherlands scoreless for 4 1/3 innings of relief.

Australia has mercy on China

The Aussies went 2-0 into Pool B with a 12-2 win over China. Because of that 10-run lead, the mercy rule was called after seven innings. Australia went 7 to 16 with runners in goal position and second baseman Robbie Glendenning went 2 to 4 with a homer in the fourth inning. On the other hand, Chinese starter Xin Qi allowed five runs with three hits in just 2 1/3 innings Work.

China is now 0-3 in the billiards game. Although they can’t progress this time, there’s still a lot at stake for them. They’ll have to put up a major uproar against Korea on Monday to avoid finishing in last place and losing their WBC 2026 automatic qualifier status. As for Australia, next up is a duel with powerhouse Japan.

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