‘Japanese monster’ Ohtani starts the Chinese game, not the Korean game… Why?￼
Shohei Otani (29, Los Angeles Angels) of the Japanese baseball team will start the match against China, not against Korea.
Head coach Hideki Kuriyama, who leads the Japanese national team, predicted Ohtani as the starting pitcher for the first game against China at the official press conference of the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic) held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on the afternoon of the 8th.
The Japanese baseball team will play the first match of Group B in the first round of the 2023 WBC final against China at 7:00 pm on the 9th at Tokyo Dome. The match will be played after the match between Korea and Australia.
Regarding the background of Ohtani’s drop, Kuriyama explained, “There are several strategic reasons. Of course, our team has good starting resources.”
In the first round of this tournament, starting pitchers can throw up to 65 pitches. Regarding the number of pitches, Kuriyama replied, “There is nothing set. We have to look at various situations. It depends on his condition. Also, not everyone should be injured.”
Participating in the Chinese match rather than the Korean match seems to be thinking after the quarterfinals. If Japan advances to the quarterfinals안전놀이터, the match will be held on the 16th. Therefore, if the ball is thrown on the 9th, Ohtani’s rest period may be sufficient until the 16th. As a result, it is expected that Korea will be able to meet Ohtani only if it advances to the final.
Attending the press conference following coach Kuriyama, Ohtani said, “No matter where I am, the first game is tense. It’s an important game on a big stage, so I feel a sense of responsibility. At the same time, I have the mindset to enjoy the game.”
He continued, “This is the first official match this year. I think I can give 100% of my strength. As always, I want to play like myself. I will prepare as I always do.”
This is Ohtani’s first time competing in the WBC. He wore the national team uniform in the 2014 US-Japan All-Star Series and the 2015 Premier 12. However, during the 2017 WBC tournament, he swallowed regret by not participating due to an ankle injury.
After advancing to the major leagues in 2018, Ohtani wrote a new history in the history of major league baseball by combining pitching and hitting. In the 2021 season, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 earned run average as a pitcher. He hit 46 home runs as a hitter and earned the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
His performance continued this season as well. He went 15-9 with a 2.33 earned run average as a pitcher. He also hit 34 home runs as a hitter. He became the first hero ever to achieve both regulation innings and regulation at-bats at the same time.
China is considered the weakest team in Group B of this tournament. Maybe Ohtani would be an easy opponent. However, Ohtani is not careless. He reaffirmed his determination, saying, “Among the pitchers waiting behind me, there are many strong players.
Ohtani plans to play both as a pitcher and hitter in this tournament. He has already been on the 6th as the third designated hitter in the evaluation match with the Hanshin Tigers, and has shown his strength by hitting three runs in consecutive hits. He said, “I want to definitely add strength to the attack after the game on the 9th.”
Ohtani said, “There are many great players in our team and other teams as well. Regardless of victory or defeat, it will be a wonderful tournament if each person demonstrates his or her skills.”