Sunday, March 12, 2017

2017 WBC - My Time at the Gocheok Sky Dome

There were big expectations for Team Korea entering into the 2017 WBC even though they possibly had the weakest line-up that they have ever taken to the WBC. Key MLB and KBO talent was absent from Team Korea after injuries, surgeries, MLB spring training commitments, and off field incidents. After strong finishes in 2006, 2009, and a first round exit in 2013, this was supposed to be the year that they redeemed themselves but that wasn't quite the case. The 2017 WBC saw Team Korea exit in the first round once again.

In the opening game for Team Korea, a 2-1 loss, bats pretty much didn't exist as they only posted 7 hits with 6 of them coming from 3 players. Min Byung-hun, Son Ah-seop, and Seo Geon-chang seemed to be the only players that were swinging with any confidence that day. The pitching wasn't much better with Jang Won-jun walking in the first of the 2 runs scored by Israel. The final and game winning run was given up by Lim Chang-yong. The only bright spot on the mound that night was Oh Seung-hwan, the lone MLB pitcher, as he threw 20 pitches over 1.1 innings and struck out 3 of the 5 batters he faced.

The second game against the Netherlands, a 5-0 loss, was a total disaster with the bats cold again and the pitchers giving up the long ball. In game 2 Korea only managed 6 hits with Min Byung-hun and Son Ah-seop both going 1-3. If you are wondering why I keep mentioning those two, it's because they were the only 2 that batted with any consistency. Now on to the horrible pitching. The started Woo Kyu-min wasted no time giving up a huge 2 run shot to Jurickson Profar in the bottom of the 1st. He gave up another run in the 2nd inning and Won Jong-hyun pretty much extinguished any hope that Korea may have had after giving up a 2 run shot to Rudolf Oduber in the 6th.

The third game finally brought a win and a look at what Korea could have done in the first 2 games if their bats had warmed up. In that game Korea managed to put bats on the ball (18 hits) and runs on the board in an 11-8 victory over Chinese Taipei. In that game 5 players had multiple hits with Kim Jae-ho leading the way by going 3-4. The pitching was rocky once again with the exception of Oh Seung-hwan who threw 23 pitches over 2 innings and getting the win for Korea.

While it wasn't a great series for Korea, I did enjoy getting to go to the stadium to see Team Korea play a couple of games. The only bright side, other than my green wig, of this WBC was Korea getting 1 win in the first round Korea managing to get another shot at the next WBC title without having to go through qualifiers.

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