In Korean baseball, the ‘game against Japan = selection of lefties’ was like a formula. From the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, there were 12 baseball matches between Korea and Japan, where the best professional players played, and 10 of them were left-handed. Only Lee Dae-eun in the 2015 Premier12 semi-final and Ko Young-pyo in the Tokyo Olympics semi-final were the only exceptions.
The victory in the match against Korea and 안전놀이터 Japan usually came from the reverse fight of the left-handed selection. At the Beijing Olympics, Kim Gwang-hyeon (SSG) played two matches in the preliminaries and semi-finals, tying the Japanese lineup with 1 run in 5.1 innings and 2 runs in 8 innings. In the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC) match between Korea and Japan, Bong Joong-geun made an outstanding performance. Goo Dae-seong, the progenitor of the left-handed “Japanese killer,” cannot be left out. In the bronze medal match at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he defended the mound alone with 155 pitches, defeating Japan.
However, the results of the selection of lefties in recent years have not been very good. In the 2019 Premier 12, he pulled out the left-handed card in both games against Japan, but it didn’t work. Rookie Lee Seung-ho (Kiwoom), who took the mound in the preliminaries, allowed 6 runs while getting 8 hits in 2 innings. In the final, ace Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA) started, but was sluggish. In the first inning, he was hit with a double by Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), and in the third inning, Tetsuto Yamada (Yakult) hit a come-from-behind 3-run homer and collapsed with 4 runs in 3 innings. Right-handed underhander Koh Young-pyo of the Tokyo Olympics semifinal played the best game with 2 runs in 5 innings.
The national team participating in the 5th WBC will face Japan on March 10th. In the first round, where there is a limit on the number of pitches, he said that he would not attach much importance to the position, but the selection is still important in the game against Japan and the early game.
The choice is wide. 10 out of 15 pitchers are starting pitchers for their respective teams. 5 people each left and right were balanced. For now, a little more weight is put on the possibility of selecting a left-hander. This is because left-handed hitters are the center of the Japanese batting line. Depending on the case, there is a possibility that a left-handed relay will unfold from selection to salvation.
Seiichiro Ogura, a Japanese baseball columnist, wrote in an article on the Daily Gendai on the 22nd, “If I were like that, I would continue to use left-handed pitchers against Japan.” Superstar Ohtani Shohei (LA Angels) and last season’s ‘three-crowned batting champion’ Murakami Munetaka (Yakult) are the main axis of the left-handed line, but the right-handed line is only about Suzuki. He explains that other right-handed hitters such as Yamakawa Hotaka (Seibu) and Okamoto Kazuma (Yomiuri) are relatively weak, and Yamada, once the best hitter in Japan, is showing signs of aging.
Since winning the semi-finals of the Premier12 in 2015, South Korea has not beaten Japan. The aftermath of the collapse of the left-handed winning formula against Japan was great. From the standpoint of the national team, which is aiming for its first victory in Korea and Japan in eight years, the performance of lefties can be the biggest variable.