So how strong was Ohtani before the Korean War?

The highlight of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) is the Korea-Japan match. Since the first tournament in 2006, he has frequently staged dramatic matches. 

In Korea’s most recent confrontation, the semifinals of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, starting pitcher Koh Young-pyo struggled, but was pushed back in the bullpen match in the second half and lost 2-5. Japan, which failed to win its third straight championship at the WBC in 2017, is aiming to recapture the championship with incumbent and prospective major leaguers such as Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), and Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox). It is evaluated as an unprecedented power. Relatively, Korea is receiving attention as being pushed back. 

Japan also revealed its determination to win the Korea-Japan match. Local media Sports Nipot reported on the 18th that “Ohtani can start in the first round of the Korean War, which is the first gateway to victory.” 

Ohtani is the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) player. As a pitcher and hitter, he went 9-2 with an ERA of 3.18 as a pitcher and a batting average of 0.257 as a hitter with 46 homers and 100 RBIs. At the time, his attack power was rated higher. However, the 2022 season was his best on the mound since his big league debut, going 15-9 with a 2.33 earned run average as a pitcher. 

Ohtani gave Korea a nightmare even before he became a big leaguer. In the 2015 Premier 12 tournament, he overwhelmed the batting line composed mainly of the golden generations of the KBO League. In the opener on November 8, he only gave up two hits in six innings. He struck out alone and caught 10. Hitters who commanded the KBO league looked at his ball and made absurd expressions. 

Kim Hyeon-soo had a fastball that reached 160 km/h, and Lee Dae-ho was swung by a forkball in the late 140 km/h range. Until the third inning, there was only one walk by Son Ah-seop. 

After two outs in the 4th inning, Kim Hyun-soo, who took the second at-bat, hit a hit that barely broke Ohtani’s no-hit streak. However, Lee Dae-ho failed to take advantage of the opportunity, hitting 4 (2nd baseman)-6 (shortstop)-3 (1st baseman). Park Byung-ho, who started as the lead batter in the 5th inning, also hit, but luck was at play as the missed ball exceeded the height of the first baseman. Afterwards, Son Ah-seop picked out a walk and created a scoring opportunity, but all three subsequent batters struck out. Korea lost this game 0-5. 

Korea wrote a come-from-behind drama in baseball history in the semifinals on the 19th. At the beginning of the ninth inning, when they were losing 0-3, Oh Jae-won, Son Ah-seop, and Jeong Geun-woo pursued one point with consecutive hits, and Kim Hyun-soo, who reached the bases full, scored a push-off. Lee Dae-ho, who came out from 2-3, hit 2 RBIs in a timely manner on the left field line, showing the appearance of ‘Joseon’s 4th hitter’. Korea maintained this lead and won 4-3. 

But Ohtani was beaten again. He faced the pitcher again after 10 days, but only allowed one hit in 7 innings. He struck out 11 times. Lee Dae-ho’s sand dune in the second inning was the only one to get on base until the 6th inning. Park Byung-ho, who took this opportunity, stepped down with a floating ball, and Min Byung-hun with a double hit. In the 3rd and 4th innings, 4 out of 6 outs were strikeouts.  바카라

It was Jung Geun-woo, who was one of the ‘national team table setters’, who broke the race of humiliation. He started as the lead batter and hit a heavy hit by aiming for a 149 km/h fastball. But he had no follow-up. In this tournament, Ohtani struck out 21 in 13 innings against Korea. 

Ohtani evolved into a more powerful player over the next seven years. However, a new icon, Lee Jung-hoo, has also appeared in Korea. Major leaguer Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres) exclaimed, “There is no absolute” in game, saying, “Baseball is where the last player wins the first place.” Like the 2015 Premier 12 tournament, even if it is pushed by Ohtani, Japan can win. It is also a way to make good use of the starting pitcher’s limit on the number of pitches (65) in the first round. Some young hitters are eagerly awaiting a match against Ohtani. 

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