Japan, Korea to meet in Pool A finale
Both teams will advance to second round of World Baseball Classic
TOKYO -- Japan and Korea will meet one more time on Monday night at Tokyo Dome to determine the winner of the 2009 World Baseball Classic Pool A, Asia Round. Japan will enter the final contest with a 2-0 record, having defeated China and Korea.
The Korean team earned the berth in the Pool A finale by beating China, 14-0, on Sunday night. Both teams have advanced to Round 2 of the Classic.
Japan will look to defeat Korea for the second time in three days, having won, 14-2, in their meeting on Saturday night. Korea will seek to avenge that seven-inning loss with a victory in the rematch and head for the U.S. as the Pool A winner. Another capacity crowd of better than 45,000 is expected.
Korea will be playing its fourth game in the tournament, a factor which may have a thinning effect on its pitching staff with respect to the pitch-count limit.
Manager In Sik Kim said, "Those are the rules and that is the format, so we just have to deal with it."
Japan will be playing its third game of the round.
"We don't count the number of games," said Tatsunori Hara, manager of the Japanese team. "We just look to win every game we play."
Announced starting pitchers are right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, the Rakuten Eagles' 21-game winner and Pacific League MVP in 2008, for Japan and former Atlanta Braves lefty Jung Keun Bong for Korea.
Wayne Graczyk is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.