3/2/2013 1:13 P.M. ET
Korea out to rebound vs. upset-minded Australia
By Debby Wu / Special to MLB.com
TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- After pool favorite Korea struggled in every facet of their stunning loss against the Kingdom of the Netherlands in its 2013 World Baseball Classic opener, the '09 Classic runners-up will need to rebound against underdog Australia on Monday in a game that can be watched live on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes at 6:30 p.m. local time/5:30 a.m. ET.
Korea allowed 10 hits and made four errors in a 5-0 loss to Holland, and catcher Min-Ho Kang had to leave the game after being injured on a play at the plate.
Korean manager Joong-Il Ryu -- expected to start Seung-Jun Song on Monday -- apologized to his club's fans after the game.
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"I have to say sorry to Korean fans, as we played an awful game," Ryu said. "This is one of the worst games we have ever played. Our pitchers were in terrible [situations], and that affected our defense indirectly, too."
With no current Minor League or Major League players on its roster, Korea is relying heavily on 30-year-old infielder Dae-Ho Lee and 36-year-old first baseman Seung-Yuop Lee. Both players contributed significantly to Korea winning the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
While Dae-Ho Lee went hitless in three at-bats against the Netherlands, Seung-Yuop Lee popped out in his one at-bat as a pinch-hitter Saturday. The Korean batters delivered only four total hits during the game.
Australia lost, 4-1, in Saturday's opener against Chinese Taipei. Detroit Tigers prospect right-hander Chris Oxspring started and was responsible for the loss, giving up five hits and three runs in 2 2/3 innings. Third baseman Stefan Welch clubbed a solo homer in seventh as a consolation prize.
Australia manager Jon Deeble was unfazed after the loss and said he remained confident of his team's chances in the tourney.
"We played a good game," Deeble said. "We saw good pitching. If we keep doing what we are doing … I've got a lot of confidence going into the next game. That has not changed."
Australia is the underdog in the pool, as it is the lowest-ranked team among the four. However, the club does have some players with previous Major League experience, including infielder Luke Hughes and lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith.
The Aussies have also shown the ability to pull off an upset, as they unexpectedly snatched the silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics under Deeble's guidance.
Australia was eliminated in the first round in the two previous Classic tournaments.
Debby Wu is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.