3/4/2013 12:40 P.M. ET
Chinese Taipei faces Korea, seeking pool sweep
By Debby Wu / Special to MLB.com
TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- Chinese Taipei, with its imposing offense, is looking to have another strong showing against Korea when the two Asian powerhouses face each other Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET) in a game that can be watched live on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes.
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After its 8-3 victory on Sunday against the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which had blanked Korea, 5-0, the day before, Chinese Taipei has emerged as the Pool B favorite. It has notched two consecutive wins thanks in large part to an overpowering lineup. The Netherlands and Korea are trailing with one win each.
The two teams with the most wins will go to the next round, but it remains unclear which two teams in Pool B will advance. If at the end of play in the first round, two or more teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, the tie will be broken based on head-to-head records or by ranking each team's Team Quality Balance (TQB).
TQB is the sum of runs scored divided by the number of innings played on offense, minus the number of runs allowed, divided by the number of innings played on defense. For purposes of determining TQB, only the scores from the games between the tied teams are to be used in the calculation.
While Dai-Kang Yang of Japan's Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters is leading Chinese Taipei with three RBIs, domestic power hitters Cheng-Min Peng and Hung-Yu Lin have also knocked in two runs apiece.
On Saturday, Chinese Taipei secured a comfortable 4-1 win against Australia, with former New York Yankees All-Star Chien-Ming Wang tossing six shutout innings. Wang's teammates allowed only one hit against the Netherlands.
Taiwanese manager Chang-Heng Hsieh is hoping his team will continue its strong play against Korea.
"We have won two games now," Hsieh said. "Although this is not a guarantee yet that we can go to Tokyo [for the next round], we now stand a good chance. I want to be at our best to play against Korea and get three wins in the first round."
Korea, which finished in second place at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, suffered a stunning loss Saturday against the Kingdom of the Netherlands after struggling at the plate, on the mound and in the field.
In the 5-0 loss, Korea allowed 10 hits and made four errors, and catcher Min-Ho Kang was forced to leave the game after suffering an injury on a play at the plate.
Korean manager Joong-Il Ryu apologized to his team's fans after the game.
"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."
Ryu's team rebounded against Australia, with its hitters delivering to secure a 6-0 win. Hyun-Soo Kim of Korea's Doosan Bears drove in two runs in the first to put the team ahead. The pitchers and defense stabilized, too, leaving Australia scoreless.
After the game, Ryu said that his squad will try its best against Chinese Taipei.
"Whether we can advance or not also depends on how the Netherlands fare against Australia tomorrow," Ryu said. "Meanwhile, we will try to score as many runs as possible against Chinese Taipei."
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.
Both Lees recovered against Australia, delivering three hits and one RBI each.
Debby Wu is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.