Saturday, March 21, 2009

Handicapping the WBC Final 4

Tonight and Sunday are the World Baseball Classic semi-finals. Korea and Venezuela mix it up first, followed by the U.S. and Japan Sunday night. Both games are at Dodger Stadium.

ESPN's experts made their picks today. Four of six selected Japan.

Roy Oswalt will pitch for the U.S. against Daisuke Matsuzaka. Oswalt is 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA during the classic. Dice-K has been almost unhittable so far. He is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, including a win over Cuba.

It will be a tall order for the U.S. to knock Dice-K around. And there is no real pitch count in the semis. Up to 100 pitches are allowed now. I think Japan wins, but it's a close game. Oswalt will pitch well. Maybe a 3-2 or 4-2 final.

The WBC finals on Monday will be all Asia. Korea should get past Venezuela. As the U.S. proved, the Venezuelan bullpen is suspect.

In the finals, Japan v. Korea should be a great game. The teams split their four previous meetings in the WBC, but I think this time Korea wins it. Both teams play small ball, but Korea also has some power. A timely home run will be the difference.

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