Shohei Otani (29, LA Angels) of the Japanese baseball team said, “I want to pitch in the bullpen” when advancing to the finals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported on the 20th, “Ohtani showed his will to pitch in the middle of the WBC finals with a relief throw.” 토토사이트
Japan will play Mexico in the quarterfinals on the 21st. If they win this match, they will face off against the winner of the U.S.-Cuba match in the final at 8:00 am on the 22nd, the next day. Expectations are overwhelming that Japan, which has been on a winning streak since the first round, will defeat Mexico in the semifinals.
The starting lineup of the Japanese mound, which is trying to win the tournament for the third time, is gradually being revealed. Rocky Sasaki (Chiba Lotte), who threw a four-seam fastball with a maximum speed of 165 km/h in this tournament, is likely to start against Mexico. Darvish Yu (San Diego Padres) is expected to appear as the starter for the final.
When Ohtani joins the bullpen, the power of the thick Japanese mound becomes even stronger. Ohtani allowed 1 hit and no run in 4 innings against China in the 1st round, and 2 runs in 4 and 2/3 innings against Italy on the 16th.
Of course, even if Japan reaches the final, it is unknown whether Ohtani will be able to appear. This is because he cannot make decisions based solely on the opinions of individual players.
Earlier, Phil Nevin, coach of Ohtani’s team, the Los Angeles Angels, said, “Ohtani is scheduled to pitch in the WBC quarterfinals. There is no chance of him appearing in the semifinals or finals.” It meant that it was difficult to pitch in the final (23rd) due to the pitching schedule because he was dropped as a starting pitcher for the opening match against the Oakland Athletics of the American Major League (MLB) on the 31st. Ohtani is scheduled to start an exhibition match against the San Diego Padres on the 25th in time for the opening match after completing all the WBC schedules.
Ohtani said, “Of course, there is no start (finals), and I want to pitch in the middle of the pitch. So far, I have talked with the club about my physical condition, and the club has allowed me a lot.” We will discuss it and make a decision.” For Ohtani, who has been on the Japanese national team for the first time in eight years since the 2015 Premier12, it may be possible to accept the bullpen pitching in the final before the demonstration game as a bullpen pitching concept.
If Ohtani’s goal becomes a reality, a historic ‘two-hitting’ will be made in the WBC final. Attention is also focused on the pitching matchup with teammate Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
On the 20th, the day before the match against Mexico, Ohtani checked his physical condition with a catch ball at Ron Depot Park in Miami, Florida. He said, “My body is a little heavy, but I hope I can sleep well and hit it cool tomorrow.” As a hitter, Ohtani has a batting average of 0.438, 1 home run and 8 RBIs in 5 games in this tournament.