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WBC Semifinals: 3/22/09: 2:00 MT

Here is your WBC Update for Sunday



Korea: 10, Venezuela: 2

In yet another head-scratcher by Venezuela manager Luis Sojo, Venezuela SP Carlos Silva got tagged 6 runs, 7 earned, on 6 hits, 1 walk, 2 errors, and a pair of home runs, all over only 5 outs.

Felix Hernandez sat and watched.

Eric Karabel and Peter Pascarelli from ESPN Baseball Today Podcast both anticipated King Felix getting the start.

Everyone who knows anything about the Venezuelan team anticipated King Felix getting the start.

I sure anticipated King Felix getting the start.

And yet, Venezuela forgot that Carlos Silva did oh so well against Italy and The Netherlands. No real powerhouses, no real offenses.

And then they wonder how he got pummeled so hard by the Korean squad.

Korea advances after taking complete advantage of an absolutely sloppy game by the Venezuelan squad. Venezuela was charged with 5 errors and complete management incompetence throughout this game.

This isn't to minimize the performance of the Koreans, however, as they played like studs, utilizing fundamental baseball skills and a supreme level of preparedness to send Venezuela packing.

Lines of the game:

Korea SP Suk-Min Yoon: 6.1 IP, 7H, 2R, BB, 4K

Korea 1B Tae Kyun Kim: 2-4, 3R, 2RBI, BB - this guy is 27 and destroying the baseball. Granted, it's the WBC, and not official league play, but this guy has some talent.

Korea RF Shin-Soo Choo: 1-2, R, 3RBI, 2BB


Tonight, USA will square off with Japan (6:00PM MT, ESPN) in a matchup that might just be the entire point of the World Baseball Classic. For years, many people have cried out for a "true" World Series, and claimed that Japanese baseball could stand up with USA any day of the week. Well, now, money is where the mouths are, so to speak.

USA SP Roy Oswalt will take the mound against arguably the best player since the inception of the WBC, Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The winner will advance to face Korea. The loser will go home.

Both teams have taken some key losses. Japan lost 1B Shuichi Murata to a torn hamstring. Murata has been an integral piece to that lineup.

It's not to say that the United States hasn't had MORE than its share of injuries, including 1B Kevin Youkilis, 2B Dustin Pedroia, 3B Chipper Jones, RP Matt Lindstrom. Also, 3B David Wright and LF Ryan Braun have both hurt themselves, but are prepared to play in tonight's matchup with Japan.

If you haven't watched the WBC yet, if you haven't bought into me (and others) claiming "games of the tournament": watch this game. For the USA, this is the game of the tournament. Puerto Rico was a big game, as it was an elimination game, but in terms of national pride, in terms of whose baseball system looks better, in terms of being the best of the International Powerhouses, THIS is the game of the tournament.

Korea vs. the Winner will be an excellent game of baseball, there's no doubt there. But in my mind, this is the game. This is USA vs. USSR. This is gigantic. This could be the game that really puts the WBC on the map and hails it as a baseball competition of pure excellence.

This might be the game that makes the United States of America start to care again.