We’ll be keeping an eye on the World Baseball Classic up to the championship game. Today the tournament started with one game, as Japan faced China.
What happened: Yu Darvish threw four hitless innings while third baseman Shuichi Murata hit a two-run home run that proved to be all the Japanese team needed to beat a surprisingly tough Chinese team.
The Stars: Darvish struck out three and walked one while facing the minimum in four innings. China righthander Guoqiang Sun struck out three in two scoreless innings. Kosuke Fukodome walked four times in four plate appearances, scoring one run.
Prospect Watch: Darvish is arguably the top Japanese arm to watch for, but most any talented Japanese player on the roster who hasn’t come to the U.S. already is worth watching. Four members of Japan’s 2006 WBC team (Kosuke Fukudome, Akinori Iwamura, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yasuhiko Yabuta) have come to the U.S. since then. China’s No. 3 hitter, shortstop Ray Chang, went 1-for-4. Chang is a Pirates prospect who spend most of the 2008 season at Double-A Altoona.
Coming Up: Taiwan and South Korea will face off in the other Pool A opener at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning.
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