Japan Kamikazes WBC Dreams with 8th Inning Blunders

japan baseball

So I tuned into the World Baseball Classic for the first time ever last night to see the end of USA-Japan.  I feel a little happy and patriotic and shit to see us win, but I’m so confused on how Japan of all teams could fuck that ending up the way they did. Let’s run this down…

In the top of the 8th inning, third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda errored on a ground ball to allow the game winning run.  That was shocking because I thought Japanese players never have errors.  Apparently the rain fucked with them because they have to play most of their games indoors to dodge typhoons.  That might be a reasonable excuse, but I still think this dude should take the ‘bu’ out of his first name and start going by ‘No-Hiro’ to distance his family from shame.

The real perplexity came in the bottom of the inning.  Down 2-1, Japan subbed their famous catcher and hot dog eater Kobayashi for a pinch hitter who got the leadoff single.  So far so good for the Japs, especially with their leadoff hitter coming to the plate.  Unfortunately, they decided to fuck themselves over by having this aforementioned leadoff hitter (their best hitter) BUNT their runner over to second!

What?? Are the Japanese still living in 2007?  Did they just completely ignore the sabermetrics revolution?  They’re so good at math, but for some reason they’re unwilling to apply it to their beloved baseball team…

For those uninitiated to basic (and I mean basic) sabermetrics, Brandon Linthicum from One Strike Away has a concise and insightful explanation on why sac bunts are stupid, especially when moving someone from first to second.  In essence, having an extra out to play with carries significantly more value than advancing a runner one base forward.  This specific bunt by Japan actually decreased their chance at tying the game by 24%.  Amazing…

Naturally, their next three hitters went strikeout, walk (hmm), and lineout to end the inning without scoring.  What a dishonorable way to lose a game.  Why not just steal instead of doing the kamikaze-bunt?  Is it simply too hard for the Japs to tamper down their sacrificial values?  I hope nobody ever drops a bomb on manager Hiroki Kokubo by giving him a copy of Moneyball because he may start considering seppuku by the end.

In the end, it may be a shitty new era for America as a whole, but it does feel nice to see us outsmart some harder-working foreigners once again.

Japan Kamikazes WBC Dreams with 8th Inning Blunders

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