Team Japan roared out of Pool B with a stellar 4-0 record in the first round of the World Baseball Classic on the shoulders of Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani. With his performance, Ohtani was named the Pool B Most Valuable Player.
Japan put up wins over Team China, Korea and the Czech Republic while rounding it out with a 7-1 win over Australia on Sunday. Outscoring their opponents 38-8 was pure domination for both their offense and pitching staff, which Ohtani kickstarted with four shutout innings including five punchouts in Game One.
At the plate, the two-way phenom went 6-for-12 with three doubles and a towering homer. He tacked on eight runs batted in to go along with his seven walks which led the team.
However, because of the Angels’ ongoing ramp-up plan for Ohtani, he’s slated to return to the team on March 24 for his final start before Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on March 30.
Ohtani will most likely pitch in the team’s quarterfinal matchup against Team Italy on Thursday, but he’s unlikely to remain with Team Japan for the remainder of the tournament. But the offense should be in good hands as they’ve fared well aside from the monster performance the former MLB MVP has posted.
Shohei Ohtani’s Angels teammate Mike Trout wanted to ‘dominate’ Team Canada
Heading into Monday’s matchup with Team Canada, Team USA faced uncomfortable territory in what essentially became a must-win matchup in the WBC after their upset loss to Team Mexico the day before.
Mike Trout joined Team USA for the first time in his Major League career, carrying the captain title, which also pushed other top players from around MLB to join. His presence was a rallying cry, and manager Mark DeRosa’s offense came to life.
Racking up nine first-inning runs against Canada’s young pitching staff propelled their chances in pool play more into their favor, with some help from Great Britain defeating Colombia as well.
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