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Missed Sign for Intentional Walk Blamed for WBC Loss

Posted March. 25, 2009 08:58,   


Did a missed sign for an intentional walk to relief pitcher Lim Chang-yong (Yakult Swallows) cost Korea the World Baseball Classic final? Or was Lim overconfident?

After losing 5-3 to Japan in the World Baseball Classic final yesterday, Korea manager Kim In-shik said, “I sent catcher Kang Min-ho a sign to walk Ichiro Suzuki (in the 10th inning). But Lim didn’t follow the sign, which resulted in the defeat, though I didn’t ask Lim why yet.”

In the top of the 10th with the score tied 3-3, Lim faced Ichiro with two runners on base. The pitcher had ample reasons to intentionally walk Ichiro. With one out and first base empty, a bases-loaded situation would have made no difference. In addition, Ichiro had hit a double in the ninth off Lim.

With a count of one strike and one ball, Ichiro fouled four times in a row, which meant the Japanese star got used to Lim’s pitches. With the count at two strikes and two balls, however, Lim pitched his eighth ball to Ichiro right in the center at 137 kilometers per hour.

Ichiro hit the ball for the game-winning two-run double.

After the game, Lim said, “I felt I could pitch to Ichiro, but I didn’t see the sign. My last pitch was a mistake.”

Kim blamed himself, saying, “If I had sent the intentional walk sign, we wouldn’t have lost the game. I regret not doing so.”