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Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Olympic Baseball KOR-JPN, DOM-USA Historical Preview and Starting Pitchers

Olympic Baseball KOR-JPN, DOM-USA Historical Preview and Starting Pitchers
03/08/2021
The winner of Korea-Japan will advance to the gold medal game. The loser will face the winner of Dominican Republic-USA in the second semifinal.

The Tokyo 2020 baseball tournament has three competition days left. Two games are scheduled for Wednesday, 4 August: the first semifinal, Korea vs. Japan, and what is essentially a quarterfinal game, Dominican Republic vs. USA.

No. 7 Dominican Republic @ No. 4 USA

The United States chose Scott Kazmir as the starting pitcher. The 37-year old left-hander, who has a 13-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, including two starts in 2021, hasn't pitched in the Tokyo 2020 Games yet.

The Dominican Republic will hand the ball to right-hander Denyi Reyes. The 24-year old plays at the Double-A level for the Boston Red Sox of MLB and has appeared in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against Korea, throwing just 10 pitches.

Head-to-Heads and Historical Info

  • Dominican Republic and United States have played each other 19 times at a major international tournament (Olympic Games, World Cup, World Baseball Classic, Premier 12). USA won 13, Dominican Republic 6.
  • In their last meeting, the USA defeated Dominican Republic, 8-6, at the WBSC Americas Qualifier in Florida this past June. The US was trailing 5-4, before scoring four runs in the bottom of the 6th.
  • These nations most recently met in a major competition at the 2019 WBSC Premier12 tournament, where United States beat Dominican Republic 10-8 in the preliminary round.
  • Dominican Republic's most recent victory against United States was 7-5 in the first group phase of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. USA took revenge by beating Dominican Republic 6-3 in the final match of second group stage.
  • These nations also met at the American qualifying tournament for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where United States beat Dominican Republic 12-2 in the preliminary round (8 innings).
  • In both of Dominican Republic's defeats at Tokyo 2020 (4-3 v Japan, 4-3 v Republic of Korea), they had a 3-1 lead in the middle of the ninth inning. They conceded three runs in the bottom of the ninth on both occasions.
  • United States could now lose successive major international tournament games for the first time since the 2013 World Baseball Classic, when they lost 3-1 to Dominican Republic and 4-2 to Puerto Rico in round 2.
  • USA's Triston Casas hit two home runs and has six runs batted in at Tokyo 2020. In both categories, only Israel's Danny Valencia has better marks (3 HR, 7 RBI).
  • Julio Rodriguez is hitting .500 at Tokyo 2020, the highest batting average of all players with more than 12 at-bats.

No. 3 Korea @ No.1 Japan

Japan picked as the starter right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The 23-year old Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) star started the opening game against the Dominican Republic, allowing only two hits over six innings.
Korea is handing the ball to Young-pyo Ko. The 29-year-old right-hander plays for the KT Wiz of Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He started 14 games in the 2021 season. He went 4.2 innings in his start against the United States on 31 July and suffered the loss.

Head-to-Heads and Historical Info

  • Japan and Korea have met 31 times at major international tournaments (Olympic Games, World Cup, World Baseball Classic, Premier 12). Korea won 17 of those, Japan 14.
  • Japan have won five of their last six major international tournament games against Korea (2009-2019).
  • Korea's most recent victory over Japan was a 4-3 in the semifinal of the 2015 Premier 12, which Korea eventually won.
  • Japan and Korea have played two major international finals. Japan won both of them by a 5-3 scoreline, at the 2009 World Baseball Classic (10 innings) and at the 2019 WBSC Premier12.
  • Korea have won two medals in baseball at the Olympic Games: bronze in 2000 and gold in 2008 (the last time baseball was on the Olympic programme). Only Cuba (3) have won multiple Olympic gold medals in baseball.
  • Japan have not yet claimed a baseball gold medal at the Olympic Games. They took silver in 1996 and bronze in 1992 and 2004.
  • Tetsuto Yamada has three of Japan's six stolen bases at Tokyo 2020.
  • Kim Hyunsoo and Oh Ji Hwan (both 2) lead Korea in homers at this tournament. Oh also leads the team on most RBIs (5).
  • Japan's Yoshinobu Yamamoto (in 6.0 innings) has struck out nine opposing batters at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The Korea-Japan winner will advance to the gold medal game on Saturday, 7 August.

The loser of the Korea-Japan contest will face the winner of the Dominican Republic-USA game in the second semi-final, which will take place on Thursday, 5 August. The loser of the Dominican Republic-USA game will be placed in the bronze medal game.