North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Final thoughts, WBC 2006

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It was sometime around 11:30, maybe midnight, when it hit me – Japan’s fireballing Shunsuke Watanabe has got to be the most overlooked pitcher in the world. Seriously.

Maybe he didn’t post the best numbers – despite working 13 innings (putting him in the top 4 in innings pitched) he didn’t record a single win or save, posting a 1.98 ERA (third among the Japanese starters) and only posted 6 K’s. But he pitched marvelously when it counted, including a great performance against Korea where he retired 13 batters in a row and allowed only one hit and two walks in six innings.

And he was ridiculously fun to watch – who doesn’t love a phenomenal submariner, whose delivery goes so low as to almost touch the mound? Watching one of his pitches – especially his curve-ball – was more fun then I’ve had with any other pitcher in the Classic and maybe ever.

Sure, Japan had better pitchers – ones that had wins, saves or a lower ERA to their credit. But nobody was more fun to watch then Watanabe. And if I remember anything about this tournament, it’ll be watching his curve-ball, starting almost at the mound and almost floating up and away, a pitch that nobody in the American Majors is doing today and won’t be doing anytime soon.


Written by M.

March 21, 2006 at 3:20 pm

Posted in baseball, MLB

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