TOKYO — Thirteen years. It is been 13 years and 242 Significant League begins because Yu Darvish was final known as up from the bullpen. When the appropriate-hander was final known as out of the bullpen, Darvish was just a 23-year-old kid for the Nippon-Ham Fighters who dreamed of creating it to the Significant Leagues.
Facing Italy in the quarterfinals on Thursday evening, with a win sending the group to Miami and a location in the semifinals, manager Hideki Kuriyama turned to Group Japan’s star veteran — who has grow to be a mentor to the young pitchers about him — in Japan 9- win more than Italy -three.
Even though Japan had a 5-run lead in the seventh inning when the Padres’ starter entered, Kuriama wasn’t taking any probabilities. Will have to-win games can fall apart promptly if you give your opponent even the slightest head commence, and Japan weren’t taking any probabilities.
Darvish promptly struck out the initial batter he faced en route to retiring Italy. He gave up a property run to Dominic Fletcher in the eighth, but was otherwise flawless in his two frames. Pairing him with Shohei Ohtani (four two/three innings, two runs, a single stroll, 5 strikeouts he was 1-for-two with two runs) is the sort of unfair benefit that tends to make you wonder if Japan will drop a Worlds game Baseball Classic.
“It is an honor as a manager to have that sort of pitching depth — not just our starters, but other folks who are fantastic,” Kuriyama mentioned just before the game. “Most of our players are capable of pitching at the Significant League level.” That is what I think in.”
Darvish and Ohtani could be creating headlines, but he helped them get there. On a roster filled with players like Ohtani, Lars Nootbar, new Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida and record-setting Munetaka Murakami, it really is effortless to overlook that Kazuma Okamoto is a two-time All-Star with 5 straight 30-plus property run seasons.
Playing in front of his usual hometown crowd, the Yomiuri Giants slugger blasted a 3-run property run in the bottom of the third and added a two-run double in the fifth to support Italy’s rout.
Japan will now play the winner of the Puerto Rico-Mexico game in Miami on Monday (7 p.m. ET, FS1). For Italy, its tournament could be more than, but this group of mustaches, espressos and significant wins left its mark on the Planet Baseball Classic. Mike Piazza will now appear ahead to this fall’s European Championship in the Czech Republic and await the 2026 Planet Baseball Classic.