It’s hard to watch the World Baseball Classic right now, especially if you’re seeing that the start times of a lot of these games are at 2:30-6:30AM EST, no one on this side of the globe will blame you if you miss the action. There are a couple of games going on tonight/early tomorrow morning, and one of them could spell the end for South Korea, who fell in 2009 to Japan in the finals.
In case you missed it, the Kingdom of Netherlands beat Korea in its first game, and both teams fared differently in the win-loss column against Chinese Taipei and Australia, respectively. The standings, look like this:
What are seen as the third- and fourth-place teams will play first at 11:30PM EST, and the Netherlands figure to be the favorite there. If we happen to get into a three-way tie for first-place or second-place based on win-loss records, the first tiebreaker will be run differential. Here’s the spreadsheet that gives you that up-to-date run differential for this Pool:
Now it makes sense why Chinese Taipei might be feeling pretty good about their chances to advance, and they also beat the Netherlands, so they have an eight run differential to play with, and Australia hasn’t been blown out that bad yet (although, yes, I see the pattern of 3’s being established with their losses). What would be wild is if Australia mercy ruled the Netherlands, and Korea loses to Chinese Taipei, making it Chinese Taipei and Australia moving on to Tokyo.
Of course, if Korea wins and the Netherlands loses, or vice versa, then we don’t have to worry about any tiebreakers, but I have a hunch that we’ll be seeing a tiebreaker settling a three-way tie at the top of Pool B. If Korea happens to be the odd-man out because the Netherlands beat up on Australia enough and Chinese Taipei kept it close enough in a loss to allow them to move on, that would easily make for the biggest quarterfinal upset in the WBC to date. Same story if all were 1-2 and Korea still wasn’t able to advance.
Australia and the Netherlands (the home team) will play in Taichung at 11:30PM EST tonight, while Chinese Taipei and Korea will play afterwards at 6:30AM EST, with Korea being the home team.