Courtesy of Maos, the NT beat the LA New Bears 8-1 in their final tuneup before heading to Japan. Hopefully the offense is able to carry over some of that momentum against their Asian opponents in the WBC.
Hong-Chih Kuo officially joins the NT today. Kuo was in Vero Beach, site of the Dodgers ST camp, fighting for a roster spot as a LH reliever.
CT will most likely face Japanese ace, Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions, although the pitcher was roughed up a bit in a recent warm-up game vs a NPB select squad. Matsuzaka has been dominant in his past matchups vs. CT's hitters. In '99, during the Asian preliminaries to determine Olympic berths, Matsuzaka pitched a complete game vs. the CT squad, giving up only 1 run while K'ing 13 batters. In the 2003 Asian championships, Matsuzaka pitched 7 innings vs. Taiwan and K'd 12 hitters, while only giving up 3 hits. Who got the only hits for Taiwan? You guessed it, Chin-Feng Chen and Cheng-Ming Peng, our absentee 2 big guns. Essentially, Daisuke overpowered the majority of CT's hitters.
Per reports out of Japan, Matsuzaka has seen video on the CT hitters and believes that he has found a weakness: the CT hitters have difficulty with pitches thrown on the inside half of the plate.
In other news, W.T. Lin started in LF vs. the Orix Buffaloes 2/25 and was 1 for 3 out of the 7 hole in the lineup.