World Baseball Classic 2023: Japan team schedule
Japan is one of the favourites to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic, but they have a tough task ahead of them with a competitive schedule. This includes a matchup against their rival country, South Korea.
In the past four iterations of the World Baseball Classic, Japan has won two titles, the latest being in 2009. They take pride in winning as champions, considering that the United States and Cuba have been strong teams for a long time.
Japan is one of the favourites, alongside the US and the Dominican Republic, for this tournament. Find out how they will fare in the early stage of this exciting competition before you place your wagers here at Sportsbet.io:
The Japan national baseball team schedule at the WBC
The Japanese national team is one of the best countries in the sport as they produced more players that competed in their domestic Nippon Professional Baseball league and North America's Major League Baseball.
For the World Baseball Classic, Japan has a solid slate of matches. The Japan national team match schedule's first games will feature Pool B countries.
All of the matches will be played in the Tokyo Dome, which is Japan's home ground. Since they have the home advantage, they must go all out in front of their passionate fanbase supporting them.
Japan vs China (March 9)
Japan is leading the talent battle against China, which has a solid squad led by Alan Carter, who is a Los Angeles Angels player. He will be joined by Chinese stalwart Ray Chang who has been a member of this team for three WBC events.
Shohei Ohtani is the biggest Japanese star and might be the best player in the entire WBC. As the team's most essential player, he needs to showcase his talents from the jump. This match against China will be his chance to establish himself and the rest of Japan.
Japan did not have the best time at the 2017 WBC as they only finished in 3rd place when they were one of the host countries. They want to be better than their previous form, and they can start the Samurai Japan schedule with a massive win against China.
Japan vs South Korea (March 10)
This is the biggest matchup of the group stage because South Korea is similar to Japan. You must keep an eye on this matchup because whoever wins this has a solid chance of winning the tournament. Aside from these two nations, the USA and the DR remain the best teams in the WBC.
It will be a tough matchup for both teams because they have star players on both sides. For Japan, Shohei and Yu Darvish will probably be the biggest names to keep an eye on. However, South Korea has some fantastic players like Kim Ha-seong and Go Woo-suk, who both have MLB experience.
Japan vs Czech Republic (March 11)
This will probably be the match that most people will favour Japan in. The Czechs are not well-known as baseball powerhouses, but they have some good players like Martin Červenka and former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Marek Minařík.
They may not have the biggest squad, but you can tell that the Czechs will do their best to pull off an upset. However, Japan is the favoured team, and if they keep that pace up, they might have a solid chance of winning this match and the entire event. This can be a trap game, so they need to dominate because they might have an upset on their heads.
Japan vs Australia (March 12)
Australia is not a well-known baseball country, but they have some natural athletes. While they are the top-ranked team in Oceania, they are not as prolific of a team as Japan. They have history at the World Baseball Classic, placing 9th in their first foray in 2017.
This 2023 team will be led by Warwick Saupold and Aaron Whitefield, who are the leaders in terms of MLB experience. This is a hard-working side that can win some games, but it will be a hard matchup against mighty Japan, who has tons of talent to dominate this Australian team.
Who will be the standout players for Japan’s WBC team?
Japan has some heavy hitters and will be one of the most exciting teams in the nation's baseball history. They will have a bevvy of fantastic talent, and these are three players who deserve to be mentioned in the Japan national team starting lineup predictions.
Shohei deserves the hype because he is not only athletic but also one of the most skilled players in all of baseball. He is a top-tier batter, with his power exceeding most of the MLB. However, Ohtani is also a dual threat, meaning he can pitch at the highest level.
Darvish will probably be the starting pitcher for this team. He is one of the best pitchers not only because of his power but also for his creativity with his tremendous throws. That is a special skill, and Darvish will look to outwit his opponents and showcase that he deserves to be mentioned in the upper echelon of pitchers.
Japan predictions at the World Baseball
Japan is a favourite heading into the World Baseball Classic. They will live up to the hype behind their goal of winning this event again as their players are motivated to do so. They are filled with some of the best players in the world, like Shohei and Darvish, but their supporting cast is filled with talented players. This will most likely be the primary rotation for Japan's squad at the WBC and how it fares against the others.
The primary rotation for Japan’s squad
Centrefield: Yuhei Nakamura
1st baseman: Hotaka Yamakawa
2nd baseman : Shugo Maki
Shortstop: Sosuke Genda
3rd baseman: Munetaka Murakami
Left fielder: Masataka Yoshida
Centrefield: Lars Nootbaar
Designated hitter: Shohei Ohtani
The tactics Japan will use
This Japanese squad is filled with power and speed that they can use to perform at the highest level possible. Nootbaar and Suzuki will most likely be the players who fly all over the place on defence and rely on Ohtani's power as a batter.
This stacked squad will continue to have some strong hitters, but with the influence of Darvish and Ohtani, you should expect them to keep fighting until the final run is scored.
Shohei will have to be the biggest star on the team
Despite their talent, Shohei will still have to be the best player on the field. He is a mercurial talent because his dual-threat playstyle will throw off anybody who matches up against him. He possesses big-time power on both sides of the sport, and he remains reliable no matter what. If he can keep that up, you can expect Japan to hoist the trophy at WBC's end.
Keep up with Japan's WBC run at Sportsbet.io
Here at Sportsbet.io, you can make bets on the World Baseball Classic. Many teams will be present on this platform, but Japan is the biggest team in the wide field. It will be fun watching this team grow and persevere through their obstacles, and they are ready to prove that they're the best team in WBC history.
Words: Cholo Martin