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Olympic tourney Day 3

Dominican Republic 1, Mexico 0

At Yokohama Stadium: Catcher Charlie Valerio continued to be the Dominicans’ offensive sparkplug. He doubled and scored the game’s only run on a fifth-inning Melky Cabrera single. The Dominicans improved to 1-1.

Yomiuri’s Angel Sanchez allowed two hits and a walk while striking out one over five innings, and left fielder Jose Bautista prevented the tying run from scoring in the sixth off reliever Ramon Rosso when he gunned down a runner at the plate.

Teddy Stankiewwicz, who went 6-0 last season for Taiwan’s Uni-President Lions, allowed a run on six hits and a walk while striking out five over 4-2/3 innings.

Mexico will play Japan on Saturday, when Japan can clinch Group A and advance to the second quarterfinal on Monday. Teams finishing second and third in their groups go into a four-way playoff to select two teams for Monday’s first quarterfinal.

Mexico will need to beat Japan to avoid an elimination game against Israel on Sunday. A Mexican win over the tournament host will leave all three Group A games tied and bring the WBSC’s “TQB” tie-breaking formula into play, which I honestly don’t understand.

United States 8, Israel 1

At Yokohama Stadium: Tyler Austin slipped seamlessly into a Team USA uniform at his regular home park, the DeNA BayStars slugger capping a three-run third with a two-run homer and doubling in a run in the seventh as the United States set up a battle with South Korea on Saturday for a spot in Monday’s second quarterfinal.

The Americans opened the scoring in the third on a Nick Allen single, a wild pitch, an Eddy Alvarez RBI double and Austin’s home run.

Israel’s Danny Valencia homered to make it a 3-1 game in the fourth against U.S. starter Joe Ryan, who gave up five hits but walked none while striking out five over six innings.

Todd Frazier reached on an error and scored on a Bubba Starling single in the sixth, before an error and doubles by Alvarez and Austin made it 5-1 in the seventh.

Brandon Dickson, who spent eight seasons with the Orix Buffaloes before deciding to remain in the States this year with his family prevented from joining him in Japan, pitched the seventh for the U.S.

Ben Wanger, whose Olympic athletes village reality show “Breaking Bed” was widely panned, allowed a run in the ninth.

The loss put Israel in the tournament’s first elimination game on Sunday, when they’ll play the third-place team from Group A.

Olympic tourney Day 2

Infections hit record high for 3rd straight day

The Tokyo government announced the third straight day for record confirmed infections on Thursday according to Kyodo News, with 3,865 new cases. There is no sign, however, that this is anything but the start since Tokyo’s positivity rate on Wednesday was 16.9 percent, the highest figure since early 2020, when one had to be practically dead in order to be tested.

A day after Japan recorded 9,000 infections in one day for the first time, the government said Thursday’s new infection total exceeded 10,000.

The Tokyo Olympics, meanwhile recorded 24 new cases, the highest figure since the games began. According to a Kyodo News report, Richard Budgett, said the games are equipped to deal with infections among its ranks and would not pose a burden to local hospitals.

This is of course, if one discounts the coronavirus cost of Japan’s government’s policy of putting the Olympics ahead of its coronavirus response.

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The human cost

There’s no way to know how many lives would have been saved in Japan had the government focused on eradicating the coronavirus through efficient testing, tracing and vaccine implementation instead of what it actually did: Conduct an elaborate campaign to argue that the virus couldn’t impact the Olympics. My uneducated guess would put the cost before the Olympics at about 7,500.

Through July 22, according to Statista, Japan has had 119 deaths per million, compared to South Korea’s 40 and Taiwan’s 33 (786 deaths from a population of 23.57 million). If Japan had actually done more than play act its response, and its figure got down to say 60 per million, that would move the number as of July 22 at 7,516 – instead of 15,046.

But of course, the opportunity and monetary costs of prioritizing the Olympics at the expense of health care, will not end when the Olympics and Paralympics close down. Between now and then 100,000 visitors will have entered Japan and will be screened upon entry and some during their stay with minimal quarantine requirements and restrictions.

But other than that, I’m sure the Olympics have had no effect on Japan’s response.

South Korea 5, Israel 4, 10 innings

At Yokohama Stadium: Oh Seung Hwan surrendered the tying run in the ninth inning, but then struck out all three batters he faced in the 10th to earn the win after Josh Zeid hit two batters to force in the winning run in the home half.

South Korea overturned a two-run seventh-inning deficit on back-to-back homers by Lee Jung Hoo and Kim Hyun Soo of Israel’s fourth pitcher, Zack Weiss. Oh Jae Il singled and scored from second on a double by Oh Ji Hwan, who’d tied the game in the fourth with a two-run homer.

Journeyman big league catcher Ryan Lavarnway, however, tied it off 39-year-old former NPB and MLB reliever Oh with his second home run of the game.

Ian Kinsler delivered the first blow, a two-run third-inning home run off Won Tae In with one out after Mitch Glasser opened with a single and was bunted to second.

South Korea tied it in the fourth on Oh’s homer off Israel’s second pitcher, Jake Fishman.

Lavarnway broke a 2-2 sixth-inning tie, putting Israel up with a two-run home run off Choi Won Joon, but the Koreans came back in the seventh .

South Korea put the go-ahead run on in the bottom of the ninth against Zeid, when Kang Baek Ho walked with one out. He helped run his team out of the inning, however, trying to take second on a dropped pitch only to be gunned down by Lavarnway.

Marlins farmhand Fishman took the mound in the first with one on and no outs. The big side-arm lefty was in command until the Oh chased him in the fourth.

Although Oh surrendered the tying run, he struck out five of the seven batters he faced in two innings to pick up the win, ending when Kinsler went down looking.