That is the explanation given by East Windup Chronicle why the Korean closer Lim kept throwing fastballs in the strike zone at Ichiro. As you can see in this sequence, Lim was throwing heat and Ichiro was hacking away at anything, including making contact with a pitch that hit the dirt. So why not walk Ichiro and try to ground out the next hitter?
My non-nationalistic theory is that Lim thought he could match up with Yu Darvish. Darvish came in as a reliever and was throwing for strike outs at every opportunity at the expense of control. Most people can attribute it to the fact that he is a 22 year old flamethrower. Korean pitchers and their manager thought otherwise. Darvish is unlike any other Japanese pitcher who wouldn’t mind taking a walk or allow their teammates to field it. If only they noticed it didn’t work out for Darvish, who blew the save in the 9th.
Regardless of that sequence of events, I thought Korea played very well during the finals and every other match. Yong-kyu Lee is my new hero for diving head first into 2nd base, smashing his face and cracking his helmet in Nakajima’s knee, then kept playing. I hope Bong and other Koreans make it to the majors in the near future.
Great win by Japan. No one is going to stop Japan from winning again unless the other teams get all of their best players in the tournament.