Taiwan baseball team’s Olympics chances hinge largely on next 2 games

Taipei-Taiwan's national baseball team needs to win its next two games in the Premier12 championship to keep its chances open for a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, local baseball commentators said Thursday.

Team Taiwan, competing under the name Chinese Taipei, now has a 1-2 record in the six-team Super Round of the Premier12 in Japan, after toppling defending champions South Korea 7-0 on Tuesday.

Taiwan will face the United States (1-3) on Friday before going head to head against Australia (1-3) the following day. If Team Taiwan fails to win both of those games, its only remaining chance for a ticket to Tokyo will be the Olympic Final Qualifying Tournament next year, according to sports commentators.

Even with a victory in both upcoming games, however, Taiwan will not secure an automatic berth in the 2020 Summer Olympics, the commentators said. To do so, Taiwan needs to finish above South Korea (2-1) and Australia in the Super Round, which is currently led by Mexico (3-1) and the hosts Japan (3-1).

According to the commentators, if Taiwan wins its next two games and Korea loses both of its next two games against Mexico and Japan, then Taiwan and Korea will compete for the bronze medal in the tournament and a place in the Tokyo Olympics.

If Taiwan is defeated by the U.S. on Friday, it will have to hope that South Korea falls in both of its upcoming games, which would leave Taiwan, South Korea and U.S. tied with a 2-3 record, the commentators said.

In such a scenario, the Premier12 organizers would compare the 'Total Quality Balance' (TQB) of the three teams and pick the two best ones to play against each other for the bronze medal Sunday, with the winner gaining an Olympic berth, according to the commentators.

The TQB is complex factor calculated on the sum of runs scored by each team, divided by the number of innings played on offense, minus the number of runs allowed, divided by the number of innings played on defense.

Another scenario that will give the Taiwan team an Olympic chance is if it defeats the U.S. but loses to Australia, while Korea fails in its next two games, the commentators said.

This would leave Taiwan, South Korea and Australia in a tie, and the TQB would have to be applied, the commentators said.

Taiwan's last chance, if it fails to secure an Olympic berth during the Premier12 tournament, will be the Olympic Final Qualifying Tournament, which will take place in March or April 2020.

Meanwhile, Taiwan said Thursday that it was sending amateur sidearm Wu Sheng-Feng (???) as its starting pitcher against American Parker Dunshee, a Triple-A player in the U.S. Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics organization, in Friday's game at the Tokyo Dome.

The 2019 edition of the Premier12, sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), features the top 12 teams in the WBSC's 2018 year-end world rankings.

Baseball is returning to the Summer Olympics next year for the first time since 2008, with this year's Premier12 serving as a qualifying event.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel