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March 8, 2017

Jon Deeble

Tokyo, Japan

Japan 4, Australia 1

Q. You just played the first game of the tournament, and you were defeated, what's in your mind?
JON DEEBLE: I thought we played a great game. Basically I thought we did a good job. I think we made three mistakes in the game and two of them cost us home runs. We had a chance to drive a run in there and we couldn't. You know, I think it took Japan's two best pitchers to beat us, two best pitchers in Japan in Sugano and Senga. It took them to defeat us today and I thought our guys did a hell of a job.

Again, we were perfect defensively. A couple of situations, we made two mistakes and it cost us. I thought we were right in the game until the seventh, and look, it's disappointing, too, because we don't get a day off, Japan, Cuba, get a day off, so they can use all their pitchers.

So we are in the seventh inning in a tie ballgame and we are sort of weighing up whether we run our best relievers out, and in a tied ballgame in the seventh, we probably can't. If you've got that day off, like Cuba and Japan had, I think it would have been a different story because we would have had Kent, Tols, Moylan out there for the seventh, eighth, ninth inning, and because we don't have that break, it makes it tough.

Q. What did you learn from today's game and what did you want to fix from today's game?
JON DEEBLE: Look, I don't think we did a lot wrong. As I said, there was two mistakes. We left a breaking ball up, and Tsutsugoh is a very good hitter, and the game plan was not to have him hurt us. I thought we pitched him very well.

We've got to take a lot of confidence going into China and to Cuba. I think our guys should be up. You know, the way we played, I'm very proud of our team and as I said, I think we've got a lot of confidence going into tomorrow's game against China, and then it's going to come down to us and Cuba, and I'm confident we can beat them.

Q. From tomorrow, do you have a specific plan for tomorrow's game?
JON DEEBLE: The plan is to win, obviously. We didn't come here to lose. The game plan's to win. It's very simple. We've got to win tomorrow and we've got to go beat Cuba to get to the second round. We've got a simple plan and that's to win.

Q. Who is the most important impact Japanese player?
JON DEEBLE: Sugano is the best pitcher in Japan. Him and Ohtani are the best pitchers in Japan and I think Senga is very close to them, also. Obviously they are impact guys, and you know, our big plan was to make sure that Nakata and Tsutsugoh didn't hurt us, and they did tonight. We beat them three times. We just couldn't beat them the fourth time. I thought we pitched really well to them. Those guys are the impact guys.

Our game plan, I think we positioned well and I think our game plan was good. It's bad execution. You've got to execute your pitches and a couple situations we didn't. I think that Matt Williams threw the ball well and made one bad pitch and it hurt. That's tough, but to me they are the impact guys.

Q. You mentioned Senga is one of the best pitchers in Japan. Can you expound on what challenge it is to face a guy with his kind of stuff coming out of the bullpen like he did tonight, because it seemed like he had a lot of success against you guys.
JON DEEBLE: We didn't see 96. I think he's up to 97 tonight. That's tough to hit any time. That's tough to hit in the big leagues. We battled. I thought we had some really, really good at-bats. I know Harman fouled off some pitches and got a hit, got to a full count. But I thought our game plan was good against him, and you know, you've got to tip your hat to him and Sugano. They are good pitchers.

For our guys from our country, I thought we did a really good job. Would have been nice to keep it to 2-1, and giving up that home run hurt at the end. But again, I go back to, if we didn't have that -- if we would have played three games in a row, Cuba and Japan get an extra break in between and can use their best relievers and we don't have that luxury. If we had a one-run lead, it's a different story because we've got Tols, Kent, Van Steensel. So I thought for the most part our guys played a great game.

Q. Talking about your pitching staff, is your order planned? Did you have any scouting report? What kind of scouting report do you have on Sugano?
JON DEEBLE: Look, we've got a lot of scouting reports obviously. I scouted him out of college and we tried to sign him. That's what I was with the Red Sox. We knew that he was a fastball slider guy to right-hand hitters and we know he uses his split to left-hand hitters.

I thought we one the bats pretty well against him for the most part, and Senga coming in, I was sort of hoping -- at the start of the game, I thought we need to get to 65 pitches to get Sugano out. But when they brought Senga in, I thought his stuff was pretty electric tonight. I think that we did have good scouting reports on all of them, good video and we did a areally good job advancing them.

Atherton has come back from shoulder surgery, and he has not started for a couple years. But he's pitched well in the Australian Baseball League out of the bullpen. And look, we just thought he had the stuff that could get us through three or four innings, which he did.

Lachlan Wells has a twin brother who is a replica of him and we didn't bring him along but this kid's got a great future and I think he's going to pitch in the big leagues. I thought he threw the ball very, very well today. He's 19 years old, so he's not afraid and he went out there and threw strikes. He went into a tough situations are first and third, none out, with 50,000 people there, and he wasn't afraid. He got the job done and he got a fly ball and then got an out and he had a couple strikeouts.

The problem with him is, it was the first time he's been on the mound since last year, and he went to spring training this year, and he never pitched in the live game. So we have to be really careful with him. I would have loved to have left him out there to throw another inning or two but we couldn't because he's not in that shape at this point in time because he has not pitched since last year. I think it's unfair for a 19-year-old, we've got to put the kid's health and future with the Minnesota Twins out there, we would have loved to see him out there for 65 pitches, but he's just not at that point.

Q. Japan had already played. Do you think that had an influence?
JON DEEBLE: I don't think that had an influence. My point in that was that if we had a day off in between, that you know, Kent, Tols and Moylan would have been out on the mound, and it may have been a bit closer. If we had a lead -- and we're trying to balance out, it's a tied ballgame. It was hard to go -- you can't go three days in a row in this competition and that's reflective. We've got to get better, we get the day off, and not Cuba and Japan, and we've got to get better, we understand that.

I don't think the fact that they have already played a game had much influence on the game. I thought we played great. Up to seven innings, it's a one-all ballgame. If someone had of said they are going to be one-all in the seventh inning -- we had a chance and probably should have had a lead and just couldn't get that run in unfortunately. Again I thought we played a pretty good game tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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