World Baseball Classic Thread: 3/12

Yesterday's recap after the break.

Today's Game:

Pool B: 9:00 PM - Mexico v. Cuba

By beating Australia yesterday, Mexico earned itself a place in Pool 1, and a match with Cuba today to determine Round 2 seeding. Again, I think that the extra game for Mexico exacerbates their weakness in pitching. Cuba didn't play great against Australia themselves, and Mexico's definitely got enough in them to pull off an upset in this game. The source I have for the starting pitching is probably semi-credible, saying Carlos Silvino (Ciro) Licea for Cuba and Pablo Ortega for Mexico. So far in the tournament, Ortega has pitched 0 innings, and given up 2 runs, (infinite ERA! whoo!) Licea, a late addition to the Cuban roster who has not yet made an appearance, has been a star pitcher in Cuba for over a decade, and has the third-most wins among active Cuban pitchers.

The winner of this game will play Japan in game 1 of round 2, and the loser will play Korea. Official "That's Racist" moment of  Round 1 - Jorge Cantu:"Korea and Japan are pretty much both the same team." Oh, Jorge, you can't say that.

Yesterday's games:

Pool B: Mexico 16 Australia 1 F/6

Ouch. So I was wrong, and Mexico smoked Australia. Karim Garcia had a great game, going 4-4, with 2 HR and 4 RBI. Mexico's starter, Campillo, pitched 4.2 innings, and allowed Australia's only run, a solo home run by Brett Roneberg Australia's pitching was clearly in trouble from early in the game. After their starter, Welch, went three innings, it took seven more pitchers to get through the next three innings and allow 12 runs, all of them earned. It's a good thing this was called early, because it looked certain that Australia was going to run out of pitchers. So Australia goes home, and Mexico moves on to Round 2.

Pool C: Venezuela 5 USA 3

The USA never really put it together against Venezuelan pitching, while the Venezuelans were led at the plate by two dudes named Blanco (Gregor and Henry) who combined for 2 doubles, a triple, and a home run. Bats were fairly silent all down the US lineup, except for Ryan Braun, who hit 3 for 4 with a double. The US almost made a comeback in the 8th inning when Chris Ianetta hit a 2-out 2 run homer (Guess who was on base? Hint: All Ed-E's HRs this year will be solos because we don't have ____) to bring the score to 5-3, but then Curtis "Eye Candy" Granderson un-clutchly struck out to end the inning, and K-Rod came in to shurt it down in the ninth.

Pool D: Puerto Rico 5 Netherlands 0

So here, the Netherlands are a leetle more like the Netherlands we know, and sort of like some. With only 6 team hits total, no Dutch batter had more than one hit, and only Yurendell de Caster reached base twice, with a double and a walk. Puerto Rico's offense didn't have one really noteworthy performance like Ivan Rodriguez's in game1, but they put up a solid game, and it was more than enough to win. Jonathan Sanchez had a great start, pitching 4 innings, allowing only 2 hits and a walk, which set the stage for Mexico's relief pitching to maintain the shutout. So Puerto Rico will face the USA in Pool 2's first game, and the Netherlands will be up against Venezuela.

Exhibition Games

Japan 6 Giants 4

Japan was definitely giving its top starting pitching a rest, but their bullpen looked good, and their offense didn't look terrible sluggish either. Ichiro stole two bases.

Korea 4 Padres 10

Kim Kwang-Hyun looked rough again, giving up three runs in 2 2/3 innings to a pretty toothless Padres lineup. The Koreans better hope they can rely on Ryu and Yoon in the next round. Lee Dae-Ho and Lee Tae-Kyun both hit doubles.

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