World Baseball Classic talk: 3/9

Another big upset, the US wins again, and the Dominican redeems itself. Game summaries and previews after the break.





Note: there was totally an accident: This was not finished, but I accidentally scheduled it to publish too early. My apologies. I'll go ahead and edit and finish the summaries here and do the game previews in a later post. Oops.

Game Summaries:

Pool A:

Game 6  - Korea 1 Japan 0

Uh. pretty crazy game here. Clearly a pitcher's game, in contrast to game 4. and both starters, Bong Jung-Keun and Iwakuma Hirashi had great performances, pitching 5.1 innings before hitting pitch limits. However, Iwakuma also allowed the game's sole run in the fourth by walking Lee Jong-Wook and then allowing two consecutive singles that drove him home. Japan had 6 hits to Korea's 4, but Korea also walked 7 times and Japan never walked at all. So Pool A is done, and Korea ends up the winner (which is really not all that fair - these teams should have to play again to determine the pool winner), and will start off Round 2 by playing the runner up in Pool 2.

Pool B:

Game 1 -  Cuba 8 South Africa 1

No upsets here. Cuba never had a big take charge inning - instead they just constantly added runs throughout the game while steadily blanking the South African lineup until the top of the ninth. Frederich Cepeda started things off with a solo homer in the first for Cuba, and added another solo in the third. Despaigne, Gourriel and Cespedes also added home runs - and in total, 7 out of Cuba's 8 runs were scored on the homer - not surprising. On the pitching side, Norge Vera lived up to his record, pitchig 6 full innings, allowing two hits, 1 walk, no runs, and 6 Ks, and with only 61 pitches. South Africa's main high point was in the ninth when Martin Gordon went to second on a wild pitch and came home on a Jonathan Phillips single.

Game 2 - 9:00 PM EST - Australia 17 Mexico 7 F/8

Semi-big upset here. True to form, Australia's pitching was not good, but Mexico's was even worse. I'm not totally sure the mercy rule is appropriate here - Mexico could totally have scored 10 runs in the ninth inning. Realistically though, Mexico took an early lead on a Jorge Vasquez grand slam in the first, added runs in the second and third, and then went scoreless, on some nice relief work from Australian pitching. Australia also did some early scoring, and then went on a run in the fifth in which they scored at least three runs in four consecutive innings. Australia had impressive offensive performances all the way down their lineup, including Chris Snelling's 3-5, 2 HR day. On the other side, only one of Mexico's pitcher failed to give up a run. Now Australia will face Cuba and Mexico looks to pick itself up against South Africa

Pool C:

Game 3 - United States  15 Venezuela 6

This game was very close until the US rallied in the 6th inning to put 8 runs on the board. Interestingly, the top half of the lineup was fairly quiet in the context of 15 runs scored, with batters 4-5-6 scoring 10 of 15 runs, and 7-8-9 driving 9 of them in. Youkilis and Dunn (Miss you!) both hit their second home runs of the classic, and Ryan Braun added his first, pinch hitting for Chipper Jones. Mark DeRosa and Chris Iannetta both had great nights as well, coming up with big hits to drive in 4 each. On the Venezuelan side, Galarraga probably had the best pitching performance, giving up 2 earned runs in his four innings. Additionally, Ramon Hernandez did a great job picking Jimmy Rollins off second base in the first inning. And Jose Lopez is a freaking doubles machine - he added three yesterday which means he's hit 5 of them in the 2 games of the classic. Now Venezuela will face elimination against the winner of Canada v. Italy.

Pool D:

Game 3 - 4:30 PM - Panama v. Dominican Republic

Johnny Cueto pitched a great start yesterday, going 4 scoreless 2/3 innings, allowing 3 hits and only 1 walk (also 2 HBPs) while striking out 5. Reds prospect Pedro Viola also threw a really nice inning to close out the game, no hits and 2 ks. And the Dominican Republic decided to hit a little more like the Dominican Republic. Miguel Olivo batted in 5 runs on his two homers, and Nelson Cruz contributed a home run himself. Mets prospect Ruben Tejada has not been impressive at shortstop, making another error. Padres prospect Luis Durango may have had the best night for Panama, reaching base three times (1B, 1B, HBP). Panama is eliminated and the DR will face the winner of today's Netherlands v. PR matchup.


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