It was a packed weekend for the WBC, quite a bit happened, and if you watched there were some real exciting moments. First off, I want to clear up a slight inaccuracy I stated in an earlier post. In each pool, not every team will play 3 games. That’s because, as had I said correctly, each pool is a double elimination tournament. So, for example, if a team loses their first game, they have a chance to win 3 more games, meaning they’d play 4 games. Also, in case you were thinking it was, it’s not a round robin tournament. If a team wins their first 2 games, there is a chance there will be a rematch in the final game. This may be the case for the US, who beat Venezuela and Canada, and likely won’t play Italy in the finals (the winner of Italy-Canada, will face Venezuela. The winner of that game will face the US in the finals) Finally, it’s not a TRUE double elimination tournament. That is because the finals are just a straight matchup. Going back to the US bracket, the US is currently 2-0 and waiting for the finals. But if they lose the championship game (for their bracket) they don’t have a second chance to win it. Of course, they’ll still advance to the next round, but it would be as the runner up. It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds, but here is a convenient map that may help you out.
If it’s too much, just enjoy the games. Anyway, on to the results. As you may have gathered, Team USA did rather well this weekend. They beat Canada on Saturday by going ahead early and slowly giving away runs, they won 6-5. Peavy had a rocky start and gave up 2 runs in 3 innings, but the bullpen kept them ahead as they powered by with three home runs, one each from Youkilis, McCann and Adam Dunn. Game two looked like it might be a tough matchup, instead the US pounded Venezuela. Again it was Youkilis (he scored 4 runs), Dunn (scored 3), and the catcher, this time Chris Ianetta (he had 4 RBIs) in addition to utlity man Mark Derosa who played LF and 3B and also had 4 RBIs. Oswalt got through 3 2/3 IP and gave up 2 ERs, and other than Brad Zeigler, the bullpen was solid. They play the winner of Venezuela vs. Italy/Canada winner in the finals on Wednesday. Also if you are wondering why the starters were in for such short times, it’s pitch count limitations. In the first round, pitchers are limited to 70 pitches, in the second round the max is 85, and the semi-finals and finals have a 100 pitch limit. Also, if you throw 30 pitches in the semis, you can’t throw in the finals.
Meanwhile, some big games were played not involving the US. The biggest news of the weekend was the Dominican Republic losing its first round game to the Netherlands. Yeah, that’s right, the Netherlands, picked to finish last in the bracket, will at least get 3rd place. The DR came back in their Sunday matchup to demolish Panama. Assuming Puerto Rico beats the Netherlands, the DR will have to beat the Netherlands in order to qualify for the next round. Meanwhile, in Mexico City, Mexico got pummeled in their opening matchup by Australia. They have to now beat overmatched South Africa and then the loser of Australia/Cuba to advance, so it looks as if they might get a rematch as well. The only other big surprise which wasn’t that much of a surprise happened in Asia. Japan beat South Korea by mercy rule, 14-2 in 7 innings in their second game. But after beating China 14-0, Korea came roaring into the finals and won the pool by taking revenge on Japan, winning 1-0. Japan and Kora will move on.
If you want to see the brackets and how things are shaping up, the WBC website has a great chart here. Although if you don’t get how the elimination part works, it can be a little confusing.
Nats in the WBC
Joel Hanrahan has made 2 appearances so far, and he hasn’t exactly been lights out. But he got the job done well enough both times. 0 Ks, 1 BB, 2 Hits, and 1 ER in 1 2/3. In the squeaker against Canada, he allowed 1 ER in an inning, didn’t strike anyone out, and gave up a hit and a walk. Adam Dunn was a big part of the offense in both games so far, going 3 for 4, with 2 HRs… plus 4 BBs, 3 RBIs, and 5 Runs.
Meanwhile, another Nat, Saul Rivera, has been pitching for Puerto Rico. They’ve only played one game so far, and in a role familiar to Nats fans, he played setup man, coming in for the 8th inning. He pitched a perfect 1 inning and struck out a batter. In a role less familiar to Nats fans, his team was winning 7-0 at the time.
Nats not in the WBC
Finally, it appears that Shawn Hill went to see the infamous Dr. James Andrews, and there wasn’t anything wrong with him. That is to say, the doctor found nothing wrong with him. Hill still has discomfort in his forearm. As I stated before, that may be something he has to learn to pitch with. We’ll see in the coming days how he pitches and how he feels. If you don’t like my summary, you can read an entire WaPo article on this.