USA and Gio Get a Win

March 13, 2013

Team USA started out the second round of the WBC with a big win over a strong Puerto Rico team. This was thanks in no small part to two NL East stars from last year – David Wright and the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez. Wright broke the game open in the 8th with a bases clearing double to bring a 4-1 lead all the way up to 7-1, and that was probably the hit that will be remembered from this one. But Wright had two other RBIs, one off a groundout to make it 2-0 in the third, and one off a single in the 5th to bring the lead to 3-0.

The game never got closer than a 3 run differential after that, and the biggest reason the PR team couldn’t score was Gio Gonzalez. WBC Puerto Rico US BaseballGio wasn’t brilliant, but he was very good in 5 innings. He didn’t quite hit the 80 pitch limit imposed in a round by the WBC, but hit 69 pitches made his removal in the 5th logical, and will likely keep him out of the remainder of this round.

Gio did his job and then some, striking out 5 in those 5 IP, and walking (gasp!) none. He only gave up 3 hits, and only got into any sort of trouble in the 4th, when Carlos Beltran doubled off the wall in center. After a a groundout by Yadier Molina to move Beltran to third with two outs, Mike Aviles came up and smashed the ball to RF, but Giancarlo Stanton made a great catch to rob him of extra bases, and PR of a run. Gio didn’t have all of his best stuff, according to Harry Pavlidis (Founder of Pitch Info, contributor to Baseball Prospectus & Washington Post):

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Catching up with The World Baseball Classic

March 12, 2013

If you haven’t watched any of the World Baseball Classic, you’re not alone. The ratings haven’t been great, but alot of the games certainly have been. There have been quite a few highlights from this WBC already, but here are a few that are worth catching:2013-World-Baseball-Classic

The Netherlands sports a fun lineup that includes Roger Bernadina, Randolph Oduber (a probable non-prospect for the Nats), and the Braves young SS Andrelton Simmons who could be the MVP of the entire tournament, hitting .370/.400/.704. Also impressive on the team has been Andruw Jones, and Curt Smith, a Miami Marlins farmhand who is Sir-Not-Appearing-on-this-Page when it comes to any top 10 prospect list I’ve seen, but is so far hitting .375/.467/.542.

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WBC Finale Did Not Disappoint

March 24, 2009

If you didn’t watch the game last night, you really missed out. Even though team USA left one game early, this last game was well worth watching. Jung Keun Bong started for Korea, and Japan had to be at least a little concerned. He had faced them twice in this WBC, and allowed only 1 ER in 11 IP. He was pretty strong in this one as well, working his way into and out of trouble, but only for 4 innings, allowing 1 run. Korea, on the other hand, couldn’t muster so much as a hit against Japan’s starter Iwakuma in the first 3 2/3 innings.

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WBC Final Weekend

March 23, 2009

2 of the last 3 games in the World Baseball Classic have been played, and the finals are set for tonight. Korea trounced Cuba 10-2 on Saturday. Sunday night the US played Japan, and the game started out with a HR by Brian Roberts in the very first AB off of Dice-K. Japan was able to score in the bottom of the second, but a 3rd inning in which Dice-K threw more than 30 pitches and the US score a run to go up 2-1 looked like the beginning of the end for Japan. After a quick bottom of the 3rd by Oswalt, the US was right back out hitting and Matsusaka had to start pitching again with barely a break. But the US went down in order, and that may have been the spark for Japan.

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Final Rounds of WBC Set

March 20, 2009

The matchups are set, as Japan beat Korea last night 6-2. The game was close, 2-1 Japan until the 7th when Korea tied it up. But Japan came roaring back and scored 3 in the top of the 8th, from there it was pretty much over. The semifinals are now set, Korea plays Venezuela Saturday evening, and Japan will play the US on Sunday night at 8 pm. This is now a single elimination tournament. This is, to parallel some other current sporting event, the final four.

What to Expect from Japan

In a word, it’s pitching. Japan has the second best ERA in the tournament, behind only the Dominican Republic.daisuke_matsuzaka_bid In 7 full games, they have a TEAM ERA of 1.21. 3 of their games were shutouts. Their pitching staff has also cobbled together 54 Ks in 60 IP, and a WHIP of 0.95. One of the big reasons they’ve done so well is Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, and it looks like he might start against the US on Sunday night. That would be pretty exciting to watch, and see how they handle him.

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March 17, 2009

It’s like they knew that people weren’t paying enough attention. They wanted to add some drama. As I said, the bullpen did a pretty decent job of holding the lead. Not great, not enough, but they never let this game get away, and only surrended 2 runs in 5+ innings. Credit Joel Hanrahan for shutting down Puerto Rico after they tied it in the 4th and Matt Thornton for pitching a scoreless 5th. In the 6th, Heath Bell gave up a run, and Scott Shields came in with 2 on and 2 outs. Shields was able to get a 62 year old Bernie Williams to ground out and kill the threat. Shields finsihed the 7th as well, and JJ Putz pitched a scoreless 8th. Broxton gave up a run in the 9th to make things scarier. But Team USA fell behind 4-3 in the 6th, blew an offensive opportunity in the 7th, and allowed another run in the top of the 9th. Down 5-3, with the way the last few innings played out it didn’t look good.

Puerto Rico had brought in JC Romero to finish the 8th and he continued into the 9th. “Wait,” you say,” isn’t Romero banned from Major League Baseball for 50 games after testing positive for steroids?” Well, you are an idiot, because this isn’t the MLB, it’s the WBC! So after Romero Ks McCann to end the 8th, he started off the 9th by giving up a hit to the Shane Victorino.

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Team USA: Beat Puerto Rico or Go Home

March 17, 2009

Tonight at 7 pm, you can watch and see who’s going to lose to Louisville, or watch team USA perhaps play it’s last game of the WBC. Should be a good matchup, and Puerto Rico is a tough team. Yesterday’s loss was their first of the tournament. On the other side, USA has lost twice already, once to Puerto Rico. And Puerto Rico beat them like 72-3. 11-1, actually.

But, as with baseball, the best team only wins 2/3 of the time (or something like that, don’t quote my number there). Puerto Rico has looked the best of any team so far, but the US is still a very good team. Although they do have some extra issues to deal with coming in to this game. Ryan Braun may have to sit, he’s having an MRI on his knee (sorry Brewers fans) and reliever Matt Lindstrom is having the same on his shoulder. Even if they are both fine, something tells me their not in today. Both players are somewhat replaceable, but Braun’s absence significantly reduces the offense. Whether you replace him with Victorino or DeRosa, neither are quite the hitter. Of course, they are both better defenders. Braun did say he intended to play today, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

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