World Baseball Classic Update

March 14, 2009

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Pool B

Game 4: (Tuesday) Cuba / Australia (winner clinches a spot in next round)
Cuban pinch hitter pinch-hitter Yosbany Peraza hit a 2 run home run in the 8th inning that ended up being the difference-maker, 5-4. Cuba joins Japan and Korea as teams that have qualified for second round action in pool 2.

Game 5: (Wednesday) Australia vs. Mexico (winner clinches spot in next rounder, loser is eliminated)
After an embarrassing 17-7 loss to Australia in front of their home crowd earlier in the tournament, Mexico eliminates Australia from the tournament with a 16-1 win in 6 innings (mercy rule). Jerry Hairston Jr. was the only Mexico player not to get a hit or score a run, but even he contributed with an RBI. Eight different players drove in a run. Karim Garcia had 2 home runs and was 4-4 with 4 runs and 4 RBI.

Game 6: (Thursday) Mexico vs. Cuba (determines the pool winner)
Once again, Mexico was involved in a game in which the mercy rule was enforced. Cuba scored seven times in the seventh inning the break the game open, 16-4. Ariel Pestano and Frederich Cepeda hit 3 run homers in the inning.

Pool C

Game 5: (Tuesday) Venezuela vs. Italy (winner clinches spot in next round, loser eliminated)
Venezuela hit four homers in the fifth inning and pounded out 14 hits en route a 10-1 win over Italy. Venezuela starting pitcher Enrique Gonzalez went 4 innings and allowed 2 hits (he also hit a man).

Game 6: (Wednesday) USA vs. Venezuela (determines pool winner)
Venezuela catcher Henry Blanco led off the scoring with a homer in the third inning. Venezuela really got things going against reliever Jeremy Guthrie, touching him up for 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 2 innings of work. Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta did homer in the losing cause. Venezuela wins the game 5-3 and advances as the winner of pool C. The USA advances as the runner-up.

Pool D

Game 5: (Tuesday) Dominican Republic vs. Netherlands (winner clinches spot in next round, lost eliminated)
After edging the Dominican Republic in a big upset earlier in the tournament, the underdogs pull off the trick a second time, squeezing past the DR 2-1 in 11 innings. The winning run scored on an error by Willy Aybar. You have to give the Netherlands some respect – they did not have an easy path, but they advance to round two.

I’m going to focus on a bright spot for the Dominican Republic. Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies (my team) pitched 4 innings and allowed 0 runs on two hits and no walks, while striking out a WBC-record 10 batters. The strikeouts are great, but I’m even happier to see the zero walks.

Game 6: (Wednesday) Netherlands vs. Puerto Rico (to determine pool winner)
Puerto Rico was able to score 5 runs in spite of the fact that they had only one extra base hit in the game. It was death by small cuts for Netherlands, as they allowed 10 hits and 9 walks. Conversely, the Puerto Rico pitchers allow just 6 hits and 1 walk in shutting out the Netherlands. Puerto Rico advances as the winner of pool D; Netherlands advances as the runner-up.

The next WBC update will be on Wednesday, with recaps on the first 6 games of round 2.

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