Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday WBC Roundup

So one day after Tigers pitchers walked 10, they play a game in which they don’t walk any. Granted, none of the same pitchers were involved, but talk about a turnaround. Today’s game has featured a few walks, but on the whole, they’re still pitching better than they were on Sunday. The offense is still up north, so let’s move on to the WBC roundup:

Pool B
This was the late game last night, so I fell asleep before the conclusion, but from the looks of things, it seems that Mexico bounced back nicely and ousted South Africa. It featured a big night from Adrian Gonzalez, from the looks of things. And it occurred to me yesterday that playing in Mexico City must be like playing at Coors Field without the humidor. No wonder the ball’s been flying there. At any rate, Australia takes on Cuba tonight.

Pool C
This pool featured the first “shocker” elimination last night when Italy upset Canada. The television analyst was trying to give the credit to Cervelli, the Italian catcher. I’m not sure what he meant by that, since I was trying to watch this game and Netherlands-Puerto Rico at the same time. And two days after doing what he did a lot of in Detroit, Jason Grilli pitched pretty well (but that’s always kind of been his MO: He CAN pitch well, but he’s remarkably inconsistent about it). And no disrespect to Italy, but I’m pretty sure team Venezuela was on their side as well. Still, even though Italy’s lineup is a lot less formidable than Canada’s, Venezuela’s got a major problem. Due to WBC rules about pitch counts and rest days, Venezuela doesn’t have a starting pitcher. Felix Hernandez, Carlos Silva, and Armando Galarraga are all unavailable. They’re starting Enrique Gonzalez tonight. I’ve never heard of him, but hopefully he’s better than the group of middle relievers the other night.

Pool D
It took pretty much all they had, but Puerto Rico finally managed to squeak by the Netherlands in the bottom of the eighth, guaranteeing themselves a trip to the second round. That was rather excruciating to sit through. After being the big hitting hero Saturday night, Pudge had a single, but he also struck out three times, twice in crucial situations. He also couldn’t get a bunt down, which I didn’t get, cuz I saw him do it successfully numerous times last year, whenever he was called upon to do it. So don’t listen to Rich Walz and Jim Kaat. You also have to give some credit to the Dutch pitchers. They did exactly what they needed to do to get him to strike out (get ahead of him, then throw an elevated fastball). At any rate, it seems that in the great Puerto Rican tradition, the catcher is the one to be the hero. Pudge was not the catcher last night. He was the DH. Yadier Molina was the catcher, and Yadier Molina came up with the big hit. I suppose if Geovanny Soto catches tomorrow night, HE’LL be the one with the big hit. By the way, I want to go to a baseball game in Puerto Rico. The fans there are tremendous. At any rate, tonight is an elimination game, and I can’t imagine the Domincan Republic is happy about seeing the Netherlands again.

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