Friday, March 20, 2009

WBC Roundup: Friday

I know I didn’t post yesterday, but I figured that it’d be more efficient to get both pools done and wrapped up, plus waiting gave me an opportunity to watch the Tigers last night. And on that note, Bonderman looked pretty good to me. He was relatively efficient with his pitches, despite a couple walks. Hopefully he doesn’t miss any other starts, and the Tigers have enough time to get him stretched out. Dontrelle Willis’s outing was strange in that he gave up five runs, but watching him, for the most part he didn’t seem to look as bad as the final line would indicate. I mean, he didn’t look wonderful, but at least he wasn’t consistently knocking the catcher over with his pitches like he was last year. Actually, in his first two innings of work, he got the first two out. It was that third out that proved to be rather elusive. And he only walked two, although one was apparently the opposing pitcher (granted, Dontrelle himself worked a walk, so I suppose you could argue some kind of cosmic quid pro quo). The bullpen looked pretty good again, though. Meanwhile, the Tigers have dodged several bullets of the injury nature over the past couple days. Armando Galarraga apparently slipped while trying to cover first in the WBC the other night (I missed this), and last night Polanco got hit by a pitch on both hands. It looked bad at the time, but he is in the lineup for today’s game.

Pool 1
After Japan knocked off Cuba, Pool 1 featured an All-Asian Bonanza. I watched some of the Japan-Korea tilt last night, but I fell asleep soon after Korea tied things up. I woke up this morning to see that the Japanese prevailed, so to speak. And am I correct in observing that Ichiro is not have a real good time of it in the WBC, while Kenji Johjima was batting cleanup last night?

Pool 2
While not exactly a pretty game, Venezuela did top Team USA to claim home-field advantage for the semifinal (though, ironically, this means that they CAN’T have home-field advantage for the final, should they make it that far). Armando Galarraga was okay, I guess. He walked too many and threw too many pitches for 3 1/3 innings, but it’s hard to extrapolate anything from it for a bunch of reasons: He hadn’t pitched in ten days, it was pouring down rain, and he was facing kind of a supercharged lineup (not your typical, everyday lineup). There was one particular at-bat that I found kind of interesting (It was against a right-hander, but I don’t remember who...Chris Ianetta, maybe?). I’m not good at recognizing pitches, but whatever it was Galarraga was trying to throw, it looked like he was trying to hit the corner, but the pitch kept moving outside in the exact same spot. This happened three times in a row. I started thinking that if he started out throwing the ball down the middle, it would hit the corner. But I’m not a pitching coach. I just thought it was interesting that he missed in the exact same spot on three consecutive pitches. Cabrera had a nice night at the plate, though.

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