Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WBC Roundup: Wednesday (Farewell to Pudge)

Well, despite the fact that last night kinda sucked, yesterday afternoon rocked, and was probably more important anyways. By most accounts, Verlander was awesome, despite the ugly green hats. He did walk three, and there are some who were concerned that he only stuck out two, but when you have two 9-pitch innings and a 5-pitch inning, you’re not gonna get a lot of strikeouts. Any way you look at it, they were still better off than the bat boy, who was dressed like a leprechaun. Yikes. Meanwhile, Rick Porcello’s start was moved back to Saturday, which I actually think is a good thing because it pits him against the Yankees instead of the Nationals. I haven’t really jumped on the Rick Porcello Lovefest Bandwagon (with Lynn Henning leading the charge), as I’m not quite sure he’s ready, but I have been eager to see how he fares against a big offense like the Yankees, and now he’s got his chance.

Pool 1
More relatively unexciting action out of San Diego as Korea beat Japan and thus earned a spot in the semifinals. By the way, I was apparently mistaken about Shin-Soo Choo, as it appears that he is still with the team. However, that only makes one out of 28 guys that I’ve heard of. At least I know several of the Japanese players. At any rate, this means that either Cuba or Japan will NOT make it to the semifinals. I’m rooting for Japan in tonight’s game.

Pool 2
Pool 2 was a lot more exciting, and for all the wrong reasons. Losing it in the bottom of the ninth was probably the worst way for Puerto Rico to get eliminated. It probably would’ve been better for them had Team USA led 6-0 for the whole game or something like that, especially since the Puerto Rican bullpen had been so solid the entire tournament. I imagine it’s frustrating that after all that, they fell two outs short. I don’t what happened. The bottom of the ninth came around, and all of a sudden, no one could throw strikes (though I’m not sure why you would leave the left-hander in to face two switch hitters and a righty, but I don’t know what Victorrino and Roberts’ splits are, so I’m not exactly one to judge). Even David Wright’s walk-off single should have been ball 3. The ball was, like, 2 inches off the ground, so the fact that he got bat on the ball was amazing enough, but how the hell was he able to get enough lift on it that it was able to loop into right field? That seems to be contrary to the laws of physics or something. It also seems a shame to waste a game in which Pudge walked three times (One walk in a game is an event for him, but three? What’s going on?). And with that, I will likely bid adieu to Pudge Rodriguez and wish him well with the Astros. Meanwhile, the seeding game between Team USA and Venezuela is tonight, and Armando Galarraga is FINALLY going to pitch. I think I now know why the bloggers weren’t real enthusiastic about having him (or Verlander, for that matter) on the WBC roster. Considering the fact that now, the Tigers won’t be back in Lakeland until at least Monday or Tuesday at the earliest, you start wondering if Galarraga can be effectively stretched out in time (though he did throw 64 pitches in his only start, and right now the Tigers starters are about to reach the 75-pitch mark, supposedly).

That’s all for now. I’m working tonight, so the most I’ll see is probably the end of USA-Venezuela, and that’s it.

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