Archive for the ‘World Baseball Classic’ Category

World Baseball Classic - Championship - Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic

Fittingly, the final of the World Baseball Classic was an exhibition of Dominican dominance from wire to wire. The Dominican Republic did not lose a game from pool play through San Francisco, and the Dominican republic led from the bottom of the first through the bottom of the ninth in the final against Puerto Rico.

But the Puerto Ricans had their chances. Outside of a pair of mistake pitches to Edwin Encarnacion and Erick Aybar, Puerto Rico’s pitching staff shut down the formidable Dominican lineup. Sam Deduno pitched the game of his life and kept the Puerto Ricans off the board through five innings. Puerto Rico’s best chance didn’t come until manager Tony Pena avariciously attempted to squeeze two innings out of Octavio Dotel. Predictably, the 39-year-old wasn’t up to the task. Puerto Rico’s first two batters reached and the Dominicans faced their biggest challenge of the game.

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World Baseball Classic - Championship - Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic

Welcome to rock bottom. The World Baseball Classic is over so only the ass-end of Spring Training stands between us and the real beginning of real baseball season. FOR REAL! To get you there, we talk about the WBC final and the resulting Hanley Ramriez injury, moving Aroldis Chapman back to the bullpen and the chase of Ryan Braun.

Hit the mp3 link for direct download right here.

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You can talk about the depth of their bullpen or the balance of their lineup. You can talk about manager Tony Pena pulling the strings masterfully, bunting until it worked and subbing good players in for bad ones at opportune times. You can talk about the “effectively wild” stylings of Edinson Volquez, pitching five innings before turning the game over to the aforementioned dominant bullpen.

You can talk about the flip side, the relative lack of talent in the Dutch team. Talk about the insistence of manager Hensley Meulens to leave a pitcher who makes Jamie Moyer look like Randy Johnson in for too many batters. You could bring up all these things but, in all honesty, the Dominican Republic was able to best the Honkbalers 4-1 and move on to the World Baseball Classic for one reason and one reason only: the plantain in Fernando Rodney‘s pants.

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World Baseball Classic - Semifinals - Puerto Rico v Japan

Rest or rust – the well-worn narrative is dredged up at the first opportunity. Because of the time change when one goes from playing baseball games in Japan to playing baseball games in San Francisco, the winners from Pool 1 were given five days off. This, according to some, was enough time to throw the Japanese off their game completely.

Using the rust crutch is too easy yet over-complicates the matter: Japan lost because baseball. Baseball is weird and wonderful and in a big ballpark with professional athletes playing it, well, there is a difference between an underdog and a longshot.

Guys like Alex Rios can go from failing to get a ball out of the infield for ten plate appearances to clubbing a massive two-run home run to left field in the top of the seventh, adding two runs to a 1-0 lead.

Puerto Rico had the reputation as a team with a bad bullpen but, aside from Randy Fontanez, they did all that was asked of them — with an unbelievable, inexplicable assist to Seiichi Uchikawa — in holding off the late-charging Japanese team; advancing to the World Baseball Classic final on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win.

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World Baseball Classic - Second Round - Miami - USA v Puerto Rico

The Statue of Liberty is Kaput! Good enough relief pitching and some really not so hot at bats from the bottom of the American batting order ends the World Baseball Classic for the host country. Behind the unbelieveable pitching of Nelson Figueroa, Puerto Rico hangs on to beat the US 4-3.

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Pittsburgh Pirates v San Diego Padres

You know who I love? Chase Headley. Why? He’s awesome. Pretty simple. Power hitting third baseman marooned in San Diego. Chase Headley needs your love and affection, America. Luckily, there is a good chance he’s about to earn it.

With David Wright dropping off the Team USA roster with a rib/back injury, manager Davey Johnson cannot add another player until the next round of games. With the team in need of a third baseman, Chase Headley bravely threw his hat in the ring and will join the team in San Francisco…should they get that far.

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Courtesy of @MetsKevin11

Wow. Baseball can be pretty fun, huh?

The Dominicans outlast team USA in an incredibly tense, well-pitched game which will go a long way to helping the WBC earn the “classic” part of its name.

Pinch hitter Erick Aybar drove in the go-ahead run after Nelson Cruz doubled to right field off the Braves dominant closer (this is the part where you remember Craig Kimbrel game up ONE DOUBLE all of last season.)

After Aybar stole second base, Jose Reyes drove him home with a solid single to center, setting the decidedly pro-Dominican crowd at Marlins Park into a frenzy and the Dominican Republic off to the semis in San Francisco. Not before expressing his own unique joy, as seen above.

Team USA must now defeat Puerto Rico if they want to progress in the event. Wow, what a game.

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