The US barely made it into round two after another disappointing showing in the beginning of the Classic. The USA does better and better each year and I think they can easily move out of this pool. Italy should go down and the USA has a better team than Puerto Rico, so I’d expect no worse than a second place finish in the pool. The USA will either totally disappoint or pick up and start doing well and surprising everyone (a little). Look for David Wright to lead this team and the pitching to step it up. There will be some guys on the USA that continue to struggle but guys like Hosmer and Stanton should improve in this round and impress. The team also needs to overcome Joe Torre, who has done a horrible job at managing so far, but they can do it. USA has the best support and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got hot in this round and rode it all the way to the Finals. I predict a 2-1 round for USA and that they stay out of an elimination game. I wouldn’t be surprised with a 3-0 round either. Watch out for the US.
Korea and Japan will fight for the championship tonight, here’s how I feel on the game. Korea and Japan have spilt their match-ups, in those Korea had pitching and defense and Japan had slugging and hitting. Japan will not have Dasuke, who is the heart of there pitching staff due to him starting last nights game. This is like the Yankees not starting Sabathia in a Game 7. Korea has a good team as Korean baseball is producing more and more good players like Shin-Soo Choo, a potential starting left fielder with a bat. Korea deserves to win this game as they have beatengood teams like Japan, Venezuela, and Mexico. Jung Bong gets the hill for Korea tonight, he was once a highly regarded prospect in the Braves organization but never smoothed out and went back to pitch in Korea. Japan will give the ball to a Japanese all-star, Hisashi Iwakuma who is right on Yu Darvish back being the second best Japanese starter. He will give you a good outing.
If anyone gets to the Japan bullpen it will be Korea, they have a very talented roster.
Okay, I was wrong about Dominican Republic going to the finals, but who was picking Netherlands to beat Dominican, twice. Here are my predictions, again
POOL A Rd.2
Cuba 3 0
Korea 2 2
Japan 1 2
Mexico 0 2
Pool B Rd. 2
USA 3 0
Venezulea 2 2
Puerto Rico 1 2
Netherlands 0 2
Venezulea over Cuba 3-1
USA over Korea 5-2
USA over Venezulea 6-5
My WBC predictions proved to be wrong as I said Dominican would be going to the finals, they won’t, because of the Netherlands, who plays good baseball which helped them win 2-1. Dominican, the favorite to win the pool will be going home in this upset, they had a good team but they weren’t playing small ball or even regular ball they were playing homer ball which caused them to lose. Netherlands has a few good players and prospects including Jair Jurrens, who wasn’t there, but they still had enough good prospects to win. Netherlands will pitch and play defense really good, they’re a small ball team. I would like to give their catcher, Kenley Jansen the player of the series as he had great game calling and defense, he handled the pitchers like a veteran. Well I still can’t believe I’m saying this, Dominican a great team goes home.
Venezuela played a hard game and won it 7-0 with great pitching from Carlos Silva and King Felix Hernandez. One homer came off the bat of Carlos Guillen who went opposite field on the shot. Melvin Mora had a nice game too, getting hits in half of his at-bats, he too hit a nice homer that was a long shot but that’s what Mora does. Italy played good in their first couple innings but then lost everything, even their good defense. Venezuela is a nice team of all-stars and Detroit Tigers. They have a serious shot to win it all.
Puerto Rico beat Panama 7-0 in today’s game. Pudge Rodriguez went 4-4 with 4 RBI, 2 homers, and a walk, he was the player of the game. Carlos Delgado also hit a towering homer, he looked ready to play and the Mets have something to look for. Puerto Rico got Carlos Lee out and looked like a great big league team out there today. Javier Vazquezpitched a masterpiece and stroke out three. Puerto Rico looked like they were ready to win, so watch out.
“It doesn’t get much better than this!” Adam Dunn said after USA’s 6-5 nail bitter win. Russ Martin and Joey Votto hit doubles in a ninth inning rally. USA is a great team, Canada wasn’t expected to make it to the next round but now have proven that they have a chance. Neither team played small ball as five homers were hit by Martin, Votto, Youklis, McCann, and Dunn. Dunn’s homer was the play of the game and helped USA win. Canada is a sleeper team, so watch out.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Adam Dunn OF- 1-1 HR 2 RBI 2 BB
CANADA: Joey Votto DH- 4-5 HR 2 RBI 1 R
The Netherlands have just upset Dominican Republic 3-2. Netherlands only got three hits and three runs but their pitching, especiallySidney Ponson, who threw four good innings putting up a decent line. Dominican didn’t play a bad game as they had great pitching and got lot’s of base runners, it’s just they couldn’t bunch the runners. Now Dominican Republic must win their next two games to advance, which I believe they will do. Netherlands had clutch defense today, turning a triple play, they have the best chance to be a surprise team. Pedro Martinez, was doing great today only giving up one hit, he had a nice delivery and nice speed on the ball today. Netherlands played great other than their hitting.
Don’t call it an upset because Japan is great but Korea another good team got mercied by Japan. Japan won the game 14-2 in seven innings. They got a great performance from Daisuke Matsuzaka, also Kenji Johjima hit a homer in the route of Korea. Korea starter Kwang-Hyun Kim gave up eight runs in one and one third innings. Korea will need to improve their starting pitching but they are still the favorite to get the two seed. Japan has only given up two runs in two games and are one of the favorites to win it all.
My picks for the 2009 World Baseball Classic are…
- Dominican Repubic
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
This pool was hard because it had the four of the best countries in the tournament
USA over Korea 7-5
Dominican Republic over Cuba 3-1
USA over Dominican Republic 5-3