Friday, March 10, 2006

'06 World Baseball Classic – Round 1 Summary

Well, 7 out of 8 isn’t bad. I’m still mad at myself for picking Taipei over South Korea, for reasons I elucidated earlier, but at least my 7 other picks all made it through.

There were some mild surprises. The first, of course, was the USA dropping a game to Canada. The Americans were very fortunate that Mexico scored at least 3 runs against Canada in their game or today’s USA blowout of South Africa wouldn’t have mattered – they wouldn’t have advanced. That would have been a crying shame. Baseball IS America’s game and to have been booted out of a tournament that early would have been borderline catastrophic. The other surprise was Panama going winless – I would have thought they were a bit stronger than that.

I hope that Team USA’s offensive thunder today is indicative of things to come. But today’s output was against South African pitching, so one can’t get too optimistic. As long time readers know, I’m not really a big fan of A-Rod. Today he finally drove in his first run of the series. I hope he drives in some more, but, of course, if he keeps hitting behind Griffey, he may not have anyone on base to drive in. Both A-Rod and Jeter are hitting over .500 for the series and it’s tough to complain about that. It was nice to see Clemens pitching in mid-season form, too. If Dontrelle Willis’ woes continue, Clemens may see another start sooner rather than later.

So, it’s on to Round 2. Games for this Round start on Sunday with the USA opening up against Japan. The competition gets much tougher from here on out as the pretenders are all gone. The 8 teams left in the tournament are all quality teams. My predictions for Round 2 will be posted tomorrow or early Sunday.

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