Friday, March 17, 2006

'06 World Baseball Classic - Round 2 Summary

Gloom.

I can’t believe it – Team USA has been eliminated from the ’06 WBC. They capitalized on being bailed out in Round 1, but were unable to do so in Round 2. All Team USA had to do to advance was to beat Team Mexico (again) as Korea had opened the door by knocking off the Japanese (again). And I had hopes in the ninth inning, with Junior leading off. But when he struck out, I knew we were doomed.

There’s no secret as to why Team USA didn’t advance – they just couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it. The Team Stats page is very misleading as it shows Team USA ranking second overall in team batting. But over half their runs and a third of their hits were put up against the South Africans; the tournament’s weakest team. If you take the numbers they put up against South Africa out of the picture, Team USA scored only an average of three runs per game. You need to have an awfully good pitching staff to make that hold up. Team USA’s pitching was good, but not great, with Dontrelle Willis not even making it to the “Good” level.

The four teams left all deserve to be there and I congratulate them all.

I was seven for eight in my Round 1 predictions and two for four (Japan and the Dominican Republic) in Round 2. I’ll post my Semi-final predictions tomorrow.

Gloom…

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