Tuesday, March 17, 2009

USA-Puerto Rico, Regreting Putting Cabrera In

These two teams met recently, with Puerto Rico beating the USA 11-1 in a game that saw the mercy rule utilized. The winner moves on, and the loser goes home. And the US is starting Ted Lilly. Actually, given some of the rotations around in the tournament, Lilly would be the top pitcher for a number of them.

Top 1:
  • Ivan Rodriguez draws a rare walk with one out in the first.
  • The announcer are explaining pitch-sequencing as Lilly pitches to Carlos Beltran. The MLB Network isn't perfect, but it's definitely a step up from ESPN. Lilly gets Beltran looking with a big bending curveball.
  • Delgado grounds out to Youkilis at first, but the umpire rules the ball foul. Doesn't really matter as Pudge gets picked off.
Bottom 1:
  • The Orioles very own Brian Roberts is leading off for team USA. P.R. lefty Jonathan Sanchez gets him to flyout on the first pitch. To be honest, I think the US is a slight underdog in this game.
  • Jeter lines out to left. No real reason why he's playing shortstop instead of Jimmy Rollins, who's DHing. Rollins: 13.5 UZR last year. Jeter: -0.4 UZR last year (and -16.5 in '07).
  • Rollins - batting third - draws a walk and may be running. At least, Sanchez seems to think so. And for good reason, as Rollins steals second with no throw.
  • Youkilis flies out to right to end the inning.
Top 2:
  • Mark DeRosa showing his versatility, robbing Delgado of a hit with a dive in left-field.
  • Alex Rios takes Lilly deep and very gone. 1-0, Puertio Rico.
  • A flyout and a groundout ends it without any further damage.
Bottom 2:
  • David Wright lines a single off the mound and into center-field.
  • Adam Dunn runs the count full, but strikes out looking and a nice slider.
  • Wright gets a good jump off of Sanchez and steals second-base.
  • DeRosa singles to right, but with Rios and his cannon out there Wright is held up.
  • Brian McCann lifts a short flyball to left, and Wright decides to test Hiram Bocachica. The ball beat him, but was up the line a little and Wright with a great slide to avoid Soto's tag.
  • Also, nice job by DeRosa to move over to second. That ends up being big as Shane Victorino singling to center to give the US a 2-1 lead.
  • Roberts swings at the first pitch again, and lines out to center to end the inning.
Top 3:
  • Lilly walks Felipe Lopez on four pitches, with one out in the inning.
  • Inning ending strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play, with Bocachica swinging and missing and Lopez getting thrown out by a mile.
Bottom 3:
  • An infield single by Jeter is erased as Rollins grounds into a double play.
  • Shame, as Youk hits a bomb to left-field. 3-1 USA.
  • Wright walks, and there's action in the P.R. pen.
  • Sanchez ends his night by hitting Dunn with a pitch. Nelson Figueroa coming in.
  • He strikes out DeRosa to end the inning, but the lead was enhanced.
Top 4:
  • Pudge walks for a second time to start the fourth.
  • Lilly is laboring a little, but he's able to catch Beltran looking.
  • Delgado ties the game up with a two-run homer to dead center-field.
  • Lilly got pulled maybe a couple batters too late. His replacement, Joel Hanrahan, K's Rios swinging.
  • Soto draws a walk, but Hanrahan gets Alex Gonzalez to pop out to keep the game tied.
Bottom 4:
  • Carlos Beltran with an amazing leaping catch to rob Brian McCann of a home run to center-field.
  • Victorino grounds out to first to turn the line-up over.
  • Roberts goes a little deeper in the count this time, but flies out again anyway.
Top 5:
  • Matt Throton comes out dealing, striking out Bocachica swinging.
  • A flyout and a groundout make it a quick fifth for Thorton.
Bottom 5:
  • Jeter can't catch up to a high fastball and has to return to the bench.
  • Rollins catches a curveball on the foot and hobble off to first-base.
  • Youk puts another charge into one, but he hits it to the deepest part of the park and Beltran runs it down.
  • Rollins picks up his second bag of the night, stealing second even more easily this time.
  • Wright pops out to leave him stranded though.
Top 6:
  • Pudge walks for the third time in the game (after walking all of 23 total in 2008).
  • Beltran - after K'ing in his first two at bats - drops down a bunt. It's not a particularly good one, though, and Wright is able to throw him out.
  • Heath Bell, who started the inning, is issuing an intentional walk to Delgado with first-base open.
  • Rios with a base-hit up the middle passed a diving Jeter (would Rollins have gotten to it?) to give P.R. a 4-3 lead.
  • Bell comes out to K Soto with a nice slider down out of the zone.
  • Bernie Williams will pinch-hit for Alex Gonzalez. Will Jeter be able to restrain himslef from running to the plate and hugging him? Will new pitcher Scot Schields be able to take advantage of his poor bat-speed?
  • The Yankee legend (lowercase) grounds out to first to leave two runners stranded.
Bottom 6:
  • Lefty Javier Lopez drops down with his side-arm delivery and gets Dunn looking.
  • With two outs, McCann hits a long flyball to center, but Beltran is there.
Top 7:
  • Shields mows P.R. down for an easy 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom 7:
  • The Flyin' Hawaiian leads of with a single.
  • Roberts puts down a sac bunt (grrr) to move Victorino to second for Cap'n Jeter.
  • Jeter walks against Pedro Feliciano, who started this inning for P.R. They've got the bullpen warming up quickly as well.
  • Rollins flies out to right, but Rios' throw back in "hit" Victorino and rolled away allowing him to go to third. The umpires are discussing if Shane let the ball hit him or kicked it or what. Looks like they'll let it stand as is. I'll be generous and say Victorino didn't try to deflect the ball, but didn't really try not to deflect the ball.
  • Saul Rivera will come in to face Youkilis with two outs and runners on the corners.
  • Groundout to short, and it's still 4-3. Time is running out for team USA.
Top 8:
  • JJ Putz gets Pudge to ground to the right side. Roberts makes a nice diving stop and throws Rodriguez out from the outfield grass from his knees.
  • Nice splitter gets Beltran swinging. That's three K's on the night for Carlos, but he's made up for it with his play in center.
  • Delgado can't catch up to the fastball. Both '08 Mets go down swinging against their new teammate.
Bottom 8:
  • Good start to the eighth, as David Wright singles through the left side.
  • Dunn grounds into what should be a double play, but the relay pulls Delgado off the bag at first. Granderson pinch-runs for him.
  • DeRosa grounds to third, but Granderson was running on the 3-2 so they were able to stay out of the double play.
  • JC Romero is called on to face McCann, and he's able to get him swinging. Still 4-3 Puerto Rico.
Top 9:
  • Big, hard-throwing right Jon Broxton in for the ninth.
  • After a single and a steal by Rios, a grounder up the middle just passed a diving Jeter (that sounds familiar - and somehow expected, given that it was a dumb decision to not start Rollins out there) brings him in. 5-3 P.R.
  • Puerto Rico gets another hit but do not score. Two runs before three outs, or team USA goes home early again.
Bottom 9:
  • Victorino doing his job, punching a single through the right side to start the ninth.
  • Brian Roberts with a solid at bat, resulting in a single to center. The tying run is on base.
  • Make it happ'n Cap'n (sorry). Jeter lines out to right, with Victorino moving to third.
  • Roberts showing off those wheels, stealing second barely. Tying run in scoring position.
  • Rollins fights off a couple of good 3-2 pitches and draws a walk to load the bases for Youkilis.
  • Fernando Cabrera coming in (I though the announcer said Daniel Cabrera, who would actually be better for P.R., though he's not from there).
  • 3-1 count, and Cabrera misses the plate by two feet. Youk with the free pass forces in a run. 5-4, and they're still loaded for David Wright.
  • Ball one. Ball two. 2-1 count, and Wright bloops one just fair inside the right-field line. Two runs score, and the US wins 6-5!
  • I have to say, as soon as Cabrera came in I knew the game was going to be over for Puerto Rico. Bases loaded with one out and the middle of the line-up coming up. Of course you bring in the guy who can't throw strikes!
Exciting comeback in the ninth, and an injury plagued team USA is advancing to the next round. Smiles abound in the US dugout, and as players spill out onto the field. Awesome ending.

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