Archive for the 'Venezuela' Category

Little League World Series - Down to Top Six

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Only one game that had some significance. Australia beat the Mid-West 11-7, but that was just a game to get the kids one more game. Both Australia and the Midwest have been eliminated.

Mexico 8 Latin America (Venezuela) 0

After winning yesterday on a walkoff triple, the Venezuelan bats went cold. Isaac Miranda limited the bats to just two hits then turned it over to Erick Vazquez for the last five outs. Erick struck out for of the five hitters he faced. Andre Garza hit his third homerun for the tournament. He only has three hits. The only game he has not hit a homerun he walked twice. Samuel Juarez also hit a homerun, his first of the tournament. A five run second put the game out of reach.

Little League World Series - Day 5

Monday, August 21st, 2017

All the teams that played today are 1-1. A loss means elimination. A win means one more day in Williamsport. The major leaguers have left for larger cities. The nosy nights of anticipation waiting to come fact to face with a major leaguer has been replaced by the intense desire to survive one more day to win the Little League World Series, which Todd Frazier is the only current major leaguer who can make claim to a championship.

Mexico 1 Asia Pacific (Korea) 0

This was an old fashioned pitchers duel. Jorge Garcia and Andre Garza combined to limit Korea to just one hit. Jorge Garcia went four innings, giving up the lone hit and walking three. Garza walked two but five of the six outs he recorded were by strikeouts. For Korea Ahn Ky-Um did not allow a hit but walked four in his 2.2 innings of work. In the third inning his two walks finished the day for him. Shin Jin-Won gave up the one hit, to Jorge Lambarria to plate the one run in the game to give Mexico the 1-0 victory and one more day of life.

Mid-Atlantic (Holbrook) 12 West (Santa Margarita) 9

Mid-Atlantic erupted for 9 runs in the third inning to take a 12-1 lead then hung on to complete the victory. R.J. Vashey went deep twice for Mid-Atlantic to drive in three runs. Charlie Meglio also went deep for Mid-Atlantic to drive in two. Drew Rutter drove in three runs with his two doubles in a losing cause for the West.

Latin America (Venezuela) 3 Caribbean (Dominican Republic) 2

The two countries with the most major leaguers outside the United States are always making claims that they have the best baseball talent. Venezuela proved to be the best on this day. Barely. They had to rally for two runs in the last inning to win the game. Omar Romero lined a one out walk off triple with two runners on base to win the game. The Dominicans could only manage one hit off the duo of Dario Cardozo and Jorge Daboin, but took advantage of the two passed balls to score both of their runs.

New England American (Fairfield) 14 Northwest (Walla Walla) 6

An 8 run fourth inning wiped out a 5-2 Northwest lead and was enough to give New England the victory. Michael Iannazzo was a perfect 3 for 3 with a homerun and three RBIs. Christian Smith also drove in three runs with his homerun. Matthew Vivona pitched a scoreless sixth inning to secure the victory for New England.

Little League World Series - Day 4 Welomes Major Leaguers

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

The Little Leaguers got a real treat when major league baseball played a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates against the St. Louis Cardinals at Williamsport Bowman Field. The stadium only holds 2,500 but that did not stunt the enthusiasm in Williamsport as major leaguers attended games, bought a couple hundred snow cones for the players and made their presence known. It was also a good opportunity for the major leaguers to watch some good games. None of the eight teams who played today had lost.

Canada 7 Latin America (Venezuela) 3

All the runs were scored in the first three innings. Reid Hefflick and Nathaniel Factor each hit three run homeruns to lead Canada. Reece Usselman pitched the last the last 2.1 innings without allowing a run to clinch the game for Canada. Jonney Rosario hit a two run homerun for Venezuela and Daniel Acurero shut out Canada for the last 3.2 innings, striking out six.

Southwest (Lufkin) 6 New England (Fairfield) 3

Christian Mumphery went deep twice to drive in three runs to lead the Southwest to the win. Collin Ross pitched all six innings for the win, striking out eight. He also drove in one run.

Japan 4 Asia Pacific (Korea) 1

Japan got six solid innings from Riku Goto to lead Japan to victory. He gave up just one run and struck out seven. Natsuki Yajima collected two hits, driving in one run and scoring one run. Keitaro Miyhara scored twice.

Southeast (North State) 16 West (Santa Margarita)0

Both teams won their previous games by shutouts. Southeast continued their shutout streak with their second straight no hitter of the tourney. The West is wondering when the nightmare is over. The Southeast scored 9 runs in the fifth inning to end the game early. Chase Anderson and Matthew Matthigs again combined for a no hitter. Carson Hardee hit a grand slam and drove in five runs on the offensive side.

Little League World Series Day One

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The Little League World Series has completed their first day. Below are the results:

Latin America (Venezuela) 4 Mexico 1

Despite the chaos in Venezuela they were able to send a team to participate in the Little League World Series. Jonney Rosario pitched five innings, allowing just one run and striking out seven in the Venezuelan victory. Juan Faria contributed two RBI singles on a 2 for 3 day to contribute to the win. Andre Garza hit a solo homer for Mexico in the second inning to give them a brief 1-0 lead.

Canada 12 Europe/Africa (Italy) 2

Canada scored 7 in the third, a Chase Marshall grand slam the big hit of the inning. Chase finished the day with 5 RBIs after a solo shot. Robert Orr drove in three runs in a game that went only four innings. Ty Fluet had a perfect 3 for 3 day with three runs scored.

New England 7 Mid Atlantic 6

New England was able to withstand a four run sixth inning to hold off Mid-Atlantic. Tai Mann hit a two run homer in the sixth and Chris Cartnick made it back to back, but New England fell one run short. New England scored in every inning but the fifth, Matthew Vivona one of three players to drive in two runs for New England. He also scored twice.

Southwest 5 Great Lakes 1

Southwest went deep four times with Hunter Ditsworth driving in two with his blast. He also pitched a six inning, one run complete game, striking out eight to get the win. Collin Ross hit two solo shots and Clayton Wigley also added a solo shot. Ditsworth gave up two hits, one of them a solo shot from Will Pfaum in the final inning.

Little League World Series Participants

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

The Little League World Series is around the corner and most of the games have been played to determine the participants. Canada and some of the United States regions have championship games that will be played today to determine the Little League World Series representative.

International

The Asian Pacific Region was played in Korea. The two powers of that area Korea and Taiwan were placed in the same pool. South Korea blasted Taiwan 12-0 and eventually won the pool with Taiwan finishing second. Hong Kong was the winner of the other pool. In the playoffs the championship round found Taiwan playing Korea again. Korea wins 6-1 to advance to the Little League World Series.

Australia had 20 teams battle it out in four different pools. In the end Hills Little League played Swan Hills, two teams without a loss. Hills was the winner 8-4 and will represent Australia in the Little League World Series.

The finals for Canada will be played today between White Rock Little League in British Colombia and Diamond Baseball Little League in Quebec. White Rock is undefeated while Diamond Baseball has lost twice, to Port Arthur Little League in Ontario 9-4 and White Rock 6-5. Diamond Baseball got into the finals beating Port Arthur 8-5.

In the Caribbean tilt the Dominican Republic got upset by Aruba 6-2. That put them in second place in their pool where in the semi-final they had to play an undefeated Puerto Rican team. They downed Puerto Rico 5-4 and then got revenge by beating Aruba in the championship match 8-4 to advance to the Little League World Series.

In the European/Africa division there were no African teams represented in the series. Myworld has to wonder what happened to the feel good story of Uganda from a couple years ago. A number of European teams battled it out with Italy remaining the lone undefeated team with their 12-2 win over a United Kingdom team. The two teams had played earlier in pool play where Italy also won 11-2. A team of American military kids from Germany found the going tough finishing the series 1-2, failing to advance to the playoffs. The UK eliminated baseball powerhouses Netherlands, Spain and Czech Republic as they advanced to the finals. Since no African teams participated in this round the “European/Africa” name was a bit inaccurate.

Japan will be represented by Tokyo Kitasuna. They won the championship game 17-0 and breezed through their four opponents by scores of 53-6.

In the Latin American series it was Colombia Falcon versus Venezuela in the finals. Venezuela had beaten Colombia earlier in pool play 9-2. Colombia Falcon was able to upset a strong Panama team 4-3 to get to the finals. Panama had beaten Colombia Falcon earlier 3-0 and their only loss had been to Venezuela. Guatemala was a surprise to make the semifinals but Venezuela disposed of them 8-3 and then shutout Colombia Falcon 8-0 to make it to the Little League World Series.

Guadalupe Trevino rolled through their competition to represent Mexico in the Little League World Series. They beat a team from Matamoros 3-1 in the championship game.

United States

The Great Lakes will see Hinsdale Little League in Illinois play Gross Points Woods Shore Little League in Michigan. Michigan has a loss to Westside Little League in Ohio, which Illinois beat in the semi-finals to get to the championship. Michigan had to beat Ohio 11-3 to advance to the finals.

The Mid-Atlantic finds Thurmont Little League in Maryland playing Holbrook Little League in New Jersey in the championship game today. Maryland had to beat Upper Providence Little League in Pennsylvania, a team they had lost to earlier to make it to the finals. Their bats were smoking in their 14-4 semi-final win.

The Midwest has Sioux Falls Little League in South Dakota playing Webb City Little League in Missouri in the finals. South Dakota had beaten Missouri earlier 6-5.

New England will see Fairfield American Little League in Connecticut play South Portland American Little League in Maine in the finals. Connecticut beat Maine 8-0 early in the double elimination tournament but Maine pulled out three games in the loser’s bracket to make it to the championship.

The Northwest will see Walla Walla Valley Little League in Washington play La Grande Little League in Oregon in the championship. Oregon had beaten Washington earlier 8-4 to knock them into the loser’s bracket.

The Southeast will be represented by North State Little League in North Carolina who beat Peachtree City National Little League in Georgia 8-6 in the championship. Georgia had lost to Goodlettsville Little League in Tennessee earlier 12-3 but came back in the semifinals to beat them 4-1.

In the Southwest it was an all Texas final with Lufkin Little League representing Texas East beating McAllister Park National Little League representing Texas West 2-1 in the finals. The two had played each other earlier in the tournament with Texas East again beating Texas West 11-10 to knock them into the losers bracket early.

The West will see Santa Margarita Little League in Southern California play against Dixie Little League in Utah in the finals. Utah had been knocked into the loser’s bracket early 14-5 by Hilo Little League in Hawaii but was able to fight through the loser’s bracket and beat Hawaii 12-6 in the semifinal match.

2017 Top Venezuelan Prospects - National League

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

The 2016 group of prospects did a better job of making the major leagues last year. The number one prospect Orlando Arcia earned the starting shortstop job for the Brewers to begin the season. The number two prospect Wilson Contreras saw significant playing time behind the plate and in the outfield by mid season. The number four prospect Jose Peraza earned playing time at second base for the rebuilding Reds. With all that success new players will fit the bill. Below are the top Venezuelan prospects in the National League, some of them already getting enough playing time in the major leagues this year not to be eligible for this list next year.

Below is the list of National League top prospects from Venezuela:

1. Anderson Espinoza RHP (Padres) - Injuries have delayed the start to his 2017 season. Last year he pitched in Low A and had some success, though his ERA was at 4.49 and his whiff rate was below one per inning. The opposition hit him at a .276 clip. Someone with his mid-90s fastball and top of the class change should put up better numbers at Low A, though he was one of the youngest players in the league. The Red Sox signed him in 2014 for $1.8 million then traded him to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. Missing a full year could have an impact in his development, especially as he tries to develop a work load that will allow him to pitch 200 innings in the major leagues. At 6′0″ he draws comparisons to Pedro Martinez and Yordano Ventura, with the potential to be a top shelf starter. If his small stature makes it difficult for him to stay healthy he could always move to the bullpen as a closer.

2. Kevin Maitan SS (Braves) - It is unusual for a 2016 international signing to find himself on top 100 prospect lists. That is the case for Maitan, but the $4.2 million the Braves shelled out for him could have had an influence. Maitan did not play last year and at 17 years of age had to wait until July for the Rookie Leagues to begin to make his debut. His .302 batting average in minimal at bats (43) validates the Braves faith in his offense. Power should develop as he matures. Maitan has the tools to play short, but if he physically matures he has the bat to move to third base.

3. German Marquez RHP (Rockies) - The Rays signed German in 2011 for $225,000. The Rockies acquired Marquez in the Chris Dickerson trade. Last year he made his major league debut. This year he has cemented himself in the Rockies rotation after two starts in AAA. The fastball hits the mid 90s and his curve ball is considered above average. The change will need to develop more consistency if he hopes to stick in the rotation. Currently he has a 4.34 ERA after 15 starts with the Rockies. His .276 opponent batting average is influenced by the High Colorado air. Staying in the rotation will require improved consistency.

4. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - Acuna signed for only $100,000 in 2014. Despite his young age the Braves are speeding him through their minor league clubs. This year he has played at three levels despite his 19 years of age, currently at AAA where he is hitting .250 with two homeruns in his first six games. All the tools are there with the speed to play defense in center and the arm for right. He should hit for both average and power as he matures. His strikeout numbers are up this year but he appears to have improved his stolen base numbers with a career high 33 in just 91 games. In his first two years he stole 30 bases. It would not surprise my world to see Acuna get a September callup. The biggest comp for Acuna is Andrew Jones. Expect him to have an impact in 2018.

5. Elias Diaz C (Pirates) - The Pirates signed Diaz in 2008. Last year he made his major league debut as a September callup. This year he returned to the major league team after injuries to their catchers. Nobody questions his defense. Elias has a strong arm with good mobility behind the plate. The big question mark with him is his inability to hit major league pitching. The Pirates turned to Elias once injuries decimated the catching staff. After a hot start his average has dropped to .266. If he can show a decent bat he should at least make it as a back up in the major leagues.

6. Antonio Senzatela RHP (Rockies) - Another Rockie pitcher. Antonio signed in 2011. He was limited to seven starts because of a shoulder problem. That did not stop the Rockies from promoting him to the major leagues after only one start in AAA. Last year he only pitched 35 innings. The previous year he threw a career high of 154 innings. This year he has already gone over 100 innings with a 4.57 ERA, not bad when half of your games are played in Colorado. Antonio has a low 90s fastball with excellent command. In between he can throw a slider, curve and change.

7. Luis Torrens C (Padres) - The Yankees like to sign catchers with offensive potential but limited on defense, as evidence by Gary Sanchez and Jesus Montero. Luis was considered the better defensive catcher early in his career, one of the reasons the Yankees signed Torres for $1.3 million. Injuries have limited his ascent up the minor league ladder with 62 games in 2014 his minor league career high. The Padres acquired him in the Rule V draft and despite never getting past Low A kept him on the major league roster. Luis is hitting .188 with a .225 slugging in limited playing time. At 20 years of age he is young enough to develop in the minor leagues next year.

8. Jose Martinez OF (Cardinals) - Jose Martinez is a hitting machine. In 2015 he combined for a .382 average. Last year he slipped to .278 but made his major league debut, hitting .438 in 12 games. The Royals traded him to the Cardinals mid season and this year Jose has spent most of the year on the major league club as a fourth outfielder. He is best suited for left field defensively but lacks the power for the position. The Cardinals have been using him at first and the two corners. Expect him to stick in the major leagues as a fourth outfielder/pinch hitter.

9. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Andres in 2015 for $1.2 million. With Amed Rosario a couple levels ahead of him second base may be his best position. Gimenez does not have a lot of power but the tools are there for him to play shortstop. This year in Low A he is making his domestic debut, having played in the Dominican Summer League last year. A .274 average with a .676 OPS shows his offensive limitations. The Mets have a bevy of depth in the minor leagues at shortstop so the Mets will be patient with him as he rises up the minor leagues.

10. Ricardo Sanchez LHP (Braves) - The Braves acquired Ricardo from the Angels for Kyle Kubitza. For a lefthander he has good velocity on his fastball throwing in the mid-90s. Command is the area that results in his ERA rising above 5 and the opposition hitting .296 against him. At 5′11 he is not a big guy, but lefthanders under 6′0″ have a better opportunity to survive as a starter.

2016 National League Prospects - Venezuela

2017 Top Ten Prospects from Venezuela - American League

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

No one from the list last year had any significant major league time last year. A couple players who made the National League list last year are now on the American League list. As a result only five players from the list last year made the list this year. The others dropped off. Myworld is not confident of the major league qualities of any of the players on this list after you get past the top five.

1. Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Tommy John surgery has prevented him from making his major league debut. Originally signed by the Cubs in 2013 for $1.7 million, Gleyber was traded to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade rental last year. Gleyber has the tools to play shortstop but may not get the opportunity to play there now that Didi Gregorious has established roots at the position. With Chase Headley a disappointment at third there was talk of moving him there but his injury has stalled that development. Prior to his injury he got 15 games at third base. His bat shows the potential for plus power as he matures and should play at third. He slugged .480 between AA and AAA but at 20 years of age he has room to grow. With Chase Headley a free agent expect Gleyber to take over the third base position, though Miguel Andujar could have some influence over that and his injury could delay his start there.

2. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - Franklin was signed by the Blue Jays in 2012 for $1.45 million. Like Gleyber he was packaged in a trade for a pennant race, Josh Donaldson going to the Jays and Barreto and a number of other prospects going to the Athletics. Franklin does not quite have the defensive tools of Gleyber or the power bat so if shortstop does not work for him he may move to second. The injury to Marcus Semien forced the Athletics to call up Barreto sooner than they wanted. In 11 games he hit .190 with two homeruns, playing mostly at short but getting some time at second. In AAA he has seen most of his time at short but has found some time to play second. His bat has been as expected with a .279 average but he has shown a little more pop with 9 dingers. His minor league high has been 13 and including his two major league homeruns Franklin is two short of his career high. Expect him to get a September callup and more opportunities at second. The Athletics have a number of options at short in Semien, Chad Pinder and Richie Martin so versatility is a key.

3. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed by the Rangers for $1.5 million in 2011. It has been a patient ascent up the minor league ladder for Yohander but last year he made his major league debut with a September callup. The Rangers have him repeating AA even though he did well last year in seven AAA appearances (0.57 ERA). His fastball has gained velocity over the years, now touching the mid-90s and his change is an excellent pitch. An inability to find a third breaking pitch has been stalling his major league career. That may ultimately see him finding a role in the bullpen.

4. Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) - Franklin was signed by the Astros for $1 million in 2014. He was originally a third baseman but the Astros saw an arm destined for the mound. His fastball currently sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid-90s. He has the potential for a good change with a nice break on his curveball and the command of the strike zone needed for a starting pitcher. A 6′3″ frame gives him good height for coming down on the hitters. The Astros have him at High A in the Carolina League where he has limited hitters to a .191 average. He has more than three whiffs to every walk and is just short of a strikeout per inning. A 2.98 ERA could lead to a promotion to AA before the season is out. It will be 2018 before Franklin sees the major leagues and that may be as a September call up.

5. Renato Nunez 3B (Athletics) - Renato was one of the big bonus babies of 2010, signing for $2.2 million. The Athletics are crowded at the corner infield positions with power bats. It may result in the best defensive player earning the right to play the corner positions. Renato falls short of that and may see a move to first base with DH as his best position. He does have a power bat with consistent seasons of double digit homeruns. This year there seems to be more swing and miss in his at bats but the 24 homeruns he has hit in AAA are already just five short of his career high. Last year he struggled with a .228 average but this year despite the increased strikeouts he has raised it to .250. The Athletics have been playing him a lot in left field this year but a lack of speed will never make him a gold glove there. Expect a September callup where Renato hopes to improve on his .133 average from his debut last year.

6. Luis Alexander Basabe OF (White Sox) - The Red Sox signed both him and his twin brother Luis Alejandro as a package. The Red Sox traded his brother to the D-backs in July of 2016 and included Luis in a trade to the White Sox with more heralded players Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech in the Chris Sale trade. Luis is expected to be the better of the twins. The tools are there for him to be a quality defensive outfielder, with the range to play center and the arm to play right. An inability to make consistent contact has prevented him from showing his offensive tools. The power is there but getting barrel of the bat on the ball is not. Down in the Carolina League Luis is hitting just .218 with a .641 OPS. If he can improve his ability to get on base his steal (15 for 19) opportunities will increase. His brother is also in High A with the D-Backs hitting .229 with a .655 OPS.

7. Anthony Santander 1B/OF (Orioles) - The Indians signed Santander in 2011. Injuries to his elbow limited his 2013 and 2014 seasons. He stayed healthy for 2016 hitting 20 homeruns while playing 128 games. The Orioles made Santander a Rule V acquisition in an attempt to spruce up their farm system. Another arm injury has prevented Anthony from making a 2017 appearance. If the Orioles can not put him on their major league roster this year because of the injury they will be forced to keep him on their major league roster in 2018 if they hope to keep him. This will slow his development for a player who did not get past High A last year. Anthony has good power but his arm issues could force a move to first base, a position the Orioles find quite crowded with Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini.

8. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed by the Royals in 2012. His first three years the Royals moved him slowly, reaching Low A in 2015. During that time he hit all of two homeruns in the three years. Last year his promotion was a little more accelerated as he hit three levels, finishing at AA. During that time he slugged 13 homeruns. This year he already has 12 in AA. His speed will limit him to first so the power will have to develop if he hopes to play there in the major leagues.

9. Miguelangel Sierra 2B (Astros) - The Astros signed Miguelangel for $1 million in 2014. Last year in the rookie league he showed some pop with 11 homeruns and a .620 slugging percentage. With Carlos Correa firmly planted at short Miguel may have to play another position if he hopes to reach the major leagues with the Astros. The tools are there for him to play short. This year the power bat has been absent with two homeruns in 19 games in short season ball with a slugging average buried at .317. Sierra is a long way away from the majors so they will keep him at short. They can always move him to another position as he gets higher in the minors or use him as trade bait to acquire a veteran to help them in a playoff race.

10. Wilkerman Garcia SS (Yankees) - The Yankees are not shy about throwing around money in the international arena. They signed Garcia for $1.35 million in 2014. Last year in rookie ball he struggled hitting .198 with a .284 slugging. He has the tools to play short but with so many ahead of him with better tools his best position could be at second. The bat is expected to be able to hit for average but not with a lot of power. This year Garcia is hitting much better in the short season Penn League (.276) but still lacking power (.303 slugging). With the amount of depth in the middle infield positions for the Yankees Wilkerman may have to be traded to see the major leagues.

Top 2016 Venezuelan prospects in the American League

Japan Retains Number One World Ranking

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Despite the United States first place finish in the World Baseball Classic tournament this month Japan has retained the number one ranking thanks to their third place finish. Over the course of the voting the United States has won four tournaments to one for Japan in tournaments both teams have competed in. Where Japan jumps ahead of the United States is their two championships that the United States chose not to enter.

Below is the top 12 teams and their points accumulated in parenthesis.

1. Japan (5699)
2. United States (5378)
3. South Korea (4789)
4. Taiwan (3901)
5. Cuba (3737)
6. Mexico (2961)
7. Venezuela (2804)
8. Australia (2433)
9. Netherlands (2071)
10. Canada (2020)
11. Puerto Rico (1759)
12. Italy 1708

You can see the complete list by going to World rankings

United States Knocks Out Dominican Republic

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

The United States will be the new kid on the block in the 2017 final four of the World Baseball Classic. In 2013 Japan, Netherlands and Puerto Rico appeared in the final four with the eventual champions the Dominican Republic. The United States eliminated the defending champions and will join the final four party, facing off against two time champions Japan. A Giancarlo Stanton two run homer in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie and propelled the United States to a 6-3 win.

It didn’t start out well for the United States. It almost reminded the sellout 43,002 in attendance of the game against Puerto Rico when six straight hits to begin the game proved fatal to the United States team. An error by the gold glover shortstop Brandon Crawford got the inning started for the Dominicans. Robinson Cano followed with a double to score Manny Machado. A strikeout of Nelson Cruz got past the catcher to put runners on first and third with one out. Carlos Santana singled to make it 2-0 with Cruz advancing to third. It appeared the United States was on the verge of collapse again, digging themselves a big hole to start the game.

Starling Marte grounded a ball to Barandon Crawford at short. Nelson Cruz broke for home. The throw beat Cruz to the plate and the whole complexion of the game seemed to change after that. Adrian Beltre grounded out and the United States got out of the inning trailing only 2-0.

The Dominicans looked like they were going to score again in the second. Gregory Polanco started the inning with a single. Wellington Castillo followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Danny Duffy bore down, getting Jose Reyes to pop out. Manny Machado flied out to Adam Jones in center, too shallow to score Polanco (read further to read about a longer fly out hit by Machado to Jones). Robinson Cano hit a hard grounder to Brandon Crawford at short, who made the play to get out of the inning with no runs.

The United States bounced back in the third, Giancarlo Stanton getting the inning started with a single. Jonathan Lucroy moved Stanton to third with a single. Ian Kinsler grounded to short, Reyes going for two but falling short with Stanton scoring on the play. With two outs Christian Yelich laced a double into center to score Kinsler and tie the game 2-2.

The fourth was reserved for the Giancarlo Stanton two out two run homer. Brandon Crawford got the inning started with a two out single. That was it for Ervin Santana, replaced by Hector Neris to get the last out of the inning.

The Dominicans failed at another opportunity to score a run in the fifth. A leadoff single by Manny Machado ended the day for Danny Duffy. A one out double by Nelson Cruz to left field put runners on second and third with just one out. Again the Dominicans failed to score with Pat Neshek getting Carlos Santana to pop out and Starling Marte to strike out.

The Dominicans pulled to within one in the seventh after a Robinson Cano solo homer with one out. Read further for the hit that occurred earlier that created the one out.

The United States took advantage of the wildness of Alex Colome in the eighth. Christian Yelich walked and Eric Hosmer was hit by a pitch. Andrew McCutchen made that wildness pay with a big double into center field to score two runs and give the United States a 6-3 lead.

The Dominicans were deflated after that. The United States retired the Dominicans in order in the eighth and ninth innings to get the victory, Sam Dyson and Luke Gregerson doing the honors. Dyson also got the last two outs of the seventh after the Robinson Cano homer off Tyler Clippard.

Adam Jones perhaps made the catch of a lifetime in the seventh inning prior to the Cano homerun. Jones teammate Manny Machado led off the seventh mashing a ball that appeared to be clearly going over the fence. Jones never gave up racing back, jumping high and reaching his glove over the short fence to rob Machado of a homerun and robbing a fan of a souvenir. The fans erupted in cheers after the catch, many staring in disbelief. All Machado could do is tip his cap to Jones for the catch. He has seen him do that many times before while in an Orioles uniform. This time it was in a uniform that stated “USA”. Tyler Clippard could be seen mouthing from his lips “Oh my God”. It certainly defined what these games are all about. A collection of All Stars or semi All Stars making tremendous plays in the game.

Puerto Rico 13 Venezuela 2

In a game that didn’t mean much since Puerto Rico had clinched their final four advancement and Venezuela was eliminated, Puerto Rico thrashed the Venezuelans with 17 hits. Most of the damage was done in the later innings, when Venezuela went to its thin bullpen. Puerto Rico scored in every inning after the fifth, turning a 2-0 game into a rout.

The still unsigned Angel Pagan racked up three hits from the leadoff spot and Mike Aviles strung together four hits. Kennys Vargas closed out the scoring by slugging a two run homer in the ninth. Jose Deleon worked two outs into the third leaving Venezuela scoreless. Puerto Rico turned to what has turned into a very stingy bullpen to close out the game.

The semifinals begin Monday with the Netherlands doing battle with Puerto Rico. Both teams rely on young infielders to lead their teams. For the Netherlands it is Jonathan Schoop, Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar (playing the outfield), Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons. Puerto Rico relies on Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez.

On Tuesday the two traditional baseball powers Japan and the United States do battle. Both teams have a solid veteran presence, but Japan has some youth in Tetsuto Yamada and Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh who have carried the team offensively.

The fun that has defined the World Baseball Classic will continue for a few more days.

United States Rallies for Victory Against Venezuela

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Felix Hernandez quieted the United States bats for five innings, allowing just three hits. The United States, down 2-0 began to come alive against the Venezuela bullpen. They scored their first run in the seventh inning after an error by third basemen Roughned Odor put runners on first and second. Odor normally plays second base but with Jose Altuve on the team that position was not available. He had made an error the previous inning. Two fly balls into the outfield scored Eric Hosmer from second, who initially had reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Odor.

In the eighth inning Venezuela put Yangervis Solarte at third and brought in Hector Rondon to pitch. Adam Jones led off the inning and greeted a Rondon offering deep over the centerfield fence to tie the game at 2-2. Christian Yelich singled and with one out Hosmer sent the first pitch he saw from Rondon over the right centerfield fence for a two run homer. The United States would get two more hits and a walk in the inning to load the bases. Bruce Rondon, no relation to Hector, was called on to get the last out, striking out Ian Kinsler.

Luke Gregerson came on to get the save. He issued a one out walk to Miguel Cabrera but then got Victor Martinez to ground into a double play.

Venezuela scored first in the third inning when Carlos Gonzalez singled and Robinson Chirinos bunted for a single, Drew Smyly throwing the ball away to advance Gonzalez to third. Ender Inciarte hit the sacrifice fly to score Gonzalez from third.

In the seventh Roughned Odor mashed a solo shot with two out to put Venezuela up 2-0. In the bottom inning Odor gave that run back with his error.

The United States would get all three of their hits against Felix Hernandez in the third inning. Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Bregman and Ian Kinsler all singled to load the bases with one out. Adam Jones would ground into a double play to end the inning. Jones would avenge this out with a solo shot in the eighth to tie the game.

Drew Smyly was quite effective, striking out the last six Venezuelan batters he faced. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and was replaced in the sixth after retiring the first two hitters. He struck out eight for the game. A crowd of 16,635 attended the game. Venezuela next battles the Dominican Republic with the loser probably eliminated from advancing to the final four. The United States will battle Puerto Rico, the team that eliminated them from the final four in the 2013 WBC.