Archive for the 'United States' Category

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 Pummells Puerto Rico for WBC Championship

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Marcus Stroman had a choice. His mother was born in Puerto Rico so he could have played for the United States team or the Puerto Rican team. He chose the United States team. His mother supported his choice using social media as a venue to announce her support. She was quite disappointed with the vulgar comments she got from Puerto Ricans criticizing her for supporting her son’s choice.

The first time Stroman faced Puerto Rico he gave up hits to the first six hitters in the lineup to fall behind 4-0. He took the loss with Puerto Rico defeating the United States team 6-5. The second outing was much different. He did not give up a hit the second time he faced the Puerto Ricans until Angel Pagan led off the seventh inning with a double. By then the United States had a 7-0 lead. Sam Dyson came on to replace Marcus Stroman and as Marcus came off the mound he was very animated, pounding his chest. Could it have been vindication for all the vulgar comments his mother received for supporting her son? Whatever it was, he was voted the MVP of the tournament as the United States went on to beat Puerto Rico 8-0 to win the championship.

Dusty Baker was also a bit critical of the paucity of at bats Jim Leyland was giving his second baseman Daniel Murphy. He thought it would have been better for Murphy to stay with the Nationals to get his at bats. Leyland stuck with Ian Kinsler at second base for the championship game. Kinsler came through for Leyland in the third inning, following a Jonathan Lucroy single with a two run homerun into center, just above the leaping grasp Enrique “Kiki” Hernandez to give the United States an early 2-0 lead.

Kinsler helped add on to that lead in the fifth with a lead off single. Adam Jones drew a walk. Christian Yelich has been getting a number of critical hits this tournament and he added to the list with a single into right field that scored Kinsler. Joe Jimenez came on to replace Seth Lugo. Andrew McCutchen tacked on another run with a two out infield single that scored Christian Yelich to give the United States a 4-0 lead.

Puerto Rico could do nothing against Marcus Stroman. They had a leadoff walk to Carlos Beltran in the second inning but he was quickly erased on a double play hit by Yadier Molina. Other than that Stroman retired the Puerto Ricans in order in every inning through the sixth, facing the minimum 18 hitters. His pitch count was at less than 70 so if he continued to retire the hitters in order he may have come close to his 95 pitch count. Only one no hitter has been thrown in the WBC and that was by Shairon Martis pitching for the Netherlands in a game called after seven innings because of the slaughter rule.

Stroman wasn’t really needed to pitch anymore after giving up the leadoff double to Pagan. The United States had erupted for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and had taken a commanding 7-0 lead. They scored all their runs after the first two hitters had been retired. Nolan Arenado, who had struck out in all four of his at bats yesterday and his first two at bats in this game, came through with a single. Eric Hosmer was hit by a pitch and Andrew Mucutchen walked to load the bases. J.C. Romero replaced Jose Berrios on the mound. He could not stop the bleeding with Brandon Crawford ripping a two run single to center field. Giancarlo Stanton ended the scoring with a RBI single off Hiram Burgos.

The United States again scored one more run after the first two hitters were retired in the eighth. Nolan Arenado, Eric Hosmer and Andrew McCutchen all ripped singles to increase the carnage to 8-0.

The United States bullpen kept the Puerto Ricans scoreless through the last three innings, giving up just two more hits, Angel Pagan getting two of the three Puerto Rican hits in the game. The attendance for the game was 51,565 with many of them draping American flags over their shoulders and chanting “U-S-A” throughout the game. It appears the WBC has finally gotten an audience.

It was not easy for the United States to win the championship. On their path to glory they had to beat the defending champions the Dominican Republic to escape from their pool and qualify for the final four. They then had to beat an undefeated two time champion Japanese team to advance to the finals, a Japanese team that had previously beaten the United States in a final four back in 2006. Finally, they had to beat an undefeated Puerto Rican team to win the championship, a team that had beaten them earlier in pool play and a team who seemed destined the championship was theirs to take.

For Puerto Rico it was their second loss in the finals of the WBC. This team was more talented than the underdogs that appeared in the finals in 2013. It is a young team that should be geared to battle in the next WBC in 2021.

Another Thriller in WBC; United States Prevails Over Japan

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Another one run ball game. In a previous final four Japan had beaten the United States 9-4 on their way to their first WBC championship back in 2006. The faces have changed in 2013 but this time the United States wins 2-1. A ground ball out to third scored the winning run in the top of the eighth inning. The United States will now face Puerto Rico for the WBC championship. This is the farthest the United States has gone in a WBC event. The undefeated Puerto Ricans lost in the finals in 2013 to the Dominican Republic.

Both starting pitchers were excellent. Tanner Roark went four innings allowing just two hits. The Japanese could only get four hits against the United States pitching staff. Tomoyuki Sugano went six innings and allowed just three hits. An uncharacteristic error by Japan allowed an unearned run to score in the fourth that proved to be the difference in the game.

Ryosuke Kikuchi booted a Christian Yelich grounder with one out in the fourth inning to help the United States score their first run. After Nolan Arenado struck out Eric Hosmer coaxed a walk. Andrew McCutchen bounced a single into left field to score Yelich with the first run of the game.

After Tanner Roark cruised through the first four innings Nate Jones came on to start the fifth. Ryosuke Kikuchi balanced the books for his error with one out in the sixth by roping a ball over the center field fence for a homerun to tie the game 1-1. Andrew Miller came on to replace Nate Jones after the homerun. He walked the first hitter he faced but retired the next two hitters on a strikeout and pop up to end the inning. Miller has been struggling in this tournament so it was good to see him keep the game tied.

In the eighth a one out single by Brandon Crawford got the final United States rally started. Ian Kinsler doubled to put Crawford on third. With one out Japan chose to play the infield deep and Adam Jones grounded to third. Crawford broke for the plate and Nobuhiro Matsuda chose to make the out at first after bobbling the ball, giving the United States a 2-1 lead. If not for the bobble Matsuda may still have been able to get Crawford out at home.

Japan got a leadoff single from Seiichi Uchikawa in the eighth. A bunt moved pinch runner Kosuke Tanaka to second. Tetsuto Yamada bunted the ball, a player capable of hitting 30 plus homeruns. Mark Melancon struck out Kikuchi for the second out. A walk to Norichika Aoki brought in Sam Dyson to face Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, who brought a charge to the crowd when he lined hard to right field, but Andrew McCutchen was able to track the ball for the third out.

Luke Gregerson retired the Japanese in order in the ninth to pick up the save to the delight of the 33,462 in attendance. Marcus Stroman will get the start for the United States. He will pitch against Seth Lugo, representing Puerto Rico. Stroman’s last start he gave up six consecutive hits to open the game against Puerto Rico.

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.

Puerto Rico Stings United States; Clinches Final Four Appearance

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Puerto Rico rode a big four run first inning and made it stand to upset the United States 6-5. Marcus Stroman was not sharp as he gave up hits to the first six hitters he faced. If not for a flyout double play where Christian Yelich threw out Yadier Molina at third the inning could have been much worse. Carlos Beltran still scored the fourth run on the play to give Puerto Rico an early 4-0 lead.

The United States tried to peck away at the lead. A Nolan Arenado leadoff double and Eric Hosmer single in the second inning scored one run. Buster Posey walked to put two runners on but Daniel Murphy grounded into 1-6-3 double play. With a runner on third and two out Brandon Crawford grounded to second.

Marcus Stroman settled down after the first inning and pitched into the fifth when two out back to back singles resulted in his departure. Buster Posey had hit a solo shot in the top of the fifth to pull the United States to within 4-2. With two outs and two runners on Mychal Givens retired Yadier Molina on a fly out to keep the score at 4-2.

Andrew McCutchen got a little heated in the top of the sixth after a strike three call and was ejected from the game. Adam Jones followed with a solo homer to pull the United States to within one run. There were chants of U-S-A echoing in the background with the crowd smelling victory.

It was not to be. In the bottom of the sixth the Puerto Ricans won the game, scoring two runs without benefit of a hit. Javier Baez was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He stole second and Andrew Miller replaced Givens. Eddie Rosario walked. After a T.J. Rivera strikeout Puerto Rico pulled a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Miller was still able to strike out pinch hitter Enrique Hernandez for the second out. Angel Pagan grounded to Nolan Arenado at third for what appeared to be the third out but Arenado threw the ball away, allowing two runs to score. Puerto Rico had the lead back 6-3.

The United States rallied in the ninth falling 90 feet short of tying the game. Edwin Diaz began the inning by walking Nolan Arenado and giving up a single to Eric Hosmer putting runners on first and second with no out. Buster Posey struck out but a wild pitch moved the runners up one base. Paul Goldschmidt also struck out. Brandon Crawford put a charge into the crowd with a triple to left field. Edwin Diaz bore down and struck out Josh Harrison to end the game.

There were 32,463, the largest crowd at Petco Park for a WBC game. The win clinched a spot for Puerto Rico in the final four. Who goes with them to Los Angeles will depend on the winner of the United States and Dominican Republic game. A win by the Dominican Republic would make it a repeat of the final four from the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The Dominican Republic made a nice come back to win an exciting 6-5 game in the first round. They hope to repeat those efforts tonight to advance.

Dominicans Shut Down Venezuela

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Pitching gets better as the World Baseball Classic gets deeper into the final four. That proved true yesterday as Edison Volquez started the train with 4.1 innings of shutout ball. He struck out six. Five different relievers followed him, allowing just four hits and no runners to cross the plate. Dominican pitchers struck out 14 Venezuelan hitters.

Jhoulys Chacin matched Volquez through the first four innings. He got behind Gregory Polanco 3-1 to open the fifth inning and Polanco made him pay, taking him deep over the right centerfield fence for the first run, and the only run the Dominican pitching staff would need in the game.

The Venezuelans had an opportunity to score in the top of the fifth. A walk to Odubel Herrera and a bunt by Alcides Escobar moved Herrera to second. Robinson Chirinos singled to left, Herrera stopping at third. Fernando Abad came in to replace Volquez and he turned into “a bad” man by getting Ender Inciarte to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

It was the only time Venezuela would get a runner to third until the ninth inning. By then they were down 3-0 after Nelson Cruz slugged a solo homerun to lead off the eighth. Jeurys Familia had struck out the first two hitters. Jose Altuve blooped a single into right field that deflected off the glove of Robinson Cano. A Yangervis Solarte single advanced Altuve to third. With the tying run at the plate Omar Vizquel allowed his shortstop Alcides Escobar to come up to hit. He struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Vizquel chose to walk Robinson Cano intentionally in the third inning with a runner on second and two out to face Jose Bautista. The strategy paid off when Bautista struck out. Roughned Odor is having a rough time defensively, committing his third error, this one from his more natural position of second base. Venezuela chose to put Jose Altuve at third base for the game against the Dominicans. There were 16,390 who attended the game.

The Domincans next game is against the United States. The United States plays Puerto Rico today. A win by the United States over Puerto Rico and a Dominican win over the United States could result in a playoff round to see who advances to the final four if Puerto Rico then defeats Venezuela. Myworld is focused on a different form of March Madness as the World Baseball Classic winds down.

There is also the opportunity for the final four to repeat the 2013 final four when Puerto Rico upset Japan and the Dominicans crushed the Netherlands. It is looking more like at least three of the teams from last year’s final four will repeat.

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.

Extra Innings Galore in WBC; United States Advances

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Japan and the Netherlands were the first team to play past the tenth inning to initiate the extra inning rule. Japan pulled off a successful bunt followed by a two run single from Sho Nakata to give Japan an 8-6 lead. The Netherlands chose to have Jurickson Profar swing away and he popped to first. With no runners in scoring position Xander Boegerts grounded out and Kalian Sams popped out to end the game.

The two battled it out like punch drunk boxers with both teams scoring a run in the second and four runs in the third. Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homerun in the second and Wladimir Balentien hit a two run homerun in the third to spice up the Netherlands offense. Sho Nakata continued to stay hot with a three run homerun in the third. He finished the game 3 for 6 with 5 RBIs.

The Netherlands took the game into extra innings on a Jonathan Schoop RBI single in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third and two out and a chance to win the game Curt Smith struck out.

Japan threatened in the tenth, loading the bases with one out. Norichika Aoki grounded into a double play, with many thinking Curt Smith was off the base when he caught the relay throw from Andrelton Simmons.

While the starting pitching was disappointing for both teams the relief pitching was stellar. The Japanese bullpen allowed only the one run in the ninth inning. The Netherlands also limited Japan to one run until the eleventh inning. There were over 44,000 who attended the game.

Dominican Republic 10 Colombia 3

Colombia battled Dominican Republic to a 3-3 tie after 10 innings. The Dominican Republic exploded for seven runs in the eleventh inning with Jean Segura providing the big hit with a bases clearing three run double.

Colombia had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth. After Jorge Alfaro hit a solo shot in the eighth to tie the game at 3-3 Colombia put their first two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth. Donavan Solano grounded out to put runners on first and third with one out. Reynaldo Rodriguez lined a shot to Jose Bautista in left field. Pinch runner Oscar Mercado tagged from third but Bautista threw a strike home to cut off the winning run. Myworld would have liked to have been there to hear the roar from the Dominicans after that play.

Close to 37,000 watched the Dominican Republic advance to the second round. Colombian fans can take satisfaction that their win over Canada automatically qualifies them for the 2021 WBC, or whenever the next WBC is played.

United States 8 Canada 0

The United States advanced to the second round with another opportunity to play the Dominican Republic in their future with their win over Canada. Canada will have to qualify to play in the next WBC after their last place finish. The United States put the game away with seven runs in the first two innings. Nolan Arenado hit a three run homer in the second. Eric Hosmer hit the first of his two doubles in the first to drive in two runs.

Danny Dufy got the start for the United States throwing four shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Ryan Dempster had his second poor start of the WBC failing to get out of the first inning before allowing three walks and two hits in the three run first. Only 22,000 showed up to watch the game between the two North American teams, evidence the WBC is being financed by the party atmosphere of the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico 9 Italy 3

Puerto Rico scored all their runs in the first five innings to romp over Italy and advance to the second round undefeated. Italy will have to wait until the results of the Mexico/Venezuela game to determine their fate. Puerto Rico will also get another opportunity to play the Dominican Republic after losing to them in the finals of the 2013 WBC.

Carlos Correa hit a three run homer in the fourth to fuel the offense. Jose Berrios worked five innings to get the win. The only two hits he allowed were solo shots from Drew Butera and John Andreoli. The bullpen of Hiram Burgos and Miguel Mejia shutout the Italians on one hit the remaining four innings.

Dominican Rally Stuns United States Team

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Myworld has not been to a World Series game but we have attended a number of playoff games in San Diego, D.C. and Baltimore and it gets no louder than the noise at Marlins stadium last night. Especially after Nelson Cruz sealed the comeback by the Dominicans with his three run homerun to lead the Dominicans over the United States 7-5.

It was not so easy this time for the Dominicans. They had trouble making solid contact off United States starter Marcus Stroman. He allowed just two hits in his four plus innings of work. A two out single by Starling Marte in the fifth put Stroman at his pitch count and Tanner Roark came on to get the last out. The bullpen could not hold the 5-0 lead.

Meanwhile the United States team peppered Dominican starter Edinson Volquez. The Dominican’s defensive deficiencies also led to a couple runs. In the third Carlos Santana was unable to scoop a one hop throw from Robinson Cano to allow Ian Kinsler to reach. Adam Jones lined a ball into right center field. Nelson Cruz and Starling Marte both went for the ball and as they both reached for the ball their arms collided sending the ball into the right field warning track. Kinsler scored and Adam Jones stopped at third on the three base error. Christian Yelich blooped a single into left field to score Jones, advancing to second when Jose Bautista over ran the ball. Nolan Arenado lined to third to end the inning.

The United States tacked on another run off Volquez in the fourth. Paul Goldschmidt singled with a wild pitch advancing him to second. Giancarlo Stanton walked. Jonathan Lucroy lined a ball to right center. Nelson Cruz yielded to Marte who made the catch for the second out. Brandon Crawford lined a single to center to score Goldschmidt.

The United States tacked on two more runs off Jumbo Diaz to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Paul Goldschmidt again got the inning started with a single and scored when Giancarlo Stanton muscled a drive to left center for a double. Fernando Abad came on to face the lefty Brandon Crawford. Brandon scored Giancarlo with a double to right field to make it 5-0.

Tanner Roark opened the Tiger’s den for the Dominicans, putting their fans back in the game when he gave up a monster homerun to Manny Machado in the bottom of the sixth. The ball cleared the left field bleachers and bounced on the pavilion. Tanner appeared flustered after that, with the crowd momentum shifting to the Dominican side. His breaking pitches bounced in the dirt and his fastballs drifted off the plate. Robinson Cano and Jose Bautista walked. Carlos Santana singled up the middle to score a second run. Roark still struggled to throw strikes but got Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre to fly out to end the inning.

Myworld was surprised to see Roark start the seventh. He didn’t last long, giving up a leadoff double to Wellington Castillo. Daniel Robertson came on to replace Roark. Wellington Castillo launced a double over the head of leftfielder Christian Yelich to cut the lead to 5-3. Robertson was able to slither out of the inning, stranding Castillo at third when Manny Machado grounded out to third and Robinson Cano struck out. With the momentum shifted it was only a matter of time before the Dominicans took the lead.

When you saw Andrew Miller take the mound in the eighth there was a sense of comfort if you were a United States fan. He got ahead of Jose Bautista 0-2 but then bounced a pitch in the dirt that hit Bautista. Carlos Santana bounced a ball up the middle, Ian Kinsler made a spectacular diving play to get to the ball, but his throw to second was off the base and the Dominicans had the tying runs on with Nelson Cruz at the plate. Miller got ahead in the count 0-2 but Cruz put a charge in his next pitch that cleared the left field wall just inside the foul pole for a 6-5 Dominican lead. The crowd went wild as if 20,000 sticks of dynamite had just exploded at the same time. Cruz cruised around the bases in a maniacal celebration of joy as the Dominicans had taken the lead. A batter later Starling Marte drove a pitch over the right field wall and the crowd again erupted in joy. Marte could not hold his emotions as he danced his way around the bases to give the Dominicans a 7-5 lead.

It was all over for the sullen United States team. Jeurys Familia came on to pitch the ninth, blowing smoke, with his fastball hitting three digits. The United States was retired in order with the Ian Kinsler strikeout for the third out sending the Dominican fans waving their flags and the crowd celebrating. There was a lot of dancing in the aisles and hugging on the field as the Dominicans had just defeated the United States 7-5.

Game Notes: It was still impossible for myworld to get to the game on time even after a 4 PM departure for a 630 game. Traffic getting to the stadium was backed up and parking was impossible to find. Myworld finally parked in a worn down area of Little Havana, where a parking spot opened up for me. I was grateful my car was still intact when the game had ended…Myworld is convinced the stadium was plopped down right in the middle of a neighborhood. There is no easy access to the stadium, parking is limited, with the housing owners charging for parking on their front lawns or in their backyard your only real option. Myworld does not know how Marlins fans can tolerate the chaos. Now we have a better understanding of why their attendance is so low…The automated ticket laser delayed the entry into the stadium. It may be able to ensure tickets are valid but waiting for the laser to recognize the bar code is much slower than tearing off a ticket stub. There was really no line trying to get in the park, just a mob of fans 20 yards deep pushing towards the ticket attendees with their laser guns…The women and their fashion exhibits were again spectacular. Backless outfits seemed to be in vogue for this game, but the cleavage was still heavily advertised…There were 37,466 at the game. Most of them were Dominican fans with signs crying out for Plantain power…Manny Machado is not wearing uniform number 13. He is wearing number 3…This had all the atmosphere of a playoff game. As one Dominican said to me - “Don’t worry. The United States played well. But no one beats the Dominicans in baseball.” They are the defending champs so I will have to give him his chops. We’ll see how they play against Japan.

Major leaguers by Country

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Baseball America broke out the top countries who have players in the major leagues. The top ten is listed below.

1. United States - 5,043 (67.34%)
2. Dominican Republic - 1,117 (14.92%)
3. Venezuela - 628 (8.39%)
4. Puerto Rico - 163 (2.18%)
5. Canada - 92 (1.23%)
6. Mexico - 91 (1.22%)
7. Cuba - 82 (1.09%)
8. Panama - 52 (0.69%)
9. Colombia - 38 (0.51%)
10. Australia - 29 (0.39%)

If you combined Curacao and Aruba, both colonies of the Netherlands and included them with the players from the Netherlands that count would also be 38, putting the Netherlands in tenth place.

You can go to the International section of Baseball America to see the complete list.