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WBC 2013

With both teams having qualified, how important is tonight’s clash? Well the winner will face the Netherlands, while the looser will face Chinese Taipei. Chinese Taipei will probably be sending game one starter Chien-Ming Wang to the hill, going off his performance in the first game both Japan and Cuba will be keen to avoid the Chinese Taipei ace.

Cuba hammered China in their last game and will be full of confidence coming into this clash, Japan have been solid but not spectacular.

I’m predicting a win for Cuba in this one, but it will be close.

Prediction – Cuba by 2+

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Australia vs Netherlands

Netherlands 4 – Australia 1

Australia broke a 17 inning stretch of scoreless innings by plating 1, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Netherlands. Offensively Australia manged 8 hits, their best performance of the tournament, but failed to capitalise on their opportunities. Shaky starting pitching from Dushan Ruzic gave the Netherlands an early advantage, one that Australia could not come back from.

Chris Oxpring was impressive in relief throwing 5 scoreless innings.

The loss means Australia will not qualify for the next edition of the WBC and instead will have to go through qualifying for the 2017 edition.

Game Report

Yet again Australia got off to a bad start with Dushan Ruzic letting in a run in the first. Eventually giving up 4 over his 2 innings of work.

Chris Oxspring took over from Ruzic in the 3rd, getting into a jam immediately but was able to escape unscathed. He continued in the 4th without giving up a run. In the 5th he retired the side without incident. Oxpring closed down the Netherlands in the 6th on five pitches.

In the top of the 7th, Stefan Welch doubled. Brad Harmen singled to drive in Welch, but with runners on first and second pitch hitter Chris Snelling struck out.

Oxspring continued in the bottom of the 7th. Retiring the Dutch with ease.

In the top of the 8th, James Beresford led of with a walk, but Mitch Denning grounded into a double play. Luke Hughes followed with his first hit of the tournament with a single to left. Welch grounded out to second to end the dig.

In the bottom of the 8th Atlanta Braves sidearmer Andrew Russell took over from Oxspring. He gave up a lead off double to Arubian born Xander Bogaerts but Russell managed to shut down the Dutch offense thanks to some handy glove work by James Beresford at shortstop.

In the top of the 9th with Australia needing 3 runs to keep their campaign alive, lead off with an out, but strung together two hits from Mike Walker and Corey Adamson. Brad Harmen managed to work the count full before sending a deep drive to LF, unfortunately he just came up short. Alan due San Miguel was next up, striking out, ending the mini revival and the Tournament for Australia.

The Netherlands, barring a big win by Korea over Chinese Taipei will move on to the second round.

Both teams need to win to advance to the next round. The equation for the Netherlands is simple, win. However for Australia, they have to win and win well, as Luke Hughes put on twitter : “we have to mercy rule Ned’s”.

Australia will be sending Adelaide Bite pitcher Dushan Ruzic to the hill. His funky action may prove to tough for the Netherlands to handle.

The Netherlands will be sending 38 year old veteran Robbie Cordemans to the hill. In the previous tournament he did not let a run in over 6.2 innings of work, this was against the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. He is accomplished at this level and may prove difficult.

Look for Australia to be aggressive at the plate as they need to score fast and score alot.

My prediction – Australia can win, but it will be a tough task to win by the margin they need to advance.

Australia by 2+ Runs

Australia VS Korea

 

Korea 6 – Australia 0

Australia was let down by a weak offense tonight. Coupled together with a few average pitching performances and missed opportunities at bat, Australia’s hopes to qualify for the next round will now hinge on beating the Netherlands in tomorrow’s game by a massive margin and Chinese Taipei beating Korea.

Game Report

Ryan Searle started the game off with a walk, and it did not get much better for the Australian’s in the first, Searle let in 3 runs before retiring the side. Searle eventually gained control over his command letting one more run in over his 3 innings of work.

In the bottom of the first Mitch Denning got on base through a walk, the first walk of the tournament for Australia. Korea’s starting pitcher Seung-Jun Song was judged to have balked and this moved Denning over to second base. Welch also got on base through a walk. With two out and runner on first and second Justin Huber came up to bat, he jumped on a pitch but hit it straight at the Korean third basemen Jeong Choi.

Steve Kent took over in the 4th and was impressive, subduing the Korean bat’s over two innings of work giving up only one hit and striking out one.

In the bottom of the 5th, Tim Kennelly lead off with a double smacking the ball into left field. This was met with a pitching change from Korea with lefty Heesoo Park taking over from Song. Park dispatched Allan de San Miguel with a strikeout, before giving up a single to James Beresford. With runners on first and second, Mitch Denning popped out to RF then Luke Hughes struck out.

Clayton Tanner took over the reigns in the 6th, he looked solid posting a scoreless dig.

Shane Lindsay provided relief in the 7th, looking erratic throughout he gave up one run. Brad Thomas came in with two out to shut down the dig.

Matty Williams came on in the 8th getting two outs, and giving up two hits before Ryan Rowland-Smith came on to finish off the dig.

In the bottom of the 8th. Luke Hughes lead off with another strike out, before Stefan Welch hit a double to left. Unfortunately that was it for the Australian offense that inning with pinch hitter Joshua Roberts and Mike Walker grounding out.

Rowland-Smith came on again in the top of the 9th, giving up a run. Korean pitcher Seunghwan Oh came on in the bottom of the 9th and shut down the Australian’s getting two strikeouts.

After both teams losing their opening games, this game takes on even more importance. A loss for either side will mean almost certain elimination from the tournament. Korea will be shell shocked from their loss to the Netherlands after being favored to win by most pundits. Australia will be out to bounce back after facing a mighty pitching performance from Chein-Ming Wang in their opener against Chinese Taipei.

Australia will be facing Lotte Giants Starter Seung-Jun Song. In the lateset KBO season he posted a 7-11 record with a 3.31 era, over 163 Innings.

Australia will send Ryan Searle to the mound, the Chicago Cubs minor leaguer spent time over A+, AA and AAA last season, posting solid numbers.

Song seems to be quality pitcher with a proven track record at the international level having beat Cuba and China at the 2008 Olympics helping Korea secure a Gold Medal.

Australia will be underdogs in this one. They will have to jump on Song early before he can settle into a rhythm. In their first game Australia let Chein-Ming Wang pitch 6 innings, Australia can’t afford to let Song go that deep in the game, if they do, that just might be all she wrote for Australia’s 2013 WBC Campaign.

My Prediction – Korea will probably take this one down, but ill be hoping for an Australian win.

Korea by 2+ Runs

Cuba vs Brazil

My Prediction – Cuba by 3 or more runs

Actual Result Cuba 5 – Brazil 2

Brazil put up another fine performance, holding Cuba scoreless for 4 innings before eventually giving in. Cuba seemed a bit rusty today, but they managed to put up the win.

China vs Japan

My Prediction – Japan to win by the 7th

Actual Result Japan 5 – China 2

To China’s credit they put in a decent performance keeping Japan at bay for majority of the game. As against Brazil, Japan’s quality shone through in the end.

Netherlands Vs Chinese Taipei

My Prediction – Netherlands in a close one

Actual Result Chinese Taipei 8 – Netherlands 3

The Netherlands looked quite flat after their performance against Korea in the first round. It was surprising to me. Chinese Taipei continue to look strong, putting in a impressive offensive display.