Cuba vs China

China put in a sold performance last night, but like Japan, I think Cuba will have too much quality for China to handle.

My Prediction – Cuba by 4+ Runs

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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.

Cuba vs Brazil

Should be an interesting game after the performance Brazil put in against Japan yesterday, however Cuba is a perennial performer at this level and they will just be too strong for the Brazilians.

Prediction – Cuba by 3 or more runs

China vs Japan

Japan just might invoke the mercy rule against China in this game. The Chinese are still a developing baseball nation and just haven’t got the firepower to compete this time around.

Prediction – Japan to win by the 7th

Netherlands Vs Chinese Taipei

Both teams are coming off wins and will be looking to advance to the next round. This will be a crucial game for both and should be the best game of the day. Its tough to pick, but I think the Netherlands will just have enough to edge Chinese Taipei out.

Prediction – Netherlands in a close one

Japan 5 – Brazil 3

Brazil put up one hell of a fight in this game, leading for the majority of the game they eventually succumbed in the top of the 8th. Japan’s pedigree at this level was just too much for the Brazilians to handle

Notable Performances

Brazil

Leonardo Reginatto (3-4, 2 x 2b)

The Tampa Bay minor leaguer was very impressive today, making easy work of Japan’s pitching. Not to mention he has what can only be described as “rocket up the behind” speed along the base paths. He will be one to watch throughout the rest of the tournament.

The Netherlands 5 – Korea 0

The Netherlands pulled off a win against their highly favored opponents today. This may be a surprise to some, but not to this writer. After their performance in the last WBC, the Netherlands have improved their squad substantially this time around. I believe they will have another big tournament and may even make it all the way, they certainly have the talent to do so.

Notable Performances

The Netherlands Bullpen

Facing a stacked Korean team, the Netherlands pitchers managed to shut down the Korean offense completely. Their pitching will be a key part of their success throughout the tournament.

Australia VS CT

 

Chinese Taipei 4 – Australia 1

After watching the game which ended up in favour of Chinese Taipei, I came to a few conclusions. Australia has to re-evaluate its selection policy. Choosing veterans over up and comers has proven to be successful in the past, but I don’t think it is a sustainable selection policy going into the future. I will discuss this further in future. Also tactically Australia failed to match Chinese Taipei.

Tactical Problems

The Australian team did not go deep in the count agaisnt Chien-Ming Wang. With the pitch count restrictions in the first round (65 pitches), Australia should have attempted to prolong their at bats. Wang is a major league quality pitcher no doubt, but to let him pitch the bare minimum through each inning was probably our downfall. He pitched 6 Innings while Chris Oxspring Pitched 2.2.

Australia also hit into many double plays, as opposed to Chinese Taipei. As soon as CT had a runner on board they bunted him over. Australia should learn a lesson from this. At the international level small ball is key, we only have to look at Japan’s success over the last two WBC’s.

The Positives

Stefan Welch (1-3, HR)

Welch is probably the most legitimate prospect Australia has at the moment and it showed. He went long once and almost hit another long ball.

Corey Adamson (1-1)

He looked good throughout his limited appearance, gaining a hit and making a diving catch in RF. Will probably take over from Snelling if he can’t recover in time for the next game.