OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 3: Week 2

Throughout the year, I’ll be posting updates of a simulated league from Out Of The Park Baseball 2016 made up of national “dream teams” to determine what the greatest baseball country on Earth is… or something like that. Previous installments can be found here. This is a long post, so there is a JUMP after the first day. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.

April 6:

The final games of the second series of the season actually started the day before, as Italy at Korea and Taiwan at Japan both began at 11:05 Eastern time on Sunday night.

In Tokyo, it was the Masahiro Tanaka show, as he struck out 14 Taiwanese, a record for the young season, while the Japanese offense got to Wei-Yin Chen and the Taiwanese bullpen to get the 8-0 win in a crisp two-and-a-half hour game. Japan thus remained undefeated at 6-0, while the Taiwanese fell to 2-4 on the year.

In Seoul, Italy remained without a victory, as Korea bludgeoned them, 12-2. Byung-Ho Park and Yong-Taek Park hit home runs, while Hyun-Jin Ryu (who wasn’t on the DL when this simulation started, and thus isn’t on the DL in the simulation) got the win.

Several hours later, in the visitor’s clubhouse of Rogers Centre, Team USA manager Joe Maddon sat in his office with his Bench Coach, the esteemed Buck Showalter. It was, to be sure, an unusual pair- the personable and quirky Maddon and the outwardly gruff Showalter. But Team USA hadn’t lost a game yet, and there hadn’t been any complaints or anything from those who had been on the bench the whole time!

And there were many: Matt Holliday hadn’t played yet. Joe Mauer hadn’t played yet. Jonathan Lucroy and David Wright hadn’t played yet either. Luke Donaldson had only played once. Long-reliever Madison Bumgarner (“I wish I had this much depth in the real world,” said Joe) and middle set-up man Steve Cishek had yet to leave the bullpen.

In fact, the discussion today seemed to be whether maybe they should shake up the starting line-up. They decided not to.

And then Joe Maddon spoke:

“Man, this is very cool, it’s like a computer-enhanced situation that’s perfect.”

Buck Showalter just let out a “Mmmm-hmmmm”.

Not long after the discussion in Toronto, the mid-day game in Caracas started between Venezuela and Australia. Liam Hendriks pitched well for Australia, giving up only 7 hits, but sadly for him, he allowed two runs, while Felix Hernandez allowed only one. And, to make matters worse, Hendriks left the game with an injury, at the time not yet disclosed. Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy didn’t take the news well, needless to say, and at one point screamed at God, saying that he volunteered to have inflicted upon him any injury that had hit one of Australia’s few starting pitchers with MLB experience. At the end of the game, he teared up while saying: “Well, mates, our boys lost 2-1 today, but it feels like 20-1. I need a drink.”

Up in Canada, meanwhile, it looked like Joe and Buck’s decision to keep with the usual line-up was working out just fine. After 4 innings, Team USA led 6-1, and Canada was already putting in it’s 3rd pitcher of the day in Chris LeRoux. A Paul Goldschmidt single and a Andrew McCutchen home run later, and it was 8-1.

“Alright, alright, alright,” said Joe Maddon. Buck kept the same expression he always has:

Team USA bench coach Buck Showalter, simply delighted by a 8-1 lead with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

Team USA bench coach Buck Showalter, simply delighted by a 8-1 lead with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

As the game went on, it became even more of a rout: Buster Posey and Giancarlo Stanton went back-to-back off Scott Richmond in the 6th and two more runs were added off Dustin Molleken in the 8th. Kershaw, meanwhile, taking Tanaka’s earlier performance for a challenge, went and struck out 15 Canadians, resetting the record not even 24 hours after it had been set.

Post-game, Maddon quipped that the 3-game sweep of Canada was America’s revenge for Queenston Heights. No American sports writer had any goddamn idea what he was talking about.

In Latin American night games:

The Dominican Republic scored two runs in the 8th and one in the 9th to edge out a 5-4 victory over the Puerto Ricans, who fell to 0-6. Robinson Cano had two home runs.

Colombia also remained winless, as they were beat by Rick Vandenhurk and the Dutch 2-1.

Cuba demolished Panama, 16-3, but received a scare as Odrisamer Despaigne had to leave early with a tender shoulder. He was listed as day-to-day after the game.

But in Nicaragua, the game was going into the Bottom of the 9th and the home-team Rest-Of-Worlders were tied up with Mexico, 3-3. However, Rene Leveret (a French-born 1B who plays in the Indy leagues) and Cheslor Cuthbert (a Nicaraguan Royals prospect) died with groundouts, and a Antoan Richardson (Bahaman, Rangers Organization) single was for naught when pinch-hitter Kai Gronauer (German, formerly of the Mets organization) flew out to right. To extra-innings the game went, and there a Jorge Cantu double brought home the winning run for Mexico as they stood victorious 4-3 over the still winless Rest-Of-Worlders.

(GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE)

April 7:

The third series of the years would begin today: Puerto Rico at Australia, Panama at Taiwan, Venezuela at Italy, Japan at the Dominican (a face-off of undefeateds), Canada at the Netherlands (the Dutch would be the last team to have their home opener), the Rest-Of-World team at USA, South Korea at Colombia, and Cuba at Mexico.

Puerto Rico, while 0-6, had the fact they had to open with games against Japan and the Dominican to fall back on. Surely, against Australia- who had only won two game so far- Edwin Rodriguez’s team would finally get in the win column.

Nope. 5-2 Australia. Puerto Rico fell to 0-7. Some rumblings were going on that perhaps Edwin Rodriguez’s job might be in danger.

In Taiwan, the home team beat Panama 9-0, as Hung-Wen Chen won his second game of the season.

In Italy, the Italians also stayed in the winless club, as Venezuela romped to a 12-1 victory behind Oswaldo Arcia’s 3-5, HR, 4 RBI game. Anibal Sanchez picked up the win on 7.1 innings of 4-hit ball.

Around noon on the East Coast, perhaps the most anticipated game of the day began in the Dominican Republic, as Japan came to town. Chihiro Kaneko vs. Michael Pineda. It would be Japan that would draw first blood, as Tetsuto Yamada hit a 2-out 2-run HR in the first inning. Pedro Martinez made a quip that he should have started. People laughed.

The Dominican Republic would get those runs back with interest in the bottom of the second, though. Edwin Encarnacion walked, Adrian Beltre singled, and then Starling Marte, only on the roster due to the injury to Carlos Gomez, hit a 3-run home run to put the DR up 3-2.

The Dominican threatened to blow it wide open in the third, loading the bases, but then Kaneko struck out Wellington Castillo to escape the threat.

And then, the pitchers entered a duel, and it wouldn’t be until the top of the 7th inning that it truly broke, as Michael Pineda gave up a Yuichi Honda single and walked Takayuki Kajitani with just one out. Al Albuquerque was called upon, and he got Yuhei Nakamura to ground into a fielders choice at second and Seiichi Uchikawa to fly out to get out of the inning with it still 3-2 for the Dominican. Pineda would finish with 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks and a HR (Yamada).

In the bottom of the 7th, Kaneko didn’t come out for Japan, as he was replaced by Kyuji Fujikawa after 101 pitches. Fujikawa sent the Dominican down in order.

In fact, the two teams’ hitters didn’t do much of anything for the rest of the game, outside of a bloop here and a walk there. The 3-2 score would hold up as the final, and the Dominican would go to 7-0 and the Japanese, having finally lost a game, were 6-1.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch were nearly handed their first loss, but a Joey Votto drive died and stranded men on first and second in the 9th to give the Netherlands 3-2 win.

The final pod of games started at 7 and 8. Finally, Joe Maddon mixed the line-up up a bit: Jonathan Lucroy started at catcher, and David Wright played at 3rd. It didn’t seem to mess with Team USA’s success, however. Two runs were scored off Andre Rienzo in the first inning and another in the fifth. Jonathan Lucroy would go deep in the 6th off of Jharel Cotton. However, the Rest-of-Worlders wouldn’t go away, thanks to solo shots off Chris Sale in the 4th (Leveret) and 8th (Everth Cabrera). But Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th and wouldn’t allow them to get any closer, as Team USA remained perfect with a 4-2 win.

Seconds after Kimbrel closed the door on the Rest-Of-The-World team, Yhonathan Barrios of the Pirates organization closed it out for Colombia’s first win, a 4-3 win over Korea, partly thanks to a Donovan Solano double in the 7th that pulled them ahead.

In the final game of the day, Cuba beat Mexico, 9-5. Alfredo Despaigne, Jose Abreu and Alexi Bell all went deep with their first home runs of the season, while Adrian Gonzalez had his third of the season for Mexico.

April 8

“Welcome to Under The Knife, your injury update. I’m Jeff Jiff.

Three new injuries to report, as diagnoses come in.

First, Puerto Rico’s Andres Torres has a case of elbow inflammation and will be out 3 to 4 weeks. He’s been placed on the DL.

Second, Canada’s 2B Taylor Green sprained his ankle during the USA series and will be out for 5 to 6 weeks. Jonathan Malo, normally in the Indy leagues, has been called up form the reserve roster

And finally, Liam Hendriks of Team Australia was diagnosed with a elbow sprain, and will also be out about five weeks or so.

So, that’s the Under The Knife Injury Update, we now take you to Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy’s broadcast of Puerto Rico at Australia from Blacktown Baseball Stadium in Sydney, Australia. A reminder that the Continuum Sports Network is not responsible for O’Shaughessy’s comments, views and opinions are entirely his own, and ask that all children under 18 and pregnant women listen to him at their own risk. Take it away, Ned!”

It was raining in Sydney, although O’Shaughessy characterized the rain as the tears of Australian baseball fans at the loss of one of their best pitchers. All the pitchers in the world wouldn’t have helped Australia that night, however, as Giancarlo Alvarado allowed only four hits over 7 innings and the bullpen handled the rest as Puerto Rico won 2-0 for their first win of the season.

In Taiwan, the Taiwanese moved to .500 on the year with a 9-4 win over Panama, on the strength of three home runs.

In Italy, the Italians continued to lose, this time 7-1 to Venezuela, who’s Carlos Carrasco had a complete game, allowing only 3 hits, one of them a 9th inning solo shot by Joe Mazzuca.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch once again won and remained undefeated, as they beat Canada 5-2, the only two runs for Canada coming from Brett Lawrie and Russell Martin.

At 6:05, the second game of Japan at Dominican began. It would be a match-up of Hisashi Iwakuma and Francisco Liriano. Japan got on the board early with a one-out Hisayoshi Chono triple and then a Seiichi Uchikawa sac fly, but Felix Pie then led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot to make it 1-1.

“This is going to be fun,” said Pedro Martinez. Perhaps it would be, but although Cano and Bautista would both hit hard singles, neither of them were brought around to home, so the game left it’s first inning still tied at 1.

However, Pedro found the end of Hanley Ramirez’s at-bat in the 2nd quite fun, as he smoked a line drive over the left-field fence. 2-1 Dominican. And then, a few hitters later, Felix Pie hit his second HR of the game (and the season), to make it 3-1.

“Hey, this guy isn’t even supposed to be playing, he’s supposed to be on the bench, riding the pine, but Carlos [Gomez] got hurt, so…. he’s playing!”, said Pedro.

In the 4th inning, Japan would tie it up through a series of unusual events:

First, Hisayoshi Chono grounded out.

Second Seiichi Uchikawa singled.

Third, Shinnosuke Abe hit a double, but Uchikawa was out at home.

Fourth, Tetsuto Yamada hit a double to bring Abe home, making it 3-2.

Fourth, during the Hideto Asamura at-bat, Liriano balked (Pedro disagreed with the call), bringing Yamada to third. Asamura then hit a single, bringing Yamada home as the tying run.

And only then did Liriano get the third out, a groundout by Kuriyama.

The Dominican was able to bail Liriano out, however, and was able to chase Iwakuma out of the game as well:

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 4.25.46 PM5-3, Dominican.

The game went on, and the Japanese would briefly tie it up again in 7th, but the Dominican scored 2 more in the bottom of the 7th and then held on. They would remain perfect with the 7-5 win. Felix Pie, and his two HRs, was named the player of the game.

At Fenway, Stephen Strasburg broke the 2-day-old record held by Clayton Kershaw with 16 strikeouts in a complete-game 4-0 shutout against Rest-Of-World. His line:

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 4.36.32 PMMatt Kemp had a home run in the win.

South Korea returned Colombia to the loss column with a 15-5 rout, in a slugfest of a game with 7 HRs between the two teams, including two from Colombia’s Harold Ramirez, a Pittsburgh prospect.

And, finally, in Monterrey, the Mexican team lost to Cuba, 4-2. Yulieski Gourriel had his second HR of the year for the Cubans.

April 9

Puerto Rico beat Australia 5-2, and the highlight of the game was this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 4.52.27 PMNed Kelly O’Shaughessy did not enjoy that play. Everyone else did.

Taiwan defeated Panama 4-2, on the strength of a 2-run shot by Yi-Chuan Lin.

The Netherlands continued on undefeated, beating Canada 5-1, Roger Bernadina had a home run and Rob Cordesmans (the Cy Young of the Dutch League) had a complete game.

Venezuela beat Italy again, this time 6-1. Oswaldo Arcia homered in the win.

Korea beat Colombia 15-2, as both Dae-Ho Lee and Jung-Ho Kang homered.

The final game of the 3-game set between Japan and the Dominican started at 6, a Kenta Maeda vs. Bartolo Colon matchup. The Dominican got a early 1-0 lead when Nelson Cruz singled home Jose Bautista in the bottom of the second, and they would never trail, eventually winning 4-2. Jose Bautista homered in the win, and in the post-game Pedro Martinez speculated on the chances that the Dominican and the USA might both still be undefeated when they would finally face each other. It was then pointed out to him that they weren’t scheduled to meet until the second week of May.

“It’s still possible,” Pedro said.

Still possible indeed, because in the first inning of Team USA’s third game against Rest-Of-World, they scored 11 runs, including a Grand Slam by Giancarlo Stanton. It would be the first of two homers by Stanton on the day, as the USA trounced the Rest-Of-Worlders once again, 15-3. However, not all was good for the Red, White, and Blue, as Buster Posey hurt his hamstring.

“He’ll only be out about 4 days,” said Joe Maddon, “Jonny [Lucroy] can take over until then, probably.”

The game of the day, though, was the one between Cuba and Mexico, as Mexico’s Jose Manual Rodriguez hit a 3-run HR to tie it up in the 9th and force extra innings and then Jorge Cantu won the game in the 10th with a walk-off jack against Carlos Juan Viera.

April 10

Another series of games began on Friday: Australia at Japan, Italy at Puerto Rico, Mexico at Panama, Colombia at Venezuela, Taiwan at Dominican, Korea at Canada, Netherlands at Rest-Of-World and, perhaps the most anticipated of the new series: USA at Cuba.

The only game outside of the North American zone was Australia and Japan. And Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy had plenty of reason to drink some strong sake during the game, as Takahiro Norimoto and Junichi Tazawa combined for a 2-hit shutout as the Japanese won 7-0.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 10.38.57 AMAt 1:05, two games started: Mexico at Panama and Italy at Puerto Rico. Colombia at Venezuela started a half-hour later. It could be argued that the Colombia-Venezuela game also ended a half-hour later, as the Venezuelans jumped Sergio Gomez of the Boston organization and Erling Moreno of the Cubs organization for 9 runs in the bottom of the first inning! And, well, things didn’t stop there:

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 10.52.01 AM“Man, that was a !@#$ing slaughter,” said Ozzie Guillen after the game. Carlos Gonzalez led the way offensively, going 4-4 with a double, HR, 2 BB and 3 RBIs. Felix Hernandez got the win, although, to be honest, with 20 runs of support, I’m reasonably sure a average High School pitcher could get the win.

Lost in all the gaping at the Venezuela-Colombia game, Puerto Rico beat Italy 9-5 as Yadier Molina hit his third HR of the season, and Panama surprised Mexico, 6-3, behind three hits from Christian Bethancourt.

In the night games, all three of the undefeated teams would receive scares.

The Dominican would fall behind quickly to the Taiwanese, as the visitors scored 3 runs in the top of the first off Danny Salazar. By the 6th inning, Taiwan led 4-1. And it was then that the Dominican bats awoke against Chao-Hao Chang, with Edwin Encarnacion hitting a solo shot to lead off and then four straight singles from Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Wilin Rosario and Jose Reyes, allowing them to tie it up at 4. An Albert Pujols pinch-hit double of Chien-Ming Wang  in the 7th gave the Dominicans a 5-4 lead, and they never relinquished it, as they went to 10-0 on the season. However, Felix Pie was injured during the game, leaving their fans to fret about CF depth as they awaited his diagnosis.

Team USA, in front of a partisan crowd in Havana, also remained undefeated.. controversially.

A match-up between Yosvani Torres and Max Scherzer, the Americans drew first blood in the 2nd inning on a 3-run shot by Jonathan Lucroy, who was likely only playing because of Buster Posey’s injury. The Cubans got 2 of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, however, on a Hector Olivera double.

But then, in the bottom of the 3rd, the Cubans got to Scherzer again and took the lead: Yasiel Puig started the inning off with a solo shot and later in the inning Friedrich Cepeda tripled home Alfredo Despaigne. After 3, the Cubans led 4-3.

Leading off the top of the fourth for Team USA was Andrew McCutchen. He doubled. Then came Matt Kemp. He singled, and McCutchen came around to score. Yosvani Torres was then pulled for Norge Ruiz- who two batters later would give up a RBI double to Evan Longoria, making the score 5-4 for Team USA.

Joe Maddon sent out not Max Scherzer for the bottom of the 4th, but rather Jon Lester. And he was splendid. In fact, all of the relievers in the game were splendid… except for the fact that the game ended after 6. Yes, after the 6th inning, with Team USA still up 5-4, the game was called due to rain, much to the disapproval of the Cuban fans. Team USA would remain perfect, “with an assist from Mother Nature,” as Maddon said.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.19.41 AMThe Netherlands would not be so lucky, as they amazingly lost to the “Rest-Of-World” team, 8-2, for their first loss of the year and the Rest-Of-Worlders’ first win of the year. Home Runs by Jabari Blash (Virgin Islander, Seattle organization), Elmer Reyes (Nicaraguan, Atlanta organization) and Donald Lutz (German, Reds) paved the way to victory for the Rest-Of-Worlders, but it wasn’t all good news for them, as 3B Cheslor Cuthbert (Nicaragua, Royals organization) fractured his thumb and ended up on the DL for a few weeks. Gift Ngoepe (South Africa, Pirates Organization) was called up from the reserve roster to take his place.

Oh, and South Korea beat Canada 3-2 thanks to HRs by Shin-Soo Choo and Bum-Ho Lee, but that’s not as interesting as some of the other games, is it?

April 11

It would be the most busy and crowded day of the season so far: other than the 1:05 AM Eastern contest in Tokyo, every game would be a day game, and people in need of a International Baseball Competition fix would have plenty of choices to pick from.

Which is good, because the Australia-Japan game was a blowout: 18-4. However, it was still a notable game, as Tetsuto Yamada, the Japanese shortstop, went 3-5 with a double and two home runs for an astonishing 8 RBI!

Post-game, this is how an extremely intoxicated Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy summed it up:

“Welth, mates, you aren’t goingth to winth if one guy on the other club scorth morth than you do.”

Wise, if somewhat unintelligible, words.

Most of the focus during the day games was, justifiably, on the Cuba-USA game. Pedro Martinez was even pulled from his usual assignment following around the Dominican team to join the Scully-Bot 5000 in the booth for it, making an odd couple that made Joe Maddon and Buck Showalter look normal.

Wait, I haven’t mentioned the Scully-Bot 5000 yet?

Oh, well, you see, the original plan was for Vin Scully to follow around Team USA, or at least do certain games where “Mr. On-The-Air” just wouldn’t do. But, hey, Vin’s 87, so he couldn’t be expected to fly around the world. So, America’s great scientists, together with Disney Imagineers , built the Scully-Bot 5000, a robot substitute for the greatest announcer of all-time. This is both incredibly stupid but also allows me to make faux-Vin Scully announcing quotes, so guess what? It works.

Anyway, the game. It would be a showdown between Clayton Kershaw and Odrisamer Despaigne. At least, it was supposed to be- in the second inning, after giving up a lead-off single to Paul Goldschmidt, Odrisamer was pulled due to some sort of injury, and, in a shocking move, Fredi Gonzalez put out Norge Ruiz, who had pitched 2 and 1/3rd innings the night before as one of Cuba’s relievers.

“Now, I normally don’t second-guess managers, but you do have to wonder what Gonzalez is thinking here,” said Scully-Bot, “Ruiz, a 21-year-old from Camaguey, threw 43 pitches last night. He is normally a starter and has only been pitching from the bullpen due to Cuba’s depth. This is a peculiar move.”

Pedro Martinez was a bit more blunt: “This move could bite Cuba in the ass.”

It wouldn’t, at least… not in the 2nd inning, as Ruiz retired the side. It wouldn’t in the 3rd either. And, along the way, the Cubans took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 3rd inning, getting to Clayton Kershaw with a series of bloop hits and seeing-eye singles.

Norge Ruiz started the 4th inning by walking Troy Tulowitzki, and that was it, as he was pulled for the 43-year-old Jose Contreras, who pitched last year in Mexico. On no rest, Ruiz had gone 2+ innings of hitless ball, striking out 3.

“Well folks,” said Scully-Bot, “That’s the great thing about baseball. Sometimes, things that shouldn’t work, do. You just never know.”

Cuba would score 4 more off of Team USA in the 6th inning, chasing away first Kershaw and then Steve Cishek in the process, and this time there was no comeback, as Team USA finally lost, 7-1. The player of the game? Jose Contreras:

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.05.34 PMWith the final out, the people of Havana entered wild celebrations, as if they had won the title. On Twitter, people in America began to half-jokingly tweet out #FireMaddon. And Joe Maddon himself?

“The only team that’s perfect is the ’72 Dolphins,” he said.

Well, the ’72 Dolphins and the Dominican Republic, which beat Taiwan 4-2 on HRs by Wilin Rosario, Jose Bautista and Alberto Pujols. Johnny Cueto got the win.

In other games on April 11:

  • It looked like Italy would finally win, as they held a 5-0 lead after 4 and a half innings in Puerto Rico. But then Puerto Rico scored 8 unanswered runs, and the Italians fell to 0-11.
  • The Dutch avenged their first loss by squeaking by the Rest-Of-The-World team, 3-2.
  • Canada forced Korea into extras with a Joey Votto RBI single in the bottom of the 9th, but Korea then scored one in the 10th on a Min-Ho Kang groundout. But the most notable thing was what happened between Ah-Sup Son and James Avery, as Avery hit Son with a pitch in the top of the 6th. It was Avery’s third HBP of the day, and Son didn’t like it. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, and this was the aftermath (note that the listing of Jamsil Stadium is an error):Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.16.07 PM
  • Yovani Gallardo was masterful in a Mexican 6-0 win over Panama, throwing the complete-game shutout while allowing only 3 hits.
  • Colombia avenged it’s savage beating with a 5-2 win over Venezuela, led by Jhonathan Solano, who fell just a double short of the cycle while driving in two runs.

April 12

Jeff Jiff reported the news in “Under The Knife”: Felix Pie would be out for 7 weeks, and Odrisamer Despaigne had torn his UCL, would require Tommy John, and was out for the rest of the competition. Juan Lagares was called up from the reserve roster for the Dominican to fill Pie’s spot in the roster, while Yoanni Yera took the now-empty spot on the Cuban roster. Team Cuba’s two top starting pitchers- Jose Fernandez and Odrisamer Despaigne, were now on the DL, and Fernandez was still 2 months away from returning.

The games, of course, went on:

  • Japan beat Australia 4-1, with Chihiro Kaneko going 8 innings of 5-hit ball, the only blemish a Stefan Welch solo shot in the second.
  • The USA-Cuba rubber match was tied 3-3 going into the ninth, Team USA having tied it up in the 6th on a 2-run Evan Longoria dinger off of Carlos Juan Viera. Matt Holliday, having a rare start, had left the game only a few hitters earlier after getting hit by a pitch.

Giancarlo Stanton and Paul Goldschmidt led off the top of the 9th and proved hapless against Aroldis Chapman, with Stanton doing a weak pop-up and Goldschmidt striking out swinging. And then, up came Andrew McCutchen. He worked a 3-2 count, and then got ahold of a 99 MPH fastball and, somehow, sent it over the left-field fence to give Team USA a 4-3 lead.Craig Kimbrel would hold that lead, and Team USA went to 11-1 on the year.

Sadly, the Scully-Bot had just regurgitated a slightly modified version of Kirk Gibson’s HR for McCutchen’s dramatic home run. Researchers decided they’d have to work a bit on the context circuits.

  • Once again, Canada forced Korea into extra-innings with a 9th inning rally, only to fall in 10. This time, the final score was 6-4 after a Min-Ho Kang 2-run homer in the 10th.
  • Puerto Rico defeated Italy 9-0, Hiram Burgos got the win and Angel Pagan hit two triples as Italy fell to 0-12.
  • In the top of the 8th inning of the Taiwan-Dominican game, Dai-Kang Yang hit a solo home run off of Michael Pineda to make the game 1-0. And, going into the bottom of the 9th, that score remained the same, with the Dominican 3 outs away from their first loss. 3 outs later, and that would be the case, as the last of the unbeatens fell. Much of the credit would have to go to Taiwanese starter Hung-Wen Chen: Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.49.28 PM
  • As that game came to an end, a flash game across the BNN newsline: Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.51.02 PMOf course, like clockwork, Garcia gave up an infield single to start the bottom of the 6th, and he’d end up having to settle for a 3-hit shutout in Mexico’s eventual 13-0 win. Adrian Gonzalez also had a great night, going 5-5.
  • Venezuela beat Colombia 9-2 as Oswaldo Arcia, Ezequiel Carrera and Carlos Gonzalez all homered.
  • And, finally, the Netherlands beat the Rest-Of-Worlders 5-3. Wladimir Balentien hit his 4th home run of the year.

And so the 2nd week of the International Baseball Competition came to a close.

The standings after two weeks:

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.57.28 PMTeam Hitting Statistics (you can click it to make it bigger):

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.59.35 PMTeam pitching statistics (again, you can click it to make it bigger):

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 1.00.46 PMThe Player of the Week for Week 2? Yadier Molina!

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 1.03.46 PM

And power rankings:

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 1.17.47 PM

Some interesting notes that you might not glean from the above things:

  • Team USA’s bullpen ERA is 0.57, leading the league. Colombia’s bullpen ERA is 10.14, the highest in the league.
  • As can probably be expected by how they have yet to win a game, the Italians are horrible in almost every statistical category: Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 1.08.57 PMThe only two HRs hit by Italy have been by Joe Mazzuca and Giovanni Pantaleoni, who are, ironically enough, light-hitting infielders in the Italian league.

Thank you for reading this latest installment of the OOTP 2016 International Baseball Competition! Next time, some players start coming OFF the disabled list, everybody has an off-day, the Italians continue to hunt for that first win against Japan and the Dominican (so, uhm, it might be difficult), and maybe Joe Mauer finally gets in a game.

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One thought on “OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 3: Week 2

  1. Pingback: Recurring Characters of the OOTP International Baseball Competition | The Baseball Continuum

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