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. A glossary of storyline characters can be looked at here. Also, hit any picture to make it bigger and more readable.
Week 7 of the IBC began in Taiwan, where Venezuela was playing the Taiwanese. Taiwan had won the opening game of the series, and they’d win the second game too, 4-2. The two teams now had identical 23-15 records.
Later, the Dutch were able to tie their series with Japan with a 4-2 victory. However, veteran outfielder Andruw Jones was injured during the game, and the Dutch could only hold their breath waiting for a diagnosis.
And then… in the Western Hemisphere, there was another showdown between the baseball superpowers: USA at Dominican. It’d be Matt Harvey (4-1, 3.38) vs. Francisco Liriano (5-0, 3.05). And everyone was hyped.
At least, that was the hope. Some bad weather was going through the Caribbean, and the game in Puerto Rico between them and the South Koreans had already been delayed:
“Hey, Joe, think the game will happen?” asked Pedro.
Joe Maddon then entered into a sprawling explanation of weather systems, how rain forms, wind patterns and the differences between various forecasting models… before basically saying he had no idea.
So, go figure, by the time the game started, it was clear skies and a nice 80 degrees Fahrenheit, just in time for Matt Carpenter, Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen to go down 1-2-3 against Liriano. Harvey was able to work around a lead-off walk to Carlos Gomez to similarly put down the Dominican in the bottom half.
That was a omen of things to come, as neither pitcher would let a run across, although both teams would threaten at one point or another. It wasn’t helping that the wind was blowing in: a would-be dinger from Stanton instead fell into the waiting glove of Carlos Gomez in the top of the 6th, for example.
That could possibly prove costly, as a Adrian Beltre single in the bottom of the 6th- made possible because of a Buster Posey passed ball on what should have been a inning-ending strikeout of Nelson Cruz- put the Dominican up 1-0. And then Edwin Encarnacion was able to bust it open with a 3-run home run, making it 4-0.
And Liriano continued to dominate, ending up going 7.1 IP with 3 hits allowed and 12 strikeouts. Harvey, meanwhile, was replaced after the 7th inning… he’d given up 8 hits, had struck out six, and given up 4 runs… none of them earned due to Buster Posey’s passed ball allowing the Dominican to open the flood gates.
Perhaps to put an exclamation point on how big that one passed ball proved to be, it was Posey who would be the last out, as the Dominican won 4-0.
In other action:
- Jorge Cortes homered for Panama in a 2-0 victory over Italy.
- Alfredo Despaigne and Yulieski Gourriel both homered in Cuba’s 5-2 win over Colombia.
- Mexico steamrolled Australia, 12-1.
- A late Canadian rally was way too little, way too late, as Team Rest-Of-World beat them 9-5.
(GO BELOW THE JUMP FOR MORE)
David Kandilas returned to Team Australia, but that was just a minor note compared to the schedule for the day, which had nine games scheduled due to a double-header in Puerto Rico.
The day began with Japan beating the Netherlands, 11-6, to take their three-game series.
In Taiwan, the Venezuelan relief corps pitched splendidly in relief of Jhoulys Chacin, who had left the game in the 6th inning with a mild ankle injury:
In the first game of the doubleheader in Puerto Rico, the home fans most definitely went home happy, as Alex Rios hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th, capping off a multi-inning rally. At one point, PR had trailed Korea 7-3. In addition, Yadier Molina had two home runs in the win, while Carlos Beltran and Javier Baez also added dingers.
Around that time, however, bad news arrived:
“Sorry, Pedro,” said a IBC official, “It’ll be made up as part of a double header on August 18th.”
Alas, despite such a horrible turn of events, the games went on:
- Panama beat Italy, 4-1, as Carlos Ruiz had 2 RBIs. Leonardo Zileri got hurt for Italy during a defensive play, was quickly diagnosed with a strained rib cage, and would be out for 4 weeks.
- Cuba demolished Colombia, 9-1, as Hector Olivera hit his 4th HR of the season.
- Luke Hughes homered for the fourth time on the year as Australia beat Mexico, 4-2.
- Canada avenged their 9-5 loss by pummeling Rest-Of-World, 10-0. Shawn Hill went the distance for a complete game shutout, giving up six hits along the way.
- And in a game that featured, yes, a rain delay, Puerto Rico swept the double-header against Korea with a 7-5 victory. Carlos Beltran had two home runs.
Justin Huber returned to Team Australia, and another set of series began: Japan at Korea, Dominican at Netherlands, Mexico at Italy, Puerto Rico at Venezuela, Australia at USA, Cuba at Canada, Panama at Colombia, and Taiwan at Rest-Of-World.
Here’s what happened:
- In the Korea-Japan rivalry game, the Koreans had no answers for Masahiro Tanaka, who went 8 innings of 5-hit shutout ball, striking out 11 before Koji Uehara got the save in Japan’s 3-0 win. Hideto Asamura homered, while Hyun-Jin Ryu got a hard-luck loss.
- Robinson Cano went 3-5 with a HR and 4 RBIs as the Dominican beat the Dutch, 8-2.
- Jorge De La Rosa and Fernando Salas would combine to shutout Italy as Mexico won, 2-0.
- Asdrubal Cabrera and Miguel Cabrera would both homer in Venezuela’s 6-2 win over Puerto Rico, but Jose Altuve was injured in a baserunning collision. A diagnosis was pending.
- Donovan Solano went 4-5 with a triple and 2 RBIs as Colombia beat Panama, 8-3.
- Yasiel Puig hit two HRs as the Cubans edged out Canada, 4-3.
- Donald Lutz went 3-4 with a double, a HR and 2 RBI as Rest-Of-World beat Taiwan, 6-4.
- And, in Boston, in a game that saw another rain delay (“Stupid rain,” bench coach Buck Showalter said), Team USA demolished Australia 18-5, while Evan Longoria hit two home runs.
“Hello, welcome to Under The Knife, this is Jeff Jiff.
Bad news for Venezuela, the Netherlands and the Dominican today.
First off, Felix Pie has suffered a set-back in his rehab and will now take another 4 weeks to recover.
Venezuela has seen Jose Altuve strain his hamstring, and he’ll be out for three weeks. Luis Sardinas has been called from the reserve roster.
The Dutch have lost Andruw Jones to a broken elbow-bone and is out 6 months. Barring a miraculous recovery well ahead of that schedule, he’s done for the year. In addition, reliever Lars Huijer will miss two months with a strained abdominal. Duko Jansen and Bas De Jong have been called up from the reserve roster for them.
There is some good news out there, however, as Team USA sees Troy Tulowitzki return today, sending Jimmy Rollins back to the reserve roster.”
In action that day…
- Japan started the day by beating Korea, 10-6. Hisayoshi Chono went 2-4 with a walk and 5 RBIs, including his seventh HR of the season.
- Johnny Cueto went the distance with a 2-hit shutout for the 4-0 Dominican victory over the Dutch, striking out 8 while Jose Reyes homered.
- The Italians beat Mexico, 10-5. No, seriously, and they were leading 10-0 at one point. Seriously, take a look at the box:
- Gregor Blanco won the game 4-3 for Venezuela when he hit a 1-out single in the bottom of the 10th to score Avisail Garcia.
- Clayton Tanner held off Team USA for 6 and 2/3rds innings, but then the Australian bullpen blew it, as Team USA scored 4 times in the 8th as they went on to win 4-0.
- Jose Quintana and Ernesto Frieri combined to three-hit Panama as Colombia edged them out, 1-0.
- Canada scored six in the 8th to beat Cuba 8-4, as Brett Lawrie homered.
- Team Rest-Of-World beat Taiwan in 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th, as Champ Stuart was able to score from second after a throwing error by Da-Hung Chen during an attempted steal of third.
Liam Hendriks returned to Team Australia (sending Ryan Searle to the reserve roster), and was instantly placed into the rotation to start this day against Team USA.
But before that, there was a game in the morning, as Japan and Korea played their final game of the 3-game series. Japan would walk away with the sweep, as Hisayoshi Chono hit a bases-loaded single in the top of the ninth to give Japan a 6-4 lead that would hold for the rest of the game.
And then, poor Liam Hendriks was met with Team USA’s line-up, which knocked him around for five earned runs on the way to a 7-1 victory. David Wright had a home run in the win, going 4-4.
As Team USA routed Australia, the Netherlands upset the Dominican, 4-1, as Jonathan Schoop, Bryan Engelhardt and Roger Bernadina all hit home runs off of Danny Salazar.
As that game ended, Venezuela recorded the final out of a close 6-5 victory over Puerto Rico, withstanding a 3-run Puerto Rican 9th.
Not long after that, Giuseppe’s long drive to center died at the track, and Italy fell to Mexico, 7-6, in 11 innings.
Colombia then finished off a 3-game sweep of Panama, winning 7-4. Julio Teheran got the win (having thrown 8 shut-out innings before the bullpen made it somewhat interesting), while Ronald Ramirez went 4-4 with 2 RBIs, falling a HR away from the cycle.
There were only two “night games”.
In the first, Cuba battered Canada, 11-3. Both Yulieski Gourriel and Alfredo Despaigne hit two home runs, while Friedrich Cepeda added another one and Michael Saunders and Justin Morneau both hit homers in the defeat.
Finally, Rene Leveret and Yuichi Matsumoto found the seats in a 6-1 win for Rest-Of-World over Taiwan.
Yoshio Itoi hit the DL with shoulder inflammation and would miss six weeks. Meanwhile, Canada got Taylor Green back from the DL and Team Rest-Of-World got both Cheslor Cuthbert and Max Kepler back.
But, nevermind that, another set of series started on that Saturday: Netherlands at Australia, Venezuela at Japan, Puerto Rico at Taiwan, Korea at Dominican Republic, Italy at USA, Rest-Of-World at Cuba, Colombia at Mexico and Canada at Panama.
Australia started the proceedings with a 6-1 win over the Netherlands, much to the delight of Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy.
Three HRs in the bottom of the 7th allowed Japan to beat Venezuela, 7-5. Yuki Yanagita had two HRs in the game, including one during the aforementioned 7th inning slugfest.
Kennys Vargas hit two home runs for Puerto Rico as they beat Taiwan, 6-3.
Korea was up 2-0 going into the bottom of the 8th in the Dominican, but then it all went downhill, as Carlos Gomez hit a 2-run home run to tie it up. And then, two innings later in the tenth, Jose Bautista walked off the game with another 2-run home run to give the DR a 4-2 victory. And, what’s more, both Yong-Taek Park (day-to-day with quad soreness) and Dae-Ho Lee (diagnosis pending) got hurt. A bad day for the Koreans.
With USA facing Italy, perhaps deep down Joe Maddon thought the team could rack up 30 runs and get the Bambino’s ghost off his back. It wouldn’t happen today, though, as Team USA “only” won 14-1, as Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Kemp hit home runs and Stephen Strasburg, Kevin Quackenbush and Sean Doolittle combined to two-hit the Italians.
Team Rest-of-World stayed hot, beating Cuba 8-6 while Donald Lutz hit his third home run of the year and Jabari Blash went 3-4.
Miguel Gonzalez threw a complete-game 2-hit shutout of Colombia as Mexico won 4-0.
And, finally, Canada beat Panama 7-5.
The final day of Week 7 opened with games in Asia, as Carlos Gonzalez homered in a 9-4 Venezuelan win over Japan, Chris Oxspring struck out 12 in a 2-0 Aussie win over the Dutch, and Taiwan beat Puerto Rico 12-11 in 10 innings in a no-holds-barred slugfest.
And then, in the Western Hemisphere:
- Fredy Asiel Alvarez struck out 13 Rest-Of-Worlders as Cuba ended Rest-Of-World’s winning streak with a 9-0 pummeling. Yasmani Grandal hit a homer.
- A late Hyung-Woo Choi home run allowed Korea to bounce back from yesterday’s loss and beat the Dominican, 4-3.
- Team USA again destroyed Italy, but again fell far short of the Bambino’s demands, “only” winning 19-1, as Paul Goldschmidt and Giancarlo Stanton went deep, Matt Harvey 3-hit the Italians over 7 innings, and everyone had at least one hit.
- Canada beat Panama 8-4 as Dalton Pompey went 3-5.
- Mexico beat Colombia 6-4 as Jon Del Campo went 3-3 with a walk.
END OF WEEK 7
At the end of Week 7, here’s how the standings look: