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.
Due to the lateness of this installment and how far behind I am on this, this time it’ll be a bit different: instead of a day-by-day coverage, it’s going week by week, encompassing Week 9 (May 25 to May 31), Week 10 (June 1 to June 7) and Week 11 (June 8 to June 14), with highlights from each.
So, let’s get going:
Week 9 (May 25 to May 31):
Monday was a simple ending of the previous week’s final series. But Tuesday brought whole new series, including prime matchups like Dominican vs. Japan and a Netherlands/Canada match-up that had major implications on the race for the final spots in the playoffs, even this early in the season.
The first game of the Japan/DR series certainly lived up to the hype, with Japan winning 5-3, with Albert Pujols striking out to end the game to end a last-ditch DR rally. The Netherlands-Canada game also was quite evenly matched, with the Canadians winning 2-1 thanks to a 2-run rally in the 8th. That would allow them to tie Mexico for the 8th and final spot. Sure, it was still a long way until the playoffs, but every game counts. Elsewhere, Team USA somehow lost to Team Rest-Of-World 3-2, and Venezuela creamed Italy, 18-4.
The next day- Wednesday the 27th, saw Japan again defeat the Dominican, 5-4 in 10 innings on a walk-off single by Shinnosuke Abe. Meanwhile, the Netherlands evened their series with Canada with a 8-2 win.
To end their series on Thursday, the Dominican salvaged a game with a 8-2 win, while Canada won their series with a 9-2 victory.
The final three days of the week saw a series between Team USA and Team Cuba. Team USA would take the first game in a 15-4 rout. That wasn’t even the biggest rout of the day, though, as Venezuela beat Colombia 15-3 behind a cycle from Miguel Cabrera:
And thus ended Week 9… and take a look at South Korea!:
Bad weather plagued much of the week, washing out three games in the Caribbean and South America on Monday alone, but in Nicaragua the weather was fine as South Korea won their 13th straight game. They’d win the next day two to make it 14, coming back late against Rest-Of-World to win 8-7 and then finishing off the sweep on Wednesday, 9-2, to make it 15 wins in a row.
However, once the Koreans returned to Korea, they ended up finally hitting that bad weather, and at the worst possible moment, as it cut short a game and made them fall to Cuba, 4-1 in 6 innings. The streak was over.
That wasn’t the biggest surprise that day. The biggest surprise that day was this:
The end of the winning streak, the shocking upset of the Dominican, and the rain delays were the main stories of the week- as was a shocking injury that put Nelson Cruz out of commission for the rest of the competition:
Injuries- both of people leaving the DL and going to the DL- were the story early in the week. Clayton Kershaw returned from the DL for Team USA, but elsewhere Yovani Gallardo was knocked off the Mexican roster for the rest of the season with a torn back muscle, Taiwan lost two players to the DL, Albert Pujols had a quad injury and would be out a few weeks, and the Dutch found out that they’d again be without Andrelton Simmons for about five weeks.
But the games went on, and Kershaw made his presence known late in the week: