OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 10: Weeks 9, 10 and 11

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.08.27 PMThe next day, Team USA would win again, 8-3, and then finished the sweep the next day with a 3-1 win.

And thus ended Week 9… and take a look at South Korea!:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.26.59 PMThe Power Rankings, which show how much the Korean team is on the rise with their winning streak:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.29.07 PMThe Player of the Week for Week 9 was Carlos Beltran:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.30.36 PMAnd monthly awards for May were given out to Yasiel Puig and Max Scherzer:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.31.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 2.31.51 PMWeek 10 (June 1 to June 7):

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 9.50.36 PMWell, I guess it’s true: anything can happen.

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.01.45 PMSo, at the end of Week 10:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.08.16 PMPower Rankings:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.09.23 PMAnd MVP of Week 10, Matt Kemp:

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 10.10.59 PMWeek 11 (June 8 to June 14):

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.02.39 PMSo, at the end of Week 11, the standings, where Team USA is rampaging:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.05.21 PMThe power rankings:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.06.08 PMThe week’s top player was Kennys Vargas:

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.06.51 PMAnd that concludes Part 10 of the International Baseball Competition. But next time: JOSE FERNANDEZ JOINS THE COMPETITION!



OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 9: Week 8 brings lots of runs, a near-no-hitter, etc.

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.

May 18

Week 8 of the IBC began in Australia between the Dutch and the Australians. The Dutch would end up winning 9-6, not long before a Takayuki Kajitani 3-run home run in the 7th in Japan put the home team up 3-0 against Venezuela, a lead they wouldn’t give up. Not long after that, the Taiwanese finished off the Puerto Ricans, 5-4.

And then… everybody waited until night-time on the East Coast of the USA.

The first game of the night, at 6 PM, was South Korea vs. Dominican Republic. It was a nice pitching match-up:

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 7.25.02 PM(A reminder that injuries and such are, other than opening day injuries, entirely separate from actual reality, hence why Hyun-Jin Ryu is still playing despite being injured in the real world)

Bartolo Colon would prove to be the winner of the game, as the Dominican would be the first to get on the board, thanks to a Starling Marte double in the second. Robinson Cano and Adrian Beltre would add two more RBIs later in the game. Colon and the relievers (including Antonio Bastardo, who had to fill in after Joaquin got injured with two outs in the 9th) would hold the Koreans scoreless. Colon would strike out nine and give up six hits in the victory.

In Boston, Team USA once again demolished Italy, but “only” by the score of 13-1, as Trout, Stanton, Kemp and McCutchen all homered and Jon Lester went 8.2 IP allowing only 3 hits and striking out 15. However, the Ghost of the Bambino was not happy: “Only won by 12, Joe?”, he whispered in Joe Maddon’s ear. And, worse, Matt Kemp, who was hitting .373, hurt himself running the bases and would be out for 2 weeks.

In Havana, the biggest upset of the day took place, as Team Rest-Of-The-World defeated Cuba, 4-3, surviving a late 9th-inning rally. However, the Rest-Of-Worlders did not get out unscathed, as 1st baseman Rene Leveret, one of their few sort-of-kind-of-semi-power threats, was injured making a spectacular dive to record an out in the 9th, straining an oblique and being knocked out for three weeks.

Justin Morneau, Joey Votto and George Kottaras all homered as Canada beat Panama, 12-6.

Finally, Enrique Osorio went 5-5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBIs as Mexico steamrolled Colombia, 15-5.


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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 8: Week 7 includes more USA-DR action!

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.

May 11

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:

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 1.14.34 PMCoincidentally, Joe Maddon ran into Pedro Martinez during workouts that day under cloudy skies.

“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.


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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 7

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.

May 4th

Week 6 would begin in Asia with a game between Taiwan and the visiting Korean team. And the home crowd went home happy, as the Taiwanese won 8-4. Cheng-Ming Peng homered in the win.

Later, Japan hosted Mexico. Both Chihiro Kaneko and Jaime Garcia pitched well in the starts, but Japan was able to get to Garcia and the Mexican bullpen for three runs in the 8th to pull out a 5-2 win.

In San Juan, Joe Maddon awoke. He had not been visited by Babe Ruth’s ghost the previous night, but he was still wary. However, it was Star Wars Day (“May The Fourth Be With You”), so he instead decided he’d get his mind off of the spectral slugger by having a team-bonding activity by having everybody dress up in Jedi robes. It’d be hilarious.

In the earlier games in the hemisphere, though, things were hilariously crazy. Colombia, for example, at one point led Canada 10-1 after 4-and-a-half innings, only to ultimately lose 12-11:

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.45.15 PMAnd the Dominican utterly destroyed Panama, 23-3:

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.47.45 PMBy the time of first pitch in Puerto Rico, the internet had seen the viral sensation of seeing Team USA in Jedi Robes, and, in fact, the force proved strong for the Americans, as Team USA beat Puerto Rico 10-1 in 8 innings, with the game being called in the 9th due to bad weather that mercifully ended the slaughter. Mike Trout hit two HRs, and Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Kemp, and Jimmy Rollins also homered.

The Venezuelans beat the Netherlands 4-2, as the Dutch- once one of the last teams to be defeated during the season- fell to 14-18.

In Cuba, Yasiel Puig homered twice and Yulieski Gourriel also homered, and Raisel Iglesias had 12 Ks in a 8-hit shutout, as Cuba defeated Australia 11-0. Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy drank a lot of rum in response to this.

Finally, Yan Gomes hit his second HR of the season as Team Rest-Of-World beat Italy, 9-3.


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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 6: No-Hitter?

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 27

Team USA manager Joe Maddon spoke to his team in the visitor’s locker room of Jamsil Stadium:

“Gentleman, Americans, lend me your ears,” he said, as bench coach Buck Showalter sat silently, “We have played extremely well so far. We have gone 22-2, including games against some quality opponents.”

He paused for a second, “But we are about to enter one of the toughest parts of our schedule. Every game we have from now until May 13 is against a team that is .500 or very close to it. Korea, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Japan, the Dominican. So… go out there and make your country proud.”

He decided not to mention the whole “Babe Ruth ghost” thing.

And so, at 5:05 AM on the East Coast of the USA, Team USA took the field against Korea, a Kershaw-Ryu matchup.

In the top of the second, it looked like Team USA would score. Trout was HBP, Goldschmidt walked. Posey infield-flied, but then Ryu let loose a wild pitch against Tulowitzki that moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd. But then, Tulowitzki flew out to mid-shallow center, and Yong-Kyu Lee was able to unleash a tremendous throw in to get the tagging-up Mike Trout at the plate for the rare 8-2 double-play to end the inning.

And after that, the game was a pitching duel…. until the bottom of the 6th, when Dae-Ho Lee took advantage of a controversial HBP call that allowed Hyun-soo Kim to get to first by hitting a 2-run home run off of Kershaw to make it 2-0. Ho-Joon Lee then got a hit, then got to second after an equally controversial balk call, allowing him to score and make it 3-0 when Jung-Ho Kang was able to bounce one into left. A Jeong Choi double later, and it was 4-0, and Kershaw was yanked for Steve Cishek.

Team USA would score a run in the top of the 7th, but that would be all they’d get, as Korea pulled off the 4-1 win. Hyun-Jin Ryu was named the player of the game for his 7 innings of 5-hit ball.

But perhaps, Joe Maddon mused, they should have given the player of the game to Babe Ruth’s ghost. After all, Team USA had lost two of the three games it had played since he’d first shown up.

The other game in Asia that day was Netherlands at Taiwan, and the Dutch continued to struggle, falling 7-6 despite a HR from Wladimir Balentien.


As morning broke in the Western Hemisphere, news already came up that the Mexico-Venezuela game would not be played due to a forecast of bad weather in Caracas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.21.09 PMIn Toronto, where weather is no worry thanks to the dome, the Canadians beat Australia 5-2. That was just the start of the bad news for Australia, though, as David Kandilas got hurt in the field and suffered a 2-week elbow contusion and Justin Huber bruised his elbow and would also be out for 2 weeks. In face of this news, Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy ordered a Molson and a Labatt, then poured them both together and mixed them, and then drank. A lot.

The Panama-Puerto Rico game had a short delay in the second inning due to rain, but it didn’t stop the home team Puerto Ricans from beating Panama 12-5 as Carlos Beltran went 3-4 with 2 RBIs.

The night games would be an eclectic mix: Italy and Colombia would be a match-up between two of the teams with the worst records in the league, Japan and Cuba would be a match-up between two of the best. And Dominican-Rest of the World looked like it could be a massive rout.

The Italy-Colombia game, in Colombia, was won by Italy, 7-4, moving them to 3-22 on the year and tying them with Colombia in the standings. Mario Chiarini homered.

Japan beat Cuba 6-3 in Havana, as Seiichi Uchikawa went 2-5 with a triple and a homer, racking up 4 RBIs. Yoshio Itoi also homered, while Masahiro Tanaka went 8 innings.

And, finally, the Dominican hit five home runs as they routed Rest-Of-The-World, 9-3.


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Recurring Characters of the OOTP International Baseball Competition

Many of you have likely been following the International Baseball Competition here, in which I simulate a season-long World Baseball Classic-style competition between national baseball teams and also add in some storylines and cast of characters to spice things up. But if you haven’t read all of them, or simply are having trouble remembering, there’s a rundown of some of the cast of characters after the jump. It will be updated occasionally as the IBC season goes on:

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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 5: The Haunting of Joe Maddon by the Bambino George H. Ruth

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 20

Another week of IBC action also began a new set of series: Panama at Korea, USA at Taiwan, Dominican at Colombia, Mexico at Netherlands, Australia at Italy, Cuba at Venezuela, Japan at Canada and Puerto Rico at Rest-Of-World.

Korea started the action with a 9-1 win over Panama, taking advantage of an 8-run 4th inning.

In Taiwan, Team USA again steamrolled a hapless opponent, routing Taiwan 13-0 with home runs by Matt Kemp (his 5th) and Paul Goldschmidt (his 3rd) along the way with Matt Harvey going 8.1 IP with 8 Ks and only 6 hits given up. Late in the game, Joe Maddon sent Josh Donaldson up to pinch-hit for Evan Longoria, “just so that I have something to do today.” He also put in Sean Doolittle to end the game after Harvey hit his pitch-count.

Nelson Cruz homered twice and Adrian Beltre and Starling Marte also hit round-trippers in a 11-1 Dominican win over Colombia, but Jose Bautista had to leave the game after getting hit by a pitch. His diagnosis was pending.

The Netherlands’ funk continued, as they lost to Mexico, 4-2. After beginning the season 9-0,  the Dutch had gone 4-6.

In Nettuno, the Italians found themselves down to the Australian, 5-4, going into the bottom of the 9th. Three Grant Balfour strikeouts later, and it was over. Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy, of course, celebrated by drinking some of the local wine.

Later, in the Western Hemisphere, Jhoulys Chacin had a heck of a game as Venezuela beat Cuba 8-0, giving up only 4 hits over seven innings of work.

Up in Toronto, the Canadians upset Japan, 3-1, on the strength of a 2-run HR by Justin Morneau in the first inning and a nice performance by Shawn Hill and the Canadian bullpen.

A 3-run 8th by Team Rest-Of-World tied up the game with Puerto Rico at 3-3…. and that would be all until the bottom of the 10ths, where Jonathan Albaladejo walked Jabari Blash with the bases loaded for a walk-off walk and a 4-3 Rest-Of-World victory. Edwin Rodriguez could be seen with his face in his palm as the winning run walked across the plate. What a way to go.


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OOTP International Baseball Competition Part 4: Can Italy finally win a game?

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 13

A day of rest across the Competition. Some minor moves here and there, such as Australia placing Brendan Wise on the DL and Mexico doing the same with Luis Alfonzo Garcia, but nothing Earth shattering. Instead, teams prepared for their next series: Dominican Republic at Australia, Rest-Of-World at South Korea, Mexico at Taiwan, Japan at Italy, Cuba at Netherlands, Panama at USA, Venezuela at Canada, Puerto Rico at Colombia. The best series of the bunch, most agreed, would be Cuba-Netherlands. However, a morbid curiosity had taken hold with Team Italy, the only team still without a win, as they were to host Japan, 9-3 and with their only losses coming against the Dominican… who, it should be noted, were waiting for Italy after the Japan series.

It’s not like they hadn’t had chances: they’d lost by just one to the Netherlands early in the season, and had at one point held a 5-0 lead on Puerto Rico. But, in the end, without fail, every time the final out was recorded, Marco Nanni’s team had lost.

But, hey, maybe this would be the week!


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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.


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OOTP Baseball Competition Part 2: The Rest of the First Week

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.

Thursday, April 2nd:

As Taiwanese closer C.C. Lee of the Cleveland Indians struck out Barbaro Canizares to seal a 2-1 Taiwanese win to finish the first game of Thursday, April 2nd, the people of Cuba became very unhappy. Communists on the island blamed this 0-2 start on the “capitalist traitors”, the people of Miami blamed the Castro brothers. But perhaps they both should have blamed Hung-Wen Chen, the Taiwanese starter, who had given up only one run in 7 innings of work.

In Sydney, a 9th inning by Jeong Choi allowed Korea to go 2-0 on the season with another win over Australia. Losing pitcher Grant Balfour, in a post-game interview with Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy, drunk angry Australian announcer, spoke only in the language of profanity that few can speak. Thankfully, Ned did speak that language, and was able to translate it into being “I am unhappy with my performance tonight.”

In Japan, the Japanese also moved to 2-0, beating Puerto Rico 7-3. However, right-fielder Yoshio Itoi left the game with shoulder soreness. It was reported that he would miss 3 weeks.

At 1:05, games started in Italy and in the Dominican Republic, where the sleepy player from the previous night’s 18-inning marathon had to get up and play the second game of the season. And while the 2nd game of the DR-Venezuela series was nowhere near as long as the first one, it still had plenty of drama.

After a nice pitching performance by Michael Pineda, a HR by Carlos Gomez and a Nelson Cruz RBI single, the Dominican was up 2-0 going into the ninth as Joaquin Benoit took the mound to get the save. Except, well, he didn’t get the save. He had an implosion that ended with a Jose Altuve 3-run home run that chased away Benoit and brought in Antonio Bastardo.

But then, in the bottom of the ninth, the Dominican had a comeback of their own off of Yusmeiro Petit and Jean Machi, culminating in a Hanley Ramirez double to give the Dominican another walk-off win!

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 1.02.54 PMPedro Martinez was pleased.

The game in Europe was nowhere near as interesting, as the Dutch routed the Italians, 11-5, as Wladimir Balentien hit his second HR of the year,

Finally, there were the games in the Western Hemisphere. Panama and Rest-Of-World and the USA-Colombia game started first, and the Americans wasted no time, with Mike Trout going deep for his first home run of the season in the first inning to put the USA up 2-0 on Julio Teheran. Giancarlo Stanton would join his teammate in long-ball with a 3-run shot in the third which chased away Teheran and brought in Kevin Escorcia, a rookie-leaguer in the White Sox organization. This proved to be an unwise decision, as Matt Kemp would go deep against him for two more runs by the end of the inning to make it 7-0 after three. It would be that kind of day at the plate for Team USA, as they battered the Colombians for the 11-2 win, with Mike Trout going 3-5 with a double, home run, 2 walks and 3 RBIs. On the mound, Chris Sale got the win for his 7 innings of work, giving up only one earned run (the other run was unearned).

In Panama, the Panamanians won 5-0, as Paolo Espino of the Nationals organization struck out 13 in 8.1 IP of work and Angel Chavez went deep twice.

In Mexico, Canada won 11-4 to go to 1-1 on the year, with Sean Jamieson of the D-Backs organization getting 3 RBIs and Russell Martin homering.

Friday, April 3rd

“Well, this is Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy here at Blacktown Baseball Stadium in Sydney, where our Australian boys lead the Koreans 2-0. A reminder, fans, that tonight’s game is brought to you by Foster’s, Australian For Beer, although I personally would like to remind you that [censored] Foster’s is owned by [censored] South Africans so don’t believe what they bloody say. Now, Chris Oxspring was ace for us today, giving up just two hits to the Koreans and striking out six. Luke Hughes hit a 2-run home run in first, and that’s how we got here.”


“Excuse me, I have been told by my producer that I should tell you that you should buy Foster’s, or else I’m fired. So, yeah, go buy Foster’s, mate. Anyway, Andrew Russell now on the mound looking to close this off for us. I don’t know where Grant Balfour is, maybe he’s bleeding tired. So, up comes Jeong Choi….”

(Two pitches later)

“And here’s the pitch, and Choi hits it lazily to center…. Oeltjen drifts over… and he catches it. Two more outs and then we can get pissed. Here comes Dae-Ho Lee now, by the way….”

(enters a long tangent about his cousin’s domesticated dingo)

“Oh, and, so… oh, here’s a foul ball… behind the plate… Kennelly to it… and he’s got that ball, just like that smart little dingo! We are just one out away from a real raging party, mates! Now here comes Byung-Ho Park. He had a [censored] home run yesterday, the [censored], so hopefully he won’t get one [censored] here.”

(A few pitches later, the count 2-1)

“And Russell now with the pitch to the right-handed park, and… (audible sound of bat and ball). Oh, bloody hell. BLOODY HELL, that ball is going back… back… back… and it’s (censored) gone. (Censored) me. Me and my (censored) mouth. I need a drink, and not of (censored) Foster’s. 2-1 Australia, here comes Jung-Ho Kang.”

(Several seconds of O’Shaughessy muttering profanity under his breath, and at one point an audible sip of a beer)

“Russell with the pitch… called strike. 0-1. Now, elsewhere in the Competition, Japan leads Puerto Rico 3-1 in the 6th, and Taiwan and Cuba are scoreless. Another pitch… and fouled back. That Taiwan-Cuba game is in the third inning by the way. Out of town scores brought to you by Prescott Pharmaceuticals. Another pitch… and popped back here again. Another 0-2 pitch to Kang is coming up, and you’ll know if we win by the fact I’ll probably start singing. The pitch, and ball one. Oh, c’mon, Andrew… get him [censored] out…. and the pitch… YES! YES! SWING AND A MISS! WALTZING MATILDA, WALTZING MATILDA….”

Elsewhere on Day 3:

Japan 4, Puerto Rico 3 (H. Iwakuma 8 IP, W, 8 H, 3 ER, 8 K)

Cuba 6, Taiwan 3 (Cuban HRs by Friedrich Cepeda, Yasmani Grandal, and Jose Iglesias)

Netherlands 2, Italy 1 (Andrelton Simmons left after injury from a HBP, diagnosis pending)

Dominican Republic 8, Venezuela 7 (Carlos Gomez left with back soreness, out for 3-4 weeks. Jose Altuve 4-5 in defeat.)

Panama 5, Rest-Of-World 4 (Ruben Rivera 2-4, HR, 4 RBI)

USA 10, Colombia 1 (Mike Trout 2-3, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, SO, Stephen Strasburg left game after 3.2 innings due to a 96 minute rain delay)

Canada 3, Mexico 1 (Jeff Francis 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 K)

Saturday, April 4

“Welcome to Under the Knife, I’m Jake Jiff with your injury update:

Canada placed Tyson Gillies on the DL with a contusion today. It’s expected that various other outfielders, including Reserve Roster call-up Rene Tosoni, will take over his spot in the infield for the next two or so weeks.

The Dominican placed Carlos Gomez on the DL with his back soreness. Starling Marte has been called up from the reserve roster.

Italy’s catcher, Mattia Reginato, will be out 8 to 9 weeks with a strained hamstring. Marco Sabbatani has been called from the reserve roster.

Thank you for listening to Under the Knife, I’m Jake Jiff.”

The second series of the seasons began on April 4. The match-ups included Taiwan at Japan, Italy at South Korea, the Dominican at Puerto Rico, Australia at Venezuela, the USA at Canada, the Netherlands at Colombia, Panama at Cuba, and Mexico visiting Nicaragua to face the Rest-Of-The-World team.

In Japan, the Japanese went to 4-0 on the season with a 14-2 rout behind 3 HRs. Taiwan fell to 2-2.

South Korea had a similar rout, beating Italy 7-1.

In Puerto Rico, the Dominican got off a lead quickly at mid-day and never looked back, as doubles by Robinson Cano and Jose Bautista put them up 1-0 against Twins prospect Jose Berrios. They added another two in the 3rd (David Ortiz home run), three in the 4th (including a Cano 2-run jack) and six in the 8th (most notably with Cano’s second homer of the day, a Grand Slam), as they won a 12-3 rout.

In Venezuela, the Venezuelans finally got their first win of the year, beating Australia 6-4 behind home runs from Jose Lopez, Pablo Sandoval, and Omar Infante. It wasn’t all good, however, because Henderson Alvarez suffered a mild strain and found himself out for the next week or so. Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy drowned his pain with Venezuelan beer.

Cuba impressed the home fans with a 11-2 win over Panama, with Fredy Asiel Alvarez throwing a complete game, giving up 4 hits and only two earned runs, both from a 2-run shot by Carlos Ruiz. Jose Abreu went 4-4 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs.

Canada gave Team USA something of a scare and were leading 2-0 after 4 thanks to solo shots from Pompey and Lawrie off of Matt Harvey, but then the USA hit machine got into action with 8 unanswered runs to win it 8-2, with Longoria going 4-4 with a triple and 2 RBIs and Giancarlo Stanton with a home run.

Andruw Jones stole the show in Colombia, as he went 3-4 with a HR and 4 RBIs in a 14-5 victory for the Dutch.

And in Nicaragua, Mexico won 12-4, but the bigger loss for Rest-Of-World was in the injury department, as German outfielder Max Kepler sprained his elbow and landed on the DL and Nicaraguan 2B Ofilio Castro also left injured, although at the time the diagnosis was not known.

Sunday, April 5

The day started off less than great for some fans, Andrelton Simmons finally got a diagnosis for his injury: fractured wrist, out 5-6 weeks:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.36.12 PMStill, the show would have to go on, as the final day of the first week of the International Baseball Contest (chronologically, at least) came to an end.

The first game, in Korea, at first looked like it may finally be the first win for Italy. At first. Because while they pushed 4 runs across in the top of the fourth, it got really bad REALLY quick:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 3.50.17 PMJapan remained perfect with a 8-3 win over Taiwan.

In Nicaragua, Jorge De La Rosa was masterful for Mexico, holding the Rest-Of-The-World to only 2 hits in a complete game shutout while Mexican hitters battered Rest-Of-The-World pitching for a 13-0 win, with home runs by Jose Aguilar and Karim Garcia. And, yes, Pedro Martinez said “Who?” when he went over the highlights during a rain delay in the Dominican game.

The upset of the day came in Venezuela, where Clayton Tanner and Josh Spence combined to 3-hit Venezuela and give up no earned runs, and HRs came from Mitch Dening and Justin Huber, as the Australians upset Venezuela 5-1. Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy narrowly escaped a group of angry Venezuelan fans after the game, although to hear him tell it, he personally fought his way out.

The score was tied going into the 9th in Toronto, where Canada had given Team USA it’s greatest fight so far. In fact, they had led 4-3 in the 8th and Team USA only tied it up because Josh Donaldson scored before Buster Posey was thrown out at second as he tried to stretch a single into a double.

The Toronto-born Jesse Crain took the mound and put Stanton, Goldschmidt and McCutchen in order, then Craig Kimbrel came out for the bottom of the 9th and retired the order in return. To extra innings the game went.

In the top of the 10th, Troy Tulowitzki led off the inning with a double. He then moved to third on a Matt Kemp groundout. But after striking out Josh Donaldson, disaster struck Jesse Crain, as Russell Martin let it past him during the Matt Carpenter at-bat, allowing Tulo to score the go-ahead run on the passed ball. Kimbrel slammed the door in the bottom of the 10th, and Team USA remained unbeaten, 5-4.

There were blowouts in Cuba and Colombia, as Cuba, led by two HRs by Yasmani Grandal (who had 7 RBIs on a 4-hit day) and Yasiel Puig (who went 5-5), demolished Panama 17-4. The Dutch, meanwhile, continued their perfect start with a 14-1 win against the Colombians.

The Dominican also remained perfect, but it wasn’t easy, as they nearly blew a late lead, as Antonio Bastardo struck out Carlos Beltran looking with two men on in the 9th to end the game with a 8-7 Dominican victory.

With the first week at an end and every team having played five games, a look at the standings:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 4.51.55 PMAnd the player of the week was Panama’s Ruben Rivera, the former Major Leaguer who now plays in Mexico:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 4.59.37 PMAnd, finally, team statistics so far:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 5.40.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-28 at 5.43.26 PM(Next week in the International Baseball Competition: Japan heads to the Dominican for a series between two of the early powerhouses. And later in the week, the USA heads to Cuba for a showdown between traditional baseball powers. Also, you will see the first appearance in this feature of the odd couple of the International Baseball Competition: USA manager Joe Maddon and his bench coach, Buck Showalter. All of this and Ned Kelly O’Shaughessy in the next part of the International Baseball Competition!)