If you haven’t been watching the World Baseball Classic over the past couple of days, either because you think it’s not very interesting, because the games haven’t been at convenient times, or something else, you’ve missed some real excitement with Orioles players at the center of it.
That’s maybe not a good thing if you’re somebody who just wants the teams with Orioles players on them to lose so they can get back into camp ant not risk injury in these other games, but if that’s how you feel, well, too bad. The players are having a blast and it shows with some fun baseball that’s a little different than what you usually see.
About last night
USA 4, Venezuela 2
American and Birdland hero Adam Jones helped propel the USA team to a 4-2 victory over Venezuela in its first second round matchup. Jones delivered a game-tying home run in the seventh inning before Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer hit another homer with a man on base to put the Americans on top.
Jones was playing in San Diego, his hometown, noting that it was the first time he had been there in March since before he was drafted in 2003.
The Americans trailed early on as Venezuelan starter Felix Hernandez pitched five scoreless innings. American starter Drew Smyly surrendered an unearned run - on his own throwing error - in 4.2 innings, while White Sox closer David Robertson coughed up a homer to Rougned Odor.
The USA team will next play Puerto Rico on Friday at 10pm. Both of these teams are 1-0.
Netherlands 14, Cuba 1 (7 innings)
This one actually happened late Tuesday night. The Netherlands squad simply had Cuba’s number, with the game ending early due to the mercy rule. Any game with a 10+ run deficit after the seventh inning is called.
Jonathan Schoop drove in one of the 14 Netherlands runs, but it was the venerable Wladimir Balentien - once a Mariners prospect whose name was bandied about in rumored version of the Erik Bedard trade - who drove in five runs and longtime journeyman Yurendell Decaster who drove in another four.
With this win, the Netherlands qualified for the semifinals of the tournament. Their next game will be on Monday, March 20 at 9pm, with the opponent still to be determined.
One game is on tap for tonight: Venezuela “at” the Dominican Republic, starting at 10pm in San Diego. You can watch it on MLB Network or on MLB.tv.
It’s an important game for the Dominican team, since they lost, somewhat surprisingly, to the Puerto Ricans in their first second round game on Tuesday. Perhaps Manny Machado will have something to say about the outcome. He’s pretty good, as Orioles fans are well aware.