Friday, March 10, 2006

WBC Mercy Kill Day

WBC rules state that a mercy kill will be declared if a team is trailing by 15 runs after 5 innings, or 10 runs after 7 innings. That's rather important today...

Netherlands-10, Panama-0 (7)
USA-17, RSA-0 (5)

But the biggest shocker of all is the Puerto Rican team manhandling the Cubans, ending the game after just seven innings of play with a 12-2 lead. That...was not a pretty game for the Cubans, who were unquestionably playing for a win, and not just treading water. The game was essentially meaningless, since both teams were guaranteed an advance, but you could tell that Castro's boys did not want to walk out of there losers.

Oh, but they did. And in rather embarrasing fashion, thanks to being mercy killed.

The only team that forced all nine innings in its loss today was the Australians, which struck a 1-0 lead in the first inning. That's important because it was the first run the Aussies had manufactured all tournament, and it was against the powerhouse Dominican team.

Another amazing performance to point out is the Dutch pitcher. Notice I use the singular. Now, calling a mercy kill shortened game a "complete game" is a bit of a stretch, but the Dutch only used one pitcher in the win. Keep in mind that, in the first round, pitchers are held to only 65 pitches. Which was the final count for the Dutch starter. Only issued one walk, and no actual strikeouts, but stayed on the mound longer than anyone else has managed in the tournament.

Now, there is still some grumbling that the Cuban team might pack it up and go home after they felt the games getting too political. If that happens, the Dutch will move into their second round spot. However, I think they're hurting for another shot at the Puerto Ricans, which the tournament format will promise them at the end of Pool 2 play.

Limited Nationals action today, but Cordero did record the last out in the South America blowout. And Soriano let a ball get by him in the Dominican game against Australia, which ultimately resulted in that first run they scored.

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