I would like to introduce a new category on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham called Inside The Lines. I am going to a do a running blog during select games and the idea is to give analysis of a game or games as they happen.
Since tonight is an elimination game for Team USA, I thought I would start the category off with tonight’s USA vs Netherlands tilt.
1. Kingsale, CF
2. Decaster, 2B
3. Simon, 1B
4. De Jong, DH
5. Engelhardt, LF
6, Rooi, 3B
7. Van’t Klooster, RF
8. Jansen, C
9. Schoop, SS
Van Den Hurk, P
1. Rollins, SS
2. Roberts, 2B
3. Jeter, DH
4. Youkilis, 1B
5. Wright, 3B
6. Dunn, RF
7. Braun, LF
8. Iannetta, C
9. Granderson, CF
Oswalt comes out firing with 4 straight fastballs and K’s Kingsale to lead off the game. Solid start for Oswalt. Oswalt looks to have good velocity as all 4 pitches were in the mid-90′s.
Oswalt gets the Netherlands 1-2-3 as Braun makes a sliding catch to rob Simon of a base hit to end the first.
Not sure I get USA’s lineup. Jeter batting 3rd? Braun batting 7th? It appears Davey Johnson had to adjust his lineup due to a Chipper Jones injury. Jones will miss the rest of the WBC with an oblique strain.
After a Jimmy Rollins pop-up, the new man on the team, Brian Roberts ropes a single to right. With Jeter up maybe a hit and run right here.
Jeter walks, runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out for Youkilis. No hit and run which is not surprising since Davey Johnson is a wait for the 3 run HR manager. Van Den Hurk was clearly rattled by the threat of Roberts stealing 2nd. Van Den Hurk right now is all over the place. 2-0 to Youkilis and already up to 22 pitches for the inning. Van Den Hurk walks Youkilis. Bases loaded and 1 out for Wright.
On the first pitch Wright gets a sac fly to right. Roberts scores to make it 1-0 USA. Though Wright got a sac fly, I disagree with his approach. Van Den Hurk just walked 2 guys in a row and Wright goes up there and swings at the 1st pitch. A little baffling.
Dunn goes down swinging to end the 1st. Good 1st inning for Team USA.
De Jong singles up the middle to get the inning started. Oh man what a great play by Rollins to start the double play. Dives to his left, backhand flips to Roberts and Roberts fired to Youkilis to turn the double play.
On the very next pitch, Dunn tracks a ball down and runs into the bullpen wall to make the catch. USA flashing some leather in the 2nd. Through 2 innings Oswalt has thrown less than 20 pitches. Looking good.
Braun starts off the inning with a solid single to left. ESPN just showed the crowd at Dolphin Stadium. It looks like there is maybe 10,000 in the stands. Pretty disappointing crowd. Besides the obvious answer of weather, I question why baseball would put games in Miami? The Marlins don’t draw so why would the WBC?
Braun gets gunned down trying to steal 2nd on a rediculous throw by Jansen. He threw out Braun from his knees. Great throw.
After an Iannetta strike out, Van’t Klooster misplays a ball in right and Granderson ends up on 2nd. Good hustle by Granderson.
Rollins just crushes one to right field. 3-0 USA. Van Den Hurk threw a mediocre 2-1 fastball down the middle and Rollins crushed it.
Roberts hits a frozen rope down the right field line. So far the addition of Roberts is paying off as he is 2-2. Jeter grounds out to SS to end the inning.
3-0 USA after 2.
Oswalt just made Van’t Klooster look really silly. Struck him out on 3 pitches. 1st an error in right and now a K on 3 pitches. Rough night so far for Van’t Klooster.
Netherlands SS, Schoop is 0-18 in the WBC. Do they not have a backup? Make it 0-19 as he strikes out on a nasty curve ball from Oswalt.
Kingsale singles and now it is 1st and 2nd with 2 outs for the Netherlands. Decaster singles sharply to right and now the bases are loaded with 2 outs.
Randall Simon is swinging out of his shoes right now. He is either going to hit one 450 ft or K. He does neither and pops up to Rollins. With the Netherlands offense struggling, that might have been their best opportunity to score.
Juan Carlos Sulbaran replaces Van Den Hurk. This kid is 19 and will be facing Youkilis, Wright and Dunn. When I was 19, I was barely passing an accounting class.
After a Youkilis ground out, Wright rips a single to left. It looks like Wright has got his stroke down. Has hit the ball solid twice tonight.
Dunn hits a rare ground ball but is able to beat out the double play with some nice hustle. Dunn is proving JP Ricciardi wrong by the game.
Braun flies out to center and it is still 3-0 USA after 3.
De Jong hits a soft grounder to 3rd but for some reason Wright nonchalantly throws to first and throws the ball into the ground. Not sure why Wright did that…E5.
A little dribbler in front of home plate and Iannetta throw a pea to first to nail Engelhardt. De Jong advances to 2nd.
Van’t Klooster hits a squibber between 3rd and SS and beats out the throw from Wright. Runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 out. For the second straight inning the Netherlands is threatening. Oswalt is already up to 68 pitches, so if anything, at least they are making Oswalt work.
Oswalt throws a nasty curve to strike out Jansen to get out of the inning. Hawkins was warming up so I am wondering if Oswalt is done for the night. At 70 pitches, I am sure the Astros are hoping that Oswalt doesn’t push himself.
I love this Tim Lincecum commercial for 2K9 Baseball. Very well done.
Iannetta starts off the inning with a walk. He is slowly becoming one of my favorite players in the game.
Rollins is hitting the cover off the baseball as he triples to the gap in CF. Kingsale played that pretty poorly but none the less, a rocket by Rollins scores Iannetta. 4-0 USA. Rollins now has a triple and a HR, the 2 hardest parts of a cycle. I am just sayin.
Netherlands has the infield in with Roberts at the plate, who has hit 2 ropes tonight. Good luck with that Mr. Infielder. With the infield in, Roberts decides to hit over everyone with a 400 ft shot off the wall in CF. Roberts triple scores Rollins. 5-0 USA. Roberts now has a triple, double and a single. He needs a HR for the cycle. I am just sayin.
The Netherlands is going to the pen and it looks like the clock is going to strike midnight for this cinderella story. Michiel Van Kampen is now in for the Netherlands. This guy might have the most hurky-jerky delivery I have ever scene. He reminds me a little of Oakland A’s and Team USA pitcher, Brad Ziegler.
After a Jeter walk, Youkilis hits a soft grounder to SS but the Netherlands can’t turn two as Youkilis hustles down the line. Roberts comes in to score and it is 6-0 USA.
Wright grounds out to end the inning and after 4 it is 6-0 USA. USA is playing with a sense of urgency that I have not seen them play with before in this WBC.
LaTroy Hawkins comes in and replaces Oswalt. Good effort from Oswalt who grinded out 4 innings without his best stuff.
ESPN is interviewing Bert Blyleven who is the Netherlands pitching coach. I am sure at some point during this interview Blyleven is going to complain about not getting into the Hall of Fame.
Hawkins sets the Netherlands down 1-2-3. You know things are going well when Hawkins breezes through an inning.
David Bergman is now in for the Netherlands and is greeted by an Adam Dunn rope to RF.
Bergman is getting smoked as Braun rips a ball to left. My guy Iannetta bloops a single to left and now the bases are loaded. Netherlands right now is playing like they are a bunch of Triple-A players.
Just when I say that Randall Simon makes a great play to throw out Dunn at home. Simon threw the ball from his back and the ball rolled to home. The fact that he was able to get the ball to home was pretty remarkable.
Rollins hits a sac fly to CF to score Braun. 7-0 USA and Rollins now has 4 rbi on the night.
Diegomar Markwell is in for the Netherlands. Since Markwell is a lefty, that will force Roberts to turn it around and bat righty. With Roberts going for the cycle, Markwell throws 4 pitches out of the strike zone. Bases loaded with Jeter coming to the plate.
Jeter is really having a battle with Markwell. Fouling off pitch after pitch. After a long AB, Jeter grounds to 3rd and leaves the bases loaded.
7-0 USA after 5.
Scot Shields is in for Team USA. Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe were talking about how important Shields is to the Angels bullpen and Sufcliffe wonders who is going to close for the Angels now that Krod left. Umm memo to Sutcliffe, the Angels signed Brian Fuentes in the offseason.
Shields is getting roped. After 2 hard hit singles, Wright makes a diving play at 3rd and throws out the runner at 1st. That play probably saved a run.
2 outs now with runners on 1st and 2nd.
Shields is able to get out of the jam and the Netherlands can’t score again. You can start to see the look of defeat on the faces of Team Netherlands.
Leon Boyd is in the game for the Netherlands. He has been the Netherlands closer throughout the tournament but with the Netherlands down 7-0, there is no reason to save him for the 9th.
Adam Dunn is a horse!!! Dunn hits a big-fly over the CF fence to make it 8-0 USA. Man is Dunn strong. He just flicked his wrists and the ball went 400 ft.
Other than the Dunn moon shot, USA went down pretty quietly against Boyd. 8-0 USA after 6.
Brad Ziegler becomes the 4th pitcher for Team USA. Ziegler doesn’t throw hard (1st pitch 74 mph) but his sidearm delivery makes for a deceptive motion.
After getting the 1st out, Ziegler allows back to back singles. It seems like the Netherlands has gotten runners on every inning but has not been able to push anything through. Maybe they can push one through in this inning.
Decaster smacks a double to RF and the Netherlands finally pushes across a run. 8-1 now USA. Runners now on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Ziegler just doesn’t look right out there. It almost seems like he is trying to push the ball instead of throw it.
Ziegler gets out of the inning without further damage due to the nice recovery by Rollins to throw out de Jong at 1st. Rollins bobbled the ball, stuck with it and fired a rocket to get the out. Nice play.
8-1 USA headed into the bottom of the 7th.
19 year old Dennis Neuman is in for the Netherlands. Neuman is property of the Boston Red Sox and seems to have a pretty live arm. For a kid in rookie ball, this must be a pretty amazing experience for Neuman.
With Granderson at 1st and 2 outs, Brian Roberts is coming to the plate with a chance to hit for the cycle. This will probably be his last chance. Roberts didn’t get anything he liked and took a walk. What a great night for Roberts, 3-3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and 1 rbi. Not a bad debut.
Jeter grounds to 3rd and after 7 it is 8-1 USA
Marlins pitcher, Matt Lindstrom is now in for Team USA and is promtly greeted by a HR by Engelhardt. 8-2 now USA.
WOW!! Lindstrom just threw one at 95 mph behind Rooi. The Netherlands is hot!!! That pitch was definetly on purpose. I guess Lindstrom didn’t like the way Engelhardt admired his HR from home plate. I like this from the Netherlands. They won’t be bullied around by the USA and they won’t go down without a fight.
Both benches were warned which is a pretty dumb thing umpires do. I believe the team who is being thrown at should have a chance to retaliate with no repercussions. With a warning, that opportunity is taken away.
Lindstrom has really incited the Netherlands. They are all up on the bench and it wouldn’t surprise me if despite the warning, someone in the USA lineup gets plunked.
The Netherlands pushes across another run to make 8-3. All of a sudden, the Netherlands is learning how to hit.
Uh oh, Davey Johnson and the trainer come to the mound to check on Lindstrom. Apparently there is an injury. Such a weird outing for Lindstrom. He gives up a bomb, throws behind someone, gives up another run and now is being taken out of the game because of injury.
John Grabow comes on to replace Lindstrom with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd. Grabow comes in and walks Kingsale. You are up by 5 runs, stop putzing around and just throw the ball down the middle.
Grabow gets out of the inning without further damage and after an eventful top of the 8th, USA leads 8-3.
Berry Van Driel is now pitching for the Netherlands. Let’s see if he throws at someone. It would shock me if he didn’t because right now he looks like a man possessed.
He didn’t throw at Youkilis, instead he threw 4 pitches nowhere near inside and walked him.
McCann pinch hitting for Braun doubles off the wall and scores Youkilis. 9-3 USA. Iannetta flies out to right and leaves McCann at 2nd.
So nobody was thrown at and we go to the top of the 9th with USA leading 9-3.
Apparently Team USA is short of LF’s, so Brian McCann will stay in the game and play LF. According to Dave O’Brien, McCann has never played LF in either the minors or majors. I am sure the Braves are beyond thrilled McCann is doing this.
Jonathon Broxton is on to close the game for Team USA. Broxton is throwing heat. His last pitch was 98 mph. Another pitch at 99 mph. Another pitch at 99 mph. This is silly.
Broxton gets Engelhardt to ground to SS to end the game and Team USA wins 9-3 and stays off elimination for at least 1 more game.
Koudos to the Netherlands who nobody believed would make it this far. Outside of tonight, they pitched well, fielded well and really impressed me with how they played the game. The goal of this tournament is to increase the popularity of baseball across the world and in the Netherlands, the sport of baseball has never been more popular.