The United States eliminated the upstart Dutch team (good night, sweet prince) last night in the World Baseball Classic behind the stout pitching of Roy Oswalt and some timely hitting from Jimmy Rollins and late addition Brian Roberts. But after getting mercy-ruled by Puerto Rico on Saturday night, will Tuesday night's elimination game spell curtains for our boys in red, white 'n' blue? Tonight, Puerto Rico plays Venezuela for the right to advance to the semi-finals; Team USA is stuck playing the loser of that game and they've already lost to both teams.
Our roster was built well, with a good focus on lineup speed and relief pitching. But injuries have been taking the team apart piece by piece. The latest casualties are Chipper Jones (who spent most of the WBC striking out) and Dustin Pedroia (who had just three hits in sixteen at-bats). Still, Pedroia's replacement and speedy Oriole stud Brian Roberts had three hits last night, while Derek Jeter filled in nicely for Chipper Jones in the DH slot, drawing two walks and being generally distracting to the Dutch team with his manly good looks and quiet, captain-y demeanor. The team cannot replace Jones until the next round...if they make it.
Also, outfielder Ryan Braun left the game last night with a sore right side and was replaced in the outfield by backup catcher Brian McCann. Manager Davey Johnson said he was ready to send tomorrow night's starter Ted Lilly out there with a glove and a prayer; lucky for Davey that Ryan should be healthy enough to start tomorrow night.
Team America must win a tough game on Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals. For their sake, hopefully no other injuries will befall the team.
(Jeter photo courtesy of Flickr user alaner79)