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WBC: Sunday pitch count impacts
Posted by Gus Papadopoulos at 3/13/2006 6:20:00 AM
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Pitch count impacts and other notes from Sunday's WBC games:

Team USA: Jake Peavy threw 67 pitches against Japan (an OK stint, but not great; appeared to have control issues). He's now ineligible until the semis on Saturday, presuming the US gets that far. Five other relievers saw action (Brad Lidge working the most with 24 pitches in the ninth). However, every US pitcher except for Peavy and Roger Clemens is eligible to pitch in Monday's game against Korea. Dontrelle Willis will start; good move to start a lefty against Korea's two lefty sluggers, Seung-Yeop Lee and Hee Seop Choi.

BTW ... no wonder MLB fired umpire Bob Davidson years ago. Just an awful, awful call on the tag-up play in the 8th, and give Buck Martinez an attaboy for knowing how to push the buttons on a crappy umpire.

Mexico: Rodrigo Lopez threw 72 pitches in just three innings against Korea. He's now ineligible until the semis on Saturday, presuming Mexico gets that far. Everyone else on their staff is eligible for their next game against Japan on Tuesday. There are hints Esteban Loaiza will get that start; Daisuke Matsuzaka has already been announced as Japan's starter.

Korea: Jae Seo threw 61 pitches in five-plus innings and did a good job in keeping the Mexicans at bay. He's now ineligible until Saturday. Chan Ho Park closed again for the Koreans, throwing 16 pitches in the ninth (pitching just in the ninth, his arm's going to be waaaay behind schedule when he finally gets back to the Padres). Every Korean pitcher except Seo is eligible for Monday's game against the US; Korean leaguer Min Han Son will get the start. That would leave either Sunny Kim or Byung-Hyun Kim as possible starters for Korea against Japan on Wednesday.

So far, the tournament MVP is Korean slugger Seung-Yeop Lee; a two-run game-winning homer against Japan, a two-run game-winning homer against Mexico, and he's tied for the WBC lead (along with Adrian Beltre of the Dominican) in homers (4) and RBI (9).

Puerto Rico: Along with Korea, the only undefeated team in the tourney so far: whouda thunk? Javy Vazquez threw 71 pitches in his winning effort against the Dominican Republic, treating the game like a playoff game. He's now out until Saturday. Kiko Calero and JC Romero both pitched in relief, but both left before the 30-pitch mark, so every Puerto Rico pitcher save Vazquez and Dicky Gonzalez is eligible for Monday's game against Venezuela; Joel Piniero will start.

Dominican Republic: Bartolo Colon looked good as well in his 71-pitch outing; he's out until Saturday. Four relievers followed Colon; Damaso Marte, Julian Tavarez (both were ineffective against Puerto Rico), Salomon Torres and Fernando Rodney. Those four pitchers can work either on Monday against Cuba, or Tuesday against Venezuela, but not in both games. Odalis Perez will get the day-game start Monday in the San Juan Field Turf heat against Cuba.

Venezuela: Johan Santana threw 67 pitches in five innings against Cuba on Sunday afternoon, where temperatures on the Field Turf at Hiram Bithorn Stadium were measured at 110-plus degrees. Santana had retired 10 Cuban batters in a row before being pulled after five, in part as a concession to the heat; Giovanni Carrara promptly stunk up the joint in relief. Santana is now ineligible until Saturday, should Venezuela advance. Kelvim Escobar is the only other Venezuelan pitcher ineligible on Monday night, when Carlos Zambrano will get the start against Puerto Rico. Freddy Garcia will start on Tuesday against the Dominicans.

Venezuela has scored just four runs in their last two games, and check out the following WBC stats for Venezuelan regulars: Bobby Abreu, just 3-for-14 (.214), no extra-base hits; Victor Martinez, 2-for-10; Magglio Ordonez, 2-for-16; Carlos Guillen, 1-for-12. And that includes their games against Italy and Australia. If the collective slump lasts one more night, they're likely done for the tourney.

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