Some wrap-up notes on the WBC as the tournament
winds down, at least in terms of impacts to major league rosters (of the four
semifinalists, only the Dominicans have an MLB-dominated roster):
Team USA: None of the four relievers that
followed Roger Clemens in the game against Mexico had an exceptionally heavy
pitch count. All in all, the relievers on the US roster should be heading back
to camp right on schedule, except possibly Washington's Chad Cordero (who last pitched on
March 10 against South Africa). While it's true the Americans had a really
putrid week when it came to hitting with runners on base, they didn't get great
starting pitching, either. Of the 24 starting pitchers who worked second-round
games in the WBC, 3 of the 6 lowest game scores went to the three US starters.
One of the biggest challenges for Team USA in the next WBC, presuming it also
takes place in March, will be identifying their three or four probable starting
pitchers the previous fall, and then convincing them to start working out early
enough in the winter to be effective in March. All of the other contenders
either relied on starters who had pitched winter ball, or convinced their big
guys to start working early.
Mexico: As expected, Oliver Perez had a
short night (just 36 pitches), but both he and the bullpen were effective.
However, Perez has worked just six-plus innings in the last two weeks and will
be behind as he rejoins the Dodgers. The same holds true for Elmer Dessens
(Royals), who hasn't pitched since Sunday.
For the semis and final, note that the mercy
rule is not in effect anymore, and neither is the 14-inning curfew. Also note that any
starter or reliever that throws 50 pitches on Saturday can't pitch in the final
on Monday if their team gets there. There are a few pitchers ineligible for
Saturday's semis (listed below), but all of them would be eligible again on
For the Dominican Republic, Bartolo Colon will
start on Saturday against Cuba; Daniel Cabrera and Francisco Liriano are
ineligible for that game. It would appear either Cabrera or Odalis Perez would
get the start on Monday. Damaso Marte (shoulder) has been sent home, with the
Rangers' Francisco Cordero coming on as an injury sub. Manager Manny Acta has
done a great job of insuring his starters aren't overworked; even with an
80-pitch limit, only Colon topped 60 pitches in the second round, and he's
unlikely to ask Colon or Cabrera to max out their 95-pitch limit in this round. For Cuba, only Ormari Romero (who started Wednesday) is ineligible Saturday; Pedro Luis Lazo
would appear to be their best choice to start against the Dominicans. Lazo
wasn't eligible in Cuba's 7-2 loss to the Dominicans on Monday.
For Japan, Koji Uehara will start on Saturday
against Korea. Shunsuke Watanabe (who was the starter in Japan's two previous WBC
games against Korea) and Daisuke Matsuzaka are both ineligible on Saturday;
Matsuzaka would start the final on Monday if Japan gets there. South Korea will
not announce their starter until game time, but you gotta figure Jae Seo (who
has yet to face Japan in this tourney) will get the start Saturday. Chan Ho Park
is ineligible for Saturday's game; if Korea makes it to the final, he'll
probably start Monday.
By the way, check this
out concerning Ichiro; he didn't get the "meaningless exhibition" memo,