Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The big game
I'll be watching all 3 games again tonight, at least as long as I can stay awake. Right now, this is my preview of the Dominican Republic/Netherlands game.
I will be doing a live blog on the game, with updates from the Italian/Venezuelan game. Just because I can.
So the keys for the Dutch:
They can't panic, but they do need to hit. Their pitching (outside of 3 walks in the 8th against Puerto Rico has been great), and they need to keep doing what they're doing. Bert Blyleven has done a great job with those guys. They'll have Cordeman in the pen, and he can go again. This is a must win game obviously, and it doesn't matter who pitches against Puerto Rico if they advance. If the Dutch win this game, they advance. Everyone is available. Bert can pitch tomorrow.
They need to keep playing excellent defense, and playing fundamentally sound baseball. No problems there.
But they have to hit. 4 runs in 2 games, and 2 of them on a throwing error? That's not going to cut it. Obviously, the Dutch aren't a good hitting team, but I refuse to believe they're that bad either. I would like to see Rod del Monico shake up the lineup a little. Move de Caster to 3rd, drop Simon to 4th (he needs to have a big game, assuming there are runners on) and drop Hallman to 5th, or even 6th. He's really pressing.
Most of all they shouldn't panic. They've proven they can beat the Dominicans, and can do it again. They just need to play their game and get more guys on base.
How they'll win: hit the ball, and doing everything else the same.
How they'll lose: not hit.
The keys for the Dominicans:
Keep getting good pitching, and hope it holds up. I've been surprised by the pitching so far, and Pedro will be a factor. He'll be in at the first sign of trouble, and if he holds the Dutch, the Dominicans will probably win. If the gets hit, the Dutch will have a big inning and put runs on the board.
Their hitting hasn't really impressed me that much. 9 runs against Panama wasn't impressive to me. These guys aren't swinging the bat very well and need to hit better.
In the field, and fundamentally, they haven't done anything wrong I can pinpoint, but they aren't impressing anyone either.
How they'll win: good pitching again, and they hit like they should
How they'll lose: panic at the plate. If Alou changes the game plan, and tries to manufacture runs by playing small ball. Or, if they start swinging for the fences, they won't do anything.
The Dutch pitch and field as well as they have the previous two games. They'll hit better and get men on base. Alou will bring Pedro Martinez in, and he won't be able to shut them down. (He really didn't look that good to me, they got a lot of foul balls off him, meaning they can make contact off of him). The Dutch get a big inning, of 3 runs or more.
The Dominicans will try to play small ball, which they're not good at, and will make mistakes and run themselves out of scoring opportunities. The big guys will swing for the fences, trying to get several runs on the board. They'll try too hard, and rack up strikeouts, and not move runners over when they are on. They'll get 2 solo home runs, and a manufactured one.
Dominican Republic 3