The Venezuelans do not have a strong defensive team at all. Abreu in RF, Ordonez in LF, Mora at 3B, and Cabrerra at 1B? That's not a good sign, not at all. Chavez in CF will help, but if he's making a lot of plays, it won't bode well.
Punto took it to a full count, then flew out. 8 pitches to the first batter isn't a good way to start. But it's a full pen, with Felix Hernandez and Rodriquez both available for work.
A nice enough play by Cabrerra at 1B, but any major leaguer should make that play. Not a bad 1st inning, 3 up and 3 down. But a lot of pitches, and he'll be struggling to get through 4 at that pace.
It's not a good sign when Endy Chavez drives one to the CF wall.
Nice bunt by Mora, by way? Are they panicking? They must be worried about scoring runs. It's not a good sign when you start a game running scared.
Nice play by the 3B, Liddi. Italy has really impressed me with their defense
Venezuela gets a leadoff double and a walk, and can't score. Plus a good defensive play by Italy. I'm not sure which team that means trouble for.
Italy 0 / Venezuela 0 end of 1st
I would thought Chavez would have caught that ball, but to be fair, he's been in the National League for a long time. He doesn't the walls there in the SkyDome that well.
Liddi gets an infield single on a broken bat hit to Izturis. They'll give him a hit, but Izturis hurried his throw. That's not really a defensive breakdown, but the two runners on this inning have gotten on on balls hit to Venezuela's two best defensive players.
Now a hit batter and the bases are loaded with two out.
Good play by Chavez on a straight away liner, to end the inning. A lot of pitches by Gonzalez. He won't be around much longer.
Italy 0 / Venezuela 0 middle of 2nd
A good 1,2,3 inning for Italy. No trouble at all. This is shaping the same as the 1st game between the two. Italy getting guys on base, but not capatilizing on it, and Venezuela not doing much at all offensively.
end of 2nd inning
Another flyball to Chavez, by Punto, for the 1st out. The Italians are making good contact.
A strikeout, and now 2 down.
A popup to RF, and it's 1,2,3.
middle of 3rd
Ground ball by Izturis to Punto, and one SS throws the other one out.
Strike out by Chavez, and since his lead off double, the Italian pitcher is cruising.
Another strike out, this time by Mora. 3 up, 3 down. 7 in a row.
end of 4
A new pitcher up in the Italian bullpen, so it looks as though the starter is done. Or will be in the middle of the inning, and they want to have someone ready.
A strike out of Costanza, and 1 down.
A pop up to 1B, and 2 down.
Liner to LF, and it's 3 up, 3 down, 7 in a row for Venezuela.
middle of 4th
Tiago di Silva, the new pitcher for Italy, and he'll be facing the 3, 4, 5 hitters.
Abreu grounds out to 2B, and 1 done.
Ground ball double by Cabrerra down the LF line, and its a man on 2B, 1 out.
di Silva has a really funky hesitation movement, almost a Hideo Nomo type thing, but without the arm swing. He can't do that with a runner on, because it would be a balk. You have to wonder how that effects a pitcher from no runners on, to runners on base.
Action in the Italian pen. It's a cattle call today.
Infield single for Ordonez. 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Venezuela still isn't hitting the ball hard at all.
Italy 0/Venzuela 1
Of course, as soon as I say that, Guillen rips one off the RF wall. Cabrerra scores, and runners on 2nd/3rd, 1 out. Visit by the pitching coach.
Intentional walk to Jose Lopez, to set it up for Ramon Hernandez. Bases loaded, 1 out.
Hard hit right through Punto for a 2-run error. Should have been a double playy, and Italy out of the inning. Now a hit batter, and the bases are loaded again, with still only 1 out.
Italy 0 / Venezuela 3
Chavez hits a SF to CF, and its 2 down, runner on 1st.
Italy 0 / Venezula 4
Italy will make a pitching change. di Silva got hit, but had some bad fielding. He also hit a batter, so he didn't help. I wonder why he started the inning. Why not let the starter go his full 70 pitches. On a day when every pitcher will be used, why pull a guy who had retired 7 in a row. I think that's a tactical mistake by Italy.
Okay, that was practice. I'm switching over to the Netherlands/Dominican Republic. I'll give periodic updates on this game.