Congratulations goes out to the Netherlands, which defeated the Dominican Republic 3-2 today in each team’s first game of the World Baseball Classic.
The Netherlands got some help thanks to a highly questionable decision from the Dominicans to have Willy Taveras try to steal third base with Hanley Ramirez at the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Taveras is an 82 percent career base stealer (most of those swipes have come of second base, of course), but the risk wasn’t worth the reward in that situation. The Dominicans were still slight underdogs to win the game with Taveras on second base and one out, but they pretty much destroyed their odds of winning when catcher Kenley Jansen threw out Taveras.
The Netherlands scored all three of its runs in the first inning and went on to win despite recording just three hits and drawing two walks, thanks in part to a pair of costly errors by the Dominicans in the first inning. The Dominican Republic had eight hits and drew eight walks, but struggled to push those runners home.
Center fielder Greg Halman (Mariners) was the top prospect on the field, but the Netherlands’ center fielder finished 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.