Olympics Day One Wrapup

Country W L
Canada 1 0
Cuba 1 0
South Korea 1 0
Taiwan 1 0
China 0 1
Japan 0 1
Netherlands 0 1
U.S. 0 1
Yesterday’s Results
Canada 10, China 0
Cuba 4, Japan 2
Taiwan 5, Netherlands 0
South Korea 8, U.S. 7
Today’s Schedule (All Times ET)
U.S. vs. Netherlands, 10:30 p.m.
China vs. South Korea, 11:30 p.m.
Tomorrow’s Schedule
Canada vs. Cuba, 6 a.m.
Taiwan vs. Japan, 7 a.m.

Team USA Update: After rallying for three runs in the top of the ninth to seemingly avoid defeat, the U.S. gave the game back in the bottom of the ninth, as Jeff Stevens two-base throwing error was a key mistake that helped South Korea rally for an 8-7 win. The loss is the U.S.’ first Olympics round-robin loss to a team other than Cuba since losing to Japan in 1992. The U.S. hitters had plenty of problems, striking out 11 times against a South Korean pitching staff that gave the U.S. plenty of different looks. John Gall was the worst offender, as he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, including one in the bottom of the ninth with two on.

Nate Schierholtz (Giants) and Mike Hessman (Tigers) both homered for Team USA. Brian Barden (Cardinals) had three hits  . . . Tae Hyon Chong struck out six in 2 2/3 innings for South Korea . . . Pedro Luis Lazo did what he usually does for Cuba. The closer came in to throw three scoreless innings to shut down Japan. Cuban starter Norge Vera, a 37-year-old righthander, went six innings for the victory and picked up his third career Olympic victory . . . Shortstop Munenori Kawasaki went 3-for-3 with two runs scored for Japan . . . DH Alfredo Despaigne had three hits and three of Cuba’s four RBIs . . . Former Braves big leaguer Scott Thorman hit a
three-run homer to kick-start Canada’s 10-0 victory over host China, a
game halted after eight innings due to the 10-run rule. “It was a situation
where we were trying to be aggressive,” Thorman said. “I got a first-pitch fastball. I was looking for something I could handle; got a pitch
to hit and I hit it. It was great to draw first blood.” Righthander
Chris Begg pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings for Canada. The three
Canadian pitchers (Begg, Tim Burton and Rheal Cormier) combined for 13 strikeouts.

Prospect News: The U.S. stuck largely with the veterans for its opener, as Jason Donald (Phillies) and Dexter Fowler (Rockies) were left on the bench. Matt LaPorta (Indians) was the only U.S. starter to go hitless (0-for-4). Taylor Teagarden (Rangers) went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk . . . Japan’s ace and rumored future posting target Yu Darvish had some trouble against Cuba, Darvish allowed seven hits and walked four as he gave up four runs in four innings. The Japanese bullpen didn’t give up another run in the final four innings . . . Michael Saunders (Mariners) homered as part of a 2-for-5 day for Team Canada. Jimmy Van Ostrand (Astros) had two hits for
Team Canada, serving as the DH; he and Saunders were Canada’s only
multi-hit players.
Left fielder Nick Weglarz (Indians) went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI . . . Red Sox farmhand Chih-Hsien Chiang doubled and
scored Taiwan’s first run off Dutch starter David Bergman in the second
inning, helping lead Taiwan to a 5-0 victory.
Wei-Yin Chen, who pitches for the Chunichi
Dragons in Japan, threw seven scoreless innings for the victory, while
Futures Game MVP Che-Hsuan Lin (Red Sox) went 1-for-4 with an RBI.

On Tap
For Today:
The U.S. should get a chance to recover from its opening game loss with a game against the Netherlands tonight at 10:30 p.m. (ET). The top two games on today’s slate are Canada vs. Cuba (6 a.m. tomorrow morning), and Taiwan-Japan (7 a.m. tomorrow morning).

Canadian manager Terry Puhl sounded confident in comments on Baseball Canada’s website: “They’re beatable!” he said of Cuba. “Everybody makes them out to be such a great
team and I’m not in that camp. If we
play well and we pitch well, we can beat them. But it is going to be a
dog fight.”