Top 8th: Tough work, but no runs


Righthander Casey Weathers struck out the side for the United States and didn’t allow a run, but it was an adventure.

Weathers labored through a long inning, throwing 33 pitches and loading the bases but ultimately making the pitches he needed to get out of the inning. He showed the biggest velocity of the day, consistently pitching at 96-97 mph and touching 98, but he had trouble throwing strikes, leading to the high pitch count.

Gorkys Hernandez opened the inning by striking out on a 98 mph fastball, but then Ivan DeJesus worked a four-pitch walk and Ramiro Pena walked on five pitches. Gerardo Parra then put together a solid at-bat and laced a single to left field, but the go-go World team suddenly got conservative, holding DeJesus at third to load the bases.

Villalona then struck out in four pitches, getting in a hole against Weathers’ slider, which was consistently at 85-86 mph, and then striking out on a 98  mph fastball. Juan Francisco did the same, falling behind against the slider and then striking out on a 97 mph fastball.

Weathers showed just the fastball and slider but illustrated why so many people can see him eventually pitching at the back of a major league bullpen. He’ll have to sharpen his command to make that leap, though.