The championship game for the 2013 World Baseball Classic is set.
The Dominican Republic defeated the Netherlands by the score of 4-1 this evening at AT&T Park in San Francisco and will advance to face Puerto Rico in the WBC finals tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET. Samuel Deduno is slated to start for the Dominicans while Giancarlo Alvarado will pitch for Puerto Rico.
The Netherlands grabbed the early lead in this one without the benefit of a hit. Edinson Volquez struggled with his control in the first inning by walking Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar to begin the ballgame. Simmons eventually came around to score on a ground out by Wladimir Balentien. However, they couldn’t get anything else going for the rest of the night, collecting just four hits.
Dutch starter Diegomar Markwell offered very little in the way of velocity, but he actually held the Dominicans off the board until the bottom of the fifth inning when Moises Sierra doubled home Carlos Santana to tie things up. After Alejandro De Aza was retired on a ground out, Jose Reyes delivered a go-ahead RBI single. He later scored the third run of the inning when Tom Stuifbergen replaced Markwell and immediately uncorked a wild pitch. Edwin Encarnacion then capped the rally with an RBI single, driving home Miguel Tejada.
And that was all the offense the Dominican Republic would need. Their dominant bullpen took over from there, as Kelvin Herrera, Pedro Strop and Fernando “Rally Plantain” Rodney combined for four innings of scoreless relief to finish off the victory.
The Dominican Republic squad is now a perfect 7-0 in in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and can run the table with a win tomorrow night. They have already defeated Puerto Rico twice in this year’s tournament.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.