Dominican Republic defeats the Netherlands, will face Puerto Rico in WBC final

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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.

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. Mattingly came out to argue with the umpires about the fairness of issuing warnings right then and there. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly apparently said, “You’re next” to Posey, who was standing around home plate. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.