Early this morning Israel defeated the Netherlands in World Baseball Classic play 4-2. That puts Israel at a perfect 3-0 heading into the second round of the WBC, where they will now face either Japan or the winner of the Cuba versus Australia game in the second round.
While the game itself was the key attraction for WBC devotees, one particular at bat in the game was the highlight for gawkers like us. The matchup: pitcher the Dutch team’s Loek Van Mil, who has spent a decade bouncing around the minor leagues, primarily in the Twins organization, vs. Team Israel’s Nate Freiman, the former Oakland Athletic and minor league veteran. Van Mil is 7’1″ and Freiman is 6’8″. They faced off in the eighth inning of this game.
It looked like this:
[mlbvideo id=”1233573983″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
While the walk to Freiman was somewhat anti-climatic, this is thought to be the tallest batter-pitcher matchup in baseball history.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.