Team Netherlands has successfully survived the first round of pool play for the World Baseball Classic. The dutch team along with Team Israel will advance to second round of the WBC in Tokyo Japan. Both teams were apart of Pool A that also included team Korea and Chinese Taipei.
The Netherlands emerged as the runner up team in the pool with Israel remaining undefeated. The Dutch team came out of Pool A with a 2-1 record. Netherlands seems poised to make a splash on the WBC this year but not without some strong competition. With their advancement Netherlands first game in the second round will be this Sunday against a team still to be determined. At the moment this looks to be Team Japan who are 2-0 in Pool B. A win for Team Australia and and loss for Japan would put them at the same record. The winner of that Pool would be decided by the team that won the initial game against the two tied teams.
Pool A Game Results
The Dutch teams first WBC game came on Tuesday against the Korean team. In an upset Netherlands beat Korea 5-0. Korea is generally consider a strong national team, however this did not show on Tuesday. Right out of the gate Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar launched a towering 2 run home run. Netherlands would go on to accumulate 11 hits while neutralizing Korea’s scoring game.
Their Second game against Team Chinese Taipei looked to be the a close game for both teams. The lead of the game was constantly changing for both countries. The Dutch struck first in the 2nd with 1 run. Chinese Taipei quickly followed 2 runs in the 3rd on a sac fly and wild pitch. Netherlands responded with a Didi Gregorius double which knocked in two runs and single to then knock in Didi. On a homer and a ground out Chinese Taipei scored two more in the 5th. The score remained in Taipei’s favor until Gregorius doubled again in the 8th to tie the game 5-5. On a bases loaded walk to Jurickson Profar the Netherlands walked it off in the 9th. With the loss Chinese Taipei had 2 losses and looked to be done in the tournament.
Team Netherlands only loss came from Team Israel Wednesday in their third game this WBC. The game decided the winner of Pool A. Israel could prove to be the Dutch’s biggest competition in the second round. The game Wednesday had Israel stranding 7 of the Dutch teams players on base, making them 0-6 with runners in scoring position. Israel out hit the Dutch with 8 hits to the Netherlands 5. Israel has emerged has a surprise contender in this WBC and many see them upsetting in the second round. The final score of the game was 4-2 in Israel’s favor.
Things Moving Forward
With the Netherlands moving forward to round 2 of the WBC the team have many positives to take from their Pool A play. The Dutch Team his hitting very well, accumulating 29 hits in 3 games. Jurickson Profar alone is hitting .545 going 6-11 and an OPS of 1.583. The team should have no trouble in the batting side with Curt Smith, Xander Bogaerts and Didi Gregorius making a strong core of hitters. From here on though the pitching could play a problem for team Netherlands.
Their pool of pitching talent isn’t as strong as other WBC teams. If the team is to make it past the second round then they’ll have to rely heavily on their hitting to alleviate pressure on their thinner pitching staff. On the flip side of this closer Kenley Jansen is in the designated pitchers pool, so if he decides to join the team then that could provide a boost to their staff.
Whatever the outcome of the second round the fans of the Dutch national Team should be proud of the team they have assembled. Look for team Netherlands this Sunday as they likely face off against team Japan in Tokyo.