Didn't get to watch either of today's games kicking off the second round.
Venezuela(*) over Netherlands, 3-1
Venezuela is clearly the better team over a large number of games, but the Netherlands has shown that it can win a baseball game or two. They continue to play great defense (pitching + fielding = 2.68 ERA), thanks in part to another good start by Sidney "I'd really like a job" Ponson. Their bats just can't keep pace, though--the team has an OPS of 0.385, scoring 7 runs in 5 games! Which do you think is more indicative of their true talent? Team OPS or Team ERA?
Puerto Rico mercy rules USA, 11-1
Ouch. Jake Peavy clearly didn't have a good day, and Team USA couldn't get anything going against Javier Vazquez and company despite a ridiculously stacked lineup. By the time Matt Thornton started giving up doubles in the 7th, what was already a big hole became subject to the mercy rule.
Not quite the start the US was going for in round 2. Assuming they can beat the Netherlands tomorrow (and they should, of course), USA will have to beat either Puerto Rico or Venezuela on Tuesday to stay alive...and both of those teams beat the US the last time they met. Team USA absolutely has the talent to advance, but things are starting to look a little shaky. Heck, by this time tomorrow, our team could be on its way home!
On the personnel front, losing Pedroia is a significant loss...MVP's tend to be pretty good players. But replacing him with Brian Roberts is about as good as you could possibly do, at least given Chase Utley's situation.