Archive for 2008 Olympics

Aug
23

Team USA takes home the Bronze

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The USA Olympic Baseball squad took home the Bronze medal late last night after an 8-4 win over Japan. Starter Brett Anderson allowed only 4 hits and struck out 6 in 7 innings, but gave up all 4 runs thanks to a pair of homers. Taylor Teagarden drove in the go-ahead runs with a 2-run double in the 5th, and Jason Donald padded the lead with a 2-run homer the next at-bat. Yu Darvish came on in relief for the Japanese squad, but by then it was too little, too late.

You can see every team’s cumulative stats here; Angels’ farmhand Matt Brown is an easy pick for team MVP. Korea beat Cuba for the Gold in dramatic fashion, with Yuliesky Gourriel (the best player in the tourney) grounding into a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth down by one run.

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The USA Olympic baseball lost 10-2 to Cuba this morning in the semifinal round, meaning Team USA will take on Japan in the bronze-medal game later tonight. SDSU phenom Stephen Strasburg started, but didn’t make it out of the 5th, while relievers Jeff Stevens and Blaine Neal combined to cough up 6 runs in the 8th, putting the game out of reach.

Either Brett Anderson or Jake Arrieta will take the mound for the red, white & blue tonight, while Japan will throw some kid named Yu Darvish. Cuba will take on Korea in the gold medal game tomorrow evening.

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The USA Olympic baseball team clinched a berth in the medal round thanks to this morning’s 4-2 win over Chinese Taipei, which pushed their record to 4-2. Korea (6-0), Cuba (5-1) and Japan (4-2) also clinched spots in the medal round. Each team still has one game remaining in the preliminaries before starting the Semifinals on Friday. Stephen Strasburg lines for tomorrow’s start against Japan, meaning Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson will be on the mound for the semifinals and finals (if they make it), respectively.

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Looking to avenge their walk-off loss to Korea in the Olympic opener, the USA Baseball team turned to San Diego State sophomore Stephen Strasburg against the Netherlands last night, and boy did the kid deliver. Squaring off against Futures Gamer Shairon Martis, Strasburg fired 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 11 in the process. He took a perfect game into the 5th before issuing a walk, and kept the no-hitter in tact until allowing a Jeterian flare single to right with 2 outs in the 7th. The only thing that could stop him was the weather, as a rain delay forced him from the game. Strasburg is the early favorite to go first overall in the 2009 draft, and it’s easy to see why with performances like this one (and this one too). If you’re interested, you can read about his Olympic journey at his StrasBlog.

Matt Brown provided the team the only offense it would need, hitting a solo homer in the second. Matt LaPorta hit a monster 3-run homer in the 4th, a shot that cleared the left field fence by a good 30-35 feet. Dexter Fowler and Jason Donald tacked on some runs in garbage time, while Casey Weathers struck out two in a perfect 8th to close out the 7-0, rain shortened win. The Netherlands had two baserunners all night, and neither made it past first. The power arms were just too much.

Team USA is now 1-1 in the round robin style tournament, and will take on Cuba tonight at 11:30. For the third day in a row I’ll guess that either Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill takes to the mound, unless Davey Johnson elects to go with the more experienced Jake Arrieta against the Cubanos.

The video quality of the free online broadcast was ridiculously good, so I grabbed a couple screen caps of the stadium and Strasburg. Check ‘em out after the jump.

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The USA Olympic baseball team lost it’s opener today, falling 8-7 to Korea. One time Yankee farmhand (and ex-Met) Brandon Knight drew the start and was pretty ineffective, allowing 8 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs in 4.1 IP (1 K). Mike Koplove, Brian Duensing & Kevin Jepsen followed with 3.2 perfect innings of relief. Team USA rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th, highlighted by a Mike Hessman solo homer and a Matt Brown 2-run single that gave the team a 7-6 lead. Closer Jeff Stevens (the guy the Indians got in the Brandon Phillips trade) blew the save in the bottom half thanks to a double, fielder’s choice, throwing error (by Stevens) and a walk-off sac fly.

Quick turn around for the red, white & blue; they’ll take on the Netherlands tonight at 10:30 EST. I imagine either Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill will take the ball.

Update: Here’s the box score. Knight allowed 6 runs, not 3.

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Aug
02

Olympic tune-ups begin today

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The USA Olympic baseball team started its final warmup before heading off to Beijing today, taking on Team Canada in a three-game set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in North Carolina. A’s uber-prospect Brett Anderson gave the team a strong start earlier today, but the immortal Stubby Clapp helped propel Canada to a 4-3 win in 10 innings. The second game of today’s doubleheader starts at 7pm tonight, with Trevor Cahill, another A’s uber-prospect, toeing the rubber for the red, white and blue. The game can be seen on mlb.tv.

Team USA’s roster has undergone a bit of an overhaul since I last reported it, with several players losing eligibility because of injuries and call-ups, with the most notable being Cardinals’ stud prospect Colby Rasmus, who is out with a knee injury. Baseball America previewed all eight Olympic teams like no one else can (no subscription req’d).

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Jul
16

USA Olympic Roster announced

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It’s a solid group. The rotation is excellent, led by Brett Anderson, Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill and Steven Strasburg (San Diego State), and the bullpen is solid with Casey Weathers, Mike Koplove and Jeff Stevens (the guy the Indians got for Brandon Phillips). GM Bob Watson went for hitters that he knew could handle top flight pitching, surrounding young studs Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler and Matt LaPorta with veteran mashers Mike Hessman, John Gall and Terry Tiffee. No Yankees made the team, but I can’t imagine they were too keen on letting a guy like Mark Melancon leave their watch for a month.

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Jul
14

Canada announces Olympic roster

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This one’s for all you hosers out there: the 2008 Canadian Olympic Team has been announced (page 7 of the pdf). Highlighted by two very good prospects in Nick Weglarz (Indians) and Mike Saunders (Mariners), the Canadians boasts a respectable lineup but iffy pitching. Brett Lawrie, the Brewers first round pick (16th overall), is on the squad despite turning 18 just this year. Crazy.

The US Team was selected last night, but has not been made public. Remember, the US squad in yesterday’s Futures Game was a trial a team, a group of players in the running for the Olympic team.

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I don’t know about you, but the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game have become a complete bore for me. The players aren’t really into it, the HR Derby can be like watching paint dry, and A-Rod wears those goofy white cleats. Maybe it would be different if I was actually able to attend the game, but at the current prices that seems highly unlikely. All-Star Weekend is not a total loss for me though, because for prospect junkies it gets no better than the Celebrity Softball Game Futures Game. Where else can you see Clayton Kershaw relieve Clay Buchholz, or Evan Longoria hit behind The Justin Upton, or Jose Tabata nearly decapitate Phil Hughes? Nowhere.

This year’s Futures Game comes with a little twist: the 2008 Olympic trials team will form the USA squad. Now, the roster that participates in the Futures Game won’t necessarily be the team that heads to Beijing in August, but rather it’ll be a group of players that are being considered for the Olympic squad. Davey Johnson, the man at the helm of the Olympic team, will manage the USA squad during the Futures Game, while Tino Martinez will take charge of the World Team.

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