Pinch Hitter Gawain Owen is in Haarlem Holland and is following Team Cuba. Here is his Honkbal Week WrapUp Cuba vs U.S.A.
Team Cuba was defeated again in Harlem on Monday evening. This time 0-2 against Team USA. They are now 0-3 and the only team in the tournament without a win. With this defeat it becomes even more unlikely that Cuba will qualify for the medal round.
When Cuba look’s back at this game it will be wondering how it did not win. The pitching held USA to two hits over the 7 innings in Haarlem. The starting pitcher Jose Ramon Rodriguez one of the reinforcements, did his part. He didn’t deserve to be the losing pitcher in holding USA to 2 hits. Rodriguez also had 6 strikeouts. The 3rd inning was the only blip for Rodriguez. He gave up 2 hits, 2 walks and USA managed to move runners. It was the best performance I have seen in this tournament from any Cuban pitcher.
Team Cuba arrived to the stadium realising that this was not just Cuba vs. U.S.A but also needing to win to progress in this tournament. The sense of pre game routines had extra intensity. Honestly though this tournament is showing the difference between the standard of Cuban ball on the island and the rest of the world.
Anytime a team strikes out 11 times in 7 innings and leaves 8 batters on, it is going to be a tough to win the game. Cuba outhit USA 4-2 but as is becoming a regular occurrence in this tournament the hitting is inconsistent. Often the batters looked over matched at the plate. Both by the speed of the pitches they saw and the breaking balls as well. We must remember that this is the winning team from Serie Nacional 61. They have had no downtime since they beat Matanzas. I appreciate they have added reinforcements but these extra bats were specifically selected for this tournament and have been preparing accordingly.