According to the Dutch news website nu.nl, manager of team Kingdom of the Netherlands, Hensley Meulens, will give the nod to pitcher Rick van den Hurk to start the semi-final game vs Puerto Rico . The 31-year old already had two starts in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
The first start of Van den Hurk vs Korea was a pretty good one. In four innings, he gave up three hits and two walks as the Dutch won 5-0.
In the second start of Van den Hurk, it all did not pan out quite well. Even though he is one of the better pitchers in the Japanese NPB, the Japanese batters hit him quite well. In three innings, Van den Hurk gave up five runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out four.
In a nerve wrecking game, the Dutch fell to Japan in eleven innings as they failed to execute the tie-breaker situation properly.
According to the website of the WBC, the probable for Puerto Rico is Jorge Lopez. Lopez split the 2016 season between the AA Biloxi Shuckers and the AAA Colorado Springs SkySox. With Biloxi, Lopez posted a 2-4 record with a 3.97 ERA. With Colorado Springs, his numbers were not quite impressive as he posted a 1-7 record with an ERA of 6.81. But knowing that Colorado Springs is the club at the highest altitude, the thin air will distort his numbers for sure.
In his sole start of the WBC, vs Mexico, Lopez posted a 2.08 ERA and allowed one run on two hits as he walked 2 and struck out five.
Lopez has a little bit of MLB experience as he played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015 when he posted a 1-1 record with a 5.40 ERA. In this year’s spring training, he has a 0-0 record and a 27.00 ERA, combined with a 4.29 WHIP.
Of course, it remains to be seen if manager Edwin Rodriguez will give Lopez the nod. The website of the WBC only mentions Lopez a probable.
Hell must have been frozen over btw when the Dutch regular press is giving attention to baseball. 😉
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