World Cup update

And no, I don’ t mean soccer or futbol or whatever you call it. So
don’t leave any smart-alec CONCACAF comments or something on how you’re
concerned about Ronaldo’s health. I’m talking IBAF World Cup Baseball.
Team USA is in Regensberg, Germany, where evidently the ball was flying
out in their first game, a somewhat surprising, 13-9 loss in 11 innings
to Venezuela (but a Venezuela team without any top prospects on it).
They play again today against Germany at 1 p.m. ET, a game that will
air live on MLB Network, so check it out.

So what’s gone on so far in early action, Team USA or otherwise? Here’s
a look at players in affiliated baseball who have gotten off to good
starts:


Team USA

Smoak.JPGHitter of the day: Justin Smoak, 1B, Rangers: Smoak had 2 doubles and 2 homers, driving in five runs. He tied USA Baseball World Cup records for home runs, hits and at-bats in a losing effort.

Pitcher of the day: Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates: Lincoln, a last-minute replacement for Daniel McCutchen, who got called up to Pittsburgh, was solid against Venezuela. He went five innings, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks. The US had a 7-1 lead when he left the game.

Josh Kroeger (White Sox), Buck Coats (Blue Jays) and Jon Weber (Rays) each had two hits. Tug Hulett (Royals) homered.

Australia

The Kennelly brothers, Tim and Matthew, had big debuts for the Aussies.Tim, a catcher with the Phillies, had a pair of homers. Matt, the younger Kennelly, is a catcher with the Braves. He hit two doubles.Tim was playing the outfield and Matt entered Game 1 against the Czech Republic as a pinch-hitter who then stayed in the game. They drove in 6 runs between them in their 17-4 win. Other affiliated players included Stefan Welch (Mets), who had four hits (including a homer) and three RBIs, and Daniel Berg (Twins), who went 2-for-2. One-time prospect Chris Snelling, most recently with the Pirates  is on this team as well.  So is the Phillies’ Brad Harman. RHP Liam Hendriks (Twins) tossed three hitless innings as the starter, while thekennelly.jpg Phillies’ Drew Naylor got credited with the win in relief.

They beat Chinese Taipei in their second game, in which Tim Kennelly hit another homer and drove in three more runs. David Welch tossed five scoreless innings in the start.

Canada

Team Canada opened with a 9-1 win over South Korea. Pitcher-turned-hitter Adam Loewen (Blue Jays) had a double, triple and 3 RBIs. Tim Smith (Rangers) homered and drove in three as well.  Shawn Bowman (Mets) had a pair of hits and RBIs. Adam Stern (Brewers)  had two hits. Brewers first-rounder Brett Lawrie and Rene Tosoni (Twins), the Futures Game MVP, are also on this team. Nick Bucci (Brewers) pitched five shutout innings for the win.

Other action, quickly: South Africa has gone 0-2 with losses to Spain and Cuba, but the Pirates’ Gift Ngoepe has gone 3-for-7.

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