Olympic Baseball Schedule: Four Games Left

The United States defeated Japan on Wednesday, 4-2 in 11 innings*, to lock up the number three seed in this weekend’s elimination round.  The schedule for the next three days is as follows:

Thursday, August 21
10:30 PM EST: Semifinal – South Korea (1) vs. Japan (4)

Friday, August 22
6:00 AM EST: Semifinal – Cuba (2) vs. United States (3)
10:30 PM EST: Bronze-Medal Game

Saturday, August 23
6:00 AM EST: Gold-Medal Game

San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg will start for the United States against Cuba, the defending Olympic champions, and manager Davey Johnson suggested that injured players Jayson Nix and Matt LaPorta could benefit from Thursday’s off-day and return in time for Friday’s semifinal.  Also, Trevor Cahill, who started against Japan, was pulled after three innings in case he is needed out of the bullpen.

*I didn’t mention this when it was first introduced, but is there a stupider rule in any sport than the new extra innings rule that was put in place for these Olympics?  If you’re unfamiliar with the particulars, here they are:

Beginning in the 11th inning, runners go to first and second and teams can start at any point in their batting order.

I always thought that a homerun-hitting contest would be the worst idea I ever heard for resolving tie games that dragged deep into extra innings.  I was wrong.  Call me a traditionalist, but I hate this rule.  Two runners on and the opportunity to lead off the inning with your best hitter?  Why not start off every batter with a 2-0 count as well?  Let’s just get totally wild and crazy.

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