Team Netherlands can punch their ticket into the second round of the World Baseball Classic tourney with a win today over Team Australia.
The Dutch are managed by former major leaguer Hensely Meulens who played seven seasons in the majors, the majority of which was with the New York Yankees.
Team Netherlands is led by veteran major league slugger Andruw Jones, who has signed a contract to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League at the conclusion of the tourney. Jones played 17 seasons in the major leagues, hitting 434 career home runs.
The supporting cast for Jones will be Roger Bernadina and highly touted prospects Xander Boogaerts and Andrelton Simmons. The pitching staff is an unknown group of arms with minor league experience sprinkled about.
The Netherlands got there tournament off to a great start, dispatching Team Korea in rather easy fashion in the tourney opener by a score of 5-0.
However, the second game did not go as well, as Team Netherlands was not up to the task against powerhouse Chinese Taipei, losing the contest 8-3. The Dutch were actually up 3-0 in the game before Chinese Taipei stormed back scoring eight unanswered runs.
That loss sets up the all-important swing game against Team Australia on Monday night. Team Netherlands can seal their own fate with a victory, catapulting them into the second round with Chinese Taipei, who are also poised to advance.
The Netherlands will hope their major league experience will be the difference to pace them past Australia for their pass into the second round. Andruw Jones has 434 reasons to believe it will.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.