March 18: Netherlands' Hensley Meulens postgame interview
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with manager Hensley Meulens.
Q. Can you talk about the Dominican Republic bullpen tonight and how tough it was on your guys?
HENSLEY MEULENS: Well, they based their team on that. I think they only had a couple starters, and then most of the guys on the roster were bullpen guys. It showed today. Despite a shaky start for Volquez, he settled down and pitched five pretty good innings, struck a bunch of guys out. A then they had Herrera and then Strop and then Rodney finishing the game. It's a great bullpen. Those guys calmed down our bats.
But I'm proud of our guys. They went down with their heads up. I just had a meeting with them, I thanked them for playing with a lot of heart and we just got beat by a little better team today.
Q. You didn't win, but you are half Dominican Republican. How do you feel?
HENSLEY MEULENS: I had my mom on the field today. She's full Dominican. She's the reason why I'm here. My dad was on the field, too. He's full Dutch. So I was in between there. Half of my family still living in the Dominican Republic. They were pulling for both of us, actually for the Dominican Republic team and for me as Dutch.
So I have a lot of respect for the Dominican Republic team, the way they played. They kind of took it for granted in 2009, but they came to play this year, and that's why they're undefeated and that's why they're going to the finals tomorrow.
(Answering now in Spanish.) My mom was there on the field. She's 100 percent Dominican. And my dad was also out there on the field. He's a hundred percent Dutch. I'm in between. Half of my family still lives in the Dominican Republic. My family was both rooting for Dominican Republic and rooting for my team.
But we have a lot of respect for the Dominican Republic team, they did play very well in this tournament, and I think in 2009, they weren't as concentrated and we were able to defeat them then.
But this time, they have been totally victorious up until now, and hopefully they will win also tomorrow.
Q. (Not in English.) Do you think that despite having lost, your mother's Dominican Republican, you're part Dominican. Do you think that this is really painful? Are you proud somehow?
HENSLEY MEULENS: No, I managed the Dutch team. I'm from Curacao. My mom's Dominican. I really appreciate the Dominican Republican people, but, of course, I feel pain today after having lost this match and to not have been able to perform at the level that I need for the Dutch people.
Of course, my mom, her family is from the Dominican Republic, but the pain is from the Netherlands side.
Q. As the Giants hitting coach, you look at these guys, Cano and Cruz and Reyes, that's some lineup, isn't it, that the Dominicans threw at you.
HENSLEY MEULENS: Yes, it is. But I tip my hat to my starter, too. He went at them like he knew them very well. This guy pitches amateur ball in Holland and it didn't matter for him. He pitched pretty good until that fifth inning when they scored four runs. He left a couple balls up, they battled.
They put some great at bats on us today. Fouled a bunch of pitches off. Those great hitters, that's why they come up. They rise to the top when it comes to playing big games like this. We just came up a little bit short.
Q. In the bottom of the fifth inning, you got somebody warming up in the bullpen and Nelson Cruz was the first out. But then Carlos Santana and Moises Sierra, he hit a double. Did you think at that time it was the precise time to get the pitcher, the starting pitcher out?
HENSLEY MEULENS: No, because we had Reyes on two strikes. Reyes just battled and blooped a single in there. Roger was playing a little deep, he couldn't get to it. This guy has been our best pitcher the whole tournament. Reyes was a switch hitter, I wasn't going to bring him, turn him around. I wanted him to bat right handed. He got him to two strikes. He had Tejada on two strikes and he got a hit.
So we had the best guy on the mound, and the guy was coming in after Stuifbergen. I actually had him to face the guy after Cano.
So these guys did a great job and I think that I did the right decision I think in my mind and we just couldn't come up with the third out.
Q. How do you feel about the contribution of Diegomar for your team until today's game?
HENSLEY MEULENS: Well, his contribution is a tribute to what he did to himself in the offseason in getting in shape, losing 22 pounds and pitching great this tournament. He beat Korea, he beat Cuba, and he was up until the fifth inning today 1 0.
But we should have scored more for him. It was tough to pitch in the one run game in this environment against a great lineup. But he did great. And if I had to throw him again out there, I would.
Q. (Not in English.) I would like to congratulate you for having gone to where no European team has actually gotten. How much could both teams have affected the two that were left up, they were both eliminated even though they were prepared here in the U.S.? How could that affect you? And also, this team is more Curacao than Netherlands, could we see a team that's totally from the Holland league?
HENSLEY MEULENS: Well, I think that as a kingdom, we're probably one of the only countries that can choose from different islands and the mainland to put our team together, and we decided a long time ago that our strongest team is going to be picking guys from all these different countries and put them together, instead of just going with Curacao alone or Aruba alone or the Netherlands alone.
That's why we got here, because we have the majority of our pitchers are Dutch guys, born and raised in Holland. We have a couple of pitchers that are born and raised in the islands, but we all have Dutch passports. We all are Dutch. And the only way to have the best team for us is to have a combination of all the islands and the mainland.
So it's a good question, but I think that in order to have the strongest team, we got to keep it in this format. It's working out great. We have proved to people that we have arrived at this stage and we just are going to continue to get better. We had a bunch of young guys on the field today, in the infield especially, and we have a couple veterans that are probably on their way out in Andruw and Robbie Cordemans, who didn't get to pitch today. But he's 38 years old and he's been on the team for a long time.
But that combination of the islands and also guys born and raised in Holland is working out pretty good for us and we're going to continue to have it that way.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, great run and great job on the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
HENSLEY MEULENS: Congratulations to the Dominican Republic, and I wish them luck in the finals, and Puerto Rico, too.
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