Thanks to a dominating performance by tournament MVP Robinson Cano, some great pitching by the likes of Samuel Deduno and a brilliant bullpen, and some flashy defense, the Dominican Republic was able to complete their quest for the World Baseball Classic title, defeating Puerto Rico 3-0. The WBC final capped a perfect 8-0 run for the star-studded Dominican roster as they outscored opponents by a 22 run margin over the 8 game tournament.
The Dominicans, much like the Japanese in ’06 and ’09, brought a style all their own to the tournament. But where the Japanese brought regimented execution and excelled at the little things, the Dominicans exhibited flair, flash, and some of that Caribbean vibe. Jose Reyes was a bundle of energy at short and he combined with his double play partner Cano to work magic in the middle of the infield. Samuel Deduno and the brilliant bullpen were full of energy from first pitch right until the final arrow out of the quiver was fired by Fernando Rodney. This Dominican team was brilliant all tournament and they are a deserving World Baseball Classic champion. Now onto the all-tournament team:
Seven Fernando Rodney appearances, seven invisible arrows fired into the sky, seven Dominican Republic victories. Could the manager Tony Pena have drawn this up any better? The Dominicans have brought a particular panache to this year’s Classic, showcasing flashy defense, highlight reel homers, and everything that goes with it.
One of the most beautiful ballparks in the world, AT&T Park, is ready and geared to go after an exciting weekend of WBC baseball in Miami that saw Puerto Rico and the undefeated Dominican Republic advance to the semifinals to take on Japan and the Netherlands. First pitch for the first semifinal game between Puerto Rico and Japan will take place just minutes after 9 pm eastern time on Sunday night, while the Dutch and the Dominicans will scrap it out on Monday evening. The semifinals of the World Baseball Classic are single-elimination, meaning the winner of each game goes on to the championship game Tuesday night. Let’s breakdown all of our contestants:
Another day, another round of fireworks for the participants in the World Baseball Classic. Cuba got the day started off with a brilliant display of power, eviscerating the club from Chinese Taipei 14-0. As the day roll on we saw a pair of teams advance out of Pool C, while the favorite, Venezuela, saw their tournament come to a quick conclusion. Over in Arizona things got a little more heated with Mexico and Canada having a good ole’ fashion brawl before the United States vanquished Italy on a David Wright grand slam. Let’s run through all of Saturday’s action:
Another wild day of World Baseball Classic has given us another wild round of surprises. Italy opened the day in Pool D with a romping victory of Canada and in the nightcap in Arizona, Adrian Gonzalez led Team Mexico to a win over the United States. Both outcomes were unexpected to say the least. Italy is now 2-0 in pool play with a +11 run differential and only a game against the Americans left. Barring an utter disaster, they appear to be a good bet to advance and if Canada can top Mexico today they are a lock for the 2nd round.
Yesterday’s results also leave the United States and Canada teetering on the edge of disaster. A Canadian loss in the early game would toll the death bell for the Maples and it would put the U.S. in a win-or-go-home scenario as well. “We need to win, but not only win,” shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “We need to put up some runs. We’ve got to kick some butts.” The U.S. has a run differential that 14 runs worse than Italy currently, something that doesn’t bode well if the United States ends up in a tie-breaker scenario. They need to put the pedal to the medal and really take the game to the Italians on Saturday.
If you aren’t watching the 2013 World Baseball Classic, I’m going to suggest to start watching this afternoon because the last 24 hours of baseball have been a wild roller coaster ride. Japan and Taiwan played an extra inning game that featured all the drama associated with October baseball in this country. The Italians pulled off a last minute upset over heavily favored Mexico, leaving our neighbors south of the border just one defeat away from elimination. And in maybe the biggest shocker of all, the Netherlands pounded powerhouse Cuba, thanks to some timely hitting and great defense. Let’s breakdown all the action in the last 24 hours, starting with the thriller from Tokyo.
Pool D should make for an interesting watch, as it is the home to the tournament favorite, Team USA, and three teams who hope to make some noise: Mexico, Italy, and Canada. Let’s take a look at each of the ball clubs: