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.
With the first couple days of World Baseball Classic games under our belts, let’s take a moment to analyze what we saw before the rest of the tournament gets underway, starting with that red-hot ball club from Taiwan.
As we sit on the precipice of the beginning of the World Baseball Classic it’s time to take a look at the teams in Pool B. Out of all 4 groups in pool play, Pool B is probably the most balanced, featuring 4 teams with a legitimate shot at advancing to the 2nd round. The Netherlands and Australia have quite a few more Major League players than their counterparts, Chinese Taipei and Korea, but that doesn’t make those countries the favorites. Instead Korea, featuring a team entirely composed of Korean League and Nippon League players, enters as the Pool favorite after advancing all the way to the finals, where they lost to Japan, 4 years ago. And since all of Pool B’s games will take place in Taiwan, you can’t count out the Chinese Taipei team either. Let’s break down this group, one team at a time:
The Yankees have now won 9 games in a row, and 21 out of their last 31 games. The team has surged to the front of the AL East pack by decimating the top of the NL East. In the last 10 days the Yanks have swept the 3rd place Mets, 2nd place Braves, and 1st place Nationals, putting together the most impressive streak of victories in all of baseball this season. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons the Yankees dominated the NL East: