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:
Yesterday the initial rosters for the World Baseball Classic were announced for each of the participating countries and I came away most impressed by the makeup of the American team. The USA coaching staff did their homework and put together a loaded roster with an emphasis on versatility, power, and defense. Joe Torre and company have put together the strongest roster in this entire tournament, of that I’m certain. But who’s going to be Team USA’s biggest challenger? Puerto Rico looks pretty strong, boasting a pair of St. Louis Cardinals’ All-Stars in Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran. The Dominican infield is a who’s who of future Hall of Famers and even the Dutch team, a wild card in 2009’s tournament, looks intriguing thanks to the presence of Jurickson Profar and Andrelton Simmons. Let’s take an early straw poll of the 16 contenders’ rosters to see how the World Baseball Classic is shaping up.