Archive for the 'World Baseball Classic' Category

WBC All Classic Team

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Below is the World Baseball Classic Team. Scouts have to be drooling at the numbers Balentien put up. He broke the single season Japanese homerun record a couple years ago but has been battling injuries the last couple years. It would be interesting what kind of numbers he could put up in the major leagues, though he is best used as a DH.

We also have an alternate World Baseball Classic Team. These are some players that also deserve some mention and may have been more deserving of the named team.

C - Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico) - .333, 2, 6, .917 OPS
1B - Eric Hosmer (United States) - .385, 1, 5, 1.115 OPS
2B - Javier Baez (Puerto Rico) - .296, 1, 5, .789 OPS
3B - Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico) - .333, 3, 9, 1.250 OPS
SS - Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico) - .370, 2, 4, 1.049
LF - Wladimir Balentien (Netherlands) - .615, 4, 12, 1.793 OPS
CF - Gregory Polanco (Dominican Republic) - .579, 1, 2, 1.461 OPS
RF - Christian Yelich (United States) - .310, 0, 3, .823 OPS
DH - Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico) - .435, 0, 5, .997 OPS
SP - Marcus Stroman (United States) 1-1, 2.35,
SP - Kodai Senga (Japan) - 1-1, 0.82, 11IP, 16 K’s
RP - Josh Zeid (Israel) - 1-0, 2 saves, 0.00 ERA, 10 IP, 10 K’s

Other players deserving of recognition:

C - Seiji Kobayashi (Japan) - .450, 1, 6, 1.055 OPS
C- Ryan Lavarnway (Israel) - .444, 1, 6, 1.287 OPS
2B - Hayato Sakamoto (Japan) - .417, 0, 1, 1.023 OPS
3B - Yurisbel Gracial (Cuba) - .435, 1, 4, 1.174 OPS
SS - Brandon Crawford (United States) - .385, 0, 6, 1.005 OPS
SS - Didi Gregorius (Netherlands) - .348, 1, 8, 1.037 OPS
LF - Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba) - .474, 3, 6, 1.531 OPS
LF - John Andriolli (Italy) - .316, 3, 7, 1.192 OPS
CF - Jurickson Profar (Netherlands) - .464, 1, 4, 1.266 OPS
RF - Chih-Hao Chang (Taiwan) - .400, 1, 5, 1.067 OPS
DH - Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh (Japan) - .320, 3, 8, 1.113 OPS
SP - Jason Marquis (Israel) - 1-0, 0.93
SP - Danny Duffy (United States) - 2-0, 1.13
RP - Miguel Lahera (Cuba) - 0-1, 0.00, 1 save

United States Pummells Puerto Rico for WBC Championship

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Marcus Stroman had a choice. His mother was born in Puerto Rico so he could have played for the United States team or the Puerto Rican team. He chose the United States team. His mother supported his choice using social media as a venue to announce her support. She was quite disappointed with the vulgar comments she got from Puerto Ricans criticizing her for supporting her son’s choice.

The first time Stroman faced Puerto Rico he gave up hits to the first six hitters in the lineup to fall behind 4-0. He took the loss with Puerto Rico defeating the United States team 6-5. The second outing was much different. He did not give up a hit the second time he faced the Puerto Ricans until Angel Pagan led off the seventh inning with a double. By then the United States had a 7-0 lead. Sam Dyson came on to replace Marcus Stroman and as Marcus came off the mound he was very animated, pounding his chest. Could it have been vindication for all the vulgar comments his mother received for supporting her son? Whatever it was, he was voted the MVP of the tournament as the United States went on to beat Puerto Rico 8-0 to win the championship.

Dusty Baker was also a bit critical of the paucity of at bats Jim Leyland was giving his second baseman Daniel Murphy. He thought it would have been better for Murphy to stay with the Nationals to get his at bats. Leyland stuck with Ian Kinsler at second base for the championship game. Kinsler came through for Leyland in the third inning, following a Jonathan Lucroy single with a two run homerun into center, just above the leaping grasp Enrique “Kiki” Hernandez to give the United States an early 2-0 lead.

Kinsler helped add on to that lead in the fifth with a lead off single. Adam Jones drew a walk. Christian Yelich has been getting a number of critical hits this tournament and he added to the list with a single into right field that scored Kinsler. Joe Jimenez came on to replace Seth Lugo. Andrew McCutchen tacked on another run with a two out infield single that scored Christian Yelich to give the United States a 4-0 lead.

Puerto Rico could do nothing against Marcus Stroman. They had a leadoff walk to Carlos Beltran in the second inning but he was quickly erased on a double play hit by Yadier Molina. Other than that Stroman retired the Puerto Ricans in order in every inning through the sixth, facing the minimum 18 hitters. His pitch count was at less than 70 so if he continued to retire the hitters in order he may have come close to his 95 pitch count. Only one no hitter has been thrown in the WBC and that was by Shairon Martis pitching for the Netherlands in a game called after seven innings because of the slaughter rule.

Stroman wasn’t really needed to pitch anymore after giving up the leadoff double to Pagan. The United States had erupted for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and had taken a commanding 7-0 lead. They scored all their runs after the first two hitters had been retired. Nolan Arenado, who had struck out in all four of his at bats yesterday and his first two at bats in this game, came through with a single. Eric Hosmer was hit by a pitch and Andrew Mucutchen walked to load the bases. J.C. Romero replaced Jose Berrios on the mound. He could not stop the bleeding with Brandon Crawford ripping a two run single to center field. Giancarlo Stanton ended the scoring with a RBI single off Hiram Burgos.

The United States again scored one more run after the first two hitters were retired in the eighth. Nolan Arenado, Eric Hosmer and Andrew McCutchen all ripped singles to increase the carnage to 8-0.

The United States bullpen kept the Puerto Ricans scoreless through the last three innings, giving up just two more hits, Angel Pagan getting two of the three Puerto Rican hits in the game. The attendance for the game was 51,565 with many of them draping American flags over their shoulders and chanting “U-S-A” throughout the game. It appears the WBC has finally gotten an audience.

It was not easy for the United States to win the championship. On their path to glory they had to beat the defending champions the Dominican Republic to escape from their pool and qualify for the final four. They then had to beat an undefeated two time champion Japanese team to advance to the finals, a Japanese team that had previously beaten the United States in a final four back in 2006. Finally, they had to beat an undefeated Puerto Rican team to win the championship, a team that had beaten them earlier in pool play and a team who seemed destined the championship was theirs to take.

For Puerto Rico it was their second loss in the finals of the WBC. This team was more talented than the underdogs that appeared in the finals in 2013. It is a young team that should be geared to battle in the next WBC in 2021.

Another Thriller in WBC; United States Prevails Over Japan

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Another one run ball game. In a previous final four Japan had beaten the United States 9-4 on their way to their first WBC championship back in 2006. The faces have changed in 2013 but this time the United States wins 2-1. A ground ball out to third scored the winning run in the top of the eighth inning. The United States will now face Puerto Rico for the WBC championship. This is the farthest the United States has gone in a WBC event. The undefeated Puerto Ricans lost in the finals in 2013 to the Dominican Republic.

Both starting pitchers were excellent. Tanner Roark went four innings allowing just two hits. The Japanese could only get four hits against the United States pitching staff. Tomoyuki Sugano went six innings and allowed just three hits. An uncharacteristic error by Japan allowed an unearned run to score in the fourth that proved to be the difference in the game.

Ryosuke Kikuchi booted a Christian Yelich grounder with one out in the fourth inning to help the United States score their first run. After Nolan Arenado struck out Eric Hosmer coaxed a walk. Andrew McCutchen bounced a single into left field to score Yelich with the first run of the game.

After Tanner Roark cruised through the first four innings Nate Jones came on to start the fifth. Ryosuke Kikuchi balanced the books for his error with one out in the sixth by roping a ball over the center field fence for a homerun to tie the game 1-1. Andrew Miller came on to replace Nate Jones after the homerun. He walked the first hitter he faced but retired the next two hitters on a strikeout and pop up to end the inning. Miller has been struggling in this tournament so it was good to see him keep the game tied.

In the eighth a one out single by Brandon Crawford got the final United States rally started. Ian Kinsler doubled to put Crawford on third. With one out Japan chose to play the infield deep and Adam Jones grounded to third. Crawford broke for the plate and Nobuhiro Matsuda chose to make the out at first after bobbling the ball, giving the United States a 2-1 lead. If not for the bobble Matsuda may still have been able to get Crawford out at home.

Japan got a leadoff single from Seiichi Uchikawa in the eighth. A bunt moved pinch runner Kosuke Tanaka to second. Tetsuto Yamada bunted the ball, a player capable of hitting 30 plus homeruns. Mark Melancon struck out Kikuchi for the second out. A walk to Norichika Aoki brought in Sam Dyson to face Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, who brought a charge to the crowd when he lined hard to right field, but Andrew McCutchen was able to track the ball for the third out.

Luke Gregerson retired the Japanese in order in the ninth to pick up the save to the delight of the 33,462 in attendance. Marcus Stroman will get the start for the United States. He will pitch against Seth Lugo, representing Puerto Rico. Stroman’s last start he gave up six consecutive hits to open the game against Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Books Second Trip to the Finals

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

It took 11 innings and the initiation of the international rule of putting runners on first and second with no outs but Puerto Rico finally won the semi-final game 4-3. A crowd of 24,865 watched as the Netherlands failed to score in the top of the 11th, Curt Smith grounding into a bases loaded double play. Puerto Rico pulled the same strategy with a bunt moving the runners over. The Netherlands Loek Van Mil walked Javier Baez to load the bases but Eddie Rosario lifted a line drive fly ball deep enough into centerfield to score Carlos Correa with the winning run, the throw Profar just a little off line.

It was an epic battle between two talented teams. Both scored in the first but for the Netherlands it could have been so much more. Yadier Molina made his arm known after a single by Andrelton Simmons and a hit by pitch to Xander Bogaerts put runners on first and second with no out. Yadier caught Andrelton leaning too far off second and picked him off. Jurickson Profar followed with a single advancing Bogaerts to third. Jurickson Profar was picked off at first when the throw after the single went to Yadier Molina who threw to T.j. Rivera to nail Profar for the second out. When Wladimir Balentien slugged a homer into centerfield to make it 2-0 the Netherlands thought they should have had so much more to the inning.

Puerto Rico climbed back to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom half. Francisco Lindor doubled with Carlos Correa following with a homerun into centerfield. A Carlos Beltran single was proved null and void after Yadier Molina grounded into a double play to end the inning.

T.J. Rivera went deep in the bottom of the second inning to give Puerto Rico a 3-2 lead. That would be the extent of the Puerto Rican offense until the 11th. Jair Jurrjens replaced Rick VanDen Hurk in the third and the Netherlands bullpen quieted the Puerto Rican bats.

Puerto Rico was able to put runners on second and third with just one out in the third. Stolen bases by Javier Baez and Eddie Rosario taking advantage of the Netherlands battery. T.J. Rivera popped out and Reymond Fuentes grounded out to end the threat.

The Netherlands scored again in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3 but had another runner thrown out at the bases. A double by Wladimir Balentien and an intentional walk to Jonathan Schoop put runners on first and second with two out. Shawn Zarraga lined a double to left field scoring Balentien, but Jonathan Schoop was thrown out at home by a throw from Angel Pagan to Javier Baez to Yadier Molina for the last out of the inning.

Edwin Diaz pitched the last two innings to get the win. He struck out the side in the tenth inning. Puerto Rico turned four double plays, all of them in the seventh inning or after. The only time Puerto Rico did not turn a double play after the seventh inning was in the tenth inning when Edwin Diaz struck out the side. The Netherlands turned three double plays.

Eddie Rosario has been making a name for himself in these games, throwing out base runners and getting key hits for the undefeated Puerto Rican team. They now wait to see who wins the battle between the United States and Japan, playing the winner for the WBC championship.

CPBL To Lead Future National Teams

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

The fans were not too thrilled with the performance of Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic (WBC). They did not win a game in their pool and must again qualify for the next WBC in 2021. The China Professional Baseball League (CPBL), who runs the professional league and the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) who oversee baseball outside the professional league feuded over the organization and selection of the national team. The CPBL got so frustrated with the CTBA and their lack of respect they showed the CPBL that they dropped out of the formation of the WBC team, leaving it up to the owners of the four professional baseball teams in the CPBL whether they would allow their players to participate.

Three of the four teams allowed their players to participate. The LaMigo Monkeys, who were the top team in the CPBL with some of the better players did not allow their players to participate. This left a couple key players off the team, including outfielder Po-Jung Wang, a young talent who hit .414 and broke the CPBL record for extra base hits in his rookie season and catcher Hung-Yu Lin. Seven players on the Premier 12 national team in 2015 played for the Lamigo Monkeys.

Taiwan also could not use two professional pitchers, which decimated a young pitching staff. Wei-Yen Chen of the Marlins and Chien-Ming Wang ex of the Yankees/Royals and now a free agent also decided not to participate, eliminating two experienced arms that could have headed the rotation for the team.

Sports Administration Director General Te-Fu Lin transferred the power of organizing the senior national team to the CPBL, including the 2019 Premier 12, the Olympics in Tokyo and the 2021 WBC teams. Also, to expand the talent level of baseball in Taiwan there was discussion of expanding the CPBL from four teams to six teams.

The poor performance of the Taiwan national team in the WBC was the final blow in transferring power from the CTBA to the CPBL. Now the pressure is on the CPBL to improve the performance of the national team in these important baseball tournaments. At least they will not do any worse than 0-3.

United States Knocks Out Dominican Republic

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

The United States will be the new kid on the block in the 2017 final four of the World Baseball Classic. In 2013 Japan, Netherlands and Puerto Rico appeared in the final four with the eventual champions the Dominican Republic. The United States eliminated the defending champions and will join the final four party, facing off against two time champions Japan. A Giancarlo Stanton two run homer in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie and propelled the United States to a 6-3 win.

It didn’t start out well for the United States. It almost reminded the sellout 43,002 in attendance of the game against Puerto Rico when six straight hits to begin the game proved fatal to the United States team. An error by the gold glover shortstop Brandon Crawford got the inning started for the Dominicans. Robinson Cano followed with a double to score Manny Machado. A strikeout of Nelson Cruz got past the catcher to put runners on first and third with one out. Carlos Santana singled to make it 2-0 with Cruz advancing to third. It appeared the United States was on the verge of collapse again, digging themselves a big hole to start the game.

Starling Marte grounded a ball to Barandon Crawford at short. Nelson Cruz broke for home. The throw beat Cruz to the plate and the whole complexion of the game seemed to change after that. Adrian Beltre grounded out and the United States got out of the inning trailing only 2-0.

The Dominicans looked like they were going to score again in the second. Gregory Polanco started the inning with a single. Wellington Castillo followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Danny Duffy bore down, getting Jose Reyes to pop out. Manny Machado flied out to Adam Jones in center, too shallow to score Polanco (read further to read about a longer fly out hit by Machado to Jones). Robinson Cano hit a hard grounder to Brandon Crawford at short, who made the play to get out of the inning with no runs.

The United States bounced back in the third, Giancarlo Stanton getting the inning started with a single. Jonathan Lucroy moved Stanton to third with a single. Ian Kinsler grounded to short, Reyes going for two but falling short with Stanton scoring on the play. With two outs Christian Yelich laced a double into center to score Kinsler and tie the game 2-2.

The fourth was reserved for the Giancarlo Stanton two out two run homer. Brandon Crawford got the inning started with a two out single. That was it for Ervin Santana, replaced by Hector Neris to get the last out of the inning.

The Dominicans failed at another opportunity to score a run in the fifth. A leadoff single by Manny Machado ended the day for Danny Duffy. A one out double by Nelson Cruz to left field put runners on second and third with just one out. Again the Dominicans failed to score with Pat Neshek getting Carlos Santana to pop out and Starling Marte to strike out.

The Dominicans pulled to within one in the seventh after a Robinson Cano solo homer with one out. Read further for the hit that occurred earlier that created the one out.

The United States took advantage of the wildness of Alex Colome in the eighth. Christian Yelich walked and Eric Hosmer was hit by a pitch. Andrew McCutchen made that wildness pay with a big double into center field to score two runs and give the United States a 6-3 lead.

The Dominicans were deflated after that. The United States retired the Dominicans in order in the eighth and ninth innings to get the victory, Sam Dyson and Luke Gregerson doing the honors. Dyson also got the last two outs of the seventh after the Robinson Cano homer off Tyler Clippard.

Adam Jones perhaps made the catch of a lifetime in the seventh inning prior to the Cano homerun. Jones teammate Manny Machado led off the seventh mashing a ball that appeared to be clearly going over the fence. Jones never gave up racing back, jumping high and reaching his glove over the short fence to rob Machado of a homerun and robbing a fan of a souvenir. The fans erupted in cheers after the catch, many staring in disbelief. All Machado could do is tip his cap to Jones for the catch. He has seen him do that many times before while in an Orioles uniform. This time it was in a uniform that stated “USA”. Tyler Clippard could be seen mouthing from his lips “Oh my God”. It certainly defined what these games are all about. A collection of All Stars or semi All Stars making tremendous plays in the game.

Puerto Rico 13 Venezuela 2

In a game that didn’t mean much since Puerto Rico had clinched their final four advancement and Venezuela was eliminated, Puerto Rico thrashed the Venezuelans with 17 hits. Most of the damage was done in the later innings, when Venezuela went to its thin bullpen. Puerto Rico scored in every inning after the fifth, turning a 2-0 game into a rout.

The still unsigned Angel Pagan racked up three hits from the leadoff spot and Mike Aviles strung together four hits. Kennys Vargas closed out the scoring by slugging a two run homer in the ninth. Jose Deleon worked two outs into the third leaving Venezuela scoreless. Puerto Rico turned to what has turned into a very stingy bullpen to close out the game.

The semifinals begin Monday with the Netherlands doing battle with Puerto Rico. Both teams rely on young infielders to lead their teams. For the Netherlands it is Jonathan Schoop, Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar (playing the outfield), Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons. Puerto Rico relies on Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez.

On Tuesday the two traditional baseball powers Japan and the United States do battle. Both teams have a solid veteran presence, but Japan has some youth in Tetsuto Yamada and Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh who have carried the team offensively.

The fun that has defined the World Baseball Classic will continue for a few more days.

Puerto Rico Stings United States; Clinches Final Four Appearance

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Puerto Rico rode a big four run first inning and made it stand to upset the United States 6-5. Marcus Stroman was not sharp as he gave up hits to the first six hitters he faced. If not for a flyout double play where Christian Yelich threw out Yadier Molina at third the inning could have been much worse. Carlos Beltran still scored the fourth run on the play to give Puerto Rico an early 4-0 lead.

The United States tried to peck away at the lead. A Nolan Arenado leadoff double and Eric Hosmer single in the second inning scored one run. Buster Posey walked to put two runners on but Daniel Murphy grounded into 1-6-3 double play. With a runner on third and two out Brandon Crawford grounded to second.

Marcus Stroman settled down after the first inning and pitched into the fifth when two out back to back singles resulted in his departure. Buster Posey had hit a solo shot in the top of the fifth to pull the United States to within 4-2. With two outs and two runners on Mychal Givens retired Yadier Molina on a fly out to keep the score at 4-2.

Andrew McCutchen got a little heated in the top of the sixth after a strike three call and was ejected from the game. Adam Jones followed with a solo homer to pull the United States to within one run. There were chants of U-S-A echoing in the background with the crowd smelling victory.

It was not to be. In the bottom of the sixth the Puerto Ricans won the game, scoring two runs without benefit of a hit. Javier Baez was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He stole second and Andrew Miller replaced Givens. Eddie Rosario walked. After a T.J. Rivera strikeout Puerto Rico pulled a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Miller was still able to strike out pinch hitter Enrique Hernandez for the second out. Angel Pagan grounded to Nolan Arenado at third for what appeared to be the third out but Arenado threw the ball away, allowing two runs to score. Puerto Rico had the lead back 6-3.

The United States rallied in the ninth falling 90 feet short of tying the game. Edwin Diaz began the inning by walking Nolan Arenado and giving up a single to Eric Hosmer putting runners on first and second with no out. Buster Posey struck out but a wild pitch moved the runners up one base. Paul Goldschmidt also struck out. Brandon Crawford put a charge into the crowd with a triple to left field. Edwin Diaz bore down and struck out Josh Harrison to end the game.

There were 32,463, the largest crowd at Petco Park for a WBC game. The win clinched a spot for Puerto Rico in the final four. Who goes with them to Los Angeles will depend on the winner of the United States and Dominican Republic game. A win by the Dominican Republic would make it a repeat of the final four from the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The Dominican Republic made a nice come back to win an exciting 6-5 game in the first round. They hope to repeat those efforts tonight to advance.

Dominicans Shut Down Venezuela

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Pitching gets better as the World Baseball Classic gets deeper into the final four. That proved true yesterday as Edison Volquez started the train with 4.1 innings of shutout ball. He struck out six. Five different relievers followed him, allowing just four hits and no runners to cross the plate. Dominican pitchers struck out 14 Venezuelan hitters.

Jhoulys Chacin matched Volquez through the first four innings. He got behind Gregory Polanco 3-1 to open the fifth inning and Polanco made him pay, taking him deep over the right centerfield fence for the first run, and the only run the Dominican pitching staff would need in the game.

The Venezuelans had an opportunity to score in the top of the fifth. A walk to Odubel Herrera and a bunt by Alcides Escobar moved Herrera to second. Robinson Chirinos singled to left, Herrera stopping at third. Fernando Abad came in to replace Volquez and he turned into “a bad” man by getting Ender Inciarte to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

It was the only time Venezuela would get a runner to third until the ninth inning. By then they were down 3-0 after Nelson Cruz slugged a solo homerun to lead off the eighth. Jeurys Familia had struck out the first two hitters. Jose Altuve blooped a single into right field that deflected off the glove of Robinson Cano. A Yangervis Solarte single advanced Altuve to third. With the tying run at the plate Omar Vizquel allowed his shortstop Alcides Escobar to come up to hit. He struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Vizquel chose to walk Robinson Cano intentionally in the third inning with a runner on second and two out to face Jose Bautista. The strategy paid off when Bautista struck out. Roughned Odor is having a rough time defensively, committing his third error, this one from his more natural position of second base. Venezuela chose to put Jose Altuve at third base for the game against the Dominicans. There were 16,390 who attended the game.

The Domincans next game is against the United States. The United States plays Puerto Rico today. A win by the United States over Puerto Rico and a Dominican win over the United States could result in a playoff round to see who advances to the final four if Puerto Rico then defeats Venezuela. Myworld is focused on a different form of March Madness as the World Baseball Classic winds down.

There is also the opportunity for the final four to repeat the 2013 final four when Puerto Rico upset Japan and the Dominicans crushed the Netherlands. It is looking more like at least three of the teams from last year’s final four will repeat.

United States Rallies for Victory Against Venezuela

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Felix Hernandez quieted the United States bats for five innings, allowing just three hits. The United States, down 2-0 began to come alive against the Venezuela bullpen. They scored their first run in the seventh inning after an error by third basemen Roughned Odor put runners on first and second. Odor normally plays second base but with Jose Altuve on the team that position was not available. He had made an error the previous inning. Two fly balls into the outfield scored Eric Hosmer from second, who initially had reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Odor.

In the eighth inning Venezuela put Yangervis Solarte at third and brought in Hector Rondon to pitch. Adam Jones led off the inning and greeted a Rondon offering deep over the centerfield fence to tie the game at 2-2. Christian Yelich singled and with one out Hosmer sent the first pitch he saw from Rondon over the right centerfield fence for a two run homer. The United States would get two more hits and a walk in the inning to load the bases. Bruce Rondon, no relation to Hector, was called on to get the last out, striking out Ian Kinsler.

Luke Gregerson came on to get the save. He issued a one out walk to Miguel Cabrera but then got Victor Martinez to ground into a double play.

Venezuela scored first in the third inning when Carlos Gonzalez singled and Robinson Chirinos bunted for a single, Drew Smyly throwing the ball away to advance Gonzalez to third. Ender Inciarte hit the sacrifice fly to score Gonzalez from third.

In the seventh Roughned Odor mashed a solo shot with two out to put Venezuela up 2-0. In the bottom inning Odor gave that run back with his error.

The United States would get all three of their hits against Felix Hernandez in the third inning. Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Bregman and Ian Kinsler all singled to load the bases with one out. Adam Jones would ground into a double play to end the inning. Jones would avenge this out with a solo shot in the eighth to tie the game.

Drew Smyly was quite effective, striking out the last six Venezuelan batters he faced. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and was replaced in the sixth after retiring the first two hitters. He struck out eight for the game. A crowd of 16,635 attended the game. Venezuela next battles the Dominican Republic with the loser probably eliminated from advancing to the final four. The United States will battle Puerto Rico, the team that eliminated them from the final four in the 2013 WBC.

Mexico Tie Breaker Error Explained

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The WBC made a calculation error prior to Mexico playing Venezuela saying that Mexico needed to only win by two to be one of the two teams playing for the second spot to advance to the second round playoff spot. They beat Venezuela by two and were quite upset when they were informed they did not advance. The tie breaker rule is defensive runs per inning and it appeared a miscalculation was made when they first put the numbers together.

The pitching staff for Mexico was supposed to be their strong suit. It failed them in the WBC, especially the bullpen in the game against Italy. When the initial calculations were made for that game Mexico got credit for that ninth inning when Italy scored five runs and the Mexican bullpen failed to get an out. Since an out was not recorded in that ninth inning Mexico could only get credit for eight innings, not the nine innings they were given credit for before the game was played. Mexico lost the tie breaker to Venezuela 1.12 to 1.11.

Adrian Gonzalez was not happy. He says he will not play in another WBC game. That may be a moot point since he will be 38 years old when the next WBC tournament is scheduled. The bottom line is that if the pitching staff for Mexico, especially the vaunted bullpen, had done their job they would have advanced to the second round. Losing a four run lead in the bottom of the ninth without retiring a hitter eliminated them from the WBC. Those facts can not be changed. Giving them an inning when they did not get an out to deserve that inning can be changed. It is just too bad the error had to occur.