Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Japan/Netherlands Advance to Final Four; Puerto Rico Upsets Dominican

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

The Netherlands left no doubt who had the superior team in their game against Cuba. They were up 12-0 after four and only needed seven innings to embarrass a once proud Cuban team 14-1 to advance to the final four. Twenty years ago those were scores the Cubans were putting up on the Netherlands in their games.

Wladimir Balentien hit two homeruns early, a three run shot in the first and a solo shot in the third to put a hurting on the Cuban pitchers. Yurendell DeCaster also homered in the third, a two run shot and contributed four RBIs in the game. He also lined a two run single in the five run fifth to put a dagger in the Cuban spirits to compete in this game. Kalian Sams finished off the scoring with a solo shot in the seventh and final inning.

The Cuban bats could not mount much of an offense against Diegomar Markwell, scoring just once against him in his six innings of work. That one score occurred after they were down 13-0. It didn’t matter who the Cubans trotted out to the mound. The Netherlands treated them all as if they were batting practice pitchers. Lazaro Blanco got the start and did not last two innings, giving up four runs. Vladimir Garcia could not last two inning before giving up five runs. Leandro Martinez, a 38 year old who would not have made a Cuban national team in the past, threw the best with three innings of mopup, allowing just two runs.

The crowd was listed at 40,680.

Japan 8 Israel 3

Japan ended a nice run by Israel with their 8-3 win, eliminating them from the final four. It was a pitcher’s duel for the first five innings with closer Josh Zeid getting the start and shutting out the Japanese bats for four innings. Israel just does not have enough depth in its pitching staff to keep the Samurai bats down for a full game. In the sixth Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh woke the bats up by leading off the inning with a homerun. Before the inning was complete four more runs had scored.

Dylan Axelrod replaced Josh Zeid and retired the side in order in the fifth. In the sixth he was not so fortunate, giving up two hits and a walk for three runs. His replacements were also ineffective and when the sixth inning was done you could put a fork in the game. Japan had a 5-0 lead.

The Israeli bats had trouble hitting Kodai Senga, producing a leadoff single from Sam Fuld in the first. After the leadoff single the Israelis could muster no more hits when Senga finished his outing after the fifth inning.

Japan put the game away in the eighth with three runs, Seiichi Uchikawa roping a two run double and Nobuhiro Matsuda tacking on one more run with a single.

Israel finally strung an offense together in the ninth with a walk and two singles off Kazuhisa Makita to score their first run, an Ike Davis single driving in the run. Ryan Lavarnway hit a two run double to pull Israel to 8-3, but that was as far as they were going to get. The good news for Israel is they get an automatic bid to play in the next WBC, not having to qualify as they did this year.

There were 43,179 who attended this game, much of the crowd already purchasing tickets for the Netherlands/Cuba game which counted against this attendance.

Puerto Rico 3 Dominican Republic 1

The Puerto Ricans proved the Dominicans could be beaten. Now the Dominicans have to sweep the United States and Venezuela to get to the final four. The bullpen of Hector Santiago, Joe Jimenez, Joseph Colon and Edwin Diaz quieted the Dominican bats to three hits in the last 6.2 innings. The momentum shifter may have been when right fielder Eddie Rosario threw out Jean Segura at home in the first to end a potential Dominican rally with zero runs. In the bottom of the first Puerto Rico used a couple walks and a Yadier Molina single to give them a 1-0 lead.

The Dominicans did not have the same fans in San Diego that they had in Miami. It was less of a home game for them. Nelson Cruz hit a leadoff homer in the second, but the crowd roar for the homer was not as loud as it was for his three run shot against the United States. The Dominicans play on emotion and the emotion was absent.

In the fourth Puerto Rico took the lead taking advantage of a throwing error by Adrian Beltre to allow Javier Baez to reach second. Eddie Rosario bounced a ball over the right field fence to give Puerto Rico a 2-1 lead.

The Dominicans never really threatened after the solo homer from Cruz in the second. They got runners to second but that was the extent of their threats. Yadier Molina led off the sixth with a solo shot to give Puerto Rico a little cushion that they did a much better job of protecting that the United States bullpen.

Of course the crowd was much quieter than in Miami. Tony Pena tried to motivate his team by getting tossed in the eighth. Nelson Cruz walked and with Adrian Beltre at the plate Cruz broke for second against Yadier Molina. He was thrown out to end the inning. Edwin Diaz mowed through the Dominican lineup in the ninth to pick up the save.

Only 16,637 attended the game at Petco Park in San Diego, a far cry from the 30,000 plus who showed up in Miami to support the Dominicans there.

Venezuela Rally Advances them to Second Round; Japan Downs Cuba

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

In the seventh inning John Andreoli hit his third homerun of the WBC to give Italy a 2-1 lead over Venezuela. Italy turned to Mike Demark in the ninth to pick up the save. The first batter he had to face was Miguel Cabrera. Miguel took his second pitch deep for his first homerun of the WBC to tie the game 2-2.

Venezuela would rally for two more runs in the ninth. Victor Martinez followed the Miggy homerun with a walk. Yangervis Solarte pinch ran for Victor. Rougned Odor hit a ball to deep center that Venezuela claimed was a homerun. The umpires looked at the replay and confirmed the original call that the ball did not travel over the fence. Solarte scored the go ahead run but Odor stopped at first.

Italy went with Frailyn Floran after DeMark failed to retire a batter. Carlos Gonzalez ripped a single to left to advance Odor to third. Gonzalez was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double. Alcides Escobar laid down a squeeze bunt to score Odor to up the score to 4-2.

Francisco Rodriguez came on to pitch for Venezuela. He gave up a leadoff homerun to Alex Liddi to pull Italy to within one. Rodriguez was able to retire the last three batters to secure the victory.

Anthony Morris had a stellar start for Italy, no hitting the powerful Venezuelan bats in his five innings of work. He walked one and struck out five. There were only 1,783 at a game that was not part of the original schedule, with Mexico not part of the game.

A controversy erupted when Mexico was informed they would advance to a playoff round if they beat Venezuela by two. That notice was quickly removed. Mexico was upset when they won by two and were informed they were eliminated and Venezuela would play Italy in the play in game.

Japan 8 Cuba 5

Tetsuto Yamada crushed two homeruns from the leadoff spot, driving in three and scoring four to lead Japan to an 8-5 win over Cuba. For Cuba it is their second loss in the second round. To stand a chance at advancing they must beat Netherlands and hope Japan beats Israel to put second place in a three way tie.

Yamada led off the game for Japan with a homerun. Cuba bounced back in the second by scoring two on a Yurisbel Gracial homerun. Yosvani Alarcon would double and advance to third in the inning but Victor Mesa struck out.

Yamada got the third inning started with a double. He scored on a clutch two out single from another young Japanese superstar Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, who finished the game 3 for 3 with two RBIs.

In the fourth Alfredo Despaigne got the inning started with a single. William Saavedra and Alarcon hit one out back to back singles to load the bases. After Jefferson Delgado struck out Victor Mesa came through with a clutch two out single to score two runs. Alarcon was thrown out at third trying to advance after the throw home.

In the fifth Japan ties the game. Seiji Kobayashi started the inning with a single followed by a walk to Yamada. Cuba replaced Bladimir Banos with Yoennis Yera. A bunt moved the runners over and a ground out by Norichika Aoki pulled Japan to within one. With a runner on third and two outs Tsutsugoh got another clutch hit, a ground ball single into centerfield to tie the game.

In the sixth Cuba recaptured the lead. Yurisbel Gracial doubled, advanced to third on a fly ball and scored when Yosvani Alarcon singled. Japan again tied it in the bottom frame. Nobuhiro Matsuda appeared to strike out for the second out of the inning but the ball skipped past the catcher. Another wild pitch by Yera advanced Matsuda to second. Shogo Akiyama walked bringing on Cuba’s closer Miguel Lahera early in the game. A single by Seiji Kobayashi tied the game. Yamada struck out and Akiyama was thrown out trying to steal third to end the inning.

Japan took control of the game in the eighth after William Saavedra dropped a throw from shortstop Alexander Ayala to get the inning started. A Shogo Akiyama single advanced Matsuda to third. He scored when pinch hitter Seiichi Uchikawa hit a ball deep enough to right field to score Matsuda. Yamada put the icing on the cake with a line drive homerun into centerfield to give Japan an 8-5 lead.

Kazuhisa Makita retired the Cubans in order in the ninth. If Cuba hopes to advance past the second round they need to beat a tough Netherlands team. Japan has already clinched a fourth date for the final four with a game against Israel pending. They are the only country to play in all four final fours. If Israel can win and Cuba beats the Netherlands, Israel can advance to the final four. That could happen with Japan having nothing to play for but the seeding. It appears that even a Japan loss and a Netherlands win would have Israel and Netherlands play a play off game to determine who advances to the final four.

There were 32,717 in attendance to see the second match between Japan and Cuba. That was less than the 44,308 who showed up for the first round match between these two teams.

Padres Add to their Cuban Contingent with Osvaldo Hernandez

Monday, March 13th, 2017

The Padres continued their impressive collection of Cuban players, signing 18 year old lefthander Osvaldo Hernandez to a $2.5 million bonus. Since the Padres were already over their cap that comes with a 100 percent penalty, or an additional $2.5 million. The Padres have spent close to $25 million in signing bonuses to Cubans

Not a tall pitcher at 6′0″, but he does throw lefthanded in the low 90s, according to multiple reports. Like many Cuban pitchers his bread and butter pitches are the breaking pitches, with a plus slider, curveball and change.

Myworld does not know a lot about him but add him to the names of Adrian Morejon ($11 million), Jorge Ona ($7 million), Michael Baez ($3 million), Ronald Bolanos ($2,25 million) and Ramon Perez ($400,000) to the list of Cuban pitchers signed by the Padres.

Israel Rolls Past Cuba; Venezuela Wins Wild Game

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Israel proved they are a team to contend with after their 4-1 win over Cuba, keeping them undefeated in WBC play. Jason Marquis went 5.2 innings, allowing just one run in taming the Cuban bats with his assortment of breaking pitches. Cuba scored their only run off him when Alfredo Despaigne lined one of his pitches over the centerfield wall in the second inning to give Cuba an early 1-0 lead.

Israel tied the game in the fourth when Ryan Lavarnway doubled into left field. Despaigne took long enough getting to the ball to allow Ike Davis to score from first. Noelvis Entenza would retire the next hitter, but the Lavarnway double was the first hit he had given up in the game. He left after the fourth inning with three walks, the third one costing him a run.

Israel scored two more in the sixth. Walks again hurt the Cubans. A Ty Kelly single and Nate Freiman walk set the stage for Zach Borenstein, who broke the tie with a single to right field, scoring Kelly. Blake Gailen doubled to increase the score to 3-1. The Israelis managed to load the bases but Livan Moinelo got Scott Burcham to fly out to end the inning.

A lead off walk in the eighth led to the fourth Israeli run. Zach Borenstein advanced to third on a Ryan Lavarnway single. Blake Gailen laid down a bunt to score Borenstein.

Cuba did not really mount much of an offensive threat until the eighth inning. They loaded the bases on a single and two walks, Despaigne walking to load the bases. Josh Zeid came on to pitch and retired William Saavedra on a ground out to end the threat. The Cubans were retired in order in the ninth, Josh Zeid picking up the save.

Venezuela 11 Italy 10

It took 10 innings but Venezuela made up for their disaster of a game against the Puerto Ricans. Jose Altuve stroked a one out single in the tenth and Martin Prado drove him in with a double. For Prado it was his fifth hit of the game. Jose Castillo retired the Italians in order in the tenth to cap the win.

It was not easy. The Venezuelans thought they had the game won after scoring two in the ninth to take a 10-8 lead. Salvador Perez hit a two run homer for what appeared to be a victory.

The pesky Italians who scored five runs in the ninth the previous night to beat Mexico again proved formidable. Rob Segedin reached second on a throwing error by Alcides Escobar. He scored after two ground outs but still Venezuela had a one run lead. An Alex Liddi single and walk to Drew Butera put two runners on. Gavin Cecchini singled to score pinch runner Drew Maggi. Butera was not pinch run for and he tried to score on the hit but was thrown out at home. Myworld wonders where the pinch runner was for Butera. The game went to extra innings.

Italy had taken an early 5-0 lead after four innings. Daniel Descalso had driven in three runs with his two hits. Alex Liddo and Brandon Nimmo blasted solo homeruns in the fourth.

Venezuela stormed back, led by the 5 for 5 night from Martin Prado. He drove in three runs. The Venezuelans tacked on eight runs in the fifth through seventh innings. Italy scored one in the seventh and two in the eighth to send it into the ninth tied 8-8. There were 12,187 in attendance enjoying the slugfest.

Colombia 4 Canada 1

Julio Teheran pitched five innings of two hit ball to lead the Colombians to an upset win over the Canadians. Now all they have to do is beat the Dominicans for an opportunity to advance to the second round, or a Canadian win over the United States team. Canada has shown you can’t use the success of a 2011 roster to fill your 2017 roster if those players have taken off a couple years from playing.

The game did not start out well for Teheran. In the first inning a walk and two singles, the last by Freddie Freeman gave the Canadians an early run. Freedie Freeman was then caught stealing second as Tyler O’Neil struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Teheran settled down after that, allowing just one hit over the next four innings.

Colombia scored their first run in the third when Donavan Solano drove in his brother Jhonatan with a single. Donavan was thrown out at second trying to advance a base on the throw home. For the Colombians it was the Solano show on offense.

Colombia added another run in the fifth to take the lead. Tito Polo slapped a two out single to center, stole second and scored on another Donavan Solano single. The Solano brothers struck again in the sixth with Jhonatan taking a walk with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. Jhonatan ended his day in the ninth with a leadoff double. Oscar Mercado pinch ran for him and scored on a Tito Polo bunt single after Scott Mathieson threw the ball away.

Canada could not mount any kind of offense against the under rated Colombian pitching staff. Yohan Pino came in to replace Teheran and tossed three innings of one hit shutout relief. Dayan Diaz gave up two back to back singles after striking out the first two hitters, but ended the inning and the game with a strikeout to secure the victory.

Puerto Rico 9 Mexico 4

In two games Mexico has now given up 9 runs in the ninth inning. Puerto Rico scored four in the top of the ninth to turn a close 5-4 game into a 9-4 rout. Javier Baez had the big hit with a three run homer. Francisco Lindor hit two homeruns for Puerto Rico, a two run homer in the first and a solo shot in the seventh that gave Puerto Rico a 5-1 lead. Mexico bounced back scoring three runs in the bottom half to make the game close.

Jorge Lopez got the start and the win for Puerto Rico allowing just one run on two hits in his 4.1 innings of work. A crowd of over 15,000 showed up to watch Mexico get almost eliminated from any shot of advancing to the second round. They have to beat Venezuela and hope Puerto Rico is fired up enough to beat the Italians to create a three way tie for second. Puerto Rico guaranteed themselves an opportunity to advance, but they must still beat Italy to advance as the first seed.

Major leaguers by Country

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Baseball America broke out the top countries who have players in the major leagues. The top ten is listed below.

1. United States - 5,043 (67.34%)
2. Dominican Republic - 1,117 (14.92%)
3. Venezuela - 628 (8.39%)
4. Puerto Rico - 163 (2.18%)
5. Canada - 92 (1.23%)
6. Mexico - 91 (1.22%)
7. Cuba - 82 (1.09%)
8. Panama - 52 (0.69%)
9. Colombia - 38 (0.51%)
10. Australia - 29 (0.39%)

If you combined Curacao and Aruba, both colonies of the Netherlands and included them with the players from the Netherlands that count would also be 38, putting the Netherlands in tenth place.

You can go to the International section of Baseball America to see the complete list.

Cuba Advances to Second Round with Win Over Australia; Italy with Wild Win Over Mexico

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Despite their watered down roster Cuba was able to beat Australia 4-3 to advance to the second round of the WBC. Alfredo Despaigne hit a grand slam homerun in the fifth to provide all the scoring for Cuba. It was his second homerun of the WBC.

Australia got a solo homerun from Trent Oeltjen in the seventh to cut the lead to 4-2. They scored another run in the eighth on a two out Luke Hughes double and an RBI single in the eighth. Tim Kennelly singled to put runners on first and second for Oeltjen to play hero but he struck out. Australia was retired in order in the ninth by Migual Lahera, the last two by strikeouts.

The Aussies did have some trouble making contact with runners in scoring position. In the third inning with the bases loaded and two out Logan Wade struck out to foil a rally. In the fourth inning with two runners on Luke Hughes struck out. After they had scored a run in the fifth Brad Harman struck out to end the inning, stranding an additional two runners. With runners on first and third and no out in the sixth Luke Hughes struck out and Mitchell Denning grounded into a double play. So the opportunities were there for Australia to win the game, ultimately stranding 15 runners on base.

Australia also had two outs in the fifth with no one on when Cuba began their rally with two singles and a walk to load the bases. Lachlan Wells stayed on to face Alfredo Despaigne and Despaigne deposited a ball into the left centerfield bleachers.

Warwick Saupold pitched four innings of shutout ball for Australia in his start. Australian pitchers combined to strike out 10 Cubans while Cuban pitchers combined to strike out 11 Aussies. The attendance was listed at over 38,000 but most of those fans were not there, waiting to attend the night game with Japan playing China.

Italy 10 Mexico 9

Italy stunned Mexico with five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Roberto Osuna and Oliver Perez could not retire a batter as Brandon Nimmo singled to pull Italy within one and John Andreoli hit the walk off single, scoring two.

Mexico was in charge for most of the game. Esteban Quiroz led the game off with a homerun. Italy bounced back with a homerun by John Andreoli, their number two hitter in the game.

Quiroz doubled in the third inning to give Mexico a 2-1 lead. In the fourth a Japhet Amador solo shot and a Sebastian Elizalde single upped the lead to 4-1.

Italy came back and tied the game in the bottom half of the fourth. Rob Segedin launched a two run homerun and Chris Colabello hit a solo shot.

Mexico took what appeared to be in control of the game with three runs in the fifth. Efren Navarro walked to force in a run and Luis Alfonso Cruz doubled to drive in two. Drew Butera homered for Italy to close the lead to 7-5.

Mexico scored two in the seventh on a two run single by Sebastian Elizalde. With the score now 9-5 the game looked done. Italy went down meekly in the seventh and eighth. Roberto Osuna came on to start the ninth. The home crowd was celebrating their victory.

The bats came to life for Italy with back to back to back doubles by Francisco Cervelli, Chris Colabello and Alex Liddi to make the score 9-7 and get the fans a little bit nervous. An error on a ground ball to shortstop Luis Alfonso Cruz put runners on first and third with no outs. Drew Maggi walked to load the bases. Roberto Osuna left the game and Oliver Perez came on to replace him with the tying run on second. Brandon Nimmo lined a single to right field to pull Italy to within one and John Andreoli grounded a single to second baseman Luis Urias where two runs scored to give Italy the win.

There were 14,296 crushed Mexican fans who left the park.

Japan 7 China 1

Japan had already clinched first in the first round. China scored their first run of the WBC but still lost 7-1. After finishing last in this round China will have to qualify for the next WBC.

Japan scored early getting two run homeruns from Seiji Kobayashi in the second and Sho Nakata in the third to jump out to an early lead. For Nakata it was his second homerun of the WBC.

China scored their lone run in the third on a Ray Chang single. They had runners on first and third with one out but Chuang Na grounded out to end the inning. They had no real scoring opportunities after that. Japanese pitchers struck out 12 Chinese hitters.

Netherlands Clinches Second Round Advance in WBC

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

One of the disadvantages of bracket play with the top two teams advancing is how early teams can clinch their advancement to the second round. Israel and Netherlands have already clinched advancing to the second round with Netherlands 6-5 win over Taiwan. Now it is just a matter of determining who advances as the number one seed. The remaining two games in the bracket do not amount to much.

Netherlands inched past Taiwan 6-5 last night, taking advantage of a ninth inning error, a hit by pitch and a single to load the bases with no outs. Jurickson Profar coaxed a walk off walk to allow Netherlands to come out victors.

It did not come easy for the Netherlands. In the fifth Taiwan erupted for three runs to take a 5-4 lead. Chih-Hao Chang slugged a two run homer to tie the game at 4-4. Taiwan strung together two more singles after the homerun to put runners on first and third and still there were no outs. A ground out when the Netherlands could not turn two scored a run. After a strikeout Taiwan again loaded the bases with a hit by pitch and infield single. Che-Hsuan Lin flied out to end the inning.

The Taiwan pitchers shut down Netherlands for three innings. In the eighth back to back singles by Xander Bogaerts and Wladimir Balentien put runners on first and second with no outs. A double play ground out appeared to put the embers out for a rally. Fu-Te Ni came on to pitch to end the threat. Didi Gregorius lined a double to left field to tie the game and leading to the exit of Ni. Hung-Wen Chen came on to retire Yurendell Decaster on a ground out to send the game into the ninth inning tied.

Balentein finished the game 4 for 4 for the Netherlands and Didi as the DH was 3 for 4 with 3 doubles and three RBIs. Mike Bolsenbroek pitched three late shutout innings to allow the Netherlands to get back in the game. Chang was the big bat for Taiwan with his three hits including his big two run homerun, the only extra base hit for Taiwan in the game. Attendance was listed at 3,606.

Cuba 6 China 0

China could manage only one hit against the Cuban pitching. Bladimir Banos gave up that hit with one out in the fifth. Cuba scored four of their six runs in the fourth to put the game on ice. Roel Santos had the big hit with a two run triple. He finished the game 3 for 5. Alexander Ayala was 3 for 4 with an RBI double in the fourth inning.

Bruce Chen shut out Cuba for the first 2.2 innings of work. He was taken out of the game after getting Ayala to ground into a double play. His replacement Xia Luo would give up the four runs in the fourth inning.

There were 39,102 who came out to see the game at the Tokyo Dome, a good crowd considering Japan was not playing. That must have been a misprint because attendance was sparse according to reports myworld received of those who attended the game. It was so empty that many filtered down to the lower section to watch the game.

Japan 4 Australia 1

Through the first four innings an Allen de San Miguel homerun was the only run of the game, giving Australia a 1-0 lead. Tim Atherton finally cracked giving up a leadoff double to Hayato Sakamoto. An infield single put runners on first and third where Lachlan Wells replaced Atherton and gave up a sacrifice fly to Nobuhiro Matsuda to tie the game.

In the seventh a Sho Nakata homerun put Japan up 2-1. They put the game away in the eighth on a two run homer from Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.

Australia had an opportunity to take the lead in the fifth after Japan had tied the game 1-1. With the bases loaded and one out James Beresford grounded into a double play. That was really the last opportunity the Japanese pitching staff allowed them to score a run.

There were 41,408 at the Tokyodome.

Israel Blasts Taiwan; Japan and Netherlands also Win

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

In the professional league in Taiwan (CPBL) the teams are allowed to sign three foreign players. Those three foreign players are usually starting pitchers. When the season starts the four CBL’s four professional teams have three of their five or six starting pitchers filled by foreigners, leaving little opportunity for Taiwan pitchers to develop. That was on full display yesterday with Israel battering Taiwan 15-7, collecting 20 hits. Israel scored at least one run against each pitcher Taiwan threw out to the mound except Chen-Hua Lin, who only got two outs but still gave up two hits. Even ex-major leaguer Fu-Te Ni was banged around for three runs while he could only retire one hitter.

Meanwhile, Corey Baker, a non-descript minor leaguer who has only gotten six starts in AAA shut out Taiwan for four plus innings, allowing just three hits. Israel pounced on Taiwan starter Chun-Lin Kuo for six hits and four runs in the first inning as he was only able to retire two hitters. Ike Davis and Tyler Krieger each had two run singles to fuel the offense in the opening frame.

Ryan Lavarnway hit a two run homer in the third to up the Israel lead to 6-0. Taiwan made it a game with three runs in the sixth. Chih-Sheng Lin drove in the first two runs with a double. A sacrifice fly by Yi-Chuan Lin scored the third run to make it 6-3.

The hope for a comeback was only brief as Israel pulled away with five runs in the seventh. Nate Frieman and Tyler Krieger drove in runs with a single and Scott Burcham bunted for a single to score one run with two additional runs scoring when the ball was thrown away.

Nate Freiman hit a 3-run homerun in the top of the ninth to close out the scoring for Israel. Taiwan pushed across four runs in the bottom of the ninth to keep the game respectable. Only 3,287 were in attendance for the game. Israel has virtually assured themselves a spot in the second round.

Japan 11 Cuba 7

They say most of the good Cuban pitchers have left the island. This appeared quite evident with Japan’s 11-7 thrashing of Cuba. A five run fifth put them up 7-1. Nobuhiro Matsuda blasted a three run homer to left field to account for most of the runs.

Cuba would fight back, scoring three in the seventh, Alfredo Despaigne hitting a solo shot and Guillermo Aviles slashing a two run single to pull Cuba to within 7-4. Japan responded with two in the bottom frame, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo slugging a two run homer to extend the lead to 9-4.

Cuba scored two in the top of the eighth after a two run double by Yurisbel Gracial. Japan responded again with two in the bottom frame on a Nobuhiro Matsuda RBI single and a Seiji Kobayashi sacrifice fly.

In the top of the ninth Cuba put their first two runners on base and were able to load the bases with two outs and their big hitter Alfredo Despaigne at the plate. Kazuhisa Makita was able to strike him out to end the game.

Japan hitters were able to score at least one run against all the Cuban pitchers thrown out there. Noelvis Entenza got the start for Cuba but lasted only 1.1 innings after giving up four hits. Cuban managers are infamous for pulling their pitchers early. Ayumu Ishikawa worked four innings for Japan, allowing just one run on two hits.

A good crowd of 44,908 were at the game to watch the Japanese victory.

Netherlands 5 South Korea 0

The Korean bats were absent a second straight day. Coming into the WBC the Korean manager was worried about their pitching, but it is their bats that have failed them. Korea has only scored one run in two games. Rick Vandenhurk getting the start and leading the charge with four shutout innings. Four different pitchers completed the shutout with Diegomar Markwell going two innings and 7′1″ Loek van Mil closing it out in the ninth. Korea could manage only six hits.

Jurickson Profar got the offense started early with a two run homer in the first inning, rewarding the leadoff single from Andrelton Simmons. Kyu-Min Woo got the start for Korea. He gave up an Andrelton Simmons RBI double in the second and was gone after two outs in the third inning, giving up three runs on six hits.

The Dutch extended the lead in the sixth after a two run homer from Randolph Oduber to make it 5-0. Korea failed to advance a runner past second base, grounding into three double plays.

No attendance figures were given on the game. Netherlands next plays Taiwan and a win would virtually clinch both Israel and Netherlands advancing to the second round, making the next two games meaningless, though Israel and Netherlands would be playing for seeding.

Baseball World Cup Under 18 Pools Determined

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

The Baseball World Cup Under 18 tournament will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada from September 1-10. Nine of the top ten ranked countries will be participating in the event, with only Venezuela the lone top ten country not participating.

There will be two groups of six, who will play a round robin. The top three finishers will then advance to the second round, where each of the three teams will carry their record with them to the new pool and play the three teams advancing from the other pool. The two teams with the best record will play for the gold medal while the third and fourth best record will battle for the bronze.

Group A

Canada (9), South Korea (3), Taiwan (4), Australia (10), Italy (11), Nicaragua (16)

Group B

United States (2), Japan (1), Cuba (5), Mexico (6), Netherlands (9), South Africa (28)

The United States has won this event the last three years. The All tournament team from the last Under 18 tournament included first round draft pick Josh Naylor from Canada and the recently defected potential superstar from Cuba Luis Robert. Blake Retherford, the first round pick of the Yankees made the team as an outfielder. There was a Cuban player named Jose Garcia who made it as a second baseman, but do not know if that was Jose Adolis Garcia, the brother of Adonis who recently defected.

Luis Robert hit .406 with two homeruns and 11 RBIs with three doubles, three triples and four stolen bases at the event.

Cardinals Sign Jose Garcia

Friday, February 24th, 2017

The Cardinals signed Jose Adolis Garcia, who is the younger brother of Adonis Garcia for a bonus estimated at $2.5 million. Major league baseball declared Garcia a free agent in December. Adonis Garcia had originally signed with the Yankees but has bounced around since. He was a couple years older than his younger brother Jose when he defected.

At 6′1″ Jose is a couple inches taller than his older brother Adonis. He should hit for a little more power than his older brother, who also began his career as an outfielder before the Braves moved him to third base. His defense in the outfield is a battle for consistency. Garcia struggled in the Japanese minor league system hitting just .234 with a .396 slugging percentage. In four games with the NPB Yomiuri Giants Jose went 0 for 7 with three whiffs. Those poor numbers did not discourage the Cardinals from still signing the 23 year old.

Jose could start the season in extended spring training but at age 23 the Cardinals would prefer he move quickly through their minor league system. Don’t be surprised if he begins his minor league career in low A with some time in extended spring training.