Seattle had a collective euphoric experience two nights ago watching two of our starting pitchers be awesome. Last night, Nelson Cruz reminded us to not forget about him. He is also incredible and amazing and makes us dream those “it could happen” dreams. Whether you are willingly being swept away in the hype, trying to fight the current, or sticking safely to the small sample size shore, my wish for you is only that you are enjoying what they are doing in the World Baseball Classic. This is truly fun baseball.
Pool F is the only pool with anything going on. Everyone else has either qualified for the semi-finals or been eliminated. Venezuela is down, but not eliminated yet. The United States and Puerto Rico each have a win this round. The team that wins the game tonight will be in first place, and the team that loses will be tied with the Dominican Republic for second place going into the final day of pool play on Saturday. I will not even attempt to explain tiebreakers, because it’s impossible and only the head honchos of the WBC understand them, but if there is a tie for first or second after Saturday a tiebreaker game will be held on Sunday.
Without further ado, here’s what happened last night:
Pool F Game 3: Dominican Republic 3, Venezuela 0
Home runs are fun, especially when it’s your guy hitting them. This came in the bottom of the eighth, and yes, Nellie is strong:
Gregory Polanco also hit a solo home run and the Mariner’s own Robinson Cano drove in a run on an RBI single. Manny Machado has been a human highlight reel in the WBC. Tonight, he ran into foul territory, heaved the ball to first, and got Miguel Cabrera by a few lengths:
Mariners in the WBC:
Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic): 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic): 1-4, home run, 2 strikeouts
Jean Segura (Dominican Republic): Did not play
Felix Hernandez (Venezuela): Did not play
All times are PDT, all games are broadcast on MLB Network and MLB.tv.
Pool F Game 4: United States vs. Puerto Rico, 7:00 PM
Pool F: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, United States, Venezuela. Games take place in San Diego, CA at Petco Park March 14-19th.
Venezuela: This is a good baseball team. It is fun to look at their roster in the same way it is fun to look at the Dominican Republic’s roster. Lots of good Major League players, and thinking about a team with all these good players is exciting. Our very own Felix Hernandez will be the ace for his home country. Former Mariner Omar Vizquel (taking over for another former Mariner, Luis Sojo) is managing the team. The question for Venezuela is how well their pitching will hold up.
Dominican Republic: With three current Mariners (Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura) and two former Mariners (Adrian Beltre, Fernando Rodney) representing the Dominican Republic, they are obviously favorites to win it all. The Dominican roster would be a stellar team in MLB, so they should be enjoyable to watch.
United States: Ah, the team that makes you wonder how good they would be if their country and players only cared about the WBC. This is a bit unfair because the players who are playing for Team USA are gushing and excited for the experience. The United States has never made it to the finals of the WBC, and while they certainly have the talent to advance, other countries have more oomph. The roster is made entirely of Major and Minor League players, including the Mariner’s own Drew Smyly, who will be making an appearance.
Puerto Rico: Like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico has some exciting talent on the roster. Also like Venezuela, the pitching is the question mark. Mariners closer Edwin Diaz and pitching prospect Emilio Pagan hope to help the rest of the staff advance the team to Round 2. The infield of young stars Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, and Carlos Correa join veterans like Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. Puerto Rico played in the championship game last year. They may lack the pitching to get back.
On Deck for Tomorrow:
Pool F Game 5: Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela, 12:30 PM
Pool F Game 6: United States vs. Dominican Republic, 7:00 PM