Puerto Rico earned its spot in the semi-finals alongside Japan and the Netherlands last night with a win over the United States. Venezuela has been eliminated, leaving the United States and Dominican Republic to battle it out today to determine the fourth spot in the semis, which begin Monday. Enjoy the World Baseball Classic today, because tomorrow there will be none.
Here’s a look at last night’s action:
Pool F Game 4: Puerto Rico 6, United States 5
Despite allowing two runs, Mariners closer Edwin Diaz got the save for Puerto Rico and put an end to the United States’ comeback attempts. Puerto Rico’s first six batters all reached base on singles, scoring four runs early. Adam Jones hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to make it one-run game. Puerto Rico answered by scoring two runs on a throwing error by Nolan Arenado. There the score stood until two runs scored against Diaz in the ninth inning. He shut down the US hopes the best way he knows how: by striking them out to finish it up.
Diaz was pumped up by his strikeout to end the game:
Mariners in the WBC:
Edwin Diaz (Puerto Rico): 1 inning pitched, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, save
Emilio Pagan (Puerto Rico): Did not play
Drew Smyly (United States): Did not play
All times are PDT, all games are broadcast on MLB Network and MLB.tv.
Pool F Game 5: Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela, 12:30 PM
Pool F Game 6: United States vs. Dominican Republic, 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.
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.
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.
On Deck for Tomorrow:
No games scheduled.