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The United States: Your World Baseball Classic Champions

Facing the final curtain, Team USA does it their way

Baseball: World Baseball Classic-Final-USA at Puerto Rico
The Eagle has landed in the middle of the USA’s celebration.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Some pregame controversy wasn’t enough to stop the United States from winning its first World Baseball Classic title. There was fantastic pitching, great offense, and an excited crowd. In fact, WBC attendance topped one-million for the first time. Maybe the narratives that nobody cares aren’t reality-based? I know, I know, enough controversy. Let’s take a look at the championship game:

United States 8, Puerto Rico 0

Team USA starting pitcher Marcus Stroman held Team Puerto Rico hitless through six innings. Stroman, who could have chosen to pitch for Puerto Rico, gave up his only hit to the first batter he faced in the seventh inning. He walked one and struck out three, living on weak ground balls. It was fun to watch him in full postseason mode. What must it feel like to pitch like that in a game like this? Something like this:

Opinionated Ian Kinsler got the USA on the board with a two-run home run in the top of the third inning. The United States run machine kept chugging along, crossing the plate eight times.

The defensive highlight of the game was an incredible stop Francisco Lindor made on an Andrew McCutchen hit. I don’t know how he got to it, but he did:

Emilio Pagan of your Seattle Mariners, pitched the top of the ninth inning for Puerto Rico. He gave up one hit and a walk, but managed to keep the US under control. Sadly, we did not get an Edwin Diaz encore.

This has been a fun World Baseball Classic. I hope those of you who followed along enjoyed it too. I’m sad this was the last game and my last WBC update. We won’t be seeing games with this type of intensity for a while, and the last week and half of Spring Training looms long as we wait for the regular season to begin.

Until next time, WBC fans!