Pool A is officially in the books. Israel beat the Netherlands and won the pool crown. Host Korea pulled off a win to finish not last. Three teams have qualified for Pool E in the second round. The most important World Baseball Classic news today is that the current Mariners will begin playing!
Pool play continues. Four teams are in each pool and each pool will play a six game round robin, with a seventh game tie breaker if necessary. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the next round. Here are the results from the late game yesterday and the early games today:
Pool A Game 5: Israel 4, Netherlands 2
This was simply a bragging rights game to crown the champion of Pool A. Israel continued their roll and is undefeated in WBC play. Not bad for an underdog. Both teams will be playing in Pool E, which gets underway next week. For us at Lookout Landing, this was the highlight of the game:
Adorable? Terrifying? You make the call.
Pool A Game 6: Korea 11, Chinese Taipei 8, 10 innings
This is another game that doesn’t mean much, but it was wonderful to see Korea get a win in their home country. Korea seems to love Dae-ho Lee even more than Mariners fans:
The game was tied after nine, Korea relied on Euiji Yang to drive in the, ultimately, winning run on a sacrifice fly. Taekyum Kim followed up with a two-run home run to secure the win.
Pool B Game 4: Australia 11, China 0, 8 innings
Australia demolished China in a mercy rule shortened game. The victory pushed Japan into Round 2 and eliminated China. Former Mariner Travis Blackley had the start for Team Australia, going four and two-thirds scoreless innings. Luke Hughes kicked off the run parade with a two-run home run in the third inning:
Australia never looked back and kept raining the hits on China. The game was mercifully ended after eight innings due to the mercy rule.
The winner of Australia vs. Cuba later today will advance to Round 2; the loser will be eliminated.
All times are PST, all games are broadcast on MLB Network and MLB.tv.
Pool C Game 1: Canada vs. Dominican Republic, 3:00 PM
Pool D Game 1: Mexico vs. Italy, 6:00 PM - Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to start for Mexico
Pool B Game 5: Australia vs. Cuba, 7:00 PM
Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Israel, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Korea. Games take place in Seoul, Korea at the Gocheok Sky Dome March 6-10th.
Pool B: Australia, China, Cuba, and Japan. Games take place in Tokyo, Japan at the Tokyo Dome March 7-11th.
Pool C: Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, United States. Games take place in Miami, FL at Marlins Park March 9-13th.
Pool D: Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela. Games take place in Jalisco, Mexico March 9-13th.
Netherlands: Some big names fill out the roster for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Andrelton Simmons, Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop, Didi Gregorius, and Jurickson Profar are the big Major Leaguers. It’s safe to say the Netherlands won’t have to worry about running out of short stops. Wladimir Balentien, the breaker of Sadaharu Oh’s Nippon Professional Baseball single-season home run record in 2013, will roam the outfield.
Israel: Making their WBC debut this year, the team is considered to be an underdog. Jason Marquis, a former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, is the biggest name. Former Major Leaguers Craig Breslow (in the Designated Pitcher Pool), Ike Davis, and Sam Fuld round out the roster, made up largely of Jewish Americans. They have a giant “Mensch on the Bench” mascot that hangs out in the dugout during games.
Chinese Taipei: This is a young team that includes prospects Shao-Ching Chiang, Ping-Hsueh Chen (DPP), Che-Hsuan Lin, and Chin-Lung Hu. Former Mariners prospect Chih-Hsien Chiang (part of the Erik Bedard trade) is also on the roster. Major League veteran Chien-Ming Wang is in the designated pitcher pool for the second round. Current Major Leaguer Wei-Yin Chen of the Marlins is not participating.
Korea: Our favorite, Dae-ho Lee, is on the team. The only current Major Leaguer is Seung-hwan Oh. The rest of the roster is full of professional Korean Baseball Organization players, including Hyung-woo Choi, the reig-ning KBO batting and RBI champion.
Australia: The big news on Team Australia is our very own and most favorite, Ryan Rowland-Smith! If you’re not excited to see Hyphen pitch again, the WBC may not be for you (However, to each their own. I’m not here to judge). Former Mariner Travis Blackley is also on the pitching roster. Sadly, the other Australian from Blackley’s time with the Mariners, Chris Snelling aka Doyle, is not playing The team has some major league talent, but are up against tough Japanese and Cuban teams in their pool.
China: Team China hasn’t had much success in the WBC, but unlike neighbor Japan there doesn’t seem to be much public pressure. The only player with any Major League experience on the roster is Bruce Chen, who came out of retirement to pitch for China after previously pitching for Panamanian national team. Former Mariners manager John McLaren will manage China for the second time in the WBC.
Canada: The most exciting part of Team Canada is Tyler O’Neill getting some meaningful baseball experience. Current and former Major Leaguers representing our neighbors to the north include Freddie Freeman, Justin Morneau, Ryan Dempster, and Eric Gagne. Canada has a tough draw against the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the United States, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise if they advance.
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.
Mexico: Yovani Gallardo and Sebastian Valle represent the Mariners on Team Mexico, along with former Mariner Vidal Nuno. Adrian Gonzalez will be joining the team to play for his brother and Mexico’s manager, Edgar. Yasiel Puig is not playing in the WBC. Rumor is he missed submitting paperwork on time. Playing in front of a home crowd, Mexico could reach the second round, but faces tough pool opponents to get there.
Italy: A few familiar names great us on Italy’s roster: current Mariner Pat Venditte and prospect Sam Gaviglio and former Mariner Alex Liddi. Italy knocked Mexico out of the tournament in 2013 to advance to Round 2. Italy tends to fare well in international play, so they could be a sleeper pick in Pool D.
Cuba: No Major Leaguers will be on the Cuban roster because players who have defected are not eligible. The one name that will ring a bell with an American audience is Yoelkis Cespedes. Yes, he is related to that other Cespedes. Only 19 years old, he has drawn comparisons to his brother. It’ll be fun to see him flash some of the same talent.
Mariners in the WBC
Today we get our first glance at current Mariners. Check back tomorrow for updates and notes on how they do. For now, the following Mariners played in exhibition games in preparation for the WBC:
Tyler O’Neill (Canada): 1-4, 2-run home run, 2 strikeouts
Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic): 1-2, walk.
Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic): 0-3, RBI, strikeout.
Jean Segura (Dominican Republic): 1-4, walk
Emilio Pagan (Puerto Rico): Blew the save and took the loss after giving up a walk and home run.
Sebastian Valle (Mexico): 0-1, walk
Yovani Gallardo (Mexico): Starting for Team Mexico today
On Deck for Tomorrow:
Pool B Game 6: China vs. Japan, 2:00 AM
Pool C Game 2: Colombia vs. United States, 3:00 PM
Pool D Game 2: Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico, 6:00 PM