WBC Tonight is your daily look at the games from the World Baseball Classic from the previous 24 hours and a look ahead to the next day’s action. You can also use this space as a game thread for any of the WBC action as it happens.
We’re a little late getting this started (Hey! I was working on all the previews!), so tonight we’ll have a general recap on where we stand in both pools that are already underway and a look ahead to the two pools that start over the weekend.
Remember, the top two teams in each pool advance to the second round and the top four teams automatically qualify for the next WBC. (Which I’m assuming will be in 2027, but that hasn’t been confirmed.) So teams do not want to finish last and have to go through qualifying for the next tournament.
Pool A—Taichung, Taiwan
Here are the standings after three days of Pool A
Chinese Taipei 1-1
As you can see, after the favorites the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this pool is wide open. The hosts Chinese Taipei were upset 12-5 by Panama in their first game, but they bounced back with an 11-7 win over Italy early this morning.
Just check out this scene from Taiwan.
Absolute SCENES in Taichung!!! #WorldBaseballClassic pic.twitter.com/YM45P9J2m1— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 10, 2023
Cuba, playing with major leaguers like White Sox Luis Robert Jr. and Yoán Moncada for the first time, has once again disappointed. Cuba lost to the Netherlands 4-2 in the first game of the tournament, which was not unexpected. But then they dropped their second game, 6-3 in ten innings to manager Mike Piazza and his Italy team. It wasn’t the fault of Cuban and Cubs’ pitcher Roenis Elías, however. He started the game against Italy and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. Cubs infielder Miles Mastrobuoni had a double off of Elías.
Cuba bounced back with a 13-4 win over Panama earlier this morning, but at 1-2 and with only one game left against Chinese Taipei on Saturday night, Cuba needs to win that game and then hope a bunch of tie-breakers go their way to advance to the next round.
The Netherlands was expected to be the class of this pool and they have been. They beat Panama 3-1 in their second contest of the tourney. They only need to win one of their final two games against Chinese Taipei or Italy to advance.
Tonight: Italy plays Panama tonight at 10pm Central time in a crucial game. The winner keeps their hopes for advancing to the second round alive. A loss by Panama would not only eliminate them from contention, it would put them in great danger of finishing in last place. This game will be televised on FS1
Tomorrow morning at 5am Central, the Netherlands faces Chinese Taipei. That game will be on FS2.
Pool B—Tokyo, Japan
Here are the standings after two days of Pool B play.
Czech R. 1-0
Japan is one of the favorites to win the entire tournament and they’ve definitely looked like it. They let China hang around in their first game for a few innings, but eventually put them away 8-1. Shohei Ohtani was not only the winning pitcher in this game, he went 2 for 4 with a double at the plate.
Korea, however, has disappointed. They were upset by Australia, 8-7, in part because of a major baserunning gaffe by Baekho Kang. (And smart thinking on that play by Royals prospect Robbie Glendenning. Glendenning also hit a three-run home run in this game.)
That set up the contest between Japan and Korea this morning, the first in the WBC since Japan beat Korea 5-3 in the 2009 title game. And for a while, things looked good for Korea after Euiji Yang opened the scoring in the third inning with a two-run home run off of Yu Darvish. They extended the lead to 3-0 when Jung Hoo Lee (who is expected to be posted to MLB next offseason) singled home the Padres’ Ha-Seong Kim.
But things didn’t go well for Korea after that. Japan took the lead with a four-run bottom of the third inning, highlighted by a two-run single by new Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida. The Samurai never looked back after that, crushing Korea 13-4.
In other Pool B play, the Czech Republic won their first ever WBC game with an 8-5 win over China. A go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth inning by Martin Muzik was the highlight.
A MASSIVE go-ahead 3-run blast in the 9th inning for Team Czech Republic! #WorldBaseballClassic pic.twitter.com/pCalHZngBT— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 10, 2023
Tonight: China takes on Australia at 9pm Central. Phillies farmhand Kyle Glogoski starts for Australia. With a win, Australia will be in a commanding position to advance to the second round for the first time in their history and China will be eliminated. That game is on FS2
Then at 4am Central time, the almost-all amateur Czech Republic gets their wish and they’ll take on Japan. Be careful what you wish for. A win by Japan would clinch a trip to the second round. A win by the Czech Republic probably gets them a movie deal and probably moves them on to the second-round. The game will be broadcast on FS1.
Pool C—Phoenix, Arizona
At 1:30 Central, Mexico will face Colombia in the first game of Pool C. Dodgers ace Julio Urías will start for Mexico. This game will be broadcast on your local Fox affiliate.
Pool D-Miami, Florida
The Cubs’ Marcus Stroman (and also the MVP of the 2017 tournament) takes the mound for his mother’s home Puerto Rico, as they face Nicaragua. That game will start at 11 am Central and will be on FS2.