As much as I love Team USA, the place to be in the World Baseball Classic is Miami and the “Group of Death.” Beyond the great baseball being played, the Latin American baseball culture on display there by fans of Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and NIcaragua has been a delight. And hey, there’s Israel too.
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.
Pools A and B are all done, and the rest of the tournament after pool play is all single-elimination. On Wednesday at 5am Central time, Australia takes on Cuba in the first quarterfinal. On Thursday at the same time, Japan will play Italy.
This is maybe the best story of the WBC so far.
THIS IS SO COOL— Shawn Spradling (@Shawn_Spradling) March 13, 2023
Duque Hebbert, the Nicaraguan pitcher who struck out Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Rafael Devers in the 9th, signed with the Tigers org following today’s game.
A scout was impressed by him, stopped him before he left the stadium, and offered him a contract. pic.twitter.com/4dBrKfrCFw
Pool C—Phoenix, Arizona
Al Yellon has already recapped his experience at Team USA’s 12-1 win over Canada.
That game became huge because earlier yesterday. Great Britain won their first WBC game ever with a 7-5 win over Colombia. With that result, the US advances to the second round with a win over Colombia tomorrow. That game is at 9pm Central on FS1.
Colombia scored a run in the second and two more in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. But Great Britain scored three times in the bottom of the fourth inning on a sac fly by the Cubs’ BJ Murray Jr. and a two-run single by Pirates minor leaguer Chavez Young.
In the fifth tinning, Blue Jays minor leaguer Jaden Rudd hit a two-run double to give Great Britain a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, top Mariners prospect Harry Ford homered for Great Britain to make it 6-3.
Great Britain would tack on another run in the seventh on a wild pitch.
Colombia’s rally in the ninth inning fell short, despite a solo home run to lead off the inning by Dilson Herrera.
Earlier this afternoon, Canada rebounded from its thrashing from the US to shut out Colombia, 5-0.
Starter Noah Skirrow, who finished last season with the Phillies Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley, allowed only two hits to Colombia over five innings. Then the Cubs’ Curtis Taylor pitched the next two innings, allowing just one hit. The Rays’ Trevor Brigden and former Phillies and Yomiuri Giants pitcher Scott Mathieson each tossed one inning to finish the shutout.
Here are some highlights from Skirrow.
Cubs’ prospect Owen Caissie had an RBI single in the eighth and the Blue Jays’ Otto Lopez hit a three-run home run in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
There was a big moment when Rio Gomez, the son of the late and much-loved baseball journalist Pedro Gomez, took the mound for Team Colombia.
Rio Gomez, son of the late Pedro Gomez, worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings for Colombia in WBC action, fulfilling a prediction that his father made six years ago: https://t.co/qeM4QSBrK7 pic.twitter.com/IbIOqtD9iI— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 14, 2023
With the win, Canada moves to 2-1 and can earn a spot in the quarterfinals with a win over Mexico tomorrow at 2pm Central. That game will be broadcast on FS2.
Pool D—Miami, Florida
Last night, Puerto Rico pitchers José De León, Yacksel Ríos, Edwin O Díaz and former Cub Duane Underwood Jr. combined to throw an eight-inning 10-0 Perfect Game against Israel.
Javier Báez was 2 for 3 with two doubles and this stolen base.
De León pitched the first 5.2 innings and struck out ten.
Earlier this afternoon, Venezuela improved to 3-0 and with a 4-1 win over Nicaragua.
Nicaragua managed seven hits in just 2+ innings against Eduardo Rodriguez, but could only manage to get one run home. But Venezuela took the lead for good with a three-run fourth inning, highlighted by an RBI single by Andrés Gimenez and a two-run single by Eugenio Suárez.
Venezuela qualifies for the next round with a win over Israel tomorrow (tomorrow at 11am Central on FS2) or a win by the Dominican Republic over Israel in a game that is starting right about now (6pm Central) on FS1.