If you are a baseball fan and haven’t been watching the World Baseball Classic then you have definitely been missing some of the most entertaining games you may see all season. There has been a lot of emotion, pride and passion played in these games that you usually don’t see in the typical regular season baseball game. And I personally love the bat flipping by Team Puerto Rico.
The original field of 16 teams has now been cut down to eight teams. In Pool E you have Cuba, Israel, Japan and the Netherlands. In Pool F, you have a field loaded with superstars and talent, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the United States.
Pool F will kick off the second round today with a rematch of the 2013 WBC final match-up between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Both teams went 3-0 in round one with Puerto Rico arguably being the tournaments most impressive team so far, winning each game by an average of over seven runs, outscoring opponents 29-7. Puerto Rico’s lineup is lead by stars Carlos Beltran, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez and Yadier Molina.
Things were a little more dramatic for the Dominican Republic we had 10-3, 11 inning win over Colombia, and a 7-5 win over the United States were the Dominicans can back from a 5-0 deficit, highlight by the four runs allowed by United States pitcher Andrew Miller in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Dominican Republic is lead by a lineup that includes Starling Marte, Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano.
The United States and Venezuela will play their first game of the second round on Wednesday, March 15. Among the four teams in Pool F Venezuela, had the toughest time advancing, after a 4-3 tiebreaker when over Team Italy. The tiebreaker game however was decided based on a tiebreaker that Venezuela gained over Mexico, following Mexico’s 11-9 victory over Venezuela. Venezuela held the tiebreaker edge over because defensive runs allowed per inning. The Venezuela allowed 1.11 to Mexico’s 1.12 runs per inning.
This is a tough pool to predict, all four teams are capable of advancing. Currently team Venezuela appeared the most vulnerable in round one, but the lineup is loaded in talent including MLB stars like Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve, Carlos Gonzalez, Marin Prado, Alcides Escobar, Rugged Odor and Victor Martinez.
The United States may have the top pitching staff in the tournament at least on paper led by Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman and Danny Duffy. The USA lineup has no shortage of superstars either with Ian Kinsler, Nolan Arenado, Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey and Eric Hosmer.
There is very little room for error in Pool F as wins will be hard to come by. While every WBC game looks to be up for grabs and risky for bettors, I strongly suggest the World Baseball Classic as must see television for any baseball fan.
Pool F Schedule
Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico Tues Mar 14 9:00 PM EDT
Venezuela vs United States Wed, Mar 15 9:00 PM EDT
Venezuela vs Dominican Republic Thu, Mar 16 10:00 PM EDT
United States vs Puerto Rico Fri, Mar 17 10:00 PM EDT
Puerto Rico vs Venezuela Sat, Mar 18 3:30 PM EDT
United States vs Dominican Republic Sat, Mar 18 10:00 PM EDT