Since I’ve been too slow in getting these articles out, I’ve combined Monday and Tuesday into one article.
Dominican Republic @ Nicaragua (Monday)
Score early. Score often.
The Dominican Republic started the party early on with Rafael Devers doubling home Juan Soto, who led off the game with a single. That would be the lone run of the first inning as JC Ramirez buckled down and kept them off the board until he was removed after throwing 55 pitches with a runner on first and two outs in the third inning. Dilmer Mejia walked Rafael Devers and allowed an RBI single to Eloy Jimenez for the lone run in the third. They went on to plate two more in the fourth and one each in the sixth and seventh off home runs from Juan Soto and Manny Machado. In total, they pushed across six runs on 12 hits and one Nicaraguan error.
Nicaragua put up a fight to no avail.
To their credit, Nicaragua did a great job of working counts and getting guys on base, not letting the Dominican pitchers relax. They were rewarded for their perseverance with a run off the bat Elian Miranda, who singled home Steven Leyton in the eighth inning to avoid the shutout. That would be their only run as Luis Garcia would toss a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the win for the Dominican Republic.
- There were 31,696 people at this game, which started at noon!
- Nicaragua’s Juan Montes is the owner of the best mustache in the tournament.
For Juan Montes, his mustache takes on a personality all of its own. #WorldBaseballClassic pic.twitter.com/50ckyE02R9— MLBPA (@MLBPA) March 14, 2023
- The Dominican Republic improved to 1-1 in pool play and will play Israel at 7 PM on Tuesday.
- Nicaragua dropped to 0-3 in pool play and will face off against Venezuela at noon on Tuesday.
- Both of those recaps will be in this article because I’m very slow.
- With the loss, Nicaragua clinched the fifth seed in Pool D. Only the top four teams from each pool qualify automatically for the next WBC, so they’ll need to re-qualify just to make it back in 2027.
- Now, let’s talk about the incident...
Israel @ Puerto Rico (Monday)
I shall endeavor to keep my biases in check until the notes section.
Score early. Score often.
I know I used that one already, but it’s applicable again.
Puerto Rico wasted no time getting to Israel’s pitching staff, rocking starter Colton Gordon for three runs in the first inning off doubles from Javier Baez and Eddie Rosario. The raucous Puerto Rican crowd kept the noise going in the second as Enrique Hernandez's double and Emmanuel Rivera's triple plated three more. There was a two-inning reprieve from the assault until Francisco Lindor hit a bases-clearing triple for three MORE runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Jose De Leon, Yacksel Rios, Edwin Diaz, and Duane Underwood Jr. combined for the second combined no-hitter in World Baseball Classic history. They allowed zero baserunners through the entire game, but were not awarded a perfect game because it did not go a full nine innings. Enrique Hernandez drove in the tenth run to put the mercy rule into effect and end the game in eight innings. A disappointing performance from the Israeli lineup, but an absolutely incredible performance from the Puerto Rican pitching staff.
Biases have been reactivated.
- Yeah, that one hurt.
- Garrett Stubbs, the heart and soul of the team, didn’t play because of a knee injury.
- Puerto Rico improves to 2-1 in pool play and will have a day off before facing the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night in what will be a win-or-go-home battle for the last spot in the quarterfinals.
- Israel drops to 1-1 in pool play and will face the Dominican Republic on Tuesday at 7 PM.
- That game will be recapped below because I am slow.
- And one more time...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Nicaragua @ Venezuela (Tuesday)
The game itself.
I got to this game late because I was at a community event for Team Israel. Pardon the abbreviated recap.
Nicaragua put up a good fight early and even took the lead in the second inning. But it was no match for the juggernaut that is this year's Venezuelan team. Once they got an inch, they took a mile and put up a three-spot in the fourth inning. They tacked on another in the fifth and took this game by the score of 4-1.
Sportsmanship, pass it on.
What happened in this game doesn’t matter to me as much as what happened after the game. Yeah, okay, Venezuela is now undefeated, and Nicaragua goes home without a win. But to see both teams lineup for handshakes and hugs after going to war for nine innings reminds me that there is good in this world. The show of respect and admiration for the opponent was amazing to see. The Nicaraguan players followed that up by gathering in front of their dugout and saluting the thousands of fans that have been with them since day one.
- With the win, Venezuela moved to 3-0 in pool play with a chance to run the table against Israel at noon on Wednesday.
- They will have Jesus Luzardo starting on the mound and fellow Marlins pitcher Enmanuel De Jesus piggybacking him.
- Nicaragua drops to 0-4 and has been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic.
- The attendance at this game was 21,873.
Israel @ Dominican Republic (Tuesday)
Again, biases will be reserved for the notes.
The nice Jewish boy™.
A round of applause for the nineteen-year-old righty, please. With absolutely zero expectations and a high chance of being shelled by a stacked Dominican lineup, Jacob Steinmetz decided to have some fun. The first-ever Orthodox Jew drafted by a Major League organization struck out Manny Machado, Jeremy Pena, and Gary Sanchez in 1 2⁄3 innings of work. Not many people can say they struck out the reigning World Series MVP at the age of 19. As someone who grew up as a fan of the Yankees, striking out Sanchez felt weird for Steinmetz, but the strikeout of Pena had a little more feel to it, considering what team he plays for.
Over the last two games, Israel has only had one hit and two baserunners. Israel’s hitters couldn’t get anything going without Garrett Stubbs to spark the offense.
The Dominican Republic went to town on the Israel pitching staff. Juan Soto came around to score a run in the first after his leadoff double. Manny Machado had a missile of a home run off Evan Kravetz in the third inning, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. The ball landed up on the Budweiser Balcony, a notoriously challenging place to land a baseball. A four-run sixth and a three-run seventh would put the nail in the coffin for tonight's contest. Jean Segura’s walk-off two-run ground-rule double pushed the lead to 10 runs and ended the game early.
- Israel just can’t seem to put guys on base...It’s frustrating to watch.
- On the other hand, every other team has been a treat to watch.
- The Dominican Republic improves to 2-1 and will face Puerto Rico in a win-or-go-home showdown tomorrow night at 7 PM.
- It is expected to be the loudest atmosphere for a game at this ballpark. I will be bringing hearing protection.
- Israel drops to 1-2 and will face off with undefeated Venezuela tomorrow at noon with Brewers pitcher Robert Stock on the bump.
- Can I go to sleep now?
- ‘Til Tmrw!