Nelson Cruz smashed a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Dominican Republic to a 7-5 victory over the United States in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in Miami on Saturday.
It had been generally accepted the fourth World Baseball Classic (previously played in 2006, 2009 and 2013) would be the last.
Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman was terrific over 4 ⁄3 scoreless innings. After the US took a 5-0 lead, the Dominican team rallied for seven unanswered runs to beat the Americans, 7-5, in front of the largest crowd in the history of Marlins Park.
An hour after his dismal WBC debut, Miller said he didn’t regret deciding to participate.
There’s a famous quote attributed to baseball hall of famer Roger Hornsby that says “people ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball”. But the immediate reward was worthwhile, for Archer and for the Rays, who want – and need – him to pitch more like he did in 2015 than a year ago, when a bad start led to a 9-19, 4.02 mess. Was it meaningful to the teams from Korea and China, who played a spirited, back-and-forth consolation game in front of a raucous crowd?
If only all baseball fans would give it the chance it deserves.
Even though the Dominican team made it through the first round unscathed, it wasn’t easy for them.
Here’s where things got dramatic.
Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey homered to help Team USA (2-1) advance to the second round at San Diego’s Petco Park.
Canada and Mexico have had teams in every World Baseball Classic thus far, but that might not be the case in 2021 after their respective showings in this year’s tournament. The Americans, who play Canada on Sunday, failed to reach the finals of the three previous WBCs.
But this year’s roster might be the Americans’ best yet, even without many top pitchers.
USA manager Jim Leyland made it sound like the limit caught them by surprise and left them “in a little bit of a bind” in trying to win, but he acknowledged he has a responsibility to the teams as well.
Marte, after a strikeout of Adrian Beltre, hit a 93-mph fastball to the opposite field for another home run. Now, they’re looking to keep that streak alive, and are off to a strong start, going 3-0 in pool play.
Nobody in America is supposed to care about the WBC, and outside of Marlins Park, perhaps few did.
The home team gave fans something to cheer about from the start.
The U.S. fell to 1-1 and is in jeopardy of being eliminated in the first round.
“Thursday was loud”, said Cruz, referring to the Dominican’s opening game against Colombia.
“It was tough, but we stuck to the plan”, Archer said.
I’m not sure anyone has a formulated answer for the first question, but I’m comfortable with a positive reaction to the second. “I was jumping up and down, I didn’t know what to do”.
Maximum effort will be needed to get past the Dominicans, who have outscored opponents 62-24 in the past two WBCs. Apparently, when deciding on how to best use Roark, Jim Leyland skipped over the 2015 season. “They have stars all over the field”. This compares with the United States who have more than 600 players in Major League Baseball and 10 million young people playing the game. There’s a mutual respect there, I think.