2017 World Baseball Classic Report (Day 5)

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As the Americas begin their first round a new aspect of the World Baseball Classic comes into full focus.

Although the talent level with many of the teams in the Asian pools is high they lack teams that are entirely made up of players from Major League Baseball.

The two pools located in North America are slightly different though as many of the teams are full of MLB players.

That fact throws another dimension into the tournament as the MLB is behind the World Baseball Classic but like any major tournament, the teams are not exactly pushing for the continuation of the tournament.

Teams aren’t massive fans of the tournament as they do want to see the expansion of appeal to new areas of the world but they don’t want to lose their players for the duration of the tournament.

That is why, when the MLB was creating the tournament they made sure to put it during a time when the teams could at least live with losing some of their best players.

Spring Training was that time as the MLB off-season is not that long and after 162 games plus more for the players who made the postseason.

Having them play during their few months off would not have gone over well with the MLBPA.

Instead, the league decided to put the tournament at a time when players were getting back into the game but before the games meant anything.

It was the best compromise but it didn’t mean that the teams were extremely happy with losing time to get their players up to speed during Spring Training.

Although the games are meaningless the work that is done throughout Spring Training is still important.

That is especially true for the players just trying to make the team or players coming off of disappointing seasons.

These players need to be a part of Spring Training to prove that they belong on the big club’s roster or that they still have a place as an everyday player.

If there are new players on the roster managers want to get a good look at them to see how they might use them.

There are also a number of teams that head into Spring Training with position battles that need to be solved before the lineup cards are handed in on opening day.

The best way to solve all of these is to continually see the development in front of you and work on the development during practice.

Managers can get a better look at the players they have to make those decisions with Spring Training.

They can also control their star players and make sure that their best guys don’t over exert themselves before the season even starts.baseball-sidebar

With the WBC teams don’t lose that chance to see some of their players who head to other cities and play for different managers with different goals.

Those goals are to take things game by game and continue to move through the rounds and eventually capture the WBC title.

There has been a bit of a compromise in that though and that is the extra aspect of the tournament that comes into focus with Pool C and D starting their tournament.

Managers know that they are in control of major leaguers and they take the tournament as a bit of an extension of Spring Training.

Teams that have the MLB depth, like that of the USA and the Dominican Republic, have that ability to change players with relatively little drop-off.

Managers become strategic in trying to get every player some playing time so that they didn’t leave their MLB teams to sit on the bench.

It also serves to give some of the best players a break and make sure they are not over-extended.

The rules for the WBC also do that especially with the pitching restrictions that they put in place to make sure nobody uses their pitchers too much.

Mandatory rest periods are in place depending on pitch counts and managers need to manage that as they know they have more games coming up.

If a pitcher reaches 50+ pitches they must take four days off which can mean a pitcher is used only for one game with pool play spanning about four days.

Pitchers are also limited in each round with the first round only allowing 65 pitches per pitcher.

These extra things to worry about were put in place for the MLB players to appease the teams in the MLB.

It is another aspect of the game that teams need to worry about and another factor in the games that make things more interesting.

The reason for these takes focus more than ever as Pool C and D begin with the Americas getting underway in what most hope to be a continuation of what occurred in Asia.


Day 5:
Dominican Republic 9-2 Canada
– It is a Canadian team made up of interesting parts but those parts couldn’t do much against one of the deepest teams in the tournament as the Dominicans got out to a lead early and despite some fight from the Canadians never looked back

Italy 10-9 Mexico
– For the second tournament in a row, the Mexicans opened their pool play with a loss to the Italians and this one was a heartbreaker as the Italians mounted a massive comeback earning 5 runs in the bottom of the ninth to take the win

Cuba 4-3 Australia
– The Aussies had a chance to launch an upset and move into the next round but the Cubans had just enough to get by them as they took the win and saved what could have been an embarrassing finish as they will move on to the next round

Japan 7-1 China
– Nothing but national pride was on the line in this one as the two biggest countries in the region faced off with the expected finish of the Japanese taking an easy win and moving on as the second undefeated team in the first round

Day 6:
Colombia vs. USA (Friday, March 10th; 6:00 pm ET)
– There is no doubt that the Americans are a team with the most pressure this year as three tournaments have passed without a top three finish and they start their pursuit of their first title with what should be their easiest game of the tournament

Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico (Friday, March 10th; 9:00 pm ET)
– Neither team is getting an easy start in this pool as the Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans are full of MLB talent and could be fighting for first place with this game possibly making the difference when Pool D play finishes

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