2017 World Baseball Classic Report (Day 6)

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Every team is officially underway in the 2017 tournament and the second round is just about to begin in Japan.

With everyone officially underway the focus shifts to one team in particular as the Americans always take focus in the WBC.

When the tournament was originally created the world immediately looked to USA as the clear favourites to win it all.

For many, the USA is the home of the sport, the place where the game was invented and where there are still more baseball players than anywhere else.

That is the nature of the game known as America’s past-time, it is a mainstream sport throughout the USA and the majority of MLB players hail from the country.

The Americans are the home of baseball and when an international tournament was created it seemed clear that they were the team that was going to bring the most talent.

What nobody expected was that the Nippon league in Japan would have just as much talent and they were bringing it to the international stage.

The Japanese team won the tournament in the first year and repeated their title run in the second tournament.

The next time around in 2013 the Dominicans had made a point to refocus and come in strong with a roster loaded with MLB stars.

That new attitude took them to the championship as the third straight tournament ended without the USA sitting on top.

The Americans would only make the semi-finals once in the three tournaments and they lost that semi-final game.

It has been one of the biggest questions in the WBC as the country with the deepest pool of talent in the world can’t seem to get them to the title that everyone expects they should win.

There are a number of reasons for that as the Americans are a team that almost never has a full complement of stars.

The best players in the world quite often don’t play for the Americans and mostly because they don’t take this tournament seriously.

It means very little to them and instead of heading to an international tournament they prefer to stay with their teams in Spring Training.

There are countless players who never make an appearance in the WBC because it simply means nothing to them to play for their country in a sport that doesn’t have an international system in place as players are coming up.

That is one big reason for the Americans and their lack of success in the tournament but it is not an issue unique to the Americans.baseball-sidebar

In fact, other teams have a harder time with this issue because they don’t have as many players to choose from.

Even without the biggest names the Americans are still full of all-stars and for some, their teams are good enough to win but they just haven’t.

The bigger issue for the Americans could simply be the pressure of it all as the Americans are not only expected but are supposed to win.

They are the country of baseball and because it is their sport they are meant to rule the international game.

It seems that the players know this and no matter the excuse given whether it be the lack of the best players or that they are simply still trying to get going in their Spring Training period they are not playing at any different time or with any different issues than other teams.

Every year though they seem to trip out of the gate always falling in a game that they should have easily won.

In 2006 it was against the Canadians while in 2009 they lost to the Venezuelans in a game that didn’t matter too much while in 2013 they lost a preliminary game to the Mexicans.

In every game, the Americans were favoured yet in every game they couldn’t get it done.

They started this year’s tournament with a game that they should have easily won as the Colombians far from match their talent.

Yet the Americans couldn’t get much of an advantage throughout the game with the Colombians going ahead early.

The Americans would come back to tie and eventually they took the win but it did take them 10 innings to get the win.

That makes things tough moving forward as they used a number of pitchers that now won’t be available to them when they take on the Dominicans in their second game.

It was supposed to be an easy one for the Americans but they couldn’t close it out and they might pay for that very soon.

It was a less than a perfect start to the tournament and that is sure to bring some worries for American fans as they start their tournament.

Whether they can regroup and compete at a higher level against the better teams remains to be seen and that answer will determine whether they can finally take a title.


Day 6:
USA 3-2 Colombia (10th)
– It started out as a pitcher’s battle with Chris Archer and Jose Quintana going pitch for pitch and shutting the offences down after their time on the mound is when the scoring started with both teams getting their runs but the Americans coming out in the bottom of the 10th

Puerto Rico 11-0 Venezuela
– The Puerto Ricans put on a show of power in their first game of the tournament as they forced the end of the game early with the mercy rule putting up 11 runs in seven innings and proving that they are ready to compete

Day 7:
Colombia vs. Canada (Saturday, March 11th; 12:00 pm ET)
– This could be the biggest game for both teams in the tournament as it might be the only win they get and it could mean the difference between having to qualify for 2021 and earning an automatic spot in the 2021 tournament after pool play

Venezuela vs. Italy (Saturday, March 11th; 3:00 pm ET)
– The Venezuelans didn’t get the start they wanted while the Italians did exactly what they wanted in their first game and they hope to continue that taking a second win and moving closer to a second round berth

USA vs. Dominican Republic (Saturday, March 11th; 6:30 pm ET)
– The Americas barely got out of their opening game and now with a reduced stable of available pitchers they take on their toughest test in the pool against a deep roster of Dominican hitters that went off on the Canadians

Puerto Rico vs. Mexico (Saturday, Mach 11th; 9:30 pm ET)
– The Puerto Ricans had a great showing in their first game of the tournament and hope to do the same against the home team while the Mexicans are trying to save face after a loss in their first game

Cuba vs. Israel (Saturday, March 11th; 10:00 pm ET)
– The second round opens up in Tokyo as the Cinderella story of the tournament so far gets another chance to shock the world when they take on a much more traditional power in Cuba as the Israelis try to stay undefeated

Japan vs. Netherlands (Sunday, March 12th; 7:30 am ET)
– There is nowhere to hide anymore as the top teams are left in Asia and the Netherlands tries to prove that they can hang with the top teams as they take on a two-time champion in the Japanese

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