In terms of excitement, the World Baseball Classic has not disappointed thus far, with clutch hitting, dominant pitching (cough cough Shohei Ohtani), and a WHOLE LOT of horn honking.
If you’ve been watching you get it. If you haven’t, tune in, and you’ll understand in less than 15 seconds. Either way, it’s been well worth staying up long into the night, or even getting up at a ridiculous hour to watch.
The first two pools (A and B) kicked off Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Netherlands and Japan lead the way as the only teams that remain undefeated — we’ll find out early Saturday morning if both can pull off the pool-play sweep.
The final two pools (C and D) will officially begin at a more normal hour, with the first game starting at 11:00 a.m. CT Saturday morning — leading up to Team USA facing off against Great Britain at 8:00 p.m. CT. If this was a soccer match (or football, if you will), I’d be a bit more worried about USA’s chances, but with the immense talent on the American team, I’d be putting my money on them.
Pool A Results
Pool B Results
Checking in on the South Siders
Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert Jr. have been the first two players to represent the Chicago White Sox in World Baseball Classic play, and while it took a couple of (albeit crucial) games to hit their stride, they were the stars of the show in Cuba’s must-win game against Panama late Thursday.
Moncada and Robert were both subpar in the WBC opener — and that might even be generous, given Luis’ first three at-bats were consecutive strikeouts. Yoán looked all right in his first at-bat when he was able to draw a walk, but his final three ABs resulted in extremely underwhelming ground outs and pop outs. Robert was able to find a bit of life inside him, and blasted a double to center in the eighth inning ... only to be called out on a challenged tag play at second base a few moments later.
Sigh. In the end, Cuba fell to the Netherlands, 4-2.
Finally. Luis Robert 2B. #WhiteSox Would be great if they didn't run into pitches with replays. pic.twitter.com/eU59zbZpVq— White Sox Daily (@dailywhitesox) March 8, 2023
After review, Luis Robert is ruled out at second base— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 8, 2023
: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/ZztBd9Qu6l
On Thursday morning’s game against Italy, Moncada and Robert were looking to bounce back from their abysmal, initial at-bats. The pair decided to pull a Freaky Friday situation, and Moncada was the one who had a tough time this game, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and a whopping seven runners left on base. Robert hardly fared better, though he did have an RBI single, going 1-for-5 with another two strikeouts, leaving two on base.
Joe LaSorsa is PUMPED after striking out Yoan Moncada to end the inning pic.twitter.com/pPbhXyDpxD— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 9, 2023
Don’t worry though, Moncada is in midseason form with his web gems over at third.
Yoan Moncada, what a play— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) March 9, 2023
In their third game, both Moncada and Robert bounced back as catalysts for Cuba, busting open the game against Panama in a defining moment for their WBC experience. In the third inning of that game, Yoán led off with a double, and Luis followed with a base hit of his own, shaking off whatever yips they might have been having. Moncada scored the go-ahead run that put Cuba up, 5-4, and Robert followed that up with a single to add an insurance run that extended the lead to two.
Ultimately, the duo combined to go 5-for-11, with six RBIs — with Moncada having a particularly phenomenal day, responsible for three of those hits, four RBIs, a walk, and only one left on base. I know the Moncada haters are shaking in their boots, but I’m here to tell you that it’s OK, just embrace it.
Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert Jr. brought the heat vs. Panamá. pic.twitter.com/1yUQwQKrFY— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 11, 2023
Yoán Moncada fueled Team Cuba's offensive outburst. #WorldBaseballClassic pic.twitter.com/iJWYzPl4qN— MLB (@MLB) March 10, 2023
The final White Sox WBC hot gossip is that while he was away with the Puerto Rican team, literally today, March 10, Nicholas Padilla was optioned from the White Sox down to Triple-A Charlotte — kind of harsh from the White Sox, but hey, business is business.
Good luck to Padilla and the rest of the White Sox players who begin their excursion into the classic! The eight-game pool play frenzy begins tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. CT — essentially Christmas morning, if you ask me!
Australia upset Korea Wednesday night in a battle of the long ball, seemingly trading three-run bombs back and forth throughout the game, including two from Australia to propel them to an 8-4 lead. Korea would fight back to bring it within one, but the Aussies prevailed in the end.
Dueling go-ahead 3-run homers!— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 9, 2023
Australia regains the lead over Korea in the #WorldBaseballClassic! pic.twitter.com/SEIzjO0BqR
Shohei Ohtani lead Japan to victory in their opening game against China, with a one-hitter over four innings, and racking up five K’s. Naturally, he sprinkled in a two-run double.
Crowd pleaser: Shohei Ohtani dazzles on both sides of the ball in Japan's #WorldBaseballClassic opener. pic.twitter.com/0UAtA5v4Uj— MLB (@MLB) March 9, 2023
Korea jumped on Yu Darvish early in Japan’s second game, but that was no match for an ever dangerous Japanese offense, which broke the game open in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to win, 13-4.
Chinese Taipei had a monster, game-tying, two-run homer against Italy to tie the game at seven, until another three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth drove them to a 11-7 victory.
The energy in the stadium was off the charts:
OMG YU CHANG THIS GAME IS WILD pic.twitter.com/7u88ZjrUcx— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) March 10, 2023