Up- The U.S. Figured it Out:
After a rocky start in their first few games against the San Francisco Giants and Mexico where their offense, which is supposed to be god-tier, was completely shut down. Their offense is by far the shining star of their whole team. The lack of pitching is where team USA struggles. However, they have managed to figure it out. Captain America, Mike Trout, has put the team on his back with a .417 AVG, 1.421 OPS, and 6 RBIs. Half of those RBIs coming from last nights do or die game against Colombia where he put up all the runs himself. Not only is it good to see Mike Trout finally have fun playing baseball, but it’s also even better seeing America kick some ass and defend their title with some grit.
Down- Down Bad Dominican Republic:
With the star-studded lineup that was the Dominican Republic, they did not produce as much as they were expected to. Practically everyone predicted they would make a deep run into the World Baseball Classic tournament, but that did not happen. They had underwhelming performances from their diamond-dynasty-like lineup. Especially from reigning rookie of the year Julio Rodriguez, who struck out 9 out of the 18 at-bats and while he had some insane defensive plays, also had some defensive struggles as well. Rafael Devers and Teoscar Hernandez also struggled offensively, Devers putting up just 2 hits and Hernandez with zero. The pitching did not go as expected as well. The reigning Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara, not able to even make it 4 innings. Fool gave up 3 runs to Venezuela and was unable to make another start because the team couldn’t even make it to the Quarter finals with this great of a team. All and all, this team is one of the best on paper, but sadly could not deliver when it mattered most.
Up- Italy Fucks Big Time!:
Italy man. A hell of a fight they put up. They were the definition of the underdog. They were in a tough pool being accompanied by Cuba, Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Panama. Being led by Mets legend Mike Piazza, they were able to sneak into the quarterfinals with a 2-2 record. Nicky Lopez went off throughout the WBC. He hit .474, had 9 hits, and had 7 RBIs. Hopefully, he can reproduce this during the regular season with the down-bad Kansas City Royals. Completely random, but Italy’s celebrations and their Espresso machine in the dugout were legendary. That kind of spirit makes me a big Italy fan of any sport. I hope they can make an even deeper run in the tournament next time. Italy came out of nowhere in the WBC and it was awesome to watch. If I were to tell you prior to the tournament starting that Italy would make it further than the Dominican Republic, you’d probably call me insane. Never count out the Italians!
Down- Edwin Diaz Injury:
This is very unfortunate. After yesterday’s win against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico was celebrating after punching its ticket to the quarterfinals. As they were celebrating, Mets closer who recently received the biggest contract of any reliever in the MLB, Edwin Diaz, fell to the ground and could not get up. He eventually was carted off the field. It is unclear whether he sustained this injury from the last pitch he threw or if it was from the celebrating itself. Regardless, he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee and will be out for the season. A lot of teams discourage players to play in the World Baseball Classic for this reason alone. The injury factor that goes into playing in the tournament definitely does not go unnoticed. However, a lot of players feel as if they owe it to their country to represent them. Because with out them, they would not be playing baseball at all. This is a freak accident and is very unfortunate. But, to all those who don’t like players representing their countries if they choose to do so, they can kick rocks.