• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Cuba Advances to Planet Baseball Classic Semifinal


Mar 15, 2023

By the lofty requirements of Cuban international baseball history, this is not a Cuban group to keep in mind.

There is no pitcher who compares to the results of Pedro Lazo, Cuba’s existing pitching coach and living legend. Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert are not Omar Linares or Yuli Gurriel.

But that does not matter simply because this Cuban group has created its personal spot in Cuban baseball history. Cuba has returned to the Planet Baseball Classic semifinals for the very first time due to the fact the very first WBC in 2006, marking a return to the final 4 for the group that was international baseball royalty for so a lot of years.

Because the winner would have 4 days till it played once again immediately after traveling from Japan to the United States, the format permitted each teams to strategy this one particular game, win-or-go-dwelling quarterfinal with an all hands on deck strategy. That suited Cuba superior than Australia simply because it had a deeper pitching employees of energy arms. Cuba’s largest strength as a pitching employees is that it had a trio of pitchers who had been amongst the superior relievers in Japan’s Nippon Experienced Baseball league in 2022. Cuba was in a position to throw all 3 of them—Yariel Rodriguez, Livan Moinelo and Raidel Martinez—at Australia though mixing in Roenis Elias as effectively.

Rodriguez began the game for Cuba, but Australia jumped out to an early lead against him on a Rixon Wingrove RBI single in the second. Cuba promptly answered as Roel Santos walked, Yoan Moncada doubled and Luis Robert scored Santos on a ground out in the third.

Cuba then took a lead it would by no means relinquish in the fifth inning, when once again with the best of the lineup top the way. Santos, the team’s leadoff hitter, singled, Moncada walked and Robert was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Alfredo Despaigne drove in Santos on a sacrifice fly and Yoelkis Guibert drove in Moncada and Robert on an RBI single, providing Cuba a four-1 lead.

Wingrove reduce the lead to one particular with a two-run dwelling run off of Elias in the sixth inning, but Cuba’s bullpen shut the door immediately after that. Moinelo threw a scoreless eighth inning and Martinez struck out two of the 3 batters he faced in the ninth, like Australia cleanup hitter Darryl George, to finish the game.

Rodriguez was the only Cuban pitcher to throw far more than 50 pitches in the game, so the rest of the employees will be offered by WBC pitcher rest guidelines for Sunday’s semifinal.

For Australia, it is nevertheless a extremely admirable outcome as the group reached the second round for the very first time in Planet Baseball Classic history. For Cuba, a second round loss would have been an acceptable outcome, but one particular that just reinforced its descent from the best rungs of international baseball.

This is the very first time that Cuba has mixed MLB players with players who have stayed in Cuba to play in Serie Nacional as effectively as players who have gone to play in Japan. That did make a dramatic distinction in the depth of Cuba’s roster.

The pair of White Sox’s in the lineup, Moncada and Robert, scored two of Cuba’s 4 runs and the Mariners’ Elias pitched two innings though the A’s Miguel Romero pitched 1.two scoreless innings.

And by blending collectively a roster of players who are starring in Cuba, Japan and the U.S., Cuba has its greatest international results in years. The group that has won 3 of six Olympic gold medals in baseball as effectively as two silvers is back amongst the world’s final 4.

Anthony Santander (Getty Images)

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