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Diamondbacks reporting from WBC: day 5 and 6

On Saturday games started on the American continent as well, mixing up time zones.

World Baseball Classic Pool C: Colombia v Mexico Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We will ramp up the reports for a couple of days because of the many games being played these days.

Group A finished their group games and the results left all teams tied with a .500 winning percentage. Some complex tiebreaker eventually pointed out that Cuba and outsider Italy continue to the next round, with the Cubans ending in first place.

Japan finished and won all of their games in Group B and advances to the next round. If Australia wins its next match against Czech Republic, it will join Japan, but if the Czechs win and Korea too, the Einsteins at MLB will have to come up with their tiebreaker again and I suppose the Koreans would make the best chance to pass the group.

Next round are knock-out rounds in old-fashioned Wild Card style. Japan vs Italy is one match-up, the other being Cuba against Australia/Korea/Czech Republic.

Diamondbacks reporting

Emmanuel Rivera (3B/Puerto Rico)

  • Nicaragua @ Puerto Rico 1-9: 3 AB, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 R, 2 RBI.

With Carlos Correa not playing, third base was up for grabs for Rivera and the Diamondbacks infielder was indeed in the starting lineup at 3B, hitting in the middle of the order as 4th. No surprises in this game, apart from Rivera appearing at clean-up, as Puerto Rico got an easy 9-1 win with some really good defensive plays from Baez, Lindor and Maldonado. They carried the team offensively as well.

Rivera was...useful. He brought home the first run in the top 1st, but should have grounded into a double play were it not that the throw from second was too wide. His second RBI was a weird one as well, on a bouncer to the pitcher on a check swing. Rivera also had a strikeout, but added a walk to it in the final inning and crossed the plate some time later. There we no notable plays from 3B.

Henry Ramos, former Diamondback on Puerto Rico’s squad, didn’t play.

Ketel Marte (2B/Dominican Republic)

  • Dominican Republic @ Venezuela 1-5: didn’t play.

I will call it a surprise that Marte wasn’t in the starting lineup, nor did he play. Wander Franco played instead. Hard to imagine that the Dominicana would have gotten a better result against Venezuela with Ketel, as they were simply outplayed by a better opponent, who had a better performance from their starter.

That leaves the Dominican Republic with little more margin for errors in the next games. But don’t misinterpret the result: while it was Venezuela’s first win ever against the Dominican Republic and a surprise win against the tournament favourite, both teams played a tough and competitive game.

Former Diamondbacks Jean Segura and Joel Payamps didn’t make an appearance either.

Alek Thomas (CF/Mexico)

  • Colombia @ Mexico 5-4 (10 innings): 4 AB, 1 H, 0 SO, 0 BB, 2 R, 0 RBI.

At Chase Field Thomas had little work to do for four innings long as Urías was mowing down batters in incredible speed, but then was punished by some sloppy pitches and bad luck combined, and Colombia took the lead 3-1. Thomas crossed home plate two times. The first run came in when he reached first base on a ground out, eliminating the runner to 2nd base, and was afterwards brought home by an Arozarena homerun. His second run came when he singled to center in the bottom 7th, being brought home on two singles, once again tying the game. It wasn’t enough, as Mexico went down in extra innings, somewhat surprisingly.

Former Diamondbacks Taijuan Walker and Oliver Perez didn’t play.

Merrill Kelly (SP/USA)

  • Great Britain @ USA 2-6: didn’t play.

A ridiculously loaded US team where JT Realmuto hit 9th in the lineup took it easy on Great Britain. With Wainwright getting the start, Merrill Kelly didn’t throw a pitch. Seeing a bit how it went, a tougher batting lineup would have probably made more noise at Chase Field.

Gunnar Groen (Great Britain/Rookie leagues)

  • Great Britain @ USA 2-6: didn’t play.

No appearance for London-born Groen. He lacks some real professional baseball experience, of course, but with a calculated loss against the US you’d wonder if the opportunity for Groen to pitch in this game is worse than pitching in any other game at the WBC.

The US didn’t really look on top of their game and that might have been exposed by former Diamondback and current Dodger Trayce Thompson’s performance. The center fielder for Great Britain took Wainwright deep in the first inning on a bad curve but also got a hit. While Great Britain got a few more baserunners during the game, they were never a real threat for the USA.

Endrys Briceño (Venezuela/Amarillo Sod Poodles)

  • Dominican Republic @ Venezuela 1-5: didn’t play.

Briceño didn’t play in the game against Dominican Republic, which was a game for the big boys. Nor did Eduardo Escobar, Chacín or Bracho. Who did appear, and in what way, was David Peralta.

The former Diamondback had two really big hits, the first one being a two-out single off Sandy Alcantara that knocked in two runs, making it a 3-1 ball game. He later added another two-out run to that, on a double, extending the lead to 4-1, although he was tagged out between third and second on a running error, something Miggy couldn’t appreciate.

Will Sherriff (Australia/Rookie leagues/Perth Heat)

  • Australia @ Japan 1-7: 0.2 IP (25 P - 15 S), 2 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3 R.

Sherriff got the pleasure to know Shohei Ohtani when he dropped a 70 mph curveball into the centre of the plate and Ohtani immediately launched it out to right center field at 113.2 mph. That would put 3 runs on the board, as Sherriff had walked Nootbaar and allowed a single to Kondoh. He got two outs, but also hit Yoshida and, once again, in general hat troubles finding the strike zone, so he was lifted before the first inning was over. Japan took a 5-0 lead after 2 innings and decided to roll along quietly.

All in all, despite Australia overachieving at the WBC so far, a tournament to forget for the young Sherriff.

Eric Mendez (The Netherlands/Visalia Rawhide)

  • The Netherlands @ Italy 1-7: 1.1 IP (28 P - 15 S), 2 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 R.

Some inferior pitching once again wiped out a Dutch lead over Italy. Eric Mendez made his second appearance in the WBC, relieving Mike Bolsenbroek, with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs, and The Netherlands already down 4-1. A badly located slider from Mendez allowed Nick Lopez (Royals) to run all the way to third base and two more runners to cross home plate, putting the game out of reach of The Netherlands, 6-1. After that he got fellow Diamondback Dominic Fletcher, who lead that inning off, to fly out on a fastball down and below. An inning later he allowed a walk and a single, but without any real damage.

Once again, Mendez was wild from time to time, and without any mind-blowing stuff his performances at this WBC weren’t beautiful, but still quite effective. Definitely a great experience for the young man from Aruba.

Dominic Fletcher, Dominic Miroglio, Mitchell Stumpo (Italy/Reno Aces)

  • The Netherlands @ Italy 1-7: Fletcher: 5 AB, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 R. Stumpo: 1 IP (18 P - 12 S), 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 R.

Dominic Fletcher was hitting third this time, but didn’t come up very clutch in this game and left a total of 6 batters on base. The tasks in offence were done by the two guys in front of him, Frelick and Lopez. Fletcher did lead in the comeback and turnaround of Team Italy in the 4th inning, hitting a single and walking in the tie run at that moment.

On the other hand, Fletcher was also subject to a couple of strange misplays in the outfield, where he was apparently blinded by the lights (in the weekend lol) and couldn’t make a couple of simple catches.

Mitchell Stumpo once again entered the game in a non-save situation and after a bad start walking a batter and allowing a single got the next 3 opponents out, although he was lucky Chadwick Tromp didn’t do damage on a bad located cutter. That cutter was basically the only pitch he threw in his inning of work.

Play of the game goes to Joe La Sorsa, by the way, who got 3 outs in a row with the bases loaded in the 6th inning and screamed out “wooooo” for I don’t know how many times from the mound and continued in the dugout. It was awesome to see (even though I had obviously hoped for a different result). Here is a glimpse of it, but I think the whole scene was more than 30 seconds or so.

No Diamondbacks reporting

Czech Republic @ Korea ended in an easy 7-3 victory for the KBO powerhouse, that took an early 6-0 lead after two innings and therefore never had to fear another surprise from an inferior opponent.

Cuba @ Chinese Taipei ended in a 7-1 win for the Cubans, who just like Korea, took an early 6-0 lead after two innings and silenced the crowd and the Taiwanese batting corps. It could have been a blow out win as the Cubans slugged and slugged, but the Taiwanese outfield was able to prevent worse, although the result has left them without options to advance to the next round.