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Diamondbacks reporting from WBC: day 6 and 7

Only Emmanuel Rivera (Puerto Rico) and Alek Thomas (Mexico) making notable appearances.

2023 World Baseball Classic Pool D: Game 6 Team Israel v. Team Puerto Rico Photo by Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Over the past days Group B also ended their games, with Australia taking the second place and joining Japan in the next round. That means South Korea heads home, another WBC disappointment, while Australia takes on Cuba in the second round.

Diamondbacks Reporting

Jacob Steinmetz (Israel/Rookie leagues)

  • Nicaragua @ Israel 1-3: didn’t play.
  • Israel @ Puerto Rico 0-10: didn’t play.

Israel was one of the last teams at the WBC to play their first game. They got their first win, as could have been reasonably expected, but that they did so off Yankee pitcher Loaisiga might have been a bit unexpected. Nicaragua and Israel played a tough offensive game, with Nicaragua taking a 1-0 lead into the 8th inning. Then Loaisiga happened and Israel won the game. Steinmetz didn’t make an appearance.

Gunnar Groen (Great Britain/Rookie leagues)

  • Great Britain @ Canada 8-18: didn’t play.
  • Colombia @ Great Britain 5-7: didn’t play.

A crazy first inning where Canada’s starter Cal Quantrill struggled mightily for Canada and didn’t make it out of the first inning, walking 4 and allowing 3 early runs to Great Britain. Canada immediately struck back. First with a first pitch homerun and then 2 additional on a bad play between 1B and catcher. Canada would take a 5-3 lead after that 1st inning and with both pitching corpses struggling with command, it became quite a slugfest. Canada got the better hand though, helped by a staggering amount of 16 walks in just 6 innings of pitching by those who thought they were representing the Brits. After more than 3 and a half hours of play the mercy rule did what it had to do and finally put and end to the ailing lion.

A day later against Colombia Great Britain stood up, surprisingly, and robbed Colombia from a win, which takes away the goodwill the South Americans had created after winning against Mexico. This time Great Britain got almost 4 innings out of their starter, but above all kept the walks in check with 6. Some speed on the bases and some timely swings did the rest.

Alek Thomas (CF/Mexico)

  • Mexico @ USA 11-5: 5 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 SO.

It wasn’t the best offensive game from Alek and maybe he could have taken some more advantage of some poorly located pitches, but that isn’t why he is in this Mexican lineup. His job is to play good defensive in the outfield, which is exactly what he did as shown by the highlight below.

Merrill Kelly (SP/USA)

  • Mexico @ USA 11-5: didn’t play.
  • Canada @ USA 1-12: didn’t play.

Oops! In our previous report we wrote that USA weren’t really onto the game against Great Britain and the same can be said about the match against Mexico. How would you explain the rare errors from Arenado, McNeil and Goldschmidt? However good Mexico might be, the US was on its way to an embarrassing 11-2 loss put did some window dressing in the bottom 8th to eventually lose 11-5. The margin for errors seems to have slipped away though.

The message seems to have come through to the Americans though, as they destroyed 19-year old Class A pitcher Mitch Bratt in the first inning of the game against Canada, taking a 9-0 lead and cruising to a mercy rule victory in 7 innings to save some arms.

I guess we’ll see Kelly against Colombia?

Emmanuel Rivera (3B/Puerto Rico)

  • Venezuela @ Puerto Rico 9-6: 4 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 SO.

Rivera was much more dominant in the game against Venezuela although a tough opponent combined with a couple of infield errors from Puerto Rico put the game out of reach. With the bases loaded in the 6th inning he got a single and an RBI, while he got another single in the 8th to keep the momentum going, allowing the tying run to get to the plate, that didn’t happen though.

Former Diamondback Henry Ramos also made a pinch-hit appearance but flew out against Silvino Bracho.

  • Israel @ Puerto Rico 0-10: 4 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 SO.

Led by a strong pitching performance from Jose De Leon (10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings), Puerto Rico no-hit Israel, and achieved an easy win, leading 6-0 after two innings. Once again, Rivera got the bat on a no-miss slider in the 1st and was knocked in in the next at bat by a Javier Baez double. In the second inning he got a sinker that with all the movement went opposite field into the gap, allowing Rivera to reach 3rd and get an RBI.

Once again former D-Back Henry Ramos would make an unsuccessful pinch hit appearance.

Ketel Marte (2B/Dominican Republic)

  • Dominican Republic @ Nicaragua 6-1: didn’t play.

Once again no appearance for Ketel Marte, nor for former Diamondbacks Joel Payamps or Jean Segura. Nicaragua couldn’t get much going against the Dominican Republic until they encountered some inferior pitching in the 7th inning in the form of...wait...former Diamondback César Valdez? Valdez pitched in 9 games for the Diamondbacks in 2010, good for a 7.65 ERA. Raise your hand if you still remember him! The Nicaraguans might after this game, as they got more than half of their hits off him, scoring a run as well.

Endrys Briceño (Venezuela/Amarillo Sod Poodles)

  • Venezuela @ Puerto Rico 9-6: didn’t play.
  • Nicaragua @ Venezuela 1-4: didn’t play.

It looked like Venezuela would run away with the game, leading 9-1 after 5 innings, with a dominant start from Marlins’ Pablo Lopez and a big game from Royals’ Salvador Perez, leading the team tonight with 5 RBI and going 4 for 4. Former Diamondback David Peralta also was of influence, knocking in a runner and taking two walks. Less dominant was Eduardo Escobar who went hitless in 5 at bats and left 6 runners on the bases.

Also of dominance was former Diamondback Silvino Bracho, who entered the game with two men on the bases and no outs, with Puerto Rico gearing up for a comeback after Jhoulys Chacín, another Diamondback, had allowed them to get back into the game. Bracho got 5 consecutive outs, closing the game for Venezuela to achieve yet another important game.

Bracho was also important in the game against Nicaragua, that once again kept things close with an opponent. He got the hold there in a game where Venezuela didn’t get much out of their starter Eduardo Rodriguez, former Red Sox and current Tiger, who went only two innings with lots of traffic on the bases although keeping the opponent limited to just 1 run. David Peralta was the only other former Diamondback to make an appearance, as a defensive replacement.

Will Sherriff (Australia/Rookie Leagues/Perth Heat)

  • Australia @ Czech Republic 8-3: didn’t play.

No appearance for young Sherriff in what was a crucial match for Australia. Win and pass to the next round or lose and get into the tiebreaker. Australia stayed on the good side of the score, although it wasn’t until the final 3 innings that the Aussies were able to walk away. Once again a disastrous outing from the “best European talent” Michal Kovala. Still, a fine debut from the Czechs at the WBC, but Australia takes the award of most surprising team by taking the second spot in Group B.

No Diamondbacks reporting

Korea @ China ... 20 hits, 10 walks and 22 runs for Korea against what by far has been the worst team at the WBC. Because Australia eventually won against the Czechs, Korea got eliminated but had the Czechs won, then the tiebreaker would have surely favoured the Koreans. Now, once again a disappointing WBC appearance for Korea despite a record setting score in just 5 innings, mercy ruling the Chinese.