Mexico Madness Ends, Survivor Venezuela off to San Diego

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, March 14.

Yes, I can think about baseball when we have snow up to our strike zones.  Our 3 dogs find the snow far above their strike zones on the rare occasions they venture outside.  But in much more friendly conditions Venezuela punched its ticket to the next round of the World Baseball Classic which begins tonight in San Diego.  Nothing came easy for Venezuela.  Down 2-1 to Italy as the 9th inning began just outside of Guadalajara, Mexico the Venezuelans put up a 3-spot to take a 4-2 lead. italy’s Alex Liddi hit a home run to make it 4-3 but that was as close as Italy got.

In the light air of Guadalajara, most of the earlier games featured double-digit scoring.  Italy had opened the tournament with a 10-9 win over Mexico putting up 5 runs in the 9th.  On Saturday, Venezuela barely beat Italy 11-10  in 10 wild innings.  Sunday, Mexico forced a tie-breaker game by beating Venezuela 11-9.  That led to last night’s contest.  Since Mexico had been eliminated, few fans came to watch the game that would launch Venezuela into the next round in San Diego. Italy held a 1-0 lead briefly but Venezuela tied the score. In the last of the 7th John Andreoli whose heroics led Italy to victory Thursday homered to provide a 2-1 lead his mates held until Venezuela’s climactic rally in the 9th. The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera squared things with a blast of his own. The Rangers’ Rougned Odor singled bringing home another Tiger, Victor Martinez. The Royals’ Alcides Escobar bunted to bring home Odor with what turned out to be a vital insurance run. Yet another Tiger, closer Francisco Rodriguez saved the game for his team.

Venezuela gets a day to breathe before facing the United States Wednesday night. With little activity possible in this part of the country owing to the snowstorm, hopefully lots of fans will watch Puerto Rico face the Dominican Republic tonight in the first game of the San Diego round. 4 years ago, the championship game featured the Dominicans defeating Puerto Rico 3-0 in San Francisco.  The game drew some 35,000 fans with 50,000 more watching on large screens in the Dominican Republic. On the other side, in Puerto Rico some 75% of TVS in the land were tuned in.  Among others the Dominicans feature former Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano.  Puerto Rico’s second baseman is Javier Baez, recently seen in the last World Series with the Cubs. They also feature the Indians’ Francisco Lindor and the Astros’ Carlos Correa.

In San Diego there will be one game per day until Saturday when a doubleheader is on tap. The 9 PM start overlaps with an 11 PM start where the Dutch play Cuba in Japan. Tomorrow morning if you either can’t go to work at all or have a delayed opening you can watch Japan face Israel starting at 6 AM.



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