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Mar '09 12

Cuba, Mexico determining 1st Seed in World Baseball Classic Pool B

The first round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic is nearly over. One more game is left, determining the ranking of Pool B. The second round is scheduled to start on Saturday, March 14 at the Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida and a day later at PETCO Park in San Diego, California.

World Baseball Classic Schedule March 12:

Friday, 2am CET, WBC Pool B: Cuba – Mexico
(Foro Sol Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico, MLB Network, MLB.tv live)
Mexico got revenge for the 7-17 loss from last Sunday and eliminated Australia with an impressive 16-1 romp. It was also another high-scoring affair at the Foro Sol Stadium, bringing the total of runs scored to 76 in the five games in Pool B until today. Tonight they will face Cuba, which hasn’t impressed the tough critics in their home country  so far. Of course they hit six homeruns en route to an easy 8-1 victory over South Africa in the opener, but missed out the opportunity to finish the game early. On Tuesday they even were on the verge of losing against Australia, needing a late homerun to clinch a win.

The stakes are clear. The winner of today’s matchup faces Japan in the round-two opener, the loser Korea. It is kind of picking your poison. On one sides waits the defending World Baseball Classic champion with Yu Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hisashi Iwakuma anchoring the pitching staff. On the other side is the Olympic champion, which came back from a tough loss to clinch first seed in Pool A. It is also the last chance for a slugfest for Cuba and Mexico, as they will leave the launching pad Foro Sol, traveling to pitcher’s heaven PETCO Park in San Diego.

Exhibitions in Arizona:
Even before Cuba and Mexico battle for first place in Pool B, their waiting opponents will round up the exhibition schedule of World Baseball Classic teams against Major League Baseball clubs. Yesterday Japan overcame a 0-4 deficit against San Francisco and Tim Lincecum to win 6-4. Norichika Aoki had three hits. Korea got crushed by the Padres 4-10. Despite the health concerns Shin-Soo Choo was in the lineup as the DH. They will finish the two-day warm-ups in Arizona this afternoon against the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

4pm ET: Chicago Cubs – Japan
4pm ET: Los Angeles Dodgers – Korea

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