The second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic started on Saturday with wins by Venezuela and Puerto Rico at the Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Today the schedule will be kicked off at PETCO Park in San Diego too. Additionally another team will go home, as the losers of yesterday will fight against elimination in Florida.
World Baseball Classic Schedule for Sunday, March 15:
9pm CET, WBC Pool 1: Cuba – Japan
(PECTO Park, San Diego, California, ESPN2, MLB.tv live)
With Cuba winning Pool B through three straight wins and Japan being seeded in second place of Pool A after round one of the World Baseball Classic, we’ll see a rematch of the 2006 WBC finals in the Pool 1 opener tonight in San Diego. Three years ago Japan won 10-6. In the 2008 Olympics Cuba prevailed 4-2 in the round robin phase. Daisuke Matsuzaka will start for Japan on Sunday. Cuban manager Higinio Velez didn’t name a starter yet, but we should expect Norge Vera on the mound, as he hasn’t pitched since game one of the tournament.
Monday, 0.30am CET, WBC Pool 2: USA – Netherlands
(Dolphin Stadium, Miami, Florida, ESPN America, ESPN2, MLB.tv live)
Team USA and the Netherlands will fight against elimination on Sunday, hoping to avoid being the first squad to go home in round two. The Dutch team needs to pull off another upset, but is fully motivated after a nice outing on Saturday against Venezuela. The offense didn’t seem too much overmatched in the 1-3 loss and the pitching staff continued its impressive work from round one, allowing just three hits against the best offense of the first phase. Rick van den Hurk of the Florida Marlins is scheduled to take the mound, pitching in his home ballpark.
The USA not only lost against Puerto Rico, but was embarrassed by Carlos Beltran and Co. in just two hours and 15 minutes 1-11. Additionally they lost American League MVP Dustin Pedroia before the game because of an oblique strain. He will be replaced by Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles on the roster. Davey Johnson returns to the helm after attending the wedding of his stepson yesterday. He will send Roy Oswalt to the mound, opposing the Netherlands offense.
Monday, 4am CET, WBC Pool 1: Korea – Mexico
(PECTO Park, San Diego, California, ESPN America, ESPN2, MLB.tv live)
It was certainly not a boring first round for each Korea or Mexico. The Korean team pounded Taiwan 9-0 in the Pool A opener, then lost 2-14 against Japan, beat up China 14-0, before getting revenge against Japan with a 1-0 shutout, taking the first seed in the Asian group of the World Baseball Classic. Mexico was surprisingly crushed by the Australian team 7-17 in game one of Pool B, needing a 14-3 clubbing against South Africa to stay alive and a 16-1 payback against the Aussies to advance. Finally they lost by a 4-16 margin versus Cuba to finish in second place. These are a combined 135 runs in eight games with Korean and Mexican participation. But these matches happened in ballparks, best suited for hitters. This will change today in San Diego, where the ball doesn’t travel so well as in Tokyo or Mexico City. Oliver Perez will face Hyun Jin Ryu on the mound in the beginning. In the 2006 WBC Korea defeated Mexico 2-1.