World Baseball Classic Groups 3 and 4 Update and Predictions
Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Sam Evans: The World Baseball Classic qualifying rounds in Panama and Taiwan are finally underway. Many of these games were predictable blowouts but some came down to the end. It will only be a few days before it is revealed which teams are advancing, so here is a quick recap of the games already played and a preview of the finals.
The first game in Panama was by far the most exciting. On Thursday, Brazil and Panama faced off at Rod Carew Stadium. JC Muniz drove in the game-winning run for Brazil in the fifth inning. Murilo Gouvea pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in relief to lead the Brazilians to a 3-2 win. The game the next day, between Colombia and Nicaragua, was not even close, as the Colombians pulled off a 8-1 victory. In somewhat of an upset, Donovan Solano tripled and drove in two runs. Erasmo Ramirez had a rough day for Nicaragua, lasting only 1.2 innings.
The third game in Panama was between Brazil and Panama. Brazil pulled off a 8-1 win, despite Colombia’s eight hits. Brazil was led by third baseman Leonardo Reginatto, who had three hits and drove in two runs. In a game where the loser was knocked out, Panama defeated Nicaragua 6-2. Ruben Tejada led Panama, the host country, with three doubles.
The WBC games taking place in Taiwan have been a lot less close than the games in Panama. In Game One, the Philippines pulled off a surprising upset over Thailand. Jon Jon Robles pitched 4.1 innings for the Philippines, allowing only one run, unearned. The Filipino team later faced Chines Taipei, and Chinese Taipei dominated in a 16-0 win. Yi-Chaun Lin drove in five runs for Taiwan. Before defeating the Filipino team, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) cruised to a 10-0 win over New Zealand. New Zealand later defeated Thailand and the Philippines, meaning they will face off against Chinese Taipei on Sunday for all the marbles.
In Panama, only three teams are still alive. Panama and Colombia will play for the right to play Brazil in the championship. These two are pretty similar in terms of talent. I see Panama beating Colombia and Brazil to advance. Maybe the home-field advantage is overstated, but I think Ruben Tejada and Ruben Rivera will both step up under the spotlight and lead Panama to victory.
The game between New Zealand and Chinese Taipei to determine who will advance from this Asian group shouldn’t even be close. After all, Taiwan already played New Zealand and beat them 10-0. It is possible that New Zealand has come together as a team and is playing much better baseball since their loss. Baseball is a very unpredictable sport, so anything could happen when Taiwan faces New Zealand Sunday. However, Taiwan should be the heavy favorite to defeat New Zealand and advance to the next round.
Groups 3 and 4 of the World Baseball Classic have been great so far. However, all good things must come to an end at some point. Within the next couple of days, we will know which teams will advance from these two groups.
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***Today’s feature was prepared by Sam Evans, Baseball Writer. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter. (@RJA206)***
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Posted on November 18, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball, World Baseball Classic and tagged baseball, Chinese Tipei baseball, mlb, New Zealand WBC, panama, panama baseball, rod carew stadium, ruben rivera, Taiwan baseball, Taiwan WBC, wbc, wbc 2013, world baseball classic. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.