Looking at the World Baseball Classic: Group A

Looking at the World Baseball Classic: Group A
Fecha de publicación: 
7 March 2023
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The actions of the V World Classic start this Tuesday for us, and the eyes of baseball fans worldwide turn to it. We propose a first approach to what can happen in each group, and who could advance to the second round.

Group A will be played in Chinese Taipei and in addition to the hosts it includes the Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, and Panama.

Looking at the line-ups, everything seems to indicate that the home team and the Cubans are the most complete, but it’s already known that in this sport anything can happen.

In the case of ours, it will be crucial to start off on the right foot against the tulips on the first day, and for that, Yariel Rodríguez was announced as the starter pitcher, a role from which he has been far removed in recent times.

You could see it coming, because that's how he was used in the training, and it's not unreasonable either, because I see much more strength in the relief pitchers than in the starters, and that's why the man from Camagüey can help the latter. Let's remember that as regulation starter pitchers can throw much in a game.

Besides, if you reach the final innings losing, it's useless to have those relief pitchers, because no matter how well they perform, the job would be in the hands of hitters.

Their first rivals are not at their best, because age takes its toll and Didi Greogorius, Jonathan Schoop, Wladimir Balentien and Andrelton Simmons have seen their best days go by, and closer Kenley Jansen would only join the team in the next round, that's why I think they can be defeated.

Italy and Panama have good teams, but I don't think they are at the level of the aforementioned. Without neglecting for a second against them, they must be victories for the other three teams in the Group.

Then Chinese Taipei would remain, which has the largest representation of this group in North American professional baseball, since 28 of its players are under contract with MLB organizations. Yet only two are playing in the majors this season: rookie Wei-Yin Chen with the Baltimore Orioles and veteran Chien-Ming Wang with the Nationals.

Cuba has played well against the Taipei team in recent years, but there can be no confidence about it. The fact that it’s their last clash in the first phase also takes pressure off our team, because it’s assumed that the other two spots to the next round have already been decided by then.

Therefore, perhaps this match is not very important, because what comes next is a sudden death clash, and really, among those classified in the other group (Japan and South Korea unless a major surprise), you cannot pick a rival because they tough opponents.

Likewise, I believe Cuba practically puts everything at stake in that first confrontation against their punishers of the last decade.

*Group schedule (Cuban time):*

March 7: Netherlands-Cuba 11 p.m.

March 8: Chinese Taipei-Panama 6 a.m.

                    Netherlands-Panama 11 p.m.

March 9: Cuba-Italy, 6 a.m.

                   Panama-Cuba, 11:30 p.m.

March 10: Chinese Taipei-Italy, 6 a.m.

                     Italy-Panama 11 p.m.

March 11: Chinese Taipei-Netherlands, 6 a.m.

                     Cuba-Chinese Taipei, 11 p.m.

March 12: Italy-Netherlands, 6 a.m.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff


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