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WBC Daily: Recapping an eventful Sunday slate; Team USA in trouble?
Major League Baseball

WBC Daily: Recapping an eventful Sunday slate; Team USA in trouble?

Updated Mar. 13, 2023 4:28 p.m. ET

Get back on your normal sleep schedule, friends — at least for a day or two. With Pool B drawing to a close early Monday morning, there aren't any late-night or break-of-dawn WBC games until the quarterfinals begin on Wednesday morning.

But while pool play in Asia is all wrapped up, things are only starting to get spicy stateside where two pre-tournament favorites in the U.S. and Dominican Republic picked up early losses.

Here's what you need to know.

Mexico 11, USA 5


Joey Meneses homered twice, Randy Arozarena kept hitting and Mexico crushed the U.S. into molé powder, 11-5. The game's key moment came in the top of the fourth when U.S. skipper Mark DeRosa left a struggling Brady Singer in the game way too long. 

With two bags occupied and two down, Singer goosed a zipless heater at 92 up in the zone to Meneses, who parked it in the seats to give Mexico a 7-1 lead. 

The American offense scored just one run through the first six innings, and while the vaunted "greatest lineup ever" got rolling later on, they've undoubtedly underwhelmed thus far. Patrick Sandoval and Javier Assad (legitimate big-league arms, to their credit) combined to toss six innings allowing just a single run. It was, quite simply, not how this was supposed to go for DeRosa & Co.

Mexico vs. USA Highlights

Mexico took on the USA in pool play of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Joey Meneses got the party going for Mexico by slamming a two-run home run in the first inning. Things really opened up in the fourth inning after Randy Arozarena hit an RBI double followed by another home run by Joey Meneses.

There's a longer conversation to be had about how the U.S. approaches the tournament as a whole between the underwhelming, B-Team pitching rotation and the selection of DeRosa, who'd never managed before, as the skipper of the club, but there's no need to go full panic mode unless U.S. slips up against Canada on Monday night. This is still the most talented team in the tournament and it should still win the whole thing, but a loss to the Canadians would make advancing out of the group almost impossible and make this possibly the most disappointing international baseball performance of all time.

Canada 18, Great Britain 8

This was both a slogfest and a slugfest. In perhaps the greatest argument for (1) the pitch clock and (2) throwing strikes, Canada mercy-ruled Great Britain 18-8 in the early game in Phoenix. Seven GB pitchers walked a total 16 hitters in just seven innings and Canada made them pay with a non-stop barrage of offense that sets the northerners up really well in Pool C. 

The Brits got to Canadian hurler Cal Quantrill for three in the top of the first, but Hot Twins prospect Edouard Juilien dingered on the very first pitch Canada saw in the bottom half. That set the tone. I wouldn't say we learned anything new about this Canadian team; we knew the lineup could rake and we knew that the pitching was flimsier than a maple leaf in a blizzard. Let's see if they can keep the U.S. under 18 runs tonight themselves.

Great Britain vs. Canada Highlights

Great Britain jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but Canada quickly responded as they grabbed a 5-3 lead by the end of the first inning. Highlighted by an Owen Caissie home run, Canada managed to get 17 hits in their 18-8 victory over Great Britain.

Israel 3, Nicaragua 1

This one was a banger. A quartet of Nicaraguan hurlers with a grand total of zero combined MLB innings — Ronald Medrano, Leo Crawford, Osman Gutierrez and Carlos Teller — kept Israel in check through the first seven innings. Orioles starter Dean Kremer, who has been playing for the top Team Israel club since he was 15, was predictably awesome, but Nicaragua scratched a run across in the fifth off reliever Josh Wolf

Up one with six outs to get, Nicaragua fans must have felt great when they saw Jonathan Loáisiga, the shutdown Yankees reliever and the greatest pitcher their country has ever produced, jogging into the game. But baseball is weird and the Israelis got to Loáisiga with a trio of runs in the bottom of the eighth, including two on a massively clutch two-out ground-rule double from Phillies catcher turned Team Israel third baseman Garrett Stubbs.

It was a crucial win for Israel, who still faces an uphill battle in this stacked group. It's a bizarre team — besides that catcher playing third, they have a DH (Joc Pederson) playing center field — but one with some sneaky talent. People expected Israel's offense to carry it, which wasn't the case on Sunday, but if guys like Pederson, Zac Gelof and Matt Mervis get hot, watch out.

For Nicaragua, it's almost certainly curtains on their WBC run after two games. They'd need wins against the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, plus some help in the other results.

Nicaragua vs. Israel Highlights

Israel faced off against Nicaragua in the World Baseball Classic on March 12th. In the eighth inning, Garett Stubbs' RBI double and Spencer Horwtiz's RBI single helped Israel grab a 3-1 lead and win the game.

Venezuela 9, Puerto Rico 6

Before this year, Venezuela, the nation with the third-most MLB active players, had quite a fizz-less WBC history, their only top-four finish coming way back in 2009. But through their first two games this go-round, the yellow, blue and red tidal wave of baseballing energy seems destined for glory.

A pair of early home dingers from Anthony Santander (already his second of the tourney) and Salvador Pérez gave Venezuela an early 7-0 cushion they'd never relinquish. Even though Puerto Rico battled back to make it a game, Venezuela's bullpen limited the damage. After wins against the two other powerhouses in Pool D, Venezuela is a near lock to advance to the knockout stages with games against Israel and Nicaragua up next.

Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico Highlights

Venezuela got on the board early thanks to Salvador Perez’s RBI single in the first inning. Immediately afterwards, Anthony Santander crushed a three-run home run to bring the score to 4-0. Venezuela would go on to win 9-6.

Besides the dynamic Díaz duo in their bullpen, Puerto Rico's pitching was always going to be its weak spot. That underbelly was exposed on Sunday afternoon, with Venezuela tattooing Toronto starter José Berríos into another hemisphere. Puerto Rico, now 1-1, face a pair of must-win games in this proverbial group of death, Monday against Israel and Wednesday against the Dominican Republic (who was off on Sunday).

Australia 8, Czech Republic 3

For the first time in their WBC history, Australia is moving onto the knockout round, thanks to a rousing 8-3 victory over the Czech Republic at the Tokyo Dome in the wee hours of Monday morning, U.S. time. A heroic performance from Czech ace Martin Schneider kept things close into the middle innings, but once Schneider ran out of pitches, the Aussies ran wild, with two in the seventh, three in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Designated hitter Alex Hall drove in four while a squad of five Aussie hurlers kept their opponents in check.

Australia vs Czech Republic Highlights

Australia met the Czech Republic in Pool B of the World Baseball Classic. Australia took a lead in the seventh inning when Logan Wade crushed a 2 RBI double for a 3-1 lead. Australia won 8-3 and advanced to the quarterfinals.

Next up for the hitteroos, a showdown with Pool A winners Cuba at the Tokyo Dome on Wednesday morning, with a trip to the semifinals in Miami on the line. This is already uncharted territory for Australia, a team without a single current MLB player on their roster.

It must be said: What a totally respectable performance for a group of sanitation workers and insurance salesmen from the Czech Republic. And what's more, they won't need to labor through qualification for the next WBC, as their win over China in their first game guaranteed them a spot in 2027's tourney. 

Korea 22, China 2

Korea's opening-game whoopsie-daisy against Australia turned out to be their whole tournament. The Aussies' win against the Czech Republic in the early game meant that Korea, the runners-up in 2009, were sent packing after the group stage for the third straight edition. 

Korea vs. China Highlights

Korea took on China in pool play at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Korea's offense had a historic day and put up a whopping 22 runs behind grand slams from Kunwoo Park and Ha-Seong Kim. Korea would go on to win 22-2.

Now, people deal with disappointment in many different ways. Personally, I like to ride my bike for hours. Korea dealt with their underwhelming performance by beating the brakes off of China 22-2 in five innings. I'm not a baseball expert — well, I kinda am, but it's tough to win a ballgame when you go out there and allow 22, the most runs in a single game in WBC history.

Goodbye to both of these clubs and good luck to China who, because of their last place finish in the group, will need to go through the qualification process for the 2027 tournament.


(x) indicates a team has advanced, (y) indicates a team has been eliminated

Pool A — Taichung, South Korea

(x) Cuba: 2-2 

(x) Italy: 2-2

Netherlands: 2-2

Panama: 2-2

Chinese Taipei: 2-2

Pool B — Tokyo, Japan

(x) Japan: 4-0 

(x) Australia: 3-1

Korea: 2-2

(y) Czech Republic: 1-3

(y) China: 0-4

Pool C — Phoenix

Canada: 1-0

Colombia: 1-0

Mexico: 1-1

USA: 1-1

Great Britain: 0-2

Pool D — Miami

Venezuela: 2-0

Israel: 1-0

Puerto Rico: 1-1

Dominican Republic: 0-1

Nicaragua: 0-2

Jake Mintz, the louder half of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He played college baseball, poorly at first, then very well, very briefly. Jake lives in New York City where he coaches Little League and rides his bike, sometimes at the same time. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Mintz.

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