Puerto Rico is going back to the WBC Finals! In another thriller, the Puerto Ricans took down the Kingdom of the Netherlands in extra innings to move on to their second-straight WBC Finals appearance. Yadier Molina proved he is still the best catcher in baseball and that no baserunner is safe. That baserunner who was thrown out slowly walking back to first was Jurickson Profar, a utility man for the Rangers. Just goes to show why you need to hustle. The Puerto Ricans head into the Finals with an undefeated 7-0 record with their entire batting order raking the ball. No matter who wins tonight’s second semifinal between the US and Japan, Puerto Rico is a quick team that gets on base, a lot. Just look at that Javy Baez dodging the tag at third base last night.
Netherlands should hold their heads high after another great tournament. They could have easily won Group E and last night’s game but they fell victim to extra inning affairs (8-6 to Japan last week, and 4-3 last night to PR). Four years from now, Netherlands will still have the tremendous young talent they showed off in this year’s WBC and those players will have gained even more MLB experience and success.
Team USA looks to reach their first WBC Final against two-time champion Japan (2006 and 2009). Tanner Roark (WSH) takes the bump tonight in his second tournament appearance after allowing three runs in the USA’s loss to the Dominican Republic in the first round of group play. Roark will need to set the tone early as Japan (6-0) comes into tonight with an offense that has scored at least seven runs in five of their six wins. The crowd should be in Team USA’s favor with it being played on US soil but Japanese baseball fans travel well and get rowdy. The crowd should be absolutely wild.
The good news for the USA is that their lineup is loaded with talent that has been underperforming–this is the perfect time for a breakout. I’m a big Nolan Arenado fan and he has stunk up the clean-up spot in the order. Manager Leyland could move him down in favor of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who batted 8th against the DR this past Saturday going 2-for-4 with that laser shot home run. There are so many different combinations we could see the USA put together, but the bats will need to come alive early.
David Ross on Dancing With the Stars
Third and Girl fans will know that she is a big Reality TV fan. So of course, she was watching the DWTS Spring premiere last night while we were flipping between that and the Sixers’ blown-lead-to-OT-loss in Orlando. Former Cubs catcher David Ross became the first baseball player to appear on the show. I don’t know anything about ballroom dancing or DWTS, but I did like the song he danced to…