WBC Notes: Gregory Polanco Helps Dominican Republic to Next Round; USA Also Advances

Four Pittsburgh Pirates saw action during the World Baseball Classic on Sunday, with at least one seeing their WBC run end in the first round.

Team USA took on Canada on Sunday night, needing a win to avoid a tiebreaker scenario on Monday. Eric Wood was the only Pirate in the starting lineup in this game, though Josh Harrison made his first appearance late in the contest. USA won 8-0 and advanced to the next round. Wood had a tough day, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and his second error. He finished up his WBC run with a 2-for-12 performance in three games. Harrison came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and flew out in his only at-bat. He remained in the game at second base.

Gregory Polanco played center field and went 2-for-4 with a walk on Sunday, as the Dominican Republic beat Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings. The score differential is slightly misleading, as the WBC uses standard international rules, where after the tenth inning, teams start each inning with runners on first and second and no outs. Polanco went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in the opening game on Thursday. He didn’t play Saturday.

Francisco Cervelli was the designated hitter on Sunday and went 0-for-3 before leaving late for a pinch-hitter. Team Italy lost 9-3 to Puerto Rico. If his tournament is done (see below), he finished up 4-for-12 with two doubles and a walk.

The game in Mexico tonight between Team Mexico and Venezuela will decide if Francisco Cervelli and Team Italy will have another game or not. It’s a 10 PM start, so expect an update in this article in the morning. As of right now, the only WBC game of note on Monday is Team Israel and Jared Lakind taking on Netherlands at 6:00 AM EST. I’ll also update that game in the morning here, since it won’t be enough for an entire article.

Australia and Colombia have been eliminated, so Sam Street and Luis Escobar won’t be playing in the WBC. Both were on the reserve roster for the second round. Ivan Nova is on the second round reserve roster for the Dominican, so it’s possible he could still play.

UPDATE 8:35 AM: Italy and Venezuela will play a tiebreaker game tonight at 9:00 PM on MLB Network to decide which team advances to the second round. Jared Lakind threw a shutout inning for Israel earlier today, though he did allow two hits and a walk. Israel is down 10-2 in the seventh at this point (they are playing in Tokyo).

  • Cervelli making excellent contact; finished WBC 4 for 9 with 2 doubles. A good overall experience for him and the Pirates.

    Good hitting also for Marte, Polanco, and Eric Wood who has been playing at an elevated level since last year. Career year for power with 16 HR at Altoona, 3 more in the AFL, and 3 more in the Dominican Winter League.

    • Cervelli went 4-for-12 in the first three games, and he’s not finished just yet

      • Yes, I was looking at the stats before yesterday’s game. Overall, I think the Buc’s have been well represented.

  • No Cutch 🙁 was hoping he’d play

    • Yelich playing in his home stadium and doing very well leading USA in hitting – 3 for 5, 2 doubles, 3 RBI. Percentage play by Leyland. Morosi commented in post-game interview that Yelich looked to be in mid-season form. Interesting decision for Leyland to make in the next Round.

      • Not sure how interesting the decision will be, Yelich deserves the job. Cutch looked terrible at the plate and in LF the first game. I just hope he is getting his work in.