Phoenix – The win and move took place Wednesday night for Team USA against Colombia in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and the United States answered the call. barely. USA won 3-2 thanks in large part to Mike Trout (you may have heard of him). The Americans will face Venezuela in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Miami.
Let’s take a look at how it went down at Chase Field in Arizona on Wednesday.
Mike Trout game
After his third bet, I started imagining Mike Trout giving a wrestling-style promo saying something like “Just in case you forgot who the hell I am…” The MVP was the MVP of this game.
Trout tripled off the center field wall in the first inning but was stranded on third base. Then, Mookie Betts grabbed a home run with two outs in the first run of the game. The next time it was the fifth summit with the USA trailing 2-1. The runners were second and third. Yes, Trout did his thing again.
Also notable is that in the bottom of the third inning, Colombia already scored two runs and Meibrys Vilora sent a rocket to right center that could have added another run. Instead, Trout ran it in for the final inning.
Trout went 3 for 4 with a USA RBI triple and three. If there was such a thing, he would have been the best player in the game in a collective way.
We should point out that Mookie Betts did his job getting on base twice against Trout, scoring two of USA’s three runs. Give credit to Bates, but this game was mostly about Trout carrying the USA offense.
The United States retreated again
The USA finished pool play 3-1, but trailed in three of their four games. The only exception was when the USA scored nine runs against Canada in the first inning. Moving into the quarterfinals, and possibly beyond, USA will face much tougher competition and will have to stop playing from behind.
Crime was lacking
There were definitely some whoops and foul balls. Betts and Nolan Arenado both hit homer error balls down the left field line. Arenado’s double play in the first half was good. Arenado and Kyle Schwarber both flew to the caution track. Bates and Trea Turner lined up sharply left.
All of which is to say that the offense may have collectively swung the bat better than three runs over seven hits.
However, it was only three innings of seven strikeouts against a staff with hardly any major league caliber talent. The only extra base hit was Trout’s triple.
We have been watching baseball long enough to know that it is not a game of small samples and we should not make any sweeping judgments based on said samples. To say that the US offense is bad or even mediocre when it is actually loaded would be folly. However, this tournament is made up of small samples, and to name a few, Japan was little challenged. The United States isn’t playing to their potential on the offensive end, except for that massive rally against Canada. Maybe the next round will change.
A rough start for Kelly, but it delivered
The major weakness Team USA faced en route to the World Baseball Classic wasn’t really in question. this is the beginning. The 34-year-old Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly has never been an All Star and he got the ball in a game the United States really needed to win. In three innings of work, he coughed twice on four batters and walked twice against only one batter. It wasn’t a strong performance. Then again, it wasn’t crushed either, and definitely the USA should have provided more support.
As for the line of balms that followed Kelly, they were mostly amazing. Kendall Graffman gave up a single but cleared it with a putt to end his scoreless inning. Daniel Bard worked out for a walk. David Bednar and Jason Adam were awesome. Devin Williams and Ryan Presley closed the door.
Next up: Venezuela
Venezuela advanced 4-0 in their group with wins over Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Israel and Nicaragua. Venezuela’s roster includes a lot of familiar names, such as Jose Altuve, Ronald Acuña, Miguel Cabrera, Salvador Perez, Anthony Santander, Luis Aries, Andres Gimenez, Eugenio Suarez and Jiliber Torres, well, you get the point. are uploaded.
USA opener Adam Wainwright got the ball back on the mound, but nothing has been officially announced yet.
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