MIAMI – Less than 24 hours after beating Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals on Saturday, the United States will return to the tournament’s first semifinal at 7 pm ET against Cuba.
It will be the first time in the history of the World Classic that both countries meet.
With veteran Adam Wainwright taking the mound to open the game, USA—the defending champions—will try to reach the grand final next Tuesday at LoanDepot Park.
In his World Classics debut on March 11, Wainwright pitched a 4.0 innings victory with five hits and one run against Great Britain in Pool C in Phoenix.
In fact, the United States All-Star team has lost only once in this tournament, against Mexico on the 12th in the Chase field. Now, with all the do-or-die sports, the Americans are one step away from the ultimate finale.
In that vein, US manager Mark DeRosa revealed that Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts had met with him and asked him to coach in the World Series.
“He made me fully commit to this guy,” DeRosa said. “You have to put energy into building a match or you’re going to beat yourself up.”
The defending champion of this event will play back-to-back days, using six relievers to cruise through five innings of their win over Venezuela on Saturday in the quarterfinals. DeRosa says on Sunday, he and his staff “will be able to cover it” with what’s available, because they’re still in a deep pitching staff with major league starters and relievers.
CUBA is ready to repeat the RHYTHM
After arriving in Florida from Asia this week, the Cuban team had a few days to shoot in the Western Hemisphere and do some practice. For Cuba, this World Classic was a roller coaster of emotions. Having lost the first two matches in Group A in Chinese Taipei against the Belgians and Italy, manager Armando Johnson’s team led the team in their previous two first rounds with 20-5 aggregate against Taipei and Panama with 20 goals against Taipei and Panama. defense made abroad.
Then on Wednesday, the Cubans beat Australia in a do-or-die quarterfinal in Japan to earn the right to play in their first semifinal in Miami. With a mix of players who belong to the island’s baseball and compatriots who played in the major leagues – some like Luis Robert Jr., Yoán Moncada and Yoenis Céspedes – Cuba reached the semifinals for the first time since 2006. , where the same in nal vs. Japan
For the game against the United States, the Cubans will start on the mound Roenis Elias, a veteran of seven major league seasons. In two appearances (one start) in this tournament, the lefty has four hits and two runs (2.57 ERA).
After such a long trip and several days without game action, how will Johnson’s team be impacted?
“I think we don’t go a day without joking,” said veteran slugger Alfredo Despaigne, who is hitting .412/.389/.588 in four games in this Classic. “We have to save ourselves. We are soldiers and we are going to fight.”
Another factor to consider is the political case. Since this team is the direct representation of the country – and is playing against nothing more and nothing less than the United States – an atmosphere is expected to be divided between the Cubans living in Miami who will support the team and those who will benefit from the implementation of the event. a kind of protest. For the fans, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“I think he owes nothing,” said Despaigne, when the matter was put before him. “The main thing about us is baseball. After two lines back, I don’t care about anything, I just focus on it.
Manager Johnson added: “The athletes are focused on what they really need to do, which is baseball. They are well focused on this and I think they will give everything so that the public can also enjoy a good game against them.”