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2023 World Baseball Classic Day 2: Upset from down under

The WBC has begun with plenty of excitement and an offensive explosion.


The WBC is officially underway, and I am here to recap the second day of games. Pool A in Taichung, Taiwan already has three games played, and Pool B in Tokyo, Japan kicked off as well, featuring one of the most exciting rosters in the tournament in Team Korea getting upset by underdog Australia. There was plenty of excitement, including a few offensive explosions. Let’s dive into it all.

Pool A: Panama (1-0) 12, Chinese Taipei (0-1) 5

I woke up nice and early to catch this game, and it did not disappoint. Like many other teams, Panama headed into this tournament with the best roster it’s ever had. While there may not be any standout MLBers, the lineup and rotation has plenty of MLB and MiLB experience. Rubén Tejada, Jonathan Araúz, and Christian Bethancourt are three recognizable games who combined for six hits and five runs batted in.

The Taiwanese pitching struggled to find the zone consistently in the middle innings, but when they did, the Panamanian hitters made it hurt. I was particularly impressed by young Dodgers minor leaguer Jose Ramos. He’s ranked as the 19th-best prospect in their organization according to FanGraphs, and I can see why. His swing is effortlessly powerful, and he has the look as soon as he steps in the box.

I’ll leave you with the most impressive highlight from this game — an incredible catch by Panama’s Luis Castillo in the right center gap, and don’t worry, both players seem to be okay following this collision.

Pool B: Australia (1-0) 8, Korea (0-1) 7

What a stunner! Heading into this game, all eye were on Korea’s incredible offensive firepower. To be honest, the question wasn’t about whether Korea would win or not, rather, how many runs they would win by. But as we always say in sports, the game must be played! The Australians came ready to go and jumped on the back of its best hitters. The environment in Tokyo did not disappoint either.

After taking a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, all seemed like it would begin to go Korea’s way, but in the following half, Robbie Glendinning had something to say when he came up to the plate as the go-ahead run.

Pimp job and a bat flip. After hitting a go-ahead light tower blast you have to admire the work you’ve done. This gave his team the lead, and they never looked back. They followed up with another three run inning that was big enough to secure their victory despite some push back from Korea, who cut the lead down to one run but couldn’t quite secure the victory. Korea now has their backs against the wall and cannot afford to drop another game. We have some excitement early on!

Pool A: Netherlands (2-0) 3, Panama (1-1) 1

Sometimes, you just can’t overcome MLB star power in this tournament. You can only hold off the best for so long, and Panama got a bit of a taste of that last night in their 3-1 defeat by the Netherlands. It wasn’t an offensive clinic by any means, however, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts combined for five hits, including two home runs. Here are both blasts for you to appreciate:

In classic Bogaerts form, he yanked a hanging breaker over the left field wall to kick off the scoring in the competition. He was then followed by Profar’s laser beam out of the park a few innings later. As Profar looks for an MLB deal, this is a sort of try out for him. Despite be an obvious above average big leaguer, he still has no club for the 2023 season. If he continues to hit like this, I’m sure he will find a home in no time. This victory all but solidified the Netherlands’ place at the top of the group. They’ve beaten their two biggest challengers and only need one more win to guarantee their spot in the next round. They’ll be challenged by Taiwan and Italy, but they are more than suited to take victories in both games.

It was an exciting day of action, and we’re just getting started! As you read this, Shohei Ohtani and Japan have probably already almost completed their game against China. It’ll be a busy day, including some fun exhibitions between countries and MLB teams. Tune in if you please!

Today at the WBC:

China vs. Japan
Time: 5:00 a.m. EST
Venue: Tokyo Dome, Japan

Italy vs. Cuba
Time: 6:00 a.m. EST
TV: Tubi
Venue: Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, Taiwan

Czech Republic vs. China
Time: 10:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Tokyo Dome, Japan

Panama vs. Italy
Time: 11:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, Taiwan