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Around The World: March 7, 2017 - Bruce Chen pitches well for China

Bruce Chen took the mound for China in their 2017 WBC opener and a trio of Indians took the field in exhibition games against major league clubs. Read about their performances and all of the other action from Tuesday in the WBC as the IBI's Arthur Kinney takes you Around the World...

Cuba 6, China 0

Cuba rebounded from their pool-opening loss to Japan by holding China to one hit in a game that might have been much worse if not for Bruce Chen's solid start.  China looks to be a respectable team, but one that will likely compete with Australia to avoid last place in the pool and having to qualify for the 2021 tourney.

Bruce Chen (China, SP) - ND, 2.2 IP - The Chinese nine need Chen to pitch as many games as he possibly can, this means limiting him to 49 pitches per game.  With no outs and a 1-1 count in the third inning, Chen's pitch count stood at 48.  It looked as if he would have to leave the game mid-batter (the absolute pitch limits allow for a pitcher to finish facing a batter, the limits triggering a particular number of rest days do not), then the Chinese defense turned a double play to allow Chen to finish 2.2 IP at exactly 49 pitches.

Netherlands 5, South Korea 0

The South Korean team's woes appear to be deeper than running into the buzzsaw that is the Israeli baseball juggernaut.  The lack of Korean major leaguers seems to be taking its toll as the almost entirely KBO roster has lost to not only the MLB/MiLB-heavy Israeli team, but have also now been shut out by a Dutch side consisting largely of minor leaguers (both affiliated and independent) and players from Holland's Honkbal Hoofdklasse.  If they lose to a Chinese Taipei team weakened by the Chinese Professional Baseball League's Lamigo Monkeys' refusal to release its players to play in the WBC, then it might be time to rethink the KBO's place in the global baseball pecking order.

Japan 11, Cuba 6

Japan established themselves as the team to beat in Pool B with this victory in the matchup between the two teams expected to advance to the second round from the pool.  While the host country won the game decisively, Cuba did improve significantly as the game went on (outscored Japan 5-4 in the last three innings after being outscored 7-1 in the first six).  Between this result and the aforementioned score of Cuba's second game of the tournament against China, it seems likely that the game between China and Japan may end early due to the mercy rule (which is 15 runs after five innings or 10 runs after seven).

STANDINGS

POOL A
Israel - 2-0
Netherlands - 1-0
Chinese Taipei - 0-1
South Korea - 0-2

POOL B
Japan - 1-0
Cuba - 1-1
Australia - 0-0
China - 0-1

EXHIBITION GAMES

The teams playing in the North American pool began play yesterday with exhibitions against Major League Baseball teams.  The teams playing in their pool's opener on Thursday played their first exhibition on Tuesday.  The teams opening their tournament on Friday join them today as all eight Pool C and D teams will be in action.  The teams who open WBC play on Friday will play their second exhibition on Thursday.  Below are scores from Tuesday's games with recaps of performances by Indians organization players.  Pool C (Miami) teams are playing in the Grapefruit League while Pool D (Guadalajara) teams are playing in the Cactus League.

Baltimore Orioles 5, Dominican Republic 4

Carlos Santana (Dominican Republic, 1B) - 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB - Santana had a solid start to his time with the Dominican squad and, most importantly, remained healthy.

Canada 7, Toronto Blue Jays 1

No Indians in action.

Italy 8, Chicago Cubs 7

Chris Colabello (Italy, 1B) - 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 E - A nondescript day for Colabello, but an injury-free one.

Luis Lugo (Italy, SP) - ND, 2 IP, 1 H - Lugo was the only pitcher to pitch multiple innings for Italy on Tuesday and set the tone for an 8-7 victory over the World Champions by pitching two solid innings.

San Diego Padres 7, Mexico 3

No Indians in action.

PITCH LIMITS

I have referenced pitch limits in both today's column and yesterday's as well, so I felt it necessary to explain them in more detail.  Here's a quick rundown:

Absolute Pitch Limits (may be exceeded to finish pitching to a batter):

  • 65 pitches - First Round (Pools A-D)
  • 80 pitches - Second Round (Pools E-F)
  • 95 pitches - Championship Round (final four at Dodger Stadium)

Rest Requirements (may not be exceeded to finish pitching to a batter):

  • 50 pitches - four days rest
  • 30 pitches - one day rest
  • pitches two days in a row - one day rest

That's all for day two of the WBC.  We'll be back tomorrow to recap day three,including the Netherlands wrapping up their First Round against Chinese Taipei and Israel (the latter of whom will also be completing their Pool A schedule), Australia opening their Classic against Japan, and a full slate of exhibitions in North America.


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