Before we get to yesterday's games, I need to start this column with a correction. The information I was receiving at the time I wrote yesterday's column indicated that Italy would play Mexico in the tiebreaker game in Pool D and that Venezuela would have to qualify for the 2021 WBC. It turns out that,in fact Italy and Venezuela qualified for the tiebreaker game and the 2021 Classic and Mexico was eliminated from this year's tournament and will need to qualify for 2021. I apologize for the error. The column below reflects the corrected information.
Netherlands 12, Israel 2 (8 innings - mercy rule)
The Netherlands avenged their First Round defeat at the hands of Israel in a big way, mercy-ruling them in a game that significantly clouded the-picture in Pool E. Both teams are now 1-1 in the Second Round, with the Dutch side remaining in contention with their win and the Israelis likely needing a win against Japan to make the trip across the pacific to San Diego following their loss. While the results so far in this pool (Japan beating Netherlands who mercy-ruled Israel who beat Cuba) seem to indicate that Japan will advance to the final four, nothing has been that simple thus far in this World Baseball Classic, so why should we assume that thus pool will be any different?
Tyler Krieger (Israel, 2B) - 0-3, 1 K - Krieger's struggles with the bat continued in an effort representative of the Israeli side as a whole on Monday. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to salvage his outing with solid plate discipline. The Israeli nine will need a better performance from Tyler on Wednesday to earn the crucial upset win against the host Samurai Japan team.
Venezuela 4, Italy 3
The reports of Venezuelan baseball's demise are greatly exaggerated. On Monday, I was erroneously reported that they had been eliminated from the 2017 WBC and would needed to qualify in 2020 for the 2021 edition. On Monday night, they are not only not eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, but they are getting ready to board a plane to travel to San Diego to play in the Second Round in Pool F. It looked bad for Omar Vizquel's squad until a three-run top of the ninth sparked by a leadoff homer from 1B Miguel Cabrera. Please disregard everything I said about Venezuelan baseball and Omar Vizquel in yesterday's column. While Italy did not advance to the Second Round, they did make it clear they are not a team to be taken lightly in 2021's World Classic, which they have automatically qualified for. The Mexican team became the second First Round host team (along with South Korea) to not qualify for the Second Round and will be the only 2017 First Round host to have to play in the qualifiers in 2020.
Chris Colabello (Italy, 1B) - 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K - Colabello's struggles continued in Italy's (and therefore his) final game of this edition of the WBC. The low point of his evening came in the bottom of the eighth, when he grounded into a double play on the first pitch, short-circuiting a chance for Italy, who were leading 2-1 at that point, to pick some insurance runs.
Japan - 1-0
Netherlands - 1-1
Israel - 1-1
Cuba - 0-1
That's all for Day 8 of the WBC. Come back tomorrow for a recap for Day 9 which, like yesterday and most remaining days of the tournament, will be light in terms of number of games but huge in terms of importance to the outcome of the Classic. By the time this column is published, the Cuba-Japan rematch will likely be completed, while Pool F will open with the Dominican Republic facing Puerto Rico late Tuesday night in San Diego.