The Chicago White Sox desperately need big years from Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert. If they are as lethargic or injured as they were in 2022, there is a good chance that 2023 is a similar story for the team as a whole.
This particular year has the World Baseball Classic going on during the second half of spring training which adds a wrinkle to some people’s preparation for Opening Day. Both Robert and Moncada are there with Team Cuba.
Fans watching from the United States of America could have watched them twice on Thursday as long as they were awake very early and up very late into the following morning.
That first game did not go well for Team Cuba at all as they lost to Team Italy in a rather large upset. That came after a tough loss to The Kingdom Of Netherlands a couple of days before so they were in a deep hole.
Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert finally came through for Team Cuba.
It still might be hard for this Cuban team to advance but they at least had a very strong third game. They ended up beating Panama by a final score of 13-4 to finally get in the win column. It was a tough game for them as they were down 4-2 going into the sixth inning.
They scored 11 unanswered runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings combined after digging deep for some much-needed offense. They needed a big ending to the game like that otherwise they'd be 0-3 right now.
This team was so fragile going into that sixth inning that it felt like anything that could go wrong would go wrong. They needed to go up by a lot to have a chance to win and they did.
The two Chicago White Sox players on that team are seen as important players for them. They both play good defense but they weren't hitting at all. Finally, they broke through in this one.
Yoan Moncada went 3 for 5 with four RBIs and a walk. He put them ahead in the sixth inning and that ended up being the game-winning RBI. Everyone is worried about Moncada but he looked amazing in this game. He showed that game-breaking ability that we know he has in there somewhere.
Moncada had 0 hits coming into this game so it was good to see him get it done in this one. Luis Robert, although he had a couple of hits, needed to step up bigger as well. He went 2 for 6 with RBIs and was instrumental in this team getting the win.
This was a tail of two games. In the first half, they looked like they didn't want to be there en route to going 0-3. In the second half, they looked like a team playing good baseball that wanted to win the whole tournament.
Cuba's next game will come against the host Chinese Taipei on Saturday night (locally) at 10 PM CT. To say this game is a must-win would be an understatement for them. They could win big and still miss advancing so it is sure to be interesting.