On Saturday night, the final five became the final four. With Team Mexico and Team Japan already set to face off on Monday, Cuba awaited the winner of the quarterfinal match between Team USA and Team Venezuela. The world was given an instant classic.
There was heavy Chicago White Sox influence in this game which made it even more fun to watch. To start, Jose Ruiz was the second pitcher in the game for Venezuela. He went 1.2 innings without giving up a run. He only allowed one hit and recorded two strikeouts.
For Ruiz, that came after Martin Perez allowed Team USA to get out to a 3-0 lead very early. On the mound for Team USA was Lance Lynn who was the beneficiary of these events. It is always nice to be spotted a 3-0 lead early.
Lynn ended up giving up two runs over four solid innings pitched. He allowed four hits and had two walks with one strikeout. It was an outstanding start for him in a long line of them. The attitude and emotion that he brought early in the game was much-needed.
The Chicago White Sox players at the WBC have been simply amazing.
Tim Anderson also had a very impactful game. He was solid on defense playing his new WBC position of second base. However, Tim Anderson is always going to be more of an offensive player if anything.
He had a walk and a hit in this big win. He was also on third base when Trea Turner hit the big grand slam in the 8th inning that put the USA back on top. It would hold as the game-winning blast. After the bullpen blew the lead that Lance Lynn left with, a big moment like that was needed.
Now, they will move on to play Cuba on Sunday night. Of course, Tim Anderson, Kendall Graveman, and Lance Lynn will be in the dugout opposite of Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert. This is going to be a great game to see who will advance to the World Baseball Classic championship.
The winner of this game will likely have the hearts of White Sox fans in the championship no matter what. Team Mexico and Team Japan are awesome but there isn’t any White Sox flavor there. A lot of MLB fans, however, would certainly like to see Mike Trout face Shohei Ohtani.
This tournament has been incredible and having our MLB team influence it so much has been a lot of fun. As it winds down, we can only soak up what is left because it is going to be wonderful.