Puerto Rico remains undefeated through the first round of the World Baseball Classic. I must say, I'm very impressed with their team unity and great play so far.
I say so far because we were all stunned when the Netherlands defeated the heavily favored Dominican Republic (TWICE, actually), and we may be in for another upset in the later rounds.
Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez gets the credit for the 5-0 shutout Puerto Rico handed to the Netherlands with four scoreless innings (4 K, 1 BB, two singles)
Puerto Rico's relief pitching WAS a relief, as their great play preserved the shutout.
Puerto Rico's bats were also awake and they immediately began supporting their starting pitcher by putting runs on the board. The two Carlos' (Delgado and Beltran) were especially good, as Beltran hit into a fielder’s choice in the first to score Jesus Feliciano. Then in the fifth, Alex Rios hit a triple to bring in Delgado, who led off with a single.
Overall, I must say it was a great game for Puerto Rico. The streak is intact, their confidence couldn’t be higher, and they are playing at an intense level so far unmatched in the WBC. They are the tough team to beat with tons of enthusiasm and professionalism.
Their loss may come eventually during the WBC, but I see it as being a total upset. Maybe an Asian team like Korea will beat them. Maybe the good old US of A can take them out.
Either way, it's definitely not going to be a walk in the ballpark for the opposing team.
Former teammates Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter will have a chance to play against each other in the second round this Saturday when Puerto Rico takes on the formidable and talent-packed Team USA. That unquestionably brings a little more excitement to the tournament other than just national pride and bragging rights.
I look forward to seeing Puerto Rico go all the way and hope they do not suffer an embarrassing defeat like the GREAT team from the Dominican Republic did. As the Legend Yogi Berra said "It aint over till its over", so I will be looking forward to the WBC conclusion. Thanks for reading.