Who wins WBC?

first_imgSolochek: After an embarrassing loss in the 2006 World Baseball Classic in which Team USA was ousted from the tournament in the early rounds, it seems as if they are on a mission to win the tournament in what we call our national pastime.So far, Team USA has done nothing to disappoint, as it has won both games in completely different fashions. In their first game against Canada, in which they wore the home whites but played in Toronto, the Americans were able to pull out a 6-5 win over our neighbors to the north thanks to Mets reliever JJ Putz being able to hold off the Canadian’s late-game surge.In its next match against Venezuela, the United States was able to blow them out 15-6 thanks to a slew of three home runs and a team batting average of .342 during the game.While the Americans await who their next opponent will be as play in the other pools finishes up, there is no doubt this team is different than the one three years ago. All you had to do was look at the emotions of Nationals’ outfielder Adam Dunn on the bench during the game against Canada. His intensity and emotions showed how much this team wanted to win and how determined they are to win the tournament championship, which will be played on U.S. soil.Even though experts may be picking international teams such as the Dominican Republic or Cuba that are stacked with talent, it will be the Americans who prevail in the World Baseball Classic.Braun: Don’t fix what isn’t broken, Ben.Three years removed from a remarkable run in the World Baseball Classic, Japan will once again be the team that will come out on top. The United States? Well, the Americans probably won’t be as big of a disappointment as they were the last time around, but don’t expect them to challenge the Japanese, Dominicans or even Puerto Rico.In 2006, Japan was a huge underdog but was able to beat out a tough Cuban team in the finals to win the tournament’s first prize. The United States? Well, it’s tough to bash my own country, but with Japan’s experience and unique style of play, it will be tough for any team to match up to the Japanese.Daisuke Matsuzaka has had two years under his belt as a pitcher in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Japan also has one of the most consistent and best hitters and fielders in the game in Ichiro Suzuki to round out a lineup that includes Mariners’ catcher Kenji Johjima and Rays’ infielder Akinori Iwamura, both of whom had strong seasons last year.Japan has a pitching advantage on almost every team that will reach the quarter and semifinals in the WBC. Few pitchers from the Americas and other non-East Asian regions can boast about a forkball or deadly splitfinger to get out of an inning. Japan minimizes mistakes, makes few mental errors and plays consistently enough to get the job done.Also, without added pressure from the U.S. media and a near-upset to Canada, I’d be surprised to see the Americans get much further than the second round. As for the Japanese, if they take advantage of their opportunities they’ll continue to be the only team to win the WBC.last_img

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