PC: MLB Properties
In the wee hours of the morning here in Europe Israel kicked off Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic in much the same manner as they began it, quietly chalking up an unexpected win against a team that far outranked them. Israel took down Cuba 4-1 in a game where Jason Marquis went 5.2 innings giving up just four hits and one earned run to post a 1.59 ERA on the day.
Cuba jumped on the board early with a solo home run by Alfredo Despaigne over the centerfield wall of the Tokyo Dome. In the 4th Lavarnway doubled to Despaigne’s spot in left and Ike Davis scored to tie up the game. From that point forward, it was all Israel.
Zach Borenstein singled to right to score Ty Kelly in the bottom of the 6th, then Blake Gailen doubled to drive in Nate Freiman, ending the inning with Israel leading 1-3. In the bottom of the 8th Blake Gailen added some insurance with a sacrifice bunt that allowed Zach Borenstein to come home for the final run of the game.
Israel won it 1-4 but the real story was not in their offense but rather their pitching. In 31 at bats by 14 batters only five hits were recorded against them. They struck out eight and walked just three. Doing the majority of the lifting, Marquis gave up less than one run per inning pitched, and struck out four, before handing the ball over to Zach Thornton, who was activated from the designated pitching pool for this round. Thornton went 1.1 innings recording nothing more than a single strikeout. No walks or hits were given up. Brad Goldberg, also activated from the designated pitching pool, went in for .2 innings where he struck out one, but gave up a hit and a walk before coming out of the game.
Josh Zeid closed it up for Israel pitching 1.1 innings of near perfect ball. He gave up one walk while striking out two. That makes his 3rd closing appearance in Israel’s first four games of the tournament.
He’s recorded one win and two saves with a 0.00 ERA in 6 innings striking out 7 and walking 4 for a .83 WHIP. Zeid also closed out against the Netherlands with 1.2 innings of play. He struck out and walked one apiece on Wednesday after pitching 3.0 in the opening game against S. Korea where he walked two and struck out four against one hit.
Germany’s Jen Walder was the 3rd base umpire for this game. Having eliminated the #3 (S. Korea) and #4 (Chinese Taipei) world ranked teams in round 1 and beaten the #5 (Cuba) in round 2, Israel, currently ranked #41, faces #9, The Netherlands, in a noontime showdown on Monday, March 13th.
This is the rematch The Netherlands, no doubt, are looking forward to, having fallen to Israel 4-2 in the first round less than a week ago.