Israel shines at WBC.
(photo credit: MARGO SUGARMAN/COURTESY)
Israel faces Japan in Tokyo in its final Pool E game on Wednesday with its World Baseball Classic fate hanging in the balance.
Japan leads the pool with a 2-0 record following Tuesday’s 8-5 win over Cuba, with Israel and the Netherlands tied at 1-1. Cuba has a 0-2 record, but all four teams are still alive in the battle for a toptwo finish and progress to the semifinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The simplest scenario for Israel, and the one it will be hoping for on Wednesday, would be to beat Japan and for Cuba to defeat the Netherlands. In that case, Israel and Japan would both advance from the quarterfinals with a 2-1 record.
But Israel could see its tournament come to an end even with a victory should the Netherlands overcome Cuba.
If multiple teams finish at 2-1 or 1-2, tiebreakers come into play, with runs allowed per defensive inning played serving as the first breaker.
Israel’s 12-2 loss to the Netherlands on Monday leaves it in an unfavorable position should a tiebreaker be required.
If there are three teams at 2-1, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first-ranked team would advance.
The second and third-ranked teams would play a game to determine who the second-place team is.
Israel could also reach the last four with a loss, assuming Cuba beats the Netherlands.
If three teams are tied at 1-2, then the tiebreaker rules (runs allowed per defensive inning being the first) would be applied to rank the three, and the first two ranked teams would play a tiebreaker game.
The blue-and-white will be looking to bounce back from its first defeat of the tournament after going 3-0 in Pool A and then defeating Cuba 4-1 in their last eight opener.
Israel coach Jerry Weinstein is expecting a tough test against Japan, but is focused on getting his team back on track.
“I’ve been very impressed with Japan,” said Weinstein. “They are a competitive team in every aspect. But we’ve got to work it out for ourselves. You know, it’s baseball, and a day off makes a big difference.”
Weinstein believes pitching will be the key on Wednesday, “We need to locate better. We need to do a better job of throwing strikes, quality strikes, and that would be a No. 1. That’s really critical for us,” he noted.
“When you don’t make good pitches, and you get behind big league hitters, they make you pay. If we do that against Japan, that will be the same as against the Netherlands.”
Meanwhile, in Mexico, Venezuela rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to beat Italy 4-3 in a tiebreaker game in Guadalajara, to advance to the last-8 of the WBC on Monday night.
Both Venezuela and Italy entered the game with 1-2 records. The win sent Venezuela to San Diego for Round Two and a game against Team USA on Wednesday.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic played the Pool F opener at Petco Park late Tuesday night.