Detroit Tigers: WBC Exhibition Games Show Tigers Still Have It
As the World Baseball Classic gets started, the Detroit Tigers players representing their home countries showed off their skills in exhibition games.
This is welcome news for Detroit Tigers fans who have been shaking their heads in frustration at their beatings the team has been taking lately.
The USA team faced the Minnesota Twins and the Venezuelan team faced the Kansas City Royals.
Tigers Come Up Big with Venezuela Team
The Venezuelan team features Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Both men are batting .500 at this point. In the game, Cabrera scored a run and earned three RBIs. And, that run was a home run. The did not strike out at all in his four at-bats. Martinez went two-for-four, scored a run, and did not strikeout either. Even Francisco Rodriguez even pitched well, striking out two and giving up one hit. The Venezuelans did not give up a run to the Royals who started their top players with the exception of Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer.
Getting it Started in Classic Kinsler Style
In the exhibition game that featured the USA vs the Twins, Ian Kinsler started the game in his typical style: with a single. And, not just any single – a ground ball single. Then, he scored a run after advancing on hits from Adam Jones and Nolan Arenado. His next two at-bats were hit to right field. It’s nice to see Kinsler hit opposite field, even if the ball doesn’t go over the fence.
Even though the WBC has officially begun, the favorite teams have yet to take the stage. The Venezuelan team is expected to be a leader in the Classic along with the heavily stacked Dominican Republic team. And, the former Tigers’ skipper Jim Leyland has high expectations, too.
Games to Watch
These are the games that will feature top Tigers players this week:
- USA vs. Columbia on Friday at 6:00 ET
- USA vs. the Dominican Republic on Saturday at 6:30 ET
- USA vs. Canada on Sunday at 7:00 ET
- Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico on Friday at 9:00 ET
- Venezuela vs. Italy on Saturday at 3:00 ET
- Venezuela vs. Mexico on Sunday at 10:00 ET
Cabrera and K-Rod Setting Records
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These games should provide plenty of good pitching and strong hitting. There is also a good chance that Miguel Cabrera could set a record or two. This is only the fourth World Baseball Classic and he has played in all of them. Cabrera has come up big offensively historically in the WBC. In 2013, he finished the series with a slash of .429/.583/.33 with an OPS of 1.012; he even stole a base that year and hit one home run. In 2009, his slash was .303/.594/.281 with an OPS of .897 with two home runs. In 2006, he hit .400/.579/.211 with an OPS of .979 with two home runs.
One other Tigers player will be able to say that he has played in all four WBC series. Frankie Rodriguez has pitched in the three previous series and with respectable ERAs and WHIPs. In 2006, he pitched in three games and recorded an ERA and WHIP of 0.00. His ERA in 2009 was also 0.00, but he recorded a WHIP of 0.71 in five games. In 2013, he did give up a home run earning an ERA of 3.86 with a WHIP of 0.86.
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These two, along with the other Tigers in the WBC, should put on a good show, especially since the games actually count for something.